The Rally Australia organisers have been forced to cancel this year’s event due to the devastating bushfires affecting much of the New South Wales region, close to where the stages were due to be held.
After briefly considering holding the event with a revised schedule over a significantly reduced route, the Rally Australia organisers were left with no choice but to cancel the event on Tuesday afternoon (local time in Coffs Harbour), as conditions failed to improve. Serious bushfires have hit the State of New South Wales in recent days, devastating the local area.
Three people have died and more than 150 properties have been destroyed in the state since Friday. At least a dozen homes have been damaged or destroyed, and some firefighters have been injured, but none of the injuries have been life-threatening. In Queensland, there are over 60 active fires, and conditions are expected to worsen on Wednesday with strong winds and temperatures in the mid-30s.
Rally Australia event chairman Andrew Papadopoulos added: “Our thoughts are with the NSW community, especially the people who have lost loved ones, livelihoods and homes as a result of the fires in northern NSW, and we thank the rally community for your support and understanding.”
“It’s the right decision, given the circumstances. Clearly, we have been affected by what is happening here and all our thoughts go to the local population and everyone who has lost loved ones, livelihoods and homes due to the fires. From a sporting point of view, we would obviously have preferred not to end our season with the result in Spain and instead finish the season like we began it in Monte-Carlo, but there are more important things to consider at the moment. I would like to thank my team for all the efforts they have put in this season,” said Pierre Budar, Citroën Racing Team Principal.