WRC cancels this weekend's Rally Australia due to bushfires

The final round of the World Rally Championship, Rally Australia, has been cancelled due to bushfires, which are engulfing the New South Wales area.

The region is experiencing its worst bushfires, resulting in a state of emergency, a total fire ban, with conditions in some areas classified as ‘catastrophic’.

On Monday morning organisers of the event issued a revised programme, which cut the length of the rally down to just 90km – or less than a third of the original length.

It was hoped the event could still go ahead on the shorter route which was away from the bushfires, however they are continuing to spread and with locals being evacuated, organisers, WRC and the FIA believe it is only right to cancel the rally altogether.

The organisers confirmed the news on social media: "Kennards Hire Rally Australia will not go ahead this week as a result of serious bushfires that continue to affect much of northern NSW.

"The cancellation today comes after extensive consultation with the NSW Government, the FIA, emergency services and the local community. Thank you for your support and understanding."

Event chairman Andrew Papadopoulos issued the following: "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.

"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."

The decision brings the season to an early close and confirms Hyundai Motorsports as the Manufacturers' Champions for the 2019 season.