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Today's cancellation of the 2020 New Zealand Rally Championship doesn't mean the end of rallying in the country this year – far from it. Events that were calendared to be a part of the hugely successful series can still run, but they won't form any part of the national series. For example, the postponed Otago and Whangarei rallies can be rescheduled for later in 2020 and run as rounds of the Asia Pacific Rally Championship, but not as a part of the NZRC. That's assuming the Asia Pacific championship isn't cancelled in coming weeks as well. "Canceling the championship was because of a combination of factors, and was an incredibly difficult decision," NZRC coordinator, Blair Bartels, told RallySport Magazine today.
"Events can still take place, and with no NZRC component they can reduce their costs and keep the wheels turning for next year."
Bartels said that one of the key factors in cancelling the championship was the lead times required to get rallies organised. "Organisers need to respect the appropriate COVID restriction levels for resident visits along the route, as well as many, many other factors. "We need to ensure events are viable, but also need to consider the public perception or running events after things get opened up again," he added. Bartels said that rallies will not be allowed to run in New Zealand until the country moves to Level 1 COVID restrictions. New Zealand is currently at Level 3, having spent many weeks at Level 4.
"It's a moving target, but we're lucky that the country hasn't had a pile of issues, and the measures in place seem to be working," he said.
It is expected that several of the NZRC qualifying rounds still plan to run their events in 2020, although Bartels wasn't in a position to name which ones.

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