In a change to the event schedule, Rally Guanajuato Mexico will now finish on Saturday evening (14 March) in the face of fast-changing travel restrictions connected with the global COVID-19 virus outbreak.
With the unanimous support of WRC Promoter and manufacturer teams, Rally Guanajuato
Mexico organisers have requested the FIA to bring forward the finish from Sunday afternoon. The event will now end after SSS21 Rock & Rally León with a pódium ceremony in the arena.
With many countries globally imposing travel restrictions, all parties agreed every effort should be made to ensure safe and timely travel home for officials, competitors and team personnel.
With more than 75 percent of the rally’s competitive distance having been completed, full FIA World Rally Championship points will be awarded.
Diego Sinhue Rodríguez Vallejo, Governor of Guanajuato: “In co-ordination with the organising committee of Rally Guanajuato México, and due to the closure of some destination airports forteams and visitors from foreign countries, the decision to move forward the awards and closing ceremony of the event to this evening has been confirmed. We support and respect this decision, which has been made based on the availability of destination airports. The State of Guanajuato continues without any confirmed cases of COVID19 and with all the corresponding prevention mechanisms in place.”
Yves Matton, FIA Rally Director: “The decision to finish the event tonight has been taken unanimously by the Rally Mexico organisers, with the support of the governor, the WRC Promoter and the FIA. We are all very sad that the rally has to end prematurely but due to the rapidly evolving situation and the various travel restrictions being implemented in the different parts of the world, the priority was to ensure a safe return home for the teams and personnel. We would like to thank the organisers and the Mexican International Motor Sport Federation (OMDAI) for their exceptional commitment to host a world-class evento and the local health authority for their strenuous efforts and all the actions taken to protect locals and visitors.”
Oliver Ciesla, Managing Director WRC Promoter: “For the exceptional hospitality we enjoyed in León and for the perfect organisation of a high-class rally weekend, we thank the entire Rally Guanajuato Corona team and the Government of Guanajuato. The support the WRC enjoys in Mexico from fans and authorities is exceptional and we regret this weekend comes to an early end. However, to ensure colleagues and team members can return home to their families under increasingly complicated travel conditions, we appreciate the understanding and cooperation of all parties involved to exceptionally nominate the winner of this 17th edition of Rally Mexico on Saturday evening.”
Patrick Suberville, Rally Guanajuato Mexico Director: “In agreement with teams, the FIA and WRC Promoter, the organising committee has decided to bring forward the end of the evento after the Rock and Rally special stage on Saturday evening. This will allow teams and the media to return to their countries with the anticipation of the imminent closure of their borders because of COVID-19. The event will then be eligible for full championship points in all the respective categories.”
Andrea Adamo, Team Principal Hyundai Motorsport: “A unanimous decision to stop Rally México tonight has been reached between all parties involved due to the increasing complexity regarding the return of the rally community back home. The situation has been developing hour-by-hour and we couldn’t wait longer to take a decision. We think it’s the right decision to stop the rally this evening and assure a safe journey back in these specific circumstances.”
Richard Millener, Team Principal M-Sport Ford: “We fully support the local organisers, FIA and WRC Promoter in this decision. Whilst the competitor in all of us would love to continuing rallying this weekend, we need to consider the wider situation. With the various travel restrictions currently being implemented in the US and Europe, our top priority is ensuring all team members are returned safely home.”
Tommi Mäkinen, Team Principal Toyota Gazoo Racing: “Our team fully understands the situation and completely supports the decision of the Rally Mexico organisers. It is a shame that this edition of Rally Mexico is ending in this way, as it is such a wonderful event, but considering that we need to be able to ensure that our team members can get home safely to their families, this is the correct decision.”