Rallying body backs world event after promoter failure

Rallying body backs world event after promoter failure

LONDON - Reuters
Rallying body backs world event after promoter failure

Ken Block jumps his Monster WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC car on the Sweet Lamb stage during the third day of the Wales Rally. AFP photo

Rallying’s governing body is committed to the long-term future of the world championship after the promoter’s parent company went into administration, the FIA said yesterday.

The world championship is promoted by North One Sport, which is not in administration itself but was acquired by Convers Sports Initiatives this year.

CSI is owned by Russian businessman Vladimir Antonov, who has been arrested and bailed in Britain with Lithuanian business partner Raimondas Baranauskas on suspicion of fraud and large-scale embezzlement.

Antonov was majority stakeholder in collapsed Lithuanian bank Snoras, a former sponsor of the Renault Formula One team, as well as owner of second division English soccer club Portsmouth.

“The FIA is committed to ensuring the long-term commercial future of the Championship and will make every endeavour to provide for its future stability,” the International Automobile Federation said in a statement after discussing the developments at a meeting in New Delhi.

“The FIA is working on an immediate plan to ensure the fundamental sporting and safety elements will be in place for the start of the 2012 season.

“As a consequence, it was also agreed that the registration date for the 2012 FIA World Rally Championship for Manufacturers be put back to 19 December,” it added.