Chile’s hopes of hosting a round of the World Rally Championship took a step forward with a successful candidate event last weekend.
The Concepcion-based RallyMobil ran without fault and was lauded by senior WRC officials attending what looks to have been a dress rehearsal for inclusion on the 2019 calendar.
WRC Promoter’s Oliver Ciesla told Motorsport.com: “From a promotional point of view this rally really delivered.
"For what was essentially a national-level rally, the infrastructure is amazing. There’s solid support from industry and the enthusiasm and pride we have seen here is fantastic.
“I have been to the stages and, while I’m not saying I’m an expert on these things, I could imagine the drivers will have a lot of fun to drive these roads. There was a bit of loose on top, but they were very, very good.”
RallyMobil organiser Sebastian Etcheverry was similarly pleased with the way the weekend unfolded.
He added: “We have done a very strong event. We know there are things to improve on, but we are working on those.
"We’ve had very good co-operation from Michele [Mouton, FIA safety delegate] on areas like the paperwork and the roadbook. I think the raw appeal is here, but we keep on learning and we’re fortunate to be surrounded by people who have the know-how. We are very happy.”
Japan main rival for calendar vacancy
Chile is one of three countries chasing an open 14th slot on the WRC calendar, with Japan and Kenya the main opposition.
FIA President Jean Todt has already said the Safari Rally won’t be ready for next season, meaning Japan will have to provide compelling evidence, infrastructure and funding to edge out Chile.
Should Chile be given a green light when the proposed calendar is discussed by the World Motor Sport Council later this year, it will land a three-year deal for WRC inclusion.
“We want to give new events the chance to invest in infrastructure and a three-year deal is the way to do this,” said Ciesla.