The 2020 Wales Rally GB has become the latest World Rally Championship round to be cancelled as a result of the ongoing global coronavirus pandemic.

Following on from Finland and New Zealand’s axe last week, Wales Rally GB becomes the sixth event of the 13-round calendar to be cancelled for 2020 (five due to COVID-19, one in Chile due to political unrest).

This year’s 76th staging of the event was set to be held on 29 October – 1 November, but continuing concerns over the restrictions on international travel and large-scale gatherings for an event that regularly attracts more than 100,000 people have forced it to be cancelled.

“This is not a decision that we have taken lightly but, in close consultation with our chief funding partner the Welsh Government, it is sadly one we are obliged to make in light of the ongoing global coronavirus pandemic,” explained David Richards CBE, the Welsh-born Chairman of Motorsport UK, governing body of UK motorsport and organiser of Wales Rally GB.

“In recent years, the huge appeal of the latest generation of World Rally Cars plus the presence of local star Elfyn Evans – a winner in 2017 – have drawn record crowds to the wonderful Welsh forests, but this is not the appropriate time for us to be planning for and promoting an event that brings tens of thousands of visitors, many from outside the country, into rural Welsh communities.

“As the governing body of UK motorsport, our overriding responsibility and absolute priority is always the safety of all involved whether they be competitors, officials, spectators or the many thousands of volunteers who share our passion for this sport, and we thank them all for their ongoing support and enthusiasm in these difficult times. While significant progress is being made to combat the virus, there remains considerable uncertainty regarding mass gatherings, social distancing and travel restrictions, plus the possibility of a resurgence of viral transmission later in the year.

“We have been closely monitoring the guidance issued by Government and it is becoming increasingly clear that it is impossible to make plans with any certainty for such major events in the autumn. We therefore have to accept, with an incredibly heavy heart, that cancelling this year’s event is the only responsible and prudent option. We will instead start focusing our attentions on creating an even bigger and better world-class showcase for 2021.”

The cancellation of the Wales Rally GB is the latest blow to the WRC schedule, which now only has three confirmed events remaining on this year’s schedule, though two more – Argentina and Sardinia - remain postponed without a confirmed rescheduled date

The series had managed to complete three events in Monte Carlo, Sweden and Mexico before the global lockdown was initiated, with Sebastien Ogier currently leading the standings from Toyota team-mate Elfyn Evans and Hyundai’s Thierry Neuville.