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Safety the priority after WRC Rally of Australia cancellation

Credit: Reuters - Sports
Published on November 13, 2019 - Duration: 02:57s

Safety the priority after WRC Rally of Australia cancellation

Devastating bush fires near the Coffs Harbour-based event prove too risky, Rally of Australia organisers say.

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Safety the priority after WRC Rally of Australia cancellation

RESENDING WITH UPDATED SHOTLIST VIDEO SHOWS: SOUNDBITES FROM WRC RALLY OF AUSTRALIA ORGANISERS AND DRIVERS AFTER THE FINAL LEG OF THE WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP IN NEW SOUTH WALES, AUSTRALIA WAS CANCELLED ON TUESDAY (NOVEMBER 12, 2019) DUE TO THE AUSTRALIAN BUSH FIRES SHOWS: VARIOUS, AUSTRALIA (NOVEMBER 13, 2019) (WRC - SEE RESTRICTIONS BEFORE USE) 1.

BUSH AREA 2.

HELICOPTER FLYING OVERHEAD 3.

FIRE TRACK ARRIVING 4.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) WRC RALLY OF AUSTRALIA ORGANISER, WAYNE KENNY, SAYING: "We tried to put an event on.

We tried very hard to out a shortened event on, but really safety is the most paramount thing.

It's a state of emergency in New South Wales so we decided we needed to call the event off." 5.

FIRE TRUCK 6.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) WRC RALLY OF AUSTRALIA CHAIRMAN, ANDREW PAPADOPOULOS, SAYING: "The area that we were going to run on the Graces road, the fire got too close and really I know we are - motor sport is a dangerous sport but we didn't want to add any more danger to what's already there.

We just felt we had to (SOUNDBITE CONTINUES WITH SHOTS OF BUSH AREA AND A TREE LOG STILL SMOKING FROM THE FIRE) terminate it unfortunately.

Our hearts go out to the people that have lost life and properties." 7.

FIRE RESPONSE CARS 8.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) WRC AUSTRALIAN RALLY ORGANISER, ANDREW FRASER, SAYING: "We have emergencies situations right across the Coffs-Harbour local government area, in fact fires are raging about ten kilometers from where we are at the moment.

So, you know common sense had to prevail.

The people are doing it tough.

There's evacuations going on in (INAUDIBLE) and (INAUDIBLE) as we talk." 9.

FIRE MARSHALL TALKING TO DRIVERS 10.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) TOYOTA GAZOO RACING DRIVER, JARI-MATTI LATVALA, SAYING: "This is absolutely the best decision to do was to cancel the rally because there's too many elements.

Risks are too high to run the event (SOUNDBITE CONTINUES WITH SHOTS OF DRIVERS SIGNING MERCHANDISE).

This morning we did a merchandise - we were signing all the drivers.

Doing t-shirts and caps and these can auctioned and then the money could be used for the area to help the (SOUNDBITE CONTINUES WITH SHOT OF DRIVERS SIGNING MERCHANDISE) people to get, you know, build their house and (get their) farms back." 11.

DRIVERS SIGNING MERCHANDISE 12.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) HYUNDAI SHELL MOBIS WRT DRIVER, THIERRY NEUVILLE, SAYING: "It was the right decision to cancel this event.

I mean it was clear when we come here, bit surprised about the news about the fires and everything.

But, quickly landing in Coffs-Harbour we got aware about the serious situation that it actually was.

I mean from there on, there was no point for us to do the rally." 13.

FIRE MARSHALL TALKING TO TOYOTA GAZOO RACING DRIVER, KRIS MEEKE 14.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) TOYOTA GAZOO RACING DRIVER, KRIS MEEKE, SAYING: "Certainly I think we were all anticipating on the call to cancel the rally.

Yeah for sure ultimately it's the correct decision you know." 15.

FIRE RESPONSE CARS 16.

HYUNDAI SHELL MOBIS WRT TEAM CELEBRATING WINNING THE MANUFACTURER'S TITLE 17.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) HYUNDAI SHELL MOBIS WRT DRIVER, THIERRY NEUVILLE, SAYING: "It's success for all the team and you can see everybody is happy I mean.

You know we were waiting since long time for that.

It was very tough but finally we did it." 18.

HYUNDAI SHELL MOBIS TEAM CELEBRATING WITH CHAMPAGNE 19.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) HYUNDAI SHELL MOBIS WRT TEAM DIRECTOR, ANDREA ADAMO, SAYING: "It's amazing, because I know what all they have done this year.

I said many, many times, I say many, many times, plus one, I know what I asked of them.

I know what is waiting for us before Monte Carlo (SOUNDBITE CONTINUES WITH SHOT OF TEAM CELEBRATING WITH CHAMPAGNE).

It's in August.

We'll be in (INAUDIBLE) next week.

I will be there.

Then we will have tests and so and so, but it's the only way I know how to win." 20.

HYUNDAI SHELL MOBIS WRT TEAM CELEBRATING WINNING THE MANUFACTURER'S TITLE STORY: The Rally of Australia was cancelled on Tuesday (November 12) due to the threat of bushfires near the Coffs Harbour-based event in eastern New South Wales (NSW) state.

Organisers had planned to run the season-ending Nov.14-17 event with a dramatically shorter route but ultimately decided the risks were too high.

Bushfires are a common and deadly threat in Australia's hot, dry summers, but the current severe outbreak - across several parts of NSW and Queensland states, as well as Sydney - weeks before the summer peak, has caught many by surprise.

Hyundai were confirmed winners of the World Rally Championship's manufacturers' title after the rally was cancelled.

Hyundai, who held an 18-point lead over defending champions Toyota after the penultimate round in Spain, claim their first manufacturers' title in the global series.

Toyota's Estonian driver Ott Tanak was already sure of the drivers' championship.

(Production: Stefan Haskins)

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