The Coupe de France des Rallye is a national amateur rally competition in France. But it’s not like a conventional rally, with a single touring schedule of events for the trophy. Rally crews compete in a plethora of rallies across France to rack up points and qualify for a national final on a region-by-region basis. However, there won’t be a champion crowned this year because the final has been canceled due to a fuel shortage attributed to an ongoing strike.
Last week, French oil workers walked out and are still blockading Total Energies and ExxonMobil refineries in an effort to win higher wages during a cost-of-living crisis. The French government is attempting to reach a compromise with the Confédération Générale du Travail labor union as soon as possible. France’s refining capacity has been effectively cut by 60 percent, leaving a third of France’s gas stations without fuel. President Macron has suggested that the oil giants should increase wages by 10 percent as the companies have seen record profits this year — while at the same time, the French president has fruitlessly ordered essential workers to return to their jobs.
This year’s Finale de la Coupe de France des Rallyes was scheduled to take place around the northern French city of Béthune. But rally organizers have been denied permission to hold the event by the authorities for the Hauts-de-France region as the country deals with a dramatic fuel shortage. This is the second time rally has been canceled in the past three years — the 2020 edition was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Emmanuel Lepine, a senior CGT energy representative, said in an interview on Franceinfo radio, “I can guarantee you that there will be war. If Macron wants this to spread to other parts of the economy, then let him do it.” The CGT show no signs of yielding and aren’t even willing to negotiate with the government.