World rally-raid calendar shuffled again

Planned fourth round of the World Rally Raid Championship pushed back to autumn amid fire concerns

Nasser Al-Attiyah

The Andalucía Rally, which was scheduled to hold the fourth round of this year’s World Rally Raid Championship, has been postponed until the autumn following a heat wave and drought in the Spanish region.

It becomes the second event in a row this season to have its date altered, following the cancellation of Rally Kazakhstan in March in the wake of the ongoing war in Ukraine.

A statement from the event’s organizers, the Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO) said that the extreme weather in the area presented a substantial risk of fires.

“Scheduled from June 7 to 12, the third edition of the Andalucía Rally, which is also the third round of the FIA-FIM World Rally-Raid Championship (W2RC), has been postponed due to the heat wave and drought that has hit Andalusia this past month,” the statement read. “These extreme weather conditions have considerably increased the risk of fires in the region, leading the local authorities to raise the level of fire alert to its maximum.

Mattias Ekström

“To preserve this already fragile ecosystem and despite the full support of the local authorities, all the parties involved have decided that continuing with the rally is not possible at this time.

“This case of force majeure has obliged A.S.O., the FIA, the FIM and the organiser to postpone the Andalucía Rally until the autumn, to a date still under consideration, but on the initially planned route.”

Wildfires are not uncommon in the south of Spain, where dry land and high temperatures prove a catalyst for forest fires. Over 2000 people were forced to flee their homes near the resort town of Estepona in the Andalucía region last September.

Cristina Gutierrez

The city of Seville, where the rally headquarters were due to be, will reach temperatures of up to 98 degrees next week.

A new date for the rally will be communicated in due course by the ASO, with the next planned round of the W2RC due to take place in Morocco in October.

Nine-time World Rally Champion Sébastien Loeb currently leads the overall standings by one point from four-time Dakar Rally winner Nasser Al-Attiyah.