Kyalami 9 Hour postponed after new strain of COVID detected

The final round of the Intercontinental GT Challenge scheduled for Kyalami next month has been postponed in the wake of the latest developments in the COVID pandemic.

Kyalami 9 Hour postponed after new strain of COVID detected

The Kyalami 9 Hour will not take place on its original date of 4 December as a result of restrictions imposed on travel to and from South Africa by multiple countries following the detection of a new strain of the coronavirus in the country.

A new date of the Africa IGTC round, officially called the Joburg Kyalami 9 Hour, is due to be announced next Monday, according to a joint statement from series organiser the Stephane Ratel Organisation and the local promoter.

Friday's statement read: "The detection of coronavirus variant B.1.1.529 in southern Africa, announced on 25 November, and the resulting travel restrictions already imposed by several countries will prevent most international teams and championship staff from flying to South Africa.

"The local promoter and SRO Motorsports Group, who are jointly responsible for staging the race, are already working with local authorities to evaluate travel solutions and reschedule the event.

"A new date for the Joburg Kyalami 9 Hour to be held at Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit will be confirmed and announced on Monday.

"The safety of all participants and staff will take utmost priority in any decision to reschedule this season’s Joburg Kyalami 9 Hour."

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South Africa was among six countries added to the UK's red list on Thursday night following the detection of the new COVID mutation.

The European Union has "agreed the need" to temporarily suspend travel to and from South Africa, the presidency announced on Friday.

SRO has given no indication of how it might be able to reschedule the third and final IGTC race of the 2021 season.

Next year's series is due to begin on 27 February with the Bathurst 12 Hour.

The Australasian fixture was moved forward from March 20 earlier this month to avoid a clash with the Sebring IMSA/World Endurance Championship double-header.

The 2021 IGTC was cut to three rounds after the cancellation of Bathurst and then the Suzuka 10 Hours for the second season in a row.

The Kyalami 9 Hour was revived as a round of the IGTC in 2019.

The fixture dates back to the 1960s and had been a world championship sportscar fixture sporadically through its history.

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