Rally Liepaja competitor tests positive for COVID-19

An ERC3 Junior runner got a positive result on their primary and secondary tests


A European Rally Championship competitor has tested positive for COVID-19 in the lead-up to the second round of the season, Rally Liepaja.

Eurosport Events, the promoter of the ERC, confirmed that a competitor in the two-wheel-drive ERC3 Junior category registered a positive result on both their primary and secondary COVID-19 tests, and that said driver has entered self-quarantine.

“The FIA and Eurosport Events, promoter of the FIA European Rally Championship, confirm that following the latest round of testing conducted in Latvia in advance of the Rally Liepāja, an FIA ERC3 Junior Championship competitor has tested positive for COVID-19,” read a statement from the organizers.

“The FIA and Eurosport Events can confirm that result is positive after the secondary testing procedure as well.

“In accordance with hygiene officer advice, the positive team member has entered self-quarantine and will follow the procedure mandated by the national health authorities.

“With assistance of the local organiser, RA Events, local health authorities and the FIA COVID-19 delegate, a full track and trace initiative has been undertaken.

“It was found out that all contact persons were also tested in advance of the event in Latvia, as mandated by Rally Liepāja COVID-19 protocol.

“The FIA and Eurosport Events can confirm that the results were negative for all of those persons.

“Under guidance of local health authorities, these persons are in self-isolation at the moment, and monitoring their health condition before receiving further instructions.

“The procedures implemented have provided for swift containment of an incident that is unlikely to have a wider impact on this weekend’s event.”

FIA regional rally category manager Jérôme Roussel believes that while the positive test was unfortunate, it showed that the governing body’s guidance for COVID-19 procedures in rallying were working effectively.

“What has happened with the ERC3 driver is showing that what has been put in place is working,” said Roussel.

“All the rules which have been set for the competitors and teams is a result of the good collaboration between the organizers [of the rally], so that’s a good thing.”

Latvian authorities had previously implemented an extensive list of ‘red countries’ which required mandatory 14-day self-isolation on arrival in Latvia, with all countries with a COVID-19 case rate of above 16 per 100,000 population on said list.

That requirement was waived for competitors and supporting staff attending Rally Liepāja, though all members of the paddock arriving from these countries were required to produce a negative test taken within the 72 hours prior to their arrival in Latvia.

Words:Alasdair Lindsay