Mohammed Ben Sulayem made the comments following yesterday’s FIA World Motorsport Council meeting where members ratified the 13-round calendar for next year’s Championship.

Since 2020, when the COVID-19 health pandemic struck, promoters have stuck largely to a Europe-focussed itinerary with the exception being Safari Rally Kenya last season and New Zealand and Japan this year due to these countries easing their entry restrictions.

With most countries opening their doors to visitors again, this has allowed the World Rally Championship to return to Chile for the first time since 2019 and Mexico since 2020 respectively.

“The fact that the 2023 FIA World Rally Championship will visit five distinct regions is a positive step towards engaging more people in motor sport, either as competitors, volunteers, officials or fans,” said Sulayem.

“By returning to North and South America in addition to rallies in Africa, Asia and Europe, the WRC is embracing a more global calendar, which has always been the intention of the FIA.

“With established and emerging events on asphalt, gravel and snow, the 2023 calendar offers diversity, while the cross-border Central Europe Rally is an excellent example of several ASNs [event organiser] working in unison to deliver a world-class event.”

Those views were shared by Andrew Wheatley – the FIA’s newly-appointed Rally Director – who, earlier this month, said introducing another manufacturer to the series remains a “long-term target”.

“It’s fundamental for a world championship to reflect the global nature of motor sport and I wish to extend our appreciation to the ASNs, organisers and WRC Promoter who are working hard to deliver events that raise the level and appeal of the WRC each year,” said Wheatley.

“COVID-19 has obviously caused us to be absent from some regions since 2020 but we’re moving in the right direction with four long-haul events in 2023.”

At the same time as the World Rally Championship calendar was confirmed, the look of the five-round FIA Junior World Rally Championship was also announced.

It consists of Rally Sweden, Croatia Rally, Rally Italia Sardegna, Rally Estonia and Acropolis Rally Greece. Once again, all crews will tackle the one-make series in identical Rally 3-spec Ford Fiesta cars and use Pirelli rubber.