A very significant decision

The Sports Car Club of America has decided that it cannot continue to sanction its ProRally and ClubRally Championships in 2005 because of fears that legal actions in the event of an accident and the cost of insuring against that risk. The SCCA said in a statement that continued involvement in stage rallying would put the entire club at risk.

The decision will come as a massive blow to stage rallying across the globe and must inevitably lead to questions about the viability of the FIA World Rally Championship and other high profile rallying championships.

The ProRally Championship has been the major domestic US rally series since it began in 1973. However the deaths of Mark Lovell and co-driver Roger Freeman on the Oregon Trial Rally in 2003 have led to questions about safety and with US legislation as it now is, the fear of a crowd-related incident appears to be behind the SCCA's decision to call it quits.

"This was a difficult and unfortunate decision to make," said the SCCA chairman Gary Pitts. "However, from an insurance standpoint, the stage rally format has gotten to the point where it puts the entire club, its activities and entities under an undue risk."

The SCCA says that it is planning to hand over all of its stage rallying activities to promoter Rally America, Inc., a privately held corporation, owned by Doug Havir, which manages events for the club.

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