FIA World Rally Championship

COVID-19 May Force Rally Sweden Cancellation, Finland Looking at Possible Winter Event

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Credit: Toyota Gazoo Racing

The Swedish round of the 2021 FIA World Rally Championship may not go ahead due to the increase in COVID-19 cases in the country.

Further discussions on the future of the event next February are set to take place later this week, but one of the stumbling block may be the fact that the organisers may simply not have enough time to plan for the event.

The rally was scheduled to run in the Värmland region of the country before stages in the Dalarna region were added in the hope of increasing the amount of snow on the winter event compared to the 2020 running, with next year’s event currently set to run between 11-14 February.

The original deadline for the Swedish rally to secure the event was November 30, but additional time was granted due to the ongoing pandemic. The rally organiser is now waiting for a decision to be made by the local authorities regarding public events which are set to come into force in time for the 2021 season.

Riku Tahko at Arctic Lapland Rally 2020 – Credit: Taneli Niinimäki / Arctic Lapland Rally

Earlier this season, the WRC rounds held in Sardinia and Monza were run without spectators. In the case of Rally Sweden, hosting an event without any spectators will be very difficult. The Swedish TV broadcaster SVT argues in an article that it is most likely that the rally will not be able to be run if it was forced to take place behind closed doors, as ticket revenue is the most important source of income for the event.

If the event can’t go ahead, Finnish motorsport news publication site UrheiluUutiset claim that the Finnish national motorsport federation AKK is investigating whether a winter rally in Finland could be held in the last weekend of February instead.

Currently Finland already hosts its own event as part of the WRC, which in 2021 is set to take place between 29 July – 1 August.

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