WRC loses Nokia's backing

Autosport

The World Rally Championship has lost its multi-million pound Nokia deal, it was confirmed on Wednesday.

WRC Commission president Jarmo Mahonen admitted last week's Acropolis Rally would be the final event in the association between the WRC and Nokia - a move confirmed today when the 'Powered by Nokia' branding was removed from the series' official website.

Mahonen admitted the loss of the deal, reckoned to have been a long-term commitment worth around £2.5m per season, was a significant blow to the series.

"This is quite a big loss to the championship," he said.

Nokia's involvement in the series was at the centre of the long-term plans for developing the new media coverage of the series.

Mahonen continued: "We didn't see it as just money coming in, Nokia was going to be a partner. It was a very good platform."

Mahonen admitted the loss of the WRC promoter at the start of the year was a contributing factor in the demise of the partnership.

The Finn confirmed the identity of the new promoter would be revealed at the June 15 World Motor Sport Council meeting. Mahonen refused to rule out the possibility that the job would be taken in-house at the FIA.

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