Project WRC update 99-04-27

THE PROJECT:WRC RALLY SCHEDULED FOR THE END OF THE YEAR IS TO GO AHEAD AS PLANNED. The rally is a pilot project that is part of a plan aimed at facilitating South Africa's inclusion in the FIA World Rally Championship calendar within three...

THE PROJECT:WRC RALLY SCHEDULED FOR THE END OF THE YEAR IS TO GO AHEAD AS PLANNED.

The rally is a pilot project that is part of a plan aimed at facilitating South Africa's inclusion in the FIA World Rally Championship calendar within three years, and has been earmarked for the Western Cape for 22-24 October.

The decision to go ahead with the rally was taken at a meeting of the management committee of Project: WRC Rally in Cape Town over the weekend.

The meeting was held under the chairmanship of former Motorsport SA Rally Commission president Ralph Behm. Also present were current MSA Rally Commission president Diether Kok, commission member Willie du Plessis and Arthur Abraham, Charmaine Fortune and Richard Leeke from Rally Management CC which owns the rights to rallying in South Africa.

The decision to go ahead with the Project: WRC Rally was taken after the committee had studied a preliminary fact finding report by Behm. At the same time Rally Management CC, while currently negotiating for a sponsor for the event, committed itself to underwriting the event to the tune of R200 000 so that preliminary organisation could immediately start.

Behm's fact finding report confirmed that the Western Cape has the necessary accommodation, telecommunications and air link infrastructure to meet FIA requirements.

The report also confirmed that there were sufficient roads available to meet the FIA requirement of 400 kilometres of special stage distance.

The report also identified high profile sites for the start/finish of the event and service parks aimed at attracting the maximum spectator attendance. Also included in the report were statistics underlining Cape Town's status as the tourist capital of South Africa.

The meeting also decided that Kok and du Plessis would meet in Gauteng this week to draft a detailed event plan that would encompass personnel, equipment and financial and other requirements. In terms of organisation the draft plan will incorporate groups and individuals who are currently involved in the organisation of Stannic Rally Championship events.

"The meeting was very positive and I have no doubt we have taken the right decision," Behm said. "Organisation is going to be a mammoth task but we are lucky to have highly professional people on the Project:WRC Rally management committee, and we can draw on the skills of other talented people around the country.

"The Stannic Cape Rally over the weekend also again demonstrated that the Western Cape is ideally suited to host an event of this kind. There is a huge rally following in this part of the world, and Cape Town meets all the other requirements on which the FIA insists."

Rally Management CC chief executive Abraham said the decision to underwrite the event had been taken to ensure that organisation got underway without delay. In this regard the draft plan to be drawn up by Kok and du Plessis would play a major role.

THE PROJECT TWO

"Rally Management CC has every confidence in the ability of Kok and du Plessis, with advisory assistance from Behm, to come up with a masterplan that will provide the basis for our future planning," Abraham said. "There is a huge amount of work to be done between now and October, but everyone associated with the project is excited about the challenge.

"We want to see South Africa included in the FIA World Rally Championship calendar and are determined to pull off a coup for South African motorsport."

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Series Other rally