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Hopes of the Australian Rally Championship being held in 2020 look to be hanging on by a thread, with the Victorian/NSW border unlikely to open until December. Speaking in Albury on Thursday, NSW Deputy Premier, John Barilaro, said that he was pushing to lift the restrictions before Christmas. "If Victoria's numbers continue to decline and we can get them under 100 in the next few weeks, I would argue that the border should be lifted and you could almost lift the restrictions this side of Christmas," Mr Barilaro said.
"I don't believe we should be having the border closed anywhere beyond this side of Christmas."
With Australian Rally Championship (ARC) rounds scheduled for South Australia in October, and the ACT in November, it seems the likelihood of the series getting underway is slim. Motorsport Australia's media manager, Paul Riordan, said earlier this week that things were still on track. "There’s not much to update at the moment. South Australia is planned for mid-October and as it stands, we are keeping a close eye on developments around the country," Riordan told RallySport Magazine. "With two months to go until the AGI Sport Adelaide Hills Rally, there is still some water to pass under the bridge. However, everyone at Motorsport Australia is absolutely working through and discussing the many different scenarios that could play out and preparing for all eventualities.
"We will continue to keep everyone updated in the coming weeks," he added.
Meanwhile, Adelaide Hills Rally director, Andrew Admiraal, said that plans for their event were going ahead regardless of whether it hosted a round of the ARC or not. "We're planning as normal, and the event will still run as a round of the SA Championship," Admiraal said. "We don't have to pull any financial triggers for the rally until closer to the event, so the planning that we're doing at present isn't costing us any money. "The roads are all locked in, as is the service park, so we're just going ahead as normal and waiting until decisions outside our control are made."

Toyota boss Neal Bates says there are many championships in the same position as the ARC.

Toyota boss, Neal Bates, says he prefers to take a positive view on things, rather than the negative mindset many have taken over the reduced two-event, four-round 2020 ARC.
"I think it's good that Motorsport Australia is digging in and hanging out for what might happen," Bates said.
"There are plenty of other categories in the same boat around at Australia at present. Porsche Cup, Toyota 86 and the TCR series are all waiting to see what happens." Looking at it positively, Bates says it could even provide an opportunity for some competitors, should the series go ahead. "There might only be two rallies, but that could open the door for some competitors who couldn't normally afford to do the full championship," Bates added. "With just two rallies, there's a chance for someone to make a real name for themselves. "I don't think there's a right or wrong decision at the moment, but if it all comes together, then fantastic." Privately, some key people within the sport that RallySport Magazine have spoken to believe that there is next to no chance that the ARC will get off the ground. "We should just write 2020 off and work on 2021," one insider told us. Yet while the pilot light continues to flicker, it's great to retain hope that the fire may re-ignite.
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