Motor Sport News - - Rally News - Pho­tos: mck­lein-im­age­

China’s re­turn to the World Rally Cham­pi­onship stands on the brink of col­lapse fol­low­ing a re­fusal to re­pair rain-dam­aged roads.

The route for next month’s Rally China was hit by flood­ing in July. The lo­cal coun­cil re­spon­si­ble for the roads has re­port­edly de­clined to fast-track work to fix them, cit­ing bud­get con­straints.

One source said: “This de­ci­sion is in the hands of the or­gan­is­ers. Ev­ery­body has done what they can, but at some stage a de­ci­sion needs to be taken on whether or not the roads will be fixed and the rally can run. And that de­ci­sion needs to be taken sooner rather than later.”

WRC safety del­e­gate Michele Mou­ton and a rep­re­sen­ta­tive from the pro­moter flew to Bei­jing last week for two days of emer­gency meet­ings to try to find a way to keep the Septem­ber 8-11 event on track.

The gov­ern­ing body and pro­moter is­sued a joint state­ment say­ing: “WRC Pro­moter and FIA are un­der­tak­ing all nec­es­sary dis­cus­sions and ne­go­ti­a­tions with the or­gan­iser to en­sure the event con­tin­ues. Both WRC Pro­moter and FIA were in China last week to make all nec­es­sary in­ves­ti­ga­tions and con­tin­gency plan­ning for the event.”

M-sport’s Rich Mil­lener told MN: “Most of the teams have char­tered a plane to take the cars out to China. We have two and a half days to repre­pare the cars next week and send them to the air­port. Ob­vi­ously ev­ery day that passes is cost­ing the teams money, but that’s when we re­ally need to know.

“We all want to go to this event. Ev­ery­body ac­cepted China, un­der­stand­ing what an im­por­tant mar­ket it is and we’ve all made a huge in­vest­ment in this event al­ready.”

There’s no firm time­line in place for any an­nounce­ment, but news is ex­pected dur­ing this week’s Rally Ger­many.

There’s a feel­ing be­tween some in Bei­jing that Huairou wasn’t China’s strong­est rally – the APRC round which ran ear­lier this month in Zhangye on the edge of the Gobi Desert was reck­oned to be the pre­ferred op­tion.

Rally China is set to re­turn to the WRC for the first time since 1999.

Rally China: last fea­tured in 1999

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