The Finland and New Zealand rounds of the 2020 World Rally Championship have been officially cancelled as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, it has been confirmed.

They become the third and fourth events on the 13-round schedule to be axed because of coronavirus, following on from Portugal and Kenya, while the Chile event was cancelled due to political unrest in the country.

As one of the most iconic events on the calendar, the loss of the Rally Finland – due to take place on 6-9 August - is a particular blow for the series.

“Together with the unknown progress of COVID-19, there are other major uncertainties affecting this decision.

"For example, the lack of information on whether current restrictions imposed by the state on public events will continue after July, and how foreign participants, teams and spectators will be able to safely travel to Finland."

Similarly, the New Zealand round – set for 3-6 September – cannot go ahead due to the restrictions imposed on those entering the country.

"It became clear that with our borders closed to international travel and the logistics required to host thousands of international visitors as part of the World Rally Championship, that the September 2020 date was not practical.

"Over the last 12 months our team have done a huge amount of work to be ready to host a WRC event. We are disappointed to not host the World Rally Championship in 2020 but at the same time the issues around the world put this into context."

Unlike most motorsport series’, the 2020 WRC season has managed to get three of its events underway but the latest cancellations – coupled to postponements for the Argentinian and Sardinian rounds – means the next round of the season is now scheduled for 24-27 September in Turkey.