CHINA has been forced to call off its return to the FIA World Rally Championship next month because of severe flooding of the special stage roads near Beijing.
The event on 8-11 September in the Huairou region, about 60 kms from Beijing, was to have been Round 10 of the 2016 series, which now will revert to a 13-round calendar finishing with Kennards Hire Rally Australia on the NSW Coffs Coast on 17-20 November.
A statement issued overnight from the Munich headquarters of series organiser WRC Promoter GmbH said it and the FIA had received a formal request to cancel the rally from the Chinese motorsport federation CAMF and promoter Le Sport.
“Despite a last-minute visit to China last week by representatives from the FIA and WRC Promoter and the best efforts by all concerned, it was said to be impossible to affect the necessary repairs for the event to run safely,” the statement said.
“According to CAMF and Le Sports, the adverse weather left sections of the route to be used as special stages requiring major repair work, which the region’s Road Administration Authority confirmed could not be completed before reconnaissance for the rally was due to start.”
Some of the worst floods in China for many years forced tens of thousands of people to evacuate their homes in the north of the country, prompting authorities to introduce emergency measures in the region, which continue.
The country staged its only WRC event in 1999, when it was won by Didier Auriol in a Toyota.
The WRC continues with Round 9 at ADAC Rally Germany this weekend. Keep up to date on our website.