There are concerns for the future of Britain’s round of the World Rally Championship after the FIA delayed its decision to give this year’s route a green light.
The governing body has objected to the use of the Great Orme/Llandudno stage as the bonus point-paying Power Stage on the final day of the October event.
Current WRC sporting regulations state the Power Stage should “be representative of the rally.” The FIA feels the all-asphalt Orme and Llandudno town stage fails to meet this criteria.
Using Llandudno would bring world championship competition to closed roads in a British town for the first time ever – and deliver significant benefit to Wales.
Wales has invested political energy in ensuring the closed-road legislation was in place to allow this to happen, while delivering additional funding to ensure helicopter shots of the dramatic north Welsh coastline were beamed around the world from the Power Stage.
A well-placed source told Motorsport.com: “The potential fall-out is massive.
“Wales is absolutely on the boil for this; it’s rightly seen as a fantastic way to show off some of its most beautiful coastline.
"Don’t forget, the event has moved right to the front of October for this season, which means real potential for great weather, big crowds and some amazing shots from the helicopter.
“Nobody’s under any illusions here, the organisers are aware that the Great Orme is different in nature to the rest of the route, but the problem here really lies with woolly rules.
"If asphalt stages can’t be run on gravel rallies, then why has a waiver been issued for such a stage in each of the past five years? The issue is with waivers, especially when so much of the argument is utterly subjective.
"And in terms of a Power Stage being worthy of five points, are any of these final 10km stages really worthy of the points? The Power Stage is a promotional creation and should be treated as such.”
It’s hoped that promotion from the Great Orme, and the potential 30,000 fans lining the Llandudno streets, will help secure an extension to Welsh backing of Britain’s WRC round.
The current three-year agreement with Wales ends this year.