The new president of the FIA Jean Todt has vowed that the World Rally Championship will be one of the top priorities during his time at the head of world motorsport.
Speaking at the launch of the 2010 season in Paris, Todt – a former WRC co-driver and ex boss of the Peugeot team – insisted that he was optimistic about the future of the sport and was excited by the challenge of improving a series which has been hit by the loss of manufacturer involvement in recent years.
With the likes of Skoda, Suzuki, Peugeot and Subaru all leaving the WRC in the recent past, only Ford and Citroen have remained and despite the increased interest from the addition of Kimi Raikkonen and Ken Block to the field, Todt admitted the was work to be done.
"2010 definitely is an important year," he said. "It's the start of a new decade, the start of my mandate as FIA president, and everybody knows rally has been very strongly implanted in my heart for many years. I started my career in rally and I have never lost that very strong overview. Now I have a strong mandate as president of the FIA to address the situation of motorsport, and rally will be amongst my priorities.
"I'm very optimistic we are going to have a great 2010 championship but I'm even more optimistic about the future of rallying. We know a lot of things have to be improved and it's our whole commitment to make sure that happens - on the sporting side and on the technical side - and to make sure we create a much bigger interest for manufacturers, from private competitors and the media. I must say I am excited by the challenge."