WRC calendar update includes Finland postponement option

Rally Finland faces potential move to a September or October date

Gus Greensmith

The FIA and WRC Promoter has laid out the short-term future of the World Rally Championship in a joint document issued to the media on Wednesday.

Among the headlines is the news that Rally Finland (August 6-9) could be postponed until September or October.

News of the next scheduled round of the series, Safari Rally Kenya (July 16-19), is expected following a government update in Nairobi next week. Kenya’s borders are currently closed to foreigners, though organisers are continuing their planning efforts.

There will be a re-evaluation of Rally New Zealand (September 3-6) at the end of this month.

Kiwi Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said yesterday that her country “will not have open borders with the rest of the world for a long time to come,” throwing the event’s return to the WRC calendar this year into further doubt.

A limited lockdown continues to be in effect in Turkey but the Marmaris-based event is still working towards its original September 24-27 date.

Rally Italy, which was postponed from its original June date and is still awaiting a new calendar slot, also continues to face difficulties as movement to, from and within Sardinia remains restricted.

WRC rounds in Germany (October 15-18), GB (October 29-November 1) and Japan (November 19-22) continue to retain their original dates with no further updates.

The joint statement said: “Our goal is to now continue to monitor as best as we can with the evolving situation around the pandemic and the Government restrictions.

“No decisions on event dates will be made before updates on the respective emergency status are available. There is a duty of care to all stakeholders including fans, drivers, teams, media, suppliers and others to protect not only ourselves but also the wider community, and this remains our key focus.

“We remain committed to continuing with as many rallies as we can either on their current date, or where possible, a rescheduled date.

“There remains constant dialogue amongst FIA, WRC Promoter, teams and event organisers to evaluate all options for running events, including but not limited to: event format (competition days, event overlay, competitive distance); championship requirements (counting rounds and points); logistics (facilities, locations, transport); any required social distancing, health, safety and medical requirements for competitors, teams, media and spectators.

“FIA and WRC Promoter remain focused on the need to keep professional and private/customer teams, drivers and sponsors engaged and viable ongoing concerns for when the season can resume.”