The provisional calendar for the 2012 FIA World Rally Championship has been announced following an extensive period of consultation between the WRC promoter North One Sport, individual event organisers, competing teams and the FIA.
As expected, the schedule reflects a new vision for the WRC, focusing not only on raising the bar in terms of the level of organisation and promotion of events, but also increasing the challenge and achieving a diverse mix of locations and surfaces to underline the WRC's standing as an 'epic motorsport adventure'.
In line with the FIA allowing for greater flexibility in the format and structure of events, the new calendar will achieve a greater spirit of innovation, reflected in the inclusion of a long-distance event in Argentina and the multi-territory Sweden-Norway rally. The WRC will also welcome another new addition to its calendar of events, with Abu Dhabi intent on delivering a pioneering approach to hosting a world-class WRC event in front of the sport's growing fan base in the important Middle East region.
“Formation of the 2012 WRC calendar has been a long, but constructive, process involving a significant amount of input from a number of parties,” said Simon Long, CEO of North One Sport, “Competition for places has been intense, with many high quality submissions being made from countries all around the world. However, we are convinced the events that have been selected will offer the variety, challenge, prominence and high quality organisation the WRC demands. It is a very exciting time for the WRC right now and this is further reflected by the 2012 calendar.”
Favourites such as Greece, Great Britain and New Zealand all feature on the list of events, although the UK round remains subject to confirmation pending the submission and approval of an event 'business plan' and format. The event remains in a state of flux while organisers finalise a base after a long spell in Wales. The principality remains an option, but there are other hosts under consideration as the rally attempts to cement its place on the WRC schedule.
Several new developments are being planned at all WRC rounds on the 2012 calendar, as organisers and promoters seek to further raise standards and deliver the ultimate motorsport experience to the 600 million television viewers the WRC attracts, not to mention the four million fans that travel to the rallies. Further details will be announced during the coming months.
The full list of events on the proposed 2012 calendar (in alphabetical order) are as follows:
Argentina (long distance event)
Sweden – Norway
* Subject to confirmation and approval of the Event Business Plan and format