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Rally Australia was far from the first WRC round to be cancelled, as Martin Holmes explains. * * * * * The increasingly depressing news about bush fires on the east coastland of Australia led to an extended sense of inevitability that the final round of the 2019 FIA World Rally Championship would not be run. Exactly 24 hours before Rally Australia was due to start, it was cancelled, one of surprisingly few over the 47 years of the WRC. The first WRC season was 1973 which ran with an engaging selection of events, with three long haul events among the 13 events. 1974, however, started badly due to the oil crisis, with six of those 13 events not being run, half of them cancelled because of the crisis. The next big shock was the South Atlantic conflict which caused the Argentine federation to withdraw the event from the 1982 calendar. Since then weather, political and financial situations caused events to drop off the calendar, with various degrees of advance notice. Sweden 1990 was cancelled because thawing conditions made it impossible to run the event in the required style. Indonesia had a change of political leadership in 1998, and then twice China withdrew from the calendar (in 2000 and 2016) when weather problems provided a plausible reason for hard stressed organisers to withdraw. Finally, we have the tragic fires in Australia this year.
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