Fallout from difficulties in the global economic credit market have been blamed for the decision to cancel the 2008 Rally of Melbourne to allow the organising team to focus on the 2009 event.

Event Director Neil Cuthbert said that the combined effects of a sponsorship shortfall and the loss of traditional lines of funding from the ARC series, left a significant funding gap which made the event in 2008 unviable.

"From today we are starting work on something special for 2009," Neil Cuthbert said.

The Rally of Melbourne has traditionally been the final round of the Australian Rally Championship, and the Australian Rally Commission (ARCom) has already taken steps to ensure that holding over the event in 2008 will not significantly impact on the Championship, with discussions regarding a replacement event already well advanced.

"We have had talks with a couple of event organisers and commercial partners who are in a position to promote a round of the ARC in 2008 and we will be in a position to make an announcement about those plans in the very near future," ARCom Chairman Colin Trinder said.

Neil Cuthbert said that he deeply regretted having to make the decision to hold over this year's event, which he attributed to the simple economics of staging a high standard event without the required commercial support.

"It's an unfortunate fact that conditions in the global economy, which have nothing to do with the viability of our event, can indirectly impact on our sport.

"Instead, we have made the decision to hold over all work on this year's event to focus on something special for 2009," Cuthbert said

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