WRC to announce new 2021 season finale

Sebastien Loeb at WRC Rally Japan in 2010. Picture: McKlein Photography

The FIA World Rally Championship will announce a new season finale after the COVID-19 pandemic forced the cancellation of Rally Japan.

Eight rounds have been completed thus far in the 2021 championship, with another four remaining.

Acropolis Rally Greece takes place this weekend, followed by Rally Finland and Rally Catalunya next month.

Japan was due to then round out the season across November 11-14, the nation’s first WRC event since 2010.

However, that will no longer be the case, with a replacement event expected to be confirmed in the coming weeks.

“Considering the characteristics of the WRC competition, which is held on public roads with the imperative co-operation of all in the local community, and the fact that in Japan the COVID-19 emergency cases continue to increase daily and alleviation of the situation remains unpredictable, together we were left with only one choice which was to, unfortunately, call off the 2021 WRC Rally Japan,” read a statement.

“We take this opportunity to express our deepest appreciation for the indispensable support and understanding of all, and would like to direct our sincere gratitude to all the fans and stakeholders who have been looking forward to this first WRC Rally Japan, after 11 years.

“We sincerely apologise for all the inconveniences this resolution may have caused, and are deeply grateful for your understanding.”

Rally Japan 2021 executive committee chairman Satoshi Suzuki added: “I take this opportunity to also express my heartfelt gratitude to all who worked so tirelessly in order to make this event possible.

“We are determined to do our best in order to overcome this COVID-19 pandemic and successfully be able to hold the WRC in Japan in 2022. I pray for the safety of all.”

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