Round three of the 2014 FIA European Rally Championship, the Sibiu Rally Romania, has been postponed amid safety concerns
The event was planned as a winter event, but has been cancelled in its original date due to exceptional heavy snowfall and forecasts of more severe weather around the competitive route that led to fears that safety would be compromised.
Despite the rally not being due to take place for another month – having been slated between 27 February-1 March - an extensive safety and risk analysis report prepared by the event promoter and endorsed by Romania's ASN and ERC promoter Eurosport Events led to the agreement that it be canned as a winter event.
With 75 per cent of the special stages in the South Carpathian mountains taking place at an altitude of 1600 metres, and the proposed Transfăgărășan stage peaking at 2400 metres, Romanian Institute of Meteorology forecasts of extremely heavy snowfall in February convinced organisers that the safety of competitors, spectators and the general public would be compromised if the rally went ahead as planned. There was particular concern that access roads would no longer being passable and the resources of emergency and rescue services overstretched.
Every effort is now being made to maintain Romania's presence in the ERC, albeit at a later date and in a different format, but still using the famous Transfăgărășan highway. The local promoter has proposed an alternative format and date to Eurosport Events, with an all-asphalt route of 220 kilometres – including a stage on part of the Transfăgărășan highway – between 9-11 October.
Providing this proposal meets Eurosport Events' criteria to ensure a successful round of the ERC, the promoter will consider submitting the new format and date to the FIA Rally Commission for its approval when it meets on 12 March.