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World Rally Championship Return to USA: Plans are getting more concrete

World Rally Championship Return to USA: Plans are getting more concrete

(Motorsport-Total.com) – In the near future, the World Rally Championship (WRC) could be held in the United States again. Between 1986 and 1988 the Olympus Rally was part of the World Championship calendar. A new event is now being planned with the aim of bringing the rallying elite back to America.

In 1988, Miki Bayashon won the last World Championship race in the United States

A new event is planned for Chattanooga in southeast Tennessee. It will use gravel roads in the Cheerokee National Forest and the Ocoee River in Polk Country.

A team of experienced competitors and organizers from the rally scene is responsible for planning the program. They are supported by the American Rally Association (ARA), the Chattanooga Tourism Office, the State of Tennessee and private sponsors.

A rally demonstration was held last month to test some of the planned routes. A full-scale candidate rally is planned to be held in September. Whether the rally will become part of the 2024 World Championship calendar will be assessed later.

The demonstration was formally launched. Seven cars completed the three-mile course and one ten-mile course, both of which were included in the preliminary rally schedule.

Michele Mouton, responsible for the safety of the WRC at the World Automobile Association FIA, was there and had a look. The vice world champion from 1982 certainly saw plans for a future event.

FIA rally director Andrew Wheatley counters ‘motorsport.com’ Info: “We had very positive feedback from local authorities. I think the organizers need to look at a lot of issues and understand how it works in this particular area.”

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“Michael looked at the tracks to understand from a preliminary point of view what work needs to be done to get to the desired level. I think there is still some work to be done.”

“But it’s great to have this proactive opportunity there. The commitment so far has been significant. The next step is another big leap. From what we’ve seen so far, it will be a positive addition to the World Cup.”

“The proposed location is where car manufacturers are investing. Pirelli also has a factory in this area. All the pieces of the puzzle are there. Now you just have to put them together properly.”

WRC events director Simon Larkin thinks the rally could be on the calendar in the US next year: “The rally was a complete success and generated local and regional interest.”

“We need to have firm commitments and investments. We are working on that. We are planning a test in September. Before that, we will decide whether we can consider this event in 2024.”