With the remainder of the World Rally Championship (WRC) season still in doubt, the next scheduled round due to take place in Jyväskylä, Finland, has now been called off due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the organizers of the competition announced on Wednesday.
Rally Finland was supposed take place on August 6 - August 9, but organizers of the event have decided that even though the world is healing from the effects of COVID-19, it is best to cancel the competition this year.
The organizers listed many ongoing factors that make hosting an event complicated at this moment. Among them was the idea that the rules for hosting large events in Finland during the summer are still unclear and it is not possible to confirm that drivers and teams would be able to enter the country in full capacity.
"Obviosuly the situation is sad for us. But by canceling the competition, we want to express that while we are flexible, health is our priority," promoter of the rally Jani Backman announced in a press release. "We are now focused on 2021, so that we could celebrate the 70th anniversary of the rally in an amazing environment with spectators present."
"We also discussed possibly postponing the event but after careful evaluation, the decision was made that there are too many risks and unknowns for that," clerk of the course Kai Tarkiainen said.
The organizers also announced that they have confirmed with the WRC that Rally Finland will be included in next year's competition.
As of Thursday, June 4, organizers for Rally New Zealand have officialy confirmed that the race scheduled to take place in early September, will also be canceled.
With the borders of New Zealand closed for international visitors for the foreseeable future, the oragnisers had reached their final deadline to make a decision.
"It became clear that with our borders closed to international travel and the logistics required to host thousands of international visitors as part of the World Rally Championship, that the September 2020 date was not practical," said Rally New Zealand CEO Michael Goldstein.
"Over the last 12 months our team have done a huge amount of work to be ready to host a WRC event. We are disappointed to not host the World Rally Championship in 2020 but at the same time the issues around the world put this into context," Goldstein said.
The third round of the world championships, Rally Mexico, was called off early due to the pandemic. The following rallies in Portugal, Kenya, and now Finland, have already been cancelled but rounds in Argentina and Sardinia are currently postponed.
Editor: Kristjan Kallaste