The latest casualty on the WRC calendar was confirmed this week as Wales Rally GB. The anchor event on the WRC calendar was cancelled for much the same reasons as the other events so far, organisers unable to guarantee the health and safety of spectators & series personnel due to the ongoing Covid19 pandemic.
Travel restrictions in place in the UK for the short term mandate a 14 quarantine for those arriving into the UK. With the majority of teams, personnel and a large number of fans coming from overseas, the decision was taken with just over 4 months until Wales Rally GB was due to take place.
Wales Rally GB saw a massive attendance in 2019 with huge queues into stages throughout the duration of the event, the likes of which have not been seen since the 1990’s. The North Wales region meanwhile is fighting a recent increased spate of Covid19 cases in the Conwy & Denbighshire areas, the majority of the North Wales stages taking place in these counties including the popular finale at Llyn Brenig on the Evo Triangle.
With a massively depleted calendar, the FIA are considering picking up some of the ERC (European Rally Championship) rounds to fill in for some of the cancelled WRC rounds.
At this moment in time, Rally Dirtfish in Estonia is being considered, particularly as some of the WRC teams and drivers have committed to competing in the event. Rally Cyprus and Rally Ypres are also under consideration, although Cyprus would clash with Rally Germany.
The ERC rounds being based in mainland Europe would make sense as replacements, particularly as there are fewer travel and other restrictions to holding sporting events. These events could prove troublesome for Ford’s M-Sport squad, who are based in Cumbria in the UK.
The FIA will reconvene on June 19 where it is anticipated a revised calendar will be issued. At this moment in time, Rally Turkey is expected to be the next round of the WRC though there has been no confirmation if the event will go ahead or will be cancelled.