Rally México to finish early

Event will conclude at end of Saturday to allow teams to get home amid coronavirus crisis

Evans Toyota Mexico WRC

Rally México will be brought to an early end at the conclusion of Saturday’s stages, DirtFish has learned.

The decision to truncate round three of the 2020 World Rally Championship will be officially announced after 3pm México time on Saturday.

The full Saturday afternoon loop of three full-length stages, two runs of the autodromo superspecial and the asphalt Rock & Rally León stage will run with a podium ceremony at the end and Sunday’s loop abandoned.

Running the full Saturday itinerary means 78% of the scheduled rally distance will be completed, which means full points can be awarded.

Rally organizers have faced pressure over the decision to persist with the event amid the coronavirus crisis as other sporting events around the world were cancelled or postponed.

The Mexican authorities had insisted that with few cases of coronavirus in the country and the WRC competitors already there, there was no reason to call the rally off.

But ultimately the decision to end early has been prompted by the growing number of countries around the world introducing lockdown measures and travel restrictions.

A paddock source said: “The logistics were becoming complicated to get team members back to Europe. The virus is uppermost in everyone’s minds but so is getting people home.”

The final piece in the jigsaw for the rally to be brought to an early finish was to get approval from local government, which DirtFish understands has been achieved in the last hour.

The decision has the unanimous approval of the WRC teams, and was formally communicated at 3.17pm México time.

Words:David Evans

Photography:André Lavadinho