What Paraguay's entry into World Rally Championship means for South America

What Paraguay's entry into World Rally Championship means for South America

Festus Chuma 12:20 - 23.06.2024

Last night, Paraguay was announced as a new host for the 2025 World Rally Championship, marking a historic moment for South America.

Paraguay is gearing up to make automotive history by hosting a round of the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) in 2025.

This landmark event will mark the first time the landlocked nation has been included in the prestigious global racing calendar, positioning it as the 38th country to welcome this high-octane competition.

The announcement, made in the capital city of Asunción by President Santiago Peña, during the Petrobras Rally Transchaco 2024, underscores a significant moment for Paraguay and the sport of rallying in South America.

"Paraguay is big, and the world is in the process of discovering us and hosting world-class events such as the WRC, is yet another way to show the world our greatness," President Peña said.

This new chapter is not just a win for Paraguay but a strategic expansion for the WRC, which has been keen on increasing its footprint in South America.

The inclusion of Paraguay complements the WRC's return to hosting two annual events on the continent, reflecting both the sport's growing popularity and its rich rallying heritage in the region.

The choice of Paraguay as a host is rooted in its strong rallying history, where the sport thrives robustly.

Notable drivers such as Gustavo Saba, Fabrizio Zaldivar, and Diego Dominguez have showcased their talents in WRC rounds, reinforcing the country's capability to compete at international levels.

Moreover, Paraguayan drivers have dominated the last 11 editions of the FIA CODASUR South American Rally Championship.

WRC's decision to expand into Paraguay also aligns with the organization's sustainability goals. Paraguay's commitment to renewable energy—generating 100% of its grid electricity from sustainable resources—mirrors the WRC's initiative of using 100% fossil-free fuel in all its cars.

WRC Senior Event Director Simon Larkin, present during the announcement, praised the nation's long-standing enthusiasm for rallying.

"There is no questioning the nation’s passion for rallying and we cannot wait to transmit this passion, as well as Paraguay’s spectacular scenery, around the world," he said.

FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem also highlighted the broader implications of this move.

"Welcoming Paraguay to the FIA World Rally Championship in 2025 is a fantastic opportunity for the series and all its stakeholders to explore new horizons," he said.

The chosen venue for the rally is the picturesque city of Encarnacion, located on the banks of the Paraná River.

The event is expected to draw substantial crowds, not just from Paraguay, but also from neighboring Argentina and other parts of South America.

The rally will feature stages throughout the Itapúa region, known for its challenging red gravel roads and stunning vistas along the Paraná River.

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