2020 has been a hard year in the world of motorsport. Hundreds of events all over the world in every series have been cancelled, postponed, rescheduled, or replaced this year. The World Rally Championship only managed to fit in seven events, and three of those happened before global pandemic lockdowns. Ten different rallies were cancelled in 2020, though to be fair Rally Chile was cancelled due to political unrest. It was inevitable that the coronavirus cancellations would extend into 2021, but this is the first official event domino to fall.
After a lull over the summer and into the early fall which allowed the WRC to host Rally Estonia, Rally Turkey, and Rally Sardegna, plus a late fall closed-to-the-public Rally Monza to close out the 2020 season, fans were hopeful that the series had found a safe way to host events with minimal risk. Unfortunately, as cases have soared globally going into the winter in the northern hemisphere, the host country has decided to cancel Rally Sweden outright.
With the start of the 2021 season just over a month away, Rally Sweden’s second-on-the-calendar spot was aimed for February 11-14. Swedish authorities have determined that the country is no longer willing or able to host the massive influx of international teams, drivers, and mechanics. As recent as October 15th, Sweden had seen just 100,000 coronavirus cases, but a massive spread through the population in the intervening months has seen total cases more than triple to over 320,000 cases and 7,500 deaths.
WRC is in negotiations to replace Sweden’s spot on the calendar with another venue. The first event will kick off in traditional fashion with Rally Monte Carlo on January 21st.