German sources believe that rallying in Europe’s most populous country not only faces its greatest, but possibly its last opportunity. They fear that if the FIA does not promote the Deutschland Rally to the World Championship for 2002, the event may not be held at all.
The fall-out could have wider ramifications even than the demise of the Deutschland Rally, which was first held in 1982. The Hunsruck (a longer-established event) was amalgamated with the Deutschland this year as part of the World Championship bid and might not be revived as a separate rally, while German drivers’ chances of getting cars for next season could also hinge on the FIA’s decision, which is expected following the next World Rally Championship Commission meeting in late August.
“Quite a few people have the opinion that we make it now or we don’t make it ever,” said top German driver Armin Schwarz. “They have made quite a big effort and they will not make it again. That is my only worrying point. They can be proud, because it was a good event.”
“It depends on the FIA. Otherwise, you can put German rallying in the bin,” another source predicted.
The organisers have made no comment.
Für alle rallye1-Leser: das bedeutet entweder wir packen es oder bekommen nie einen WM-Lauf, dann wird Rallye in Deutschland immer ein Schattendasein fristen.