WALES Rally GB has been cancelled due to the uncertainty surrounding travel and mass gatherings because of Covid-19.
The 76th staging of the historic event had been due to run from October 29 to November 1 as the penultimate round on the 2020 World Rally Car schedule and additionally was the concluding rounds of both the FIA Junior World Rally Championship and British Rally Championship.
Wales Rally GB typically attracts numerous top-class entries from around the globe and 100,000 spectators to competitive speed tests set in the spectacular forests of Mid Wales.
“This is not a decision that we have taken lightly but, in close consultation with our chief funding partner the Welsh Government, it is sadly one we are obliged to make in light of the ongoing global coronavirus pandemic,” said David Richards CBE, organiser of Wales Rally GB.
“In recent years, the huge appeal of the latest generation of World Rally Cars plus the presence of local star Elfyn Evans – a winner in 2017 – have drawn record crowds to the wonderful Welsh forests, but this is not the appropriate time for us to be planning for and promoting an event that brings tens of thousands of visitors, many from outside the country, into rural Welsh communities.
“As the governing body of UK motorsport, our overriding responsibility and absolute priority is always the safety of all involved whether they be competitors, officials, spectators or the many thousands of volunteers who share our passion for this sport, and we thank them all for their ongoing support and enthusiasm in these difficult times.
“While significant progress is being made to combat the virus, there remains considerable uncertainty regarding mass gatherings, social distancing and travel restrictions, plus the possibility of a resurgence of viral transmission later in the year.
“We have been closely monitoring the guidance issued by Government and it is becoming increasingly clear that it is impossible to make plans with any certainty for such major events in the autumn. We therefore have to accept, with an incredibly heavy heart, that cancelling this year’s event is the only responsible and prudent option. We will instead start focusing our attentions on creating an even bigger and better world-class showcase for 2021.”
As well as attracting close to 100,000 visitors from all around the world, Wales Rally GB annually generates in excess of £9 million of economic benefit for the region and in recent years has raised more than £250,000 for local charities and good causes – a success story which will now continue in 2021.