Rally New Zealand has been officially cancelled as its return to FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) calendar has been deferred to 2021.

A day after Rally Finland was confirmed to be canceled for 2020, WRC noted the cancellation of Rally New Zealand as well, which joins the likes of Chile, Portugal and Kenya. The round was slated for September 3-6, exactly three months from now.

Even though the COVID-19 cases in New Zealand is going down but the country is not certain as to when it can allow international tourists to fly in. The last WRC round held in the country was in 2012, with local events taking place in between.

“It became clear that with our borders closed to international travel and the logistics required to host thousands of international visitors as part of the World Rally Championship, that the September 2020 date was not practical,” said Rally New Zealand CEO Michael Goldstein.

“Over the last 12 months our team have done a huge amount of work to be ready to host a WRC event. We are disappointed to not host the World Rally Championship in 2020 but at the same time the issues around the world put this into context.”

FIA rally director Yves Matton added: “We were all excited to see New Zealand reclaim its place in the FIA World Rally Championship in 2020 after a seven-year absence and we are naturally sad that we will not be able to go there this year.”

And finally, WRC promoter Oliver Ciesla stated: “The return of Rally New Zealand would have been one of the season’s highlights and we hope the opportunity to return to Auckland will come back. My thanks go to both the event organisers and Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED) for their hard work and enthusiasm in bringing New Zealand back to the WRC calendar.

“The FIA, WRC Promoter and individual event organisers continue to work closely together regarding the 2020 calendar going forward. Once all options have been identified and studied, we will confirm the shape of the calendar for the rest of the season.”

Next event is Rally Turkey (September 24-27), followed by Rally Germany (October 15-18), Rally Wales GB (October 29 – November 1) and Rally Japan (November 19-22). The decision on the above WRC rounds is yet to be made along with Italy and Argentina.

Here’s decision to cancel Rally Finland