29 JANUARY 2016

WARM TEMPERATURES AFFECT OPENING WINTER ROUND OF THE FIA EUROPEAN RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP

*Unforeseen weather conditions cause safety concerns
*Higher-than-normal temperatures have damaged stage surfaces
 
Rally Liepāja, the opening round of the 2016 FIA European Rally Championship, will not take place as scheduled because of uncharacteristically warm weather conditions.
 
The final decision to put off the event, which was due to take place on 5-7 February, was taken by the rally organiser on Friday following the latest in a number of recent inspections of the stages in Latvia.
 
The inspection found that rain and ambient temperatures above freezing over recent weeks have damaged the surface of the stages, causing concerns for competitor and spectator safety on the event. The rally also takes place on public roads that are in daily use and vital to the local infrastructure. Potential damage to these roads would cause disruption for an extended period of time.
 
Competitors have been kept informed to minimise unnecessary travel and inconvenience, while dialogue is now underway between the event organiser and the ERC promoter, Eurosport Events, to determine whether it will be possible to reschedule the event later in the year although any new date will require the approval of the FIA World Motor Sport Council.
 
Jean-Baptiste Ley, the ERC Co-ordinator, said: “Safety is always the number one concern and with safety very much in mind the organisers were left with no alternative other than to postpone Rally Liepāja until later in the year. The organisers have also considered the interests of the communities living on the event route because running the rally with no ice covering the stages would have resulted in considerable damage to roads that are essential for use on a daily basis. Obviously we are extremely disappointed with this development and our sympathies go out to the organisers and the many volunteers who have been working day and night to arrange what is always one of the highlights of the ERC season. We’re well aware of how many disappointed fans there will be and we’re also more than aware of the work the drivers, co-drivers and teams have been putting in to get ready for the rally. However, while we are looking at all the options to reschedule the event to later in the year, there is now more time to get ready for Rally Islas Canarias, which will become the opening event of the ERC season from 10-12 March.”
 
A Q&A with Raimonds Strokšs, the Event Director, forms an attachment to this press release.
 
ENDS
Press enquiries: Anthony Peacock, media@fiaerc.com
Television enquiries: Antonios_Argyropoulos@discovery.com  
Drivers and teams: Jean-Baptiste_Ley@discovery.com
 
THE ERC IS PROMOTED BY EUROSPORT EVENTS LTD, DISCOVERY HOUSE, 566 CHISWICK HIGH ROAD, LONDON W4 5YB, UK. TEL: +44 2036813000, F +44 2036813250. REGISTERED IN ENGLAND & WALES UNDER NO. 4361881 VAT NO. GB 792 1320 40