Rally New Zealand’s plan to return to the World Rally Championship next year is fading, according to reports.
British publication Autosport is reporting that events in Turkey and Croatia are now poised to join the 2018 schedule at the expense of New Zealand.
New Zealand has been pushing to return to the calendar in a move backed by Hyundai WRC star and Kiwi Hayden Paddon.
The event last featured on the WRC calendar in 2012.
Sources within WRC Promoter and the FIA have confirmed to Autosport that Turkey is ready with a new gravel rally, most likely for a September date next season.
The country last featured on a WRC calendar in 2010.
WRC Promoter will present its 2018 calendar to the WRC Commission meeting in Germany later this month.
Rally NZ organisers are however eyeing a candidate rally event a week after this year’s Rally Australia WRC finale from November 17-19.
Meanwhile, Rally Australia’s future on the calendar is yet to be secured with the round in its final year of its current contract.
Speedcafe.com understands Rally Australia has been included on the draft calendar.
Reacting to the news, Paddon has called for action via a post on his Facebook page in a last ditch attempt to persuade WRC organisers.
“Amid the latest rumours, we need one final push before next week’s WRC meeting about what we all want, Rally New Zealand,” read the post.
“Please share this as much as possible so we can create a powerful last ditch effort that they can not ignore. I hate to say it – but it’s now or never.”