FIA sanctioning boost for China Rally
The 555 China Rally '97 has received official recognition from the world governing body.
The rally, which this year replaces the Hong Kong to Beijing rally, has been given a major boost after receiving official sanctioning from the Federation Internationale Automotive (FIA) as well as the Federation of Automobile Sports of the People's Republic of China.
The June 20-23 rally is part of this year's Asia-Pacific Championships and organisers are hoping that it will become part of the 1998 World Rally Championship circuit.
The 1,440-kilometre, 21-stage rally takes place across Huairou Province and the mountainous area in the northern part of Hebei Province.
Meanwhile, Guo Renzhi and Yong Zhou have been selected to represent 555 Team China at the rally.
The pair, who have undergone formal training at car racing school, were chosen after a lengthy selection process. Yong was involved in last year's Hong Kong-Beijing rally.
The Chinese team will start their preparations with Prodrive, the manufacturers of the Subaru World Rally Team, in England in April.
They will undergo one week of training in England which will bring them up to speed with various international rallying techniques.
There is a possibility that Scotland's world champion Colin McRae will be on hand to assist the Chinese.
After the China rally, the Chinese team will travel Down Under to compete in the rally of New Zealand and the RAC rally.