April’s Chile round of the 2020 World Rally Championship has been cancelled due to political and social unrest in the country.The organisers of the Concepcion-based event met with government officials on Thursday and agreed, in the face of the continued rioting and with a state of emergency still in effect, the 2020 event had to be cancelled.
Sergio Giacaman, mayor of the Biobio region through which the event runs, said: “We consider it prudent to postpone this date – it needs an adequate climate to perform. However, in Biobio we are all ralistas [rally fans] and, of course, we are going to work very hard for the 2021 event.”
The organisers remain optimistic of a return to the calendar in 2021. Rally Chile’s Felipe Horta said: “The decision was to wait a year to take the world championship. We have talked with the FIA and the WRC [Promoter] in Germany, where they have fortunately understood very favorably what is happening and are allowing us to cancel the 2020 date and resume the contract we have established for three years.”
The loss of Chile is a significant blow to the series, which had hoped to run more than 13 rounds for the first time since 2008.
Rally of Spain, dropped from the 2020 calendar against its wishes, is seen as a possible replacement, but it remains to be seen whether the Salou-based event can mobilise the finances and organisation for a mid-April date.
The teams have already pointed out the cost and logistical difficulties in bringing cars and kit back from Mexico to Europe for a possible replacement round before shipping them back out to Argentina a couple of weeks later.