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Ford is considering pulling out of the World Rally Championship, and switching over to the rival Intercontinental Rally Challenge.

Gerard Quinn, in charge of Ford’s European Motorsport activities, said: “Do they realise we’re six months from the start of the new season with no promoter,” said Quinn. “It took [former promoter] North One Sport two years to get fully up to speed with the job and the lack of news from Friday is a major concern for me and it obviously has huge implications.”

The FIA has also introduced new legislation which requires the event promoters of the WRC to pay for the TV production, which was previously being handled by North One. This has added tremendously to the event fees, which is putting a lot of strain on sporting clubs budgets as they already struggle with depleting sponsorship. The WRC now risks losing not just manufacturer teams but events as well, which would be disastrous for the championship.

Prodrive’s David Richards, an experienced hand in global motorsport, notably rallying, was critical of the FIA. “Surely somebody has to stand up and take responsibility, but I don’t see any of that. I just see, deferral, deferral. It’s the FIA’s championship, but it’s being squandered at the moment.”

Elaborating on Ford’s plans, Quinn said: “The IRC is a classic example of how a championship can be run effectively and deliver on its promises,” Quinn added. “The IRC has made huge progress in the last few years and the key thing is that it’s on television and it’s available to the wider public through the internet and through social media. It’s straightforward and successful.

“Make no mistake, Ford is fully committed to WRC and I hate to think of deserting a sinking ship. The WRC is very important to us as a manufacturer, however, after next year’s WRC we will look at our options and one of those options is IRC.”

If Ford were indeed to exit the WRC, it would leave the championship with a single manufacturer entry in Citroen. Presently, Mini is also contesting select rounds of the WRC, but with privateer entries. The WRC has seen manufacturer teams exit in large numbers in the last decade, with Subaru, Mitsubishi, Toyota, Suzuki, Hyundai and Skoda all calling time on the championship. The WRC is still riding on hope with Volkswagen firming up their plans to enter the fray with its Polo WRC, but that will not be until 2013, with a few events planned. VW will only contest the full WRC from 2014. If Ford were to exit by then, it would leave little incentive for other manufacturers to continue.

click: autojunction.in/Ford-considering-quitting-WRC

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2.5RXer
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Just... wow

:eek:
Wow.

Although the FIA has seemingly bungled everything from homologation rules (currently nearly non-existant compared to a decade ago) to media coverage over the last couple years, I thought things were looking up with names like Toyota and Subaru expressing interest in returning. VW and Mini coming back seemed like a good barometer of an upswing in manufacturer participation as well.

I never realized the WRC was so close to rendering itself obsolete, not just to its fans who are no longer reaping the rewards of having access to vehicles required to be produced in order for manufacturers to remain competitive, but also to manufacturers as fans are getting less exposure to the events, thus making competition a less effective marketing tool for their brands.

Here's hoping the FIA sees this as a wake-up call.
 

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stick a fork in it?

IRC can be the new WRC ! :)

Maybe loeb will want to see if he can win a season over there? (should be able to ... rather easily)
 

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2.5RXer
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Nice call Alex.

That would make for an interesting de-globalization of rally, since WRC covers countries all over the world, including events in Mexico, South America, New Zealand- not just in Europe. The departure of FIA as a sanctioning body for rally would leave an opening for someone to step in and arrange a global answer to "who is the best rally driver in the world?"

Maybe it's time for Stage Rally to become an official Olympic sport? That'd probably be more headache than it's worth...
 

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AC2RC
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463 Posts
Ford should do something as they now have the Focus ST available .That's one of their world class cars and it would be great for advertizing.
 
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