COMMENT: Major concern as APRC entry levels drop to dangerous lows
- 3rd May 2018, 10:00am
"It will be disappointing not to have the MRF Skoda team there this year as they have been a mainstay for some years.“The current state of the APRC is not unique though, with many regional championships around the world suffering from dropping entry levels.” Outside the World Rally Championship, only the European Rally Championship consistently attracts large field sizes. "The issue of regional rally championships and what can be done to increase competitor numbers will be a major topic for discussion, review and problem-solving at my first Rally Commission meeting next week," he added.
"At this stage I don’t think I’m in a position to comment further as I don’t have more information at my fingertips, however, a review of the APRC results since 2002 shows that only on three occasions have championship entry numbers been more than 10."Although entries for a couple of years (2010 and 2011) were around 26, the number of competitors who scored points in more than one round was still only around 10 or less.
"This suggests that competitors only contested the one round, and most likely their local round.”"It is interesting that, apart from Gaurav Gill and Cody Crocker, most of the APRC champions have come from outside the Asia Pacific region and have generally been part of a 'junior' or satellite team from Europe," Christie adds. "I suspect many of these teams are finding it cheaper and more competitive to compete in Europe, and no longer see the value they once did in sending teams to contest the APRC." All of which is bad news for top level rallying Down Under, but is perhaps even more reason why Australian and New Zealand authorities need be working together for the betterment of the sport in this region.
A rebirth of the former Tasman Cup has been muted over the past 12 months, but at this stage it's all talk.Hopefully talk evolves into action sooner rather than later, because rallying Down Under can't afford to be further isolated from the rest of the world. We inexplicably lost Rally New Zealand, perhaps never to return, and if a similar fate befell Rally Australia, then who knows where this leaves rallying in our part of the world. Let's hope it doesn't come to that.
Remembering Possum Bourne:https://rallysportmag.com/15-years-on-remembering-rally-legend-possum-bourne240418/
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