UPDATED: WRC – Time for a change?
- 10th May 2007, 9:00am
Our Editorial this week on the current state of the World Rally Championship has seen our readers giving us their points of view on where the WRC is heading.
Following is a selection of the letters we have received so far.
I whole heartedly agree with your latest WRC editorial.
To be honest, I think the WRC has been in decline since WRC cars were introduced. Whilst it has been a long time since privateers may have realistically had a shot at winning the WRC, like you mention, only two or three drivers are likely to be in the running now.
Maybe the FIA needs to have a good look at the WRC and find the elements that make rally so appealing. For some reason the FIA seem to be attempting to hoist the WRC to the same (untouchable and elitist) level as F1.
The biggest draw card for rallying? Its hands on nature. Spectators can get close to the action and see and hear cars sliding around under the skilful control of the drivers.
I think the FIA needs to bring back ‘H’ pattern gearboxes, ditch electronic aids such as active controls, remove a few mufflers/turbo charger and perhaps go back to more a production based formula.
How long has it been since a member of the public could truly own the same car as their favourite World Rally driver won the last rally with?
Personally it seems that Super 2000 may be on the right track. The new Fiestas certainly sound the part. Now all they need is more torque split to the rear wheels ala ‘Ari Vatanen style’ and we may be some way back to the glorious Group 4 days. Let's see the best drivers in the world really having to use their driving skills.
Just my two cents worth.
- Karl Drummond.
After reading your editorial about the direction (decline) of the WRC, I can’t help but feel frustration as a young rally competitor. Everyone involved in the sport knows something needs to be done, yet it seems so few steps are being taken.
I don't know what goes on behind the scenes and I’m not going to pretend to, I’m just going to give my thoughts on the issue.
The first problem faced by rallying is competition. Not in stage, not by the manufacturers, but rallying as a sport has a lot of competition. Drifting is a perfect example.
As a 21 year old I’m surrounded by the popular culture in the automotive scene, and drifting is the 'in' thing. It’s relatively cheap, easy (ie: regulations) and very spectator friendly. It’s drawing the youth, the crowds and most importantly, the money. State rounds of drifting are aired on television and extensively covered in magazines, giving the competitors’ sponsors the chance of media coverage.
As I am only competing in the Queensland Rally Championship, I cannot give my small, yet loyal, sponsors any promise of this sort of exposure. This is also a large issue in attracting more mainstream sponsors and the money they bring, as these companies want to market effectively to a wide range of consumers.
How can they do this if no one can see them? It may seem a little biased because of my age, but nothing is being done for the 'up and coming' youth of the sport. My father always apologizes for me not being born into a rich family - I should be the one who apologizes for choosing motorsport as a career path.
So I work my two jobs around uni study and save up all my pennies to pay for entry and tyres just to collect my piece of plastic at the end and go home.
I guess what I’m trying to get at is, nothing is given for a good performance. Mind you, a good performance in P1 doesn't register that well overall.
So I’m trying to solve this by steering a WRX. This probably means more crying when the bills arrive and no more coverage than I receive now (none). I have friends involved in drifting who do quite well and for their efforts they receive tyres and other prizes such as oil coolers. What is given for a class win in our state championship? Nothing.
So sometimes I think, 'why don’t I go drifting?'. It’s that thought by a lot of other people that keeps rally in a declining state. There are just too many other forms of motorsport that offer more bang for your bucks. If you don't attract the youth to the sport, how is it meant to grow?
I also feel that CAMS does a lot more harm than good for rallying and the young competitor. Just mentioning the 'C' word is enough to drive me crazy. I won’t say too much more about the governing body of motorsport in Australia as I have to abide by their rules and regulations like everybody else. Yet I still have no problem in asking whether CAMS is run by real people or one-armed blind monkeys?
I’m sure you have probably heard all this before and share the same issues I do.
I must give a huge amount of credit to your publication for all it has done to try and keep the purest form of driving alive. I hope for now that the sport of rallying is just a little lost and will return even more popular than in the days of Group B - the time my generation has only heard, and dreams of.
- Luke Page.
PS. How can Super 2000 and Super 1600 be the answer for our domestic competition? My car cost less than one gearbox!
I find the WRC very lost in direction, and am all for change in our sport, but holding a stage 700 kilometers from the next is a bit stupid of the event officials and FIA to allow this to happen.
