Mosley confirms Rally Australia threat
FIA president says round is in danger
Mosley says Rally Australia could lose its WRC status
The president of world motorsport's governing body, Max Mosley, has confirmed that Rally Australia will be removed from this year's World Rally Championship – unless the event's commercial and sporting departments reach agreement in the next few weeks.
As revealed on autosport.com this morning, the event – one of the highest-rated on the WRC schedule – faces the axe from its 2003 slot, because of continuing disputes between its owner, the Western Australia Tourism Commission, and the body of officials who run the rally.
Rally Australia organisers have been swift to deny the story, and they quickly issued a release in which world rallying's media rights owner, International Sportsworld Communicators boss David Richards, indicated that he was unaware of any potential problems. But Mosley told autosport.com this afternoon that the media side of the event was not the issue placing it under threat.
"The difficulty is that this is not a commercial problem," said Mosley. "It's a sporting one. And we [the FIA] are the sporting authority. We know that there appears to be a real problem between the sporting and commercial people on Rally Australia. We've known about this since the World Motor Sport Council met in December. But it decided not to put an asterisk against the event's position in the 2003 calendar, and to instead send a high-ranking FIA official as an envoy, to report back on the situation.