The final round in the 2019 FIA World Rally Championship (WRC), Rally Australia, has been cancelled due to raging bush fire in New South Wales.
The November 14-17’s WRC Rally Australia has been officially cancelled due to fire in northern New South Wales which is close to the event’s Coffs Harbour base. There was already talks of truncating the schedule, keeping the fire in mind.
But with the conditions only worsening and teams suffering due to pollution from fire, the organisers took the decision on Tuesday to eventually cancel the final WRC weekend and close the 2019 season with one round less.
“Considering the best interests and safety of everyone involved in the rally and of course the wider community, it is not appropriate to conduct the rally,” said Rally Australia event chairman Andrew Papadopoulos, in an announcement.
“Our thoughts are with the NSW community, especially the people who have lost loved ones, livelihoods and homes as a result of the fires in northern NSW, and we thank the rally community for your support and understanding.”
As mentioned before, the organisers had prepared a reduced route of about 90km, which comprised of multiple runs over four stages. It also included the Destination NSW super special stage on Coffs Harbour’s jetty foreshore and the fan-favourite Raleigh track.
In addition to the rally event, the Monday night’s end-of-season WRC Gala Night, which was to take place at the Australian National Maritime Museum in Sydney’s Darling Harbour has also been cancelled.
The 2019 WRC season ends with Toyota’s Ott Tanak with co-driver Martin Jarveoja finishing as the drivers’ champion with 263 points ahead of Hyundai’s Thierry Neuville (227, co-driver Nicolas Gilsoul) and Citroen’s Sebastien Ogier (217, co-driver Julien Ingrassia).
Over in the manufacturers’ side, Hyundai Motorsport took its first teams’ title with 380 points over Toyota, which had 362 in all. Citroen Racing were a distant third with 284 points, as M-Sport Ford were fourth with 218.
Here’s how Ott Tanak clinched the 2019 WRC title