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The federal government's easing of mass gathering restrictions will be the key factor in when the Australian Rally Championship is up and running again. However, social distancing measures are likely to further complicate matters as Motorsport Australia battles uncharted waters. The ARC's Commercial Operations Manager, Adrian Coppin, said today that there was still no clear indication on when the series may be able to begin in 2020. "We're looking at all possibilities and scenarios and have two or three different calendar options, but until we get some idea on when restrictions might be eased, we really have no idea," Coppin said.
"There definitely seems to be light at the end of the tunnel, but there are so many moving pieces to the puzzle, and some states still have their borders closed."
It's likely that Motorsport Australia will have a better idea on what's possible for the ARC in the next couple of weeks, but a return to the forests before July would seem to be fanciful, at best. "Social distance restrictions are the other thing that could be tricky," Coppin added.
"You can't maintain a 1.5 metre distance between a driver and a co-driver, for example. You need at least two people in a Medical Intervention Vehicle (MIV), and time controls need at least two people on them.
"There's also the complication of the time card, which is passed around from one person to another over the course of the event, and could potentially transfer the Coronavirus."

Luke Anear tested his Ford Fiesta R5 in early February, but no rallies have yet been run. Photo: Luke Whitten

It will also be a challenge for individual events to get their rallies up and running as well. There local governments to deal with, along with a myriad of other stake holders and functions to consider, from catering, to service parks, to forestry, and many more. Two of this year's rallies, Canberra and Western Australia, have already been postponed. The next scheduled ARC round is in Tasmania in June, ahead of Victoria (August), South Australia (September) and the season finale in November.
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