Canada could be WRC's answer to winter rally headache

Canada could be back on the World Rally Championship calendar as rally director Yves Matton tries to find a solution to the series' winter rally headache.

Matton said last month that he favoured two winter rallies on the WRC calendar and a Canadian event is seen as part of that solution. This year, a mild Swedish Rally put the issue of finding a cold, snowy event back on the agenda and an Ottawa-based rally in February could fit the bill. The Canadians said earlier that they were working to a five-year plan, culminating in a WRC slot for 2023.

The event last ran in 1979, won by Bjorn Waldegard in a Ford Escort Mk2, with Timo Salonen second for Datsun only 38 seconds behind and Ari Vatanen a distant fourth in another Escort. Britain’s Andy Dawson came fourth, again for Datsun.

Now WRC Promoter GmbH has encouraged the Canadian team to rethink their timescale with founding Rally Promoter Association of Canada director Keith Morison telling media: "We had a meeting with WRC Promoter at last year's Rally GB and there was a tap on the shoulder to say we might consider bringing our plans forward.  We're looking at that.

"There's a feeling a five-year plan could fade, but we won't be rushed. We're working on the funding right now and it's going to take time. Running a WRC round is 10 times the cost of organising the Canadian Championship. What's vital is that we do this thing right.”

Morison revealed further details of the plan, centred on an event based out of the capital, Ottawa, and including two days of competition in Quebec and one day in Ontario - with a service park in Ontario. However, Morison wouldn't make any promises about conditions, saying only: “We have a three-week window for the weather where snow is pretty much guaranteed. But if you want somebody to guarantee you perfect conditions - I'm not that kind of guy.  We've had some years when it's been warmer than others, but right now I'm looking out with 30cm of snow and we've seen five-foot snow banks this year." 

The event, which could run as a candidate the year after next, will include some of the roads used on Rallye Perce-Neige, opening round of the Canadian series.