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This is the single-news section of the news "Offroad & Motorsports". To see all news please use the link under the article or navigate with the left main-navigation.

Por las Pampas: New victim of stricken FIA Cross Country Worldcup.

The "FIA Cross Country Worldcup" is in big trouble - but the reasons are "home-made". The FIA-Worldcup had no serious structure for years - and so it was not interesting for Factory-Teams, global TV- and Media-deals. "It looks like, the FIA was not interested in organising a well-structured Worldcup - but on the other hand they were interested in earning money and over-regulate the Rally-Raid scene" Rally-Raid drivers and Organisers said for years.

Now the stricken "FIA Cross Country Worldcup" has a new victim: The South-American "Por las Pampas/Patagonia-Atacama" Rally. The organiser "All Terrain Organization of Argentina" (OTTA) regrets to inform, that due to financial problems it has requested authorization to the FIA and the FIM in order not to run the competition scheduled for next September.

"Stories are about, that in 2007 some FIA-people provided the OTTA their help to bring factory-teams to Argentina and Chile - but only X-Raid BMW and Mitsubishi were starting with together three cars. On the other hand, the FIA-Status makes the rally more and more expensive and the local competitors donĀ“t want to pay for this anymore - and were missing" assumed a French Journalist. Only 19 teams, including only 5 international starters, participated at the 2007 edition in the most interesting car-category.

After this difficulties the partner of the OTTA decided abruptly and unanimously to break off the relationship with the organization transferring unforeseen debts and compromises. "This unexpected and sudden end didn't leave enough time to work on a new strategy for 2008" a OTTA-spokesman said.

It is with great effort that OTTA has been organizing successfully the Por las Pampas Cross Country Rally for ten consecutive years, introducing the world cross country category in Argentina, and also introducing Argentina to this international sport. Since its first edition in 1998, the event never stopped growing and improving, coming from a short diagram in the Province of Cordoba, to a lineal itinerary joining no less than Patagonia Argentina with the Atacama Desert in Chile.

"Although the damages caused to our organization were big, OTTA remains strong and with big plans for the future. But faithful to our history, we don't want to hold an event below the FIA and FIM standards, that we have been fulfilling in each edition. Therefore, we feel obliged to cancel the next edition of or event, taking 2008 as an year of transition, to be able to come back in 2009.
This year of recess will be good to lay new foundations to find sponsors and venues to run the race" the OTTA press office announced.

Finally, it is worth mentioning that the Automovil Club Argentino, as National Sporting Authority (cars' category), is studying the possibility of holding a short event, during the dates in which Por las Pampas Rally was scheduled, in compliance with the international FIA calendar. This also would be a great opportunity for Dakar-2009 starters, to test under cheaper conditions for the new South-American event.

The discussions of the future of the FIA Worldcup are open again. "Some are saying, the new "Dakar-Series" and the new Dakar in South-America are responsible for the "PLP"-death, but in my opinion this is only a result of the failures in the FIA-Worldcup - and of the rally-organisers, which are cooperating totally with the FIA and which accepted the restricted and expensive rules, year after year" a Italian journalist mentioned.

After the cancelled "Dakar-Rally" in January 2008 the French Dakar-organiser A.S.O. announced plans for a new organised Rally-Raid-Series - as a fierce competition against the old-fashioned FIA. The idea of the A.S.O. was not new, but the Dakar-cancellation made them to start the new series one year earlier.

The new "Dakar-Series" has a main reason: To built a new series, which is interesting for factory teams, semis and privateers and also the international media. "We all want and need a well organised series, but nothing happened for years" the head of X-Raid Sven Quandt said in January. "In my opinion only the A.S.O. is able to guarantee for this".

Now the French A.S.O. takes the lead with the new "Dakar Series" - and with a astucius mind they placed the start on the same date as the FIA-series start. Not even the fairest method, but the best method to wake-up the old-fashioned FIA-officials and included "friends" like the permanent-partner NPO. "This is the bill for many mistakes in the Worldcup" the head of a big Hungarian team smiled after the A.S.O. descision. Hungary tried for years, to be a part of the "FIA Baja Worldcup" - with no result, although the Baja is one of the best in Europe.

But now it looks like, the new "War" of the A.S.O. against the FIA has also first positive results for the international Rally-Raid scene. "As a first result of the new A.S.O.-Series we can see a new structure in the "FIA Baja Cup". For years new and well organized Rallies had no chance - only if they had a Lobby inside the FIA.

But in this year we can see a great new Baja-Cup with new rallies in Saudi Arabia and Hungary, and additionally great Bajas in Italy, Spain, Portugal and for the second time the UK-Baja. Next year we hopefully will also have Russia" one member of a Nissan-Team remarked during the FIA-Baja-Candidate "Northern-Forest" in St. Petersburg. "For sure, the decisions in the Baja-Cup were made in the last months of 2007, but trust me, the FIA heard about the A.S.O.-plans - and they knew what would happen, if the A.S.O. will made their plans for real."

2008/03/11 | 20:18 CET | Editor: MR/HS/OTTA

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