Belgium’s maiden round of the FIA World Rally Championship has been cancelled because of rising COVID-19 cases in the country.
The rally, which was scheduled for next month as the penultimate round of the 2020 season, will now not go ahead following discussions with the local regional government.
The country is bringing in stricter measures to combat rising Coronavirus cases as Europe battles with a second wave of the virus.
“We have always fully supported Renties Ypres Rally Belgium, but this time we can’t let the rally go on,” said Emmily Talpe, Mayor of the City of Ypres.
“We took this decision in close consultation with Governor of West Flanders, Carl Decaluwé, and the mayors of the other municipalities.”
Jan Huyghe from Club Superstage said organisers fully understood the decision: “At the moment, the health of the population, of the staff in the care sector, of our employees and volunteers, of the participants and of all rally fans comes first.
“We have followed up the health crisis in close consultation with the local authorities. Unfortunately, the figures continued to rise dramatically. The Ypres Rally has been at the forefront of safety in Europe for years. This time, health is also on the rise.”
Rally Monza, a late addition to the calendar, will now host the season finale on December 4-6, with championship leader Elfyn Evans requiring just 13 points to clinch the title from a chasing Sebastien Ogier.