Wales Rally GB is the latest round to be struck off from the 2020 FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) calendar as only handful remain which too are in danger.
While IndyCar and NASCAR has returned, with F1 along with its feeder championships getting back on track, WRC is seeing a cancellations spree owing to the COVID-19 pandemic. Wales Rally GB is the latest to be struck off from the calendar.
It joins Chile, Portugal, Kenya, Finland and New Zealand, which has already been cancelled for the 2020 WRC season, while Italy and Argentina has been put on postponed list for now. Wales Rally GB was scheduled to happen on October 29 – November 1.
Even though UK is scheduled to host the F1 grand prix at Silverstone along with F2, F3 and Porsche Supercup races, the travel restrictions and unknown factors has forced the organisers to cancel WRC, which will happen much later.
“This is not a decision that we have taken lightly but, in close consultation with our chief funding partner the Welsh Government, it is sadly one we are obliged to make in light of the ongoing global coronavirus pandemic,” stated David Richards CBE.
“In recent years, the huge appeal of the latest generation of World Rally Cars plus the presence of local star Elfyn Evans – a winner in 2017 – have drawn record crowds to the wonderful Welsh forests, but this is not the appropriate time for us to be planning for and promoting an event that brings tens of thousands of visitors, many from outside the country, into rural Welsh communities.
“As the governing body of UK motorsport, our overriding responsibility and absolute priority is always the safety of all involved whether they be competitors, officials, spectators or the many thousands of volunteers who share our passion for this sport, and we thank them all for their ongoing support and enthusiasm in these difficult times.
“While significant progress is being made to combat the virus, there remains considerable uncertainty regarding mass gatherings, social distancing and travel restrictions, plus the possibility of a resurgence of viral transmission later in the year.
“We have been closely monitoring the guidance issued by Government and it is becoming increasingly clear that it is impossible to make plans with any certainty for such major events – like WRC and BRC – in the autumn.
“We therefore have to accept, with an incredibly heavy heart, that cancelling this year’s event is the only responsible and prudent option. We will instead start focusing our attentions on creating an even bigger and better world-class showcase for 2021.”
As things stands, Rally Turkey (September 24-27) is the latest WRC round scheduled to happen followed by Rally Germany (October 15-18) and eventually Rally Japan (November 19-22). Wales Rally GB was to happen in between Germany and Japan.
Here’s information on WRC cancelling Rally New Zealand