FIA has added China to the WRC calendar for the 2016 season marking the return of WRC to Asia. The event was last held in 1999 and according to the organizers it was cancelled following a “Force majeure because of government”.
WRC China Rally now brings the total number of events in the 2016 calendar to 14, up from 13 events in the 2015 season. The 14 rounds include: Argentina, Australia, China, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Mexico, Monte-Carlo, Poland, Portugal, Spain and Sweden. France and Monte-Carlo are yet to complete the contract terms and conditions.
Dates for the 2016 season will be announced in coming weeks, FIA has also amended a few technical regulations for the cars. Key among them is the decrease in size of the turbo restrictor found on Regional Rally Cars to position R5 as the top car in WRC 2. The Production Cup cars will not be included in the forthcoming season. In addition, regulations for turbocharged R2 cars will be introduced to reduce running costs.
WRC China Rally was replaced by the Cyprus Rally in 2000 and has been part of the Asia Pacific Rally Championship ever since. It was one of the hardest rounds in the 1999 season, Toyota dominated the 3-day event with Didier Auriol claiming the win in a Toyota Corolla WRC. Auriol shared the podium with Richard Burns in a Subaru Impreza WRC and Carlos Sainz in another Toyota Corolla WRC.