European Rally Championship postpones season-opening Rally Liepaja

The opening round of the 2016 European Rally Championship has been postponed because of warmer than expected weather conditions in Latvia

European Rally Championship postpones season-opening Rally Liepaja

The decision was taken by the organisers of Rally Liepaja on Friday after inspections of the stages found that rain and temperatures above freezing in recent weeks had melted the snow surface.

This raised concerns over safety for competitors and spectators on the rally, which was due to take place next weekend.

The event organiser is looking to reschedule for a later date this year, in partnership with ERC promoter Eurosport Events.

ERC co-ordinator Jean-Baptiste Ley said the Rally Canary Islands on 10-12 March would now become the new first round of the season.

"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 Liepaja until later in the year," said Ley.

"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."

Reigning ERC champion Kajetan Kajetanowicz is returning to defend his title in 2016, and the Pole had been joined on the entry list for Rally Liepaja by drivers including Alexey Lukyanuk (third in the standings last year) and the 2015 ERC2 champion David Botka.

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