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Sport

WRC cancels Rally Germany, moves Italy race to avoid F1 clash

FILE PHOTO: Rallying - FIA World Rally Championship - Wales Rally GB - Deeside, Britain - October 27, 2017 Hyundai Motorsport's Andreas Mikkelsen of Norway and Anders Jaeger Syneevaag of Norway during SS3 at Sweet Lamb Action Images/Peter Cziborra/File Photo

(Reuters) - Rally Germany has been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, while the Italian round of the world championship has been moved three weeks earlier to avoid clashing with Formula One’s Imola race, organisers said on Wednesday.

The Bostalsee-based event in southwest Germany, initially scheduled for Oct. 15-18, was scheduled to be round six of the season, but organisers have decided against running it due to restrictions on mass gatherings in the country due to the novel coronavirus.

It becomes the eighth race of the season to be cancelled due to the pandemic following rounds in Argentina, Portugal, Finland, Kenya, New Zealand, Wales Rally GB and Japan.

As part of the latest changes to the calendar, Rally Italy will be held from Oct. 8-11.

Bringing the race forward avoids a clash with Formula One’s Imola race and also offers a chance of favourable weather conditions on the Mediterranean island for the gravel road fixture.

Angelo Sticchi Damiani, president of Automobile Club d’Italia (ACI), said: “In ACI we have worked hard to redefine the new dates for the 2020 Rally Italia Sardegna.

“In this very difficult year ACI has wanted, as already shown with the F1 GPs in Monza, Mugello and Imola, to protect national and international motorsport by confirming also our competition.

“I personally thank the region of Sardinia for their absolute support to make all this happen.”

The championship completed three rounds in Monte Carlo, Sweden and Mexico before the coronavirus shutdown. The season will resume with the Estonian round, which begins on Sept. 4.

Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; Editing by David Holmes

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