Italy moves to avoid F1, as Germany officially canceled

WRC calendar changes go ahead, with Germany off and Italy moving

Andreas Mikkelsen Hyundai WRC Rally Italy 2019

Rally Italy has changed dates in the latest adjustment to the 2020 World Rally Championship calendar, with the Sardinia-based event moving forward three weeks as predicted by DirtFish on Tuesday.

This latest WRC calendar change, which is made possible by the final decision to abandon Rally Germany for 2020, is not directly related to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, but rather a request from rally organizer Automobile Club d’Italia (ACI Sport) for its event to be moved to avoid a clash with Formula 1’s visit to the Imola circuit in the Emilia-Romagna region in the country’s mainland.

That F1 race is an additional event slotted in as that championship reorganized its calendar amid 2020’s challenges.

The October 31 – November 1 weekend that Rally Italy was scheduled to run on has now been swapped out for October 8-11, having already been delayed from an early June date due to COVID-19.

ACI Sport president Angelo Sticchi Damiani said: “In ACI we have worked hard to redefine the new dates for the 2020 Rally Italia Sardegna.

“It has not been easy to find the right days which could put together the needs of all stakeholders and could work well for the region of Sardinia.

“In this very difficult year ACI has wanted, as already shown with the F1 GPs in Monza, Mugello and Imola, to protect national and international motorsport by confirming also our competition.

Ott Tanak

Photo: Jaanus Ree / Red Bull Content Pool

“I personally thank the region of Sardinia for their absolute support to make all this happen.”

The move has only been made possible due to Wednesday’s announcement that Rally Germany, which was scheduled for October 15-18 on a reduced route, has been canceled.

A new superspecial in Olbia’s city centre, which has previously served as the host city for Rally Italy’s service park, was set to be the first stage on the Thursday evening of the rally. But that spectator-focused stage has now been canceled, in part due to the number of daylight hours in October being less than June, with the rally starting on Friday morning instead.

Italy has already hosted international rallying since the pandemic, with European Rally Championship season opener Rally di Roma and the regional Rally di Alba event occurring during summer.

2020 WRC calendar

Rally Estonia September 4-6
Rally of Turkey September 18-20
Rally Italy October 8-11
Rally Ypres Belgium November 19-22