The final round of the World Rally Championship (WRC) that was planned to be held in Australia this weekend, have gone up in flames (literally) as “catastrophic” bush fires engulf New South Wales (NSW). Rally Australia organizers decided to call off the final championship round, considering it to be in “the best interests and safety of everyone involved”.
WRC stakeholders have praised this decision as Australian authorities declared a seven day state of emergency as a result of the wild fires which have so far claimed the lives of 3 people, as well as destroying over 150 properties since last week Friday.
“Our thoughts are with the NSW community, especially the people who have lost loved ones, livelihoods and homes as a result of the fires in northern NSW, and we thank the rally community for your support and understanding.” -Andrew Papadopoulos (Rally Australia event chairman)
Its not all bad news for the WRC community as the Drivers Championship had already been decided in Spain during the previous round where Estonia’s Ott Tanak picked up his maiden title. The cancellation also means that Hyundai also takes the Manufacturers’ Championship for their first time with an 18 point lead on Toyota after the last WRC round which was held in Spain.
Our hearts and prayers go out to the New South Wales community in Australia as they persevere through these troubling times and especially to those that have already lost loved ones and property in the on-going blaze. Stay strong and stay safe.