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WRX 2021 opener in Norway cancelled

The opening round of the World Rallycross Championship in Norway has been cancelled, while the Montalegre circuit in Portugal has returned to the schedule to become the season finale.

Timmy Hansen, Team Hansen, Timo Scheider, All-Inkl Münnich Motorsport, Anton Marklund, GCK Bilstein

Timmy Hansen, Team Hansen, Timo Scheider, All-Inkl Münnich Motorsport, Anton Marklund, GCK Bilstein

FIA World Rallycross

The Norwegian round was due to begin the World RX campaign on the second weekend in June, but has been cancelled due to "strict border restrictions" in the country due to COVID-19.

The season – the first to run under the leadership of new commercial rights holder Rallycross Promoter GmbH – will now begin at Barcelona in Spain on 23-24 July.

“Earnest efforts were made by all parties to reach a resolution, but strict border restrictions and the lack of a suitable alternative date made it impossible to hold the event in 2021,” said a series statement of the Norwegian round’s cancellation.

Holjes in Sweden had been penciled into its traditional first weekend in July slot, but in the calendar reshuffle has been moved until late August, two weeks before the French round at Loheac, in a bid to allow fans to be able to attend the event, an objective for all rounds for the new promoter.

“Following close consultation with event organisers and the relevant authorities in each of the host countries, an updated calendar has been put together that not only visits some of the best rallycross tracks in the world, but also maximises the likelihood of welcoming fans on-site where possible,” said the statement.

Rounds at the Nurburgring in Germany, which will host and double header the week after the Spanish opener, Riga in Latvia in mid-September and Spa in Belgium in October maintain dates as announced in the previously series revised schedule from March.

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However, while Spa was planned to be the season finale, that honor will now be taken by the Montalegre venue in the Vila Real region of Portugal, the circuit returning to the schedule for the first time since 2018.

The venue had been due to return to World RX last year, until the Coronavirus pandemic turned all motor racing schedules on their heads.

“We all acknowledge the positive trend over the summer of the pandemic in Europe,” said Rallycross Promoter GmbH Executive Director Arne Dirks.

“That’s why, after having liaised closely with our key stakeholders, we have taken the deliberate decision to delay the start of the campaign in the hope of being able to open the gates to fans at as many rounds as is feasible and safe, and have assembled what we believe is an irresistible blend of iconic rallycross tracks and state-of-the-art modern venues.

"To be able to confirm the return of Montalegre – a circuit that has always been a fan-favourite and never fails to offer World RX a warm welcome – is fantastic news for all concerned, and whilst we are obviously disappointed not to be able to race in Norway this year due to ongoing complications related to the pandemic, we are sure we will see Hell back on the calendar in the future as World RX races into a bright new era.”

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