I don't know what direction they can go, but maybe the drivers, teams and fans can be asked what they want to see happen to the sport we love to watch.
I find the current World Champion good for our sport, and it is like what Tommi Makinen was doing a few years back, but maybe some sort of penalty system is needed for teams that are continually winning, so that the less successful teams can get up to speed quicker.
Teams need to take a good look at Citroen and be more focused on their job.
- Melissa Jayne Summerhill
I have been a loyal follower of Australian Rallysport News, and now RallySport Magazine, since 1989. I can remember always looking for it at my local newsagent like a hungry pit bull when it was due to be published.
No matter how much spin we put on it, rallying is perceived as an anti-social sport. I read with interest your editorial on the WRC. This has always been the case with better teams, even back in the seventies and eighties, when I got interested in this fantastic sport of ours.
Do I know what the answer is? No, I do not. I remember just trying to get a start number in the U.K. for an event, you would be #120 or something like that.
It’s not Citroen’s fault they have the best car, and maybe the best driver we have ever seen - only time will tell (I was always a Roger Clark fan - must have been the Cossack hair spray).
We just h ave to be as positive as we can be in these difficult times for the sport that we all love. Keep up the great work at RallySport Magazine.
- Marty Watkins
I have to agree that the WRC is loosing its way and is in serious need of a shake-up. However I can see what direction they are trying to take.
From my very small and probably insignificant perspective, I feel that the FIA and Dave Richards are trying seriously to emulate Bernie Ecclestone and make the WRC as attractive and as prosperous as Formula One. However, it will never work. The sheer costs of trying to run a WRC team is far too expensive and has scared away manufactures like Peugeot, Mitsubishi, Skoda and countless others.
What I believe that the FIA are trying to do now is reduce some of the more obvious costs by having central service parks and repeated very local stages. In a way this can be good for spectators as they get to see more car action during the day and cuts some of the logistical costs, but it means that all the traditions of rallying have been lost.
When I first heard about S2000 I thought that it was an excellent idea and that with strict rules and budget restraints the rallying would get much closer. However now I see that this is not the case. The FIA are not strict enough on this formula.
All cars must have one type of gearbox and transmission which I thought was great (about to change as more manufactures have lobbied), and the bad part was that they must have homologated parts that come only from the manufacturer. This means that, unlike Group N, all cars must use only one type of suspension from the manufacturer, you don't have the freedom of selecting your own suspension if your budget can't stretch to using the type that comes on the car.
Also, parts such as the uprights are nothing like what you would find on the road cars, you can't simply go down to the local Ford or Toyota shop and get a new lower arm if you've had a fight with a rock and lost.
If the FIA are serious in having a close and low cost formula such as S2000 was supposed to be, they should be more stringent on the rulings and allow freedoms like Group N for the lower budget competitor, and keep the cost of the car down to the USD$100,000 they were originally supposed to have been limited to.
If the FIA are to attract the major car manufacturers back to the WRC they need to listen carefully to their needs and the needs of the competitors.
- Damon Fuller,
Regarding your comments on the WRC, I had the opportunity to be in Argentina and was wading through the mud in the service park.
The super special stage dramas were not well planned at all with very little or not enough spare time at all. What has not been reported was the fact that the trucks carrying the cars back to Carlos Paz were unloading at 7.30am when the first car was due into service park at 9am. Very tight, even if drivers were in Carlos Paz.
The S2000 path may be a good direction, but I believe that it will follow F2 and Super 1600. What I mean is that if a competitor wants to purchase a new or used S2000 he has to purchase everything from the appointed vehicle developer and is required to use all the homologated parts.
My thoughts for this formula to survive (for the non works teams) are that there should be some freedoms with the type of parts that can be used (like building a Group N Mitsubishi or a Subaru). For example, if I was to purchase a secondhand Toyota from Toyota Australia, why must I have to use the homologated suspension when I may have a sponsor of another brand, or a brake sponsor, etc?
If the non-works team has to purchase all parts, down to the homologated nut and bolt from the appointed vehicle developer, then there will not be a follow on with new or used cars for the mass of competitors around the world.
Yes, the cars look good and go very well (I’ve seen many at events in South Africa), but this formula needs to consider the masses of drivers around the world for the sport to keep healthy.
Senior Manager Motorsports &
Silverstