Portuguese, Italian WRC rounds postponed due to coronavirus

25 March 2020 - 07:13 By Reuters
Ott Tanak and Martin Jarveoja of Estonia celebrate their victory on day three of the WRC Vodafone de Portugal on June 2 2019.
Ott Tanak and Martin Jarveoja of Estonia celebrate their victory on day three of the WRC Vodafone de Portugal on June 2 2019.
Image: Massimo Bettiol/Getty Images

The fifth and sixth rounds of the World Rally Championship in Portugal and Italy have been postponed due to the coronavirus, organisers said on Tuesday.

Portugal would have taken place from May 21 to 24, while the Italian round in Sardinia was scheduled for June 4 to 7.

Three rounds of the championship have taken place so far, with Argentina postponed.

Portugal last week declared a state of emergency to stem the spread of the virus, while Italy, which has seen more fatalities than any other country, is in lockdown.

The next race on the calendar after Italy is Kenya's Safari Rally from July 16 to 19, but the East African country has cancelled flights and barred entry to people from countries affected by the outbreak.

“All parties will work to identify potential alternative dates for the postponed rallies later in the season should the Covid-19 situation improve,” said WRC Promoter MD Oliver Ciesla in a statement.

He said this would also depend on championship logistics, the ability of competitors to travel and the country's ability to host the event.

Six-times world champion Frenchman Sebastien Ogier leads Toyota teammate Elfyn Evans of Wales by eight points in the championship.


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