The upcoming South India Rally, which doubles up as the opening round of FIA Asia-Pacific Championship, will be held here as per schedule but without spectators, in the wake of the novel coronavirus outbreak.
The event will be held from 20 March to 22 March, the organisers said on 13 March. The chairman of the event Vicky Chandhok said they would strictly comply with medical and travel advisories issued by the central government in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
“To reiterate, next week’s South India Rally is very much on as per schedule. We are closely monitoring the situation arising out of the COVID-19 spread globally, and taking due precautions as per the directives of Union Health ministry,” Chandhok said.
Chandhok is also the president of the APRC Working Group. “No spectators will be allowed into the Rally HQ areas and no gathering of people in a single place will be permitted,” he said. He said the APRC segment will be exclusively for Indian nationals. “Consequent to Government of India’s travel advisory prohibiting entry of foreign nationals into India until 15 April, and other factors, the APRC round here will be contested by Indian crews who thus will have an opportunity to win a FIA international trophy,” he said.
The rally is organised by the Madras Motor Sports Club. The coronavirus outbreak, declared a pandemic by the World Health Organisation (WHO) on Wednesday, has led to more than 4,000 deaths globally. India recorded its first death in Karnataka on 12 March while the number of confirmed cases has crossed 70. Several sporting events across the globe have been either postponed or cancelled in the wake of the virus outbreak, while some events are being played behind closed doors.