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.