The World Rally Championship has seen its first cancellation because of coronavirus with organisers of Rally Portugal officially calling the 2020 event off.
The event had been set to take place in May before being postponed to October, however the decision has now been taken to cancel it outright due to uncertainties over the coronavirus pandemic and when it will be safe to hold such an event in the country.
“After a joint assessment together with our partners, the various municipalities, national authorities and sponsors, all health and safety conditions needed to run the WRC Vodafone Rally de Portugal in a safe way are not achievable given the unpredictable situation that we live in these days, and also the uncertainty of opening the national borders or airspace,” statement from the Automóvel Club de Portugal said.
“Due to this critical situation, the Automóvel Club de Portugal is forced to cancel the Portuguese round of the 2020 FIA World Rally Championship.
“The Automóvel Club de Portugal deeply regrets this decision. But it is the responsible decision bearing in mind the thousands of supporters, teams, municipalities, sponsors and all the people involved in the event, that was responsible in 2019 for an economic impact in the national economy of more than 142 million Euros.
“ACP has already applied for WRC Rally de Portugal to return to the 2021 FIA World Rally Championship in a May date.”
It’s the second event of the season to face the chop, with Rally Chile being dropped earlier in the year due to political unrest.
Meanwhile Rally Argentina and Rally Italia Sardegna are the only other events which have been postponed so far, though July’s Rally Safari in Kenya looks likely to follow suit.