24 May 2020

Rally New Zealand to be cancelled

12:48 pm on 24 May 2020

Rally New Zealand's return to the international calendar may have to wait because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Sebastian Loeb on his way to winning Rally New Zealand in 2012

Sebastian Loeb on his way to winning Rally New Zealand in 2012 Photo: PHOTOSPORT

New Zealand was due to host its first World Rally Championship event since 2012 this September, but local organisers are now expecting it to be cancelled by the WRC promoter.

It comes amid reports manufacturers were baulking at the costs of flying to the southern hemisphere while they were reeling from the economic effects of Covid-19.

The 2020 season had een on hold since March, with only three of the original 13 rounds so far completed.

The WRC was planning to resume in the coming months, but several events were expected to be struck from the schedule to create a largely Europe-based championship.

Rally Portugal had already been cancelled, while the Safari Rally in Kenya had been postponed until 2021.

Rally New Zealand organisers were hopeful their event could also be moved to next year and would have further discussions with the WRC promoter next week.

While the rally in entirety wouldn't go ahead in 2020, it was understood domestic events might be staged later in the year to test the proposed Rally New Zealand stages in and around Auckland.

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