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The price of the control 98 octane fuel for privateers in this year’s Australian Rally Championship has created plenty of discussion among so-called rally “experts”, since it was announced by Rallycorp early in March that a control fuel was to be used.



The 98 octane fuel will be delivered to the service park of each event in marked and sealed 20 litre drums, where it will be available to competitors for $2.50 a litre – the same price as the fuel supplied at Telstra Rally Australia last November.

There has been a great deal of dissent among rally competitors since the announcement, particularly on some of the larger rallying internet forums in Australia.

However, like most forums, the comments by some people using these forums need to be treated with a grain of salt.

“Most of the people commenting are just a bunch of knockers who will never compete in the ARC, and have nothing better to do than write 7500 forum posts!” a RallySport Magazine source close to the ARC said today.

And he’s right too. Much of the critical comment against ARCom, Rallycorp and the Australian Rally Championship comes from people with no involvement, and usually no inside knowledge, of what, or who, they are actually criticizing.

Perhaps the forum posters would have been better off asking questions about the decision – like why do we need a control fuel in the ARC? – rather than shooting from the mouth with ill-informed comments.

At the end of the day, the decision to run a control fuel for privateers in the ARC affects less than 20 people. The easy Rallycorp solution probably would have been to mandate pump fuel like they did in the RS Challenge, and test the fuel. However ARCom doesn’t have the ability to test fuel. This testing was previously done by Subaru, at their cost.

However, one fuel supplier went to the ACCC about the rules ARCom had written regarding 98 pump fuel and the RS Challenge, and had them (the rules) removed. RallySport Magazine understands that this then allowed RS competitors to run fuel costing $4.50 per litre. And even in the RS challenge the competition was so fierce that at least two competitors ran higher octane fuel for a gain of another two kilowatts at the wheels.
 
“What these guys fail to realise is that if you don’t have a control fuel, and you have no way of testing it, competitors will go and spend $6 per litre and more on Sunoco, Martini and Elf fuels,” our source said.

“So the true cost saving is in the fact that instead of having to spend $6 per litre on Elf to have the same fuel as someone else in your class who is running it, they have to spend $2.50 per litre, and everyone is on equal terms.”

An even easier solution would have been for all events to re-route rally cars past a service station that had 98 octane fuel during the rally, but this wasn’t going to be a possibility for all events, so the control fuel option was introduced.

The internet has been a wonderful source for getting information out to people quickly and easily, but it has also created more than its fair share of mis-information. Forum posters should be aware of the facts when giving their opinions, rather than going off half-cocked and not being able to see the forest for the trees.

Unfortunately, this is usually how it happens and the damage is often already done before the real facts of a story can be brought to light. Sadly for a sport like rallying, which is already suffering badly from a lack of mainstream media promotion, this is something we can well and truly do without.


 

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