WRC adds Paraguay to 2025 calendar in multi-year deal

The 2025 World Rally Championship calendar is edging closer to completion following the news Paraguay is set to make its debut next season.

The WRC has been eyeing a 14-round schedule for 2025 that provides a more global calendar than it has been able to contest in recent seasons following the Covid-19 pandemic.

Two events in the South America region had been targeted as key goal for 2025, which has now been realised. Earlier this year Paraguay and Argentina emerged as options, with the former now securing a multi-year deal, becoming the 38th country to host a WRC round. It is expected to join fellow South American nation Chile on next year’s schedule, after rejoining the WRC last year following its debut in 2019.

The announcement was made on Saturday evening in the Paraguayan capital Asunción by president Santiago Peña at the ceremonial start of Petrobras Rally Transchaco 2024 – the third round of the Paraguayan national championship.

“Paraguay is big, and the world is in the process of discovering us. Hosting world class events such as the WRC, is yet another way to show the world our greatness,” said president Peña.

A thriving rally scene is among the reasons why the WRC is keen to add Paraguay to its suite of events. The last eleven editions of the FIA South American Rally Championship have also been won by Paraguayan drivers, while Fabrizio Zaldivar has become an established WRC2 competitor and Diego Dominguez is among the Junior WRC and WRC3 title favourites.

“We have been in discussions with Paraguay already for a number of years and I am incredibly pleased to see this agreement across the line,” expressed WRC event director Simon Larkin, who attended the launch.

“There is no questioning the nation’s passion for rallying and we cannot wait to transmit this passion, as well as Paraguay’s spectacular scenery around the world.”

Paraguay’s date on the 2025 WRC calendar is yet to be confirmed. The gravel rally will however be based out of the southern city of Encarnacion. Stages will take place throughout the Itapua region, which annually hosts a round of the FIA South American Rally Championship.

Paraguay’s inclusion on the 2025 calendar follows the announcement that the WRC will also be heading to Saudi Arabia next year, as part of a 10-year deal that will bring the championship to the Middle East nation for the first time.

It will be the third new round in 2025 following confirmation that Rally Islas Canarias will graduate from the European Rally Championship to host the WRC for the first time, as Spain rejoins the calendar.

Paraguay appears likely to be among the final pieces in resolving the 2025 WRC calendar that is expected to be finalised in July.

In addition to the new events, it has been confirmed that Poland will drop off the schedule following its appearance this year, and Estonia will return in place of Latvia, which will make its debut this year after earning promotion from the ERC.

The WRC confirmed in April that it was working to extend the contract with Croatia which is in the final year of its agreement.

It is anticipated that Monte Carlo will open the campaign while Sweden, Kenya, Portugal, Italy (Sardinia), Finland, Greece, Chile and Japan are expected to feature.

Read Also:

Source link