UK Rallying’s return faces further delay

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The Wales Rally GB, the British round of the World Rally Championship, has been cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic, causing a knock-on effect on the British national championship.

The WRC event was due to run on October 29-November 1, seemingly well clear of the various restrictions put in place by the UK government. However, with authorities providing no clear guidance on when mass events can resume, organizers announced on June 9 their decision to cancel.

“This is not a decision that we have taken lightly,” said David Richards, head of Motorsport UK. “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… While significant progress is being made to combat the virus, there remains considerable uncertainty regarding mass gatherings, social distancing and travel restrictions.

“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 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.”

With the Wales Rally GB accounting for two rounds of the British Rally Championship, and no events currently being held, cancellation has led to the 2020 season being called off. BRC championship manager Iain Campbell explained, “The team behind the British Rally Championship have worked tirelessly with the organizers of the Renties Ypres Rally, Armstrong Galloway Hills Rally and Wales Rally GB to conclude the 2020 BRC season. Unfortunately, now Wales Rally GB is not going ahead, it is not possible to continue with sufficient events to have a full and meaningful championship. It was hoped that restrictions could be lifted in the coming months to give us confidence and to have sufficient rounds to have a proper competition. With the loss of our reserve event – which accounts for two rounds, we have taken the decision to not continue the championship.”

However, in Europe, top level rally action will return in the summer, thanks to the Rally DirtFish, which will be held in Otepää, Estonia, on August 7-8. Hyundai has confirmed it will enter two I20 WRCs in the event, with drivers Ott Tänak and Thierry Neuville. Currently, the WRC is set to resume with Rally Turkey in September.

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