New Zealand is the fourth round of the 13 race world championship to be axed after Rally Finland on Wednesday. The event in and around Auckland was returning to the calendar for the first time since 2012 and was scheduled for Sept 3-6.

"With our borders closed to international travel and the logistics required to host thousands of international visitors...the September 2020 date was not practical," Rally New Zealand CEO Michael Goldstein said in a statement.

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Three rallies have taken place this year and the next on the original schedule is now Turkey at the end of September. Argentina and Italy have yet to be given new dates, while Britain, Germany and Japan are still to come.

France's six times world champion Sebastien Ogier has an eight point lead in the standings over his Welsh Toyota team mate Elfyn Evans. (Reporting by Alan Baldwin; Editing by Alexander Smith)

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Rallying-Sordo heading for repeat victory in Sardinia
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