The 2014 FIA European Rally Championship will be decided over 11 rounds after it was confirmed that Sibiu Rally Romania would no longer form part of the calendar.
Originally scheduled to run as a winter event in February with some stages planned on the iconic Transfăgărășan highway, the rally was postponed under force majeure due to exceptional heavy snowfall and forecasts of more severe weather around the competitive route leading to fears that safety would be compromised.
Since then, the ERC promoter, Eurosport Events, has worked closely with the Sibiu Rally Romania promoter to try to maintain Romania’s presence in the European Rally Championship with a new all-asphalt event from 9-11 October. However, any new date and format change had to be agreed by Eurosport Events before they could be submitted to the FIA Rally Commission for approval.
Despite a second deadline being put in place, the Sibiu Rally Romania promoter was unable to satisfy criteria set out by Eurosport Events. As such, Eurosport Events informed the FIA Rally Commission at its meeting in Paris on 28 May that the event will no longer be a counting round of the ERC in 2014 with the championship calendar now scheduled to consist of 11 rounds only.
It means that drivers and co-drivers will still count their four best scores from the opening six rounds of the ERC but will now include their best four scores from the final five rallies in their end-of-season totals.
Jean-Bapitste Ley, the ERC Co-ordinator, said: “Despite hard work behind the scenes with the Romanian authorities, it was impossible for the Sibiu Rally Romania promoter to provide the standards of an ERC round on this new date in October. While this is unfortunate, feedback from our teams is such that a reduced calendar would actually be beneficial for their financial and logistical planning. There are now six very exciting ERC events to come and plenty of Serious Competition Ahead, starting with the 50th anniversary Geko Ypres Rally from 19-21 June.”
Remaining ERC rounds in 2014
06: Geko Ypres Rally (Belgium), 19-21 June
07: auto24 Rally Estonia (Estonia), 17-19 July
08: Barum Czech Rally Zlín (Czech Republic), 29-31 August
09: Cyprus Rally (Cyprus), 19-21 September
10: Rallye International du Valais (Switzerland), 23-25 October
11: Giru di Corsica-Tour de Corse (France), 6-8 November*
*Subject to the signing of event promoter agreement