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Portugal rally officially cancelled because of coronavirus

Image:-Rally portugal

Rally Portugal became the first event on the World Rally Championship schedule this year to be canceled outright due to the global coronavirus pandemic.

Originally scheduled as the sixth round of the 2020 campaign, the Port event was scheduled to take place on May 21-24 before being indefinitely postponed by the end of March along with Rally Italy in the midst of the deteriorating COVID-19 crisis.

Efforts were underway to move Rally Portugal to the end of October, potentially slotting in between Rally Germany and Rally GB, but a statement issued on Thursday by the Automovel Club de Portugal revealed that these plans have now been abandoned.

It becomes the second round after Rally Chile, which was scratched off the calendar late last year due to social unrest in the country, to be canceled outright.

The ACP statement read: "After a joint assessment with our partners, the various municipalities, national authorities and sponsors, all the health and safety conditions necessary for the safe running of the WRC Vodafone Rally of Portugal are not achievable given the unpredictable situation we are living in these days and also the uncertainty of opening national borders or airspace."

"The Automovel Club de Portugal deeply regrets this decision, but it is the responsible decision, taking into account the thousands of supporters, teams, municipalities, sponsors and all those involved in the event, that was responsible for an economic impact of more than €142million in the national economy in 2019."

It added that the ACP has already requested that Rally Portugal be given its usual May date on WRC calendar next year.

The opening three rounds of this year's schedule have been completed, though last month's Rally Mexico has been cut short by one day to allow teams to return safely to Europe at a time of growing uncertainty surrounding international travel.

The Safari Rally in Kenya is due to be the next round of the 2020 WRC season from July 16-19, as things stand.