Rally Australia cancellation hands WRC crown to Hyundai, with Michelin*
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Rally Australia cancellation hands WRC crown to Hyundai, with Michelin*


Raging fires in New South Wales have forced Rally Australia’s organisers to cancel the curtain-closing round of the 2019 FIA World Rally Championship. Their decision has handed this season’s Manufacturers’ title to Hyundai which has earned Michelin’s 56th WRC crown in the process. 

Since 2009, Australia’s round of the WRC has been held in New South Wales, northeast of Sydney. This year, however, a state of emergency has been declared in the region due to a spate of catastrophic bush fires.

To address the situation, the Coffs Harbour-based event’s organisers initially proposed a shortened version of their route. On Tuesday evening local time, though, in collaboration with the local authorities, the decision was taken to cancel the rally altogether.

It is only the ninth time in world championship history that a round has had to be cancelled, and the first time since China in 2016.

Ott Tänak had already made sure of the 2019 Drivers’ title in Spain, leaving the fight between Hyundai and Toyota for the year’s top Manufacturers’ honours to be settled in Australia.

Hyundai’s score to date of four wins and 13 podium finishes had earned it an 18-point lead in the provisional classification before the trip to the southern hemisphere, which means the crown has ended up in the hands of the Korean brand for the very first time.

Its coronation comes 20 years after Sweden’s Kenneth Eriksson won the two-litre/two-wheel drive class in Australia in the Michelin-equipped Hyundai Coupé Kit-Car.

The Korean manufacturer subsequently upgraded its programme when it briefly ran the Hyundai Accent WRC/Michelin. It withdrew in 2003 but returned in 2014 with an ambitious effort that reaped three straight second places before culminating in this year’s title. Hyundai is the 13th carmaker to claim the WRC’s Manufacturers’ title.

The 2019 classification takes Michelin’s own score to 56 world titles (29 Manufacturers / 27 Drivers), while Hyundai is the 11th brand to win the ultimate prize on the company’s rubber since 1973.

Today’s cancellation means that Michelin has also won this year’s fiercely-competitive WRC2 class with French Skoda driver Pierre-Louis Loubet.

FIA World Rally Championship action will resume on January 23 with the Rallye Monte-Carlo, opening round of the 2020 calendar.


(*) Subject to confirmation of the official results by the FIA