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WRC’s return to China cancelled due to flood damage

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The World Rally Championship’s planned return to China has been cancelled due to flood damage in the Huairou region near Beijing, where the event was set to be staged next month.

The WRC had not ventured to China since 1999, with this year’s event planned for September 8-11 set to be the only Asian round on the calendar.

In a statement issued by the FIA on Tuesday, it was confirmed that officials had been forced to cancel Rally China due to flood damage caused by storms last month.

“The FIA and WRC Promoter have received a formal request to cancel next month’s Rally China (8 – 11 September), round 10 of the 2016 FIA World Rally Championship,” it read.

“Following an evaluation of this request, it has subsequently been accepted and the rally has been removed from the 2016 calendar.

“The rally will not be replaced in this year’s FIA World Rally Championship, which will now comprise 13 rounds.”

According to the WRC website, the Federation of Automobile and Motorcycle Sports of China and event organiser Le Sports reported that sections of the route planned to be used for special stages required major repair work, which the region’s local road authority could not confirm would be completed in time for the rally.

Volkswagen’s Sebastien Ogier is closing in on a fourth world title in 2016, enjoying a 45-point lead over Andreas Mikkelsen in the drivers’ championship with five rallies remaining.

Zach Veach splits with Andretti Autosport for rest of IndyCar season

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Zach Veach will be leaving his Andretti Autosport ride with three races remaining in the season, choosing to explore options after the decision was made he wouldn’t return for 2021.

In a Wednesday release, Andretti Autosport said a replacement driver for the No. 26 Dallara-Honda would be named in the coming days. The NTT IndyCar Series will race Oct. 2-3 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and then conclude the season Oct. 25 on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida.

Veach was ranked 11th in the points standings through 11 races of his third season with Andretti. Since a fourth in the June 6 season opener at Texas Motor Speedway, he hadn’t finished higher than 14th.

“The decision was made that I will not be returning in 2021 with Andretti Autosport in the No. 26 Gainbridge car,” Veach said in the Andretti release. “This, along with knowing that limited testing exists for teams due to COVID, have led me to the decision to step out of the car for the remainder of the 2020 IndyCar season. I am doing this to allow the team to have time with other drivers as they prepare for 2021, and so that I can also explore my own 2021 options.

“This is the hardest decision I have ever made, but to me, racing is about family, and it is my belief that you take care of your family. Andretti Autosport is my family and I feel this is what is best to help us all reach the next step. I will forever be grateful to Michael and the team for all of their support over the years. I would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for a relationship that started many years ago with Road to Indy. I will also be forever grateful to Dan Towriss for his friendship and for the opportunity he and Gainbridge have given me.

“My love for this sport and the people involved is unmeasurable, and I look forward to continuing to be amongst the racing world and fans in 2021.”

Said team owner Michael Andretti: “We first welcomed Zach to the Andretti team back in his USF2000 days and have enjoyed watching him grow and evolve as a racer, and a person. His decision to allow us to use the last few races to explore our 2021 options shows the measure of his character.

“Zach has always placed team and family first, and we’re very happy to have had him as part of ours for so many years. We wish him the best in whatever 2021 may bring and will always consider him a friend.”

Andretti fields five full-time cars for Veach, Alexander Rossi, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Marco Andretti and Colton Herta.

It also has fielded James Hinchcliffe in three races this season.