The RACMSA Rally of Scotland will not take place next year, organiser International Motor Sports (IMS) announced today, citing 'scheduling challenges' for the decision.
IMS had been in discussions with Intercontinental Rally Challenge promoter Eurosport Events to move the event from its traditional October date to a much earlier slot in the calendar in a bid to ease pressures on the Scottish and UK rallying communities which, due to an increasing number of events, have faced difficulties in attracting competitors and marshals during the late autumn and early winter. Unfortunately though, making the switch so early for 2012 has not proved possible and instead all efforts are now said to be focused on securing a return the following year.
“It is with a very heavy heart we have had to take this course of action for 2012,” said IMS chief executive Andrew Coe. “Knowing what this event has come to mean to competitors, motor manufacturers, motor sport fans and Scotland as a nation, we are already actively working with our enthusiastic partners to ensure the event returns to the IRC calendar. They all want to see it back even bigger and stronger in 2013.
“Realistically, February was the only other month we could have run the event next year as legislation protecting local wildlife precludes us from rallying in the Scottish forests from March through to September and we are totally respectful of that.
“I believe we have one of the best organising teams of any motor sport event in the world - not just in the IRC but in any sport out there - but putting on the event in February has not proved possible.”
Meanwhile, Francois Ribeiro, motorsport development director at Eurosport Events, confirmed they are open to Scotland returning to the IRC fold in the future.
“Rally of Scotland has provided Eurosport
with some spectacular landscape and great action for its live television coverage. It's also been a challenging event for the drivers. I would like to thank EventScotland for its support,” Ribeiro added. “We will maintain a close dialogue with the event promoter now and would consider the rally's return to the IRC calendar in the future.”
The RACMSA Rally of Scotland has run three times to date as a round of the IRC. Supported by national events agency EventScotland, Stirling and Perth & Kinross councils and Forestry Commission Scotland, it has quickly become a favourite fixture for many of the world-class rally drivers who have competed on it as well as thousands of visiting motor sport fans.
“The Rally of Scotland has been, over the last three years, a superb addition to Scotland's event calendar and has clearly helped in our work to position Scotland as the perfect stage for events,” continued Paul Bush OBE, chief operating officer of EventScotland.
“As we come to the end of the initial three-year deal, the excitement and enthusiasm for the rally has been superb and it is unfortunate that for a number of reasons it has not been possible to align all the interests of the different parties involved to enable the event to take place in 2012.
“However, our working relationship with International Motor Sports and the other partners remains strong and we share its goal not only to see this event back in Scotland in the future but also to continue to grow our motor sports event portfolio,” he summed-up.