Wales Rally GB cancelled amid COVID-19 pandemic
The staging of the 2020 Wales Rally GB has been cancelled, following the COVID-19 pandemic happening worldwide.
Scheduled to run from October 29 to November 1, this would have been the 76th year that UK's biggest high-profile motor rally will excite racing aficionados.
Wales Rally GB takes spectators to competitive speed tests set in the spectacular forests of mid and north Wales. It has been a permanent fixture in the annual FIA World Rally Championship since the series’ inauguration back in 1973.
“This is not a decision that we have taken lightly 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,” explained David Richards CBE, the Welsh-born Chairman of Motorsport UK, governing body of UK motorsport and organiser of Wales Rally GB.
“In recent years, the huge appeal of the latest generation of World Rally Cars plus the presence of local star Elfyn Evans—a winner in 2017—have drawn record crowds to the wonderful Welsh forests, but this is not the appropriate time for us to be planning for and promoting an event that brings tens of thousands of visitors, many from outside the country, into rural Welsh communities."
Despite its worldwide appeal, Richards was quick to add that their main priority in the light of the growing COVID-19 pandemic is the safety of everyone directly or indirectly involved with Wales Rally GB.
“As the governing body of UK motorsport, our overriding responsibility and absolute priority is always the safety of all involved whether they be competitors, officials, spectators or the many thousands of volunteers who share our passion for this sport, and we thank them all for their ongoing support and enthusiasm in these difficult times.
"While significant progress is being made to combat the virus, there remains considerable uncertainty regarding mass gatherings, social distancing and travel restrictions, plus the possibility of a resurgence of viral transmission later in the year."
Richards also ended his statement on an optimistic note, focusing on a better show next year.
“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. We will instead start focusing our attentions on creating an even bigger and better world-class showcase for 2021.”
Photos from Wales Rally GB
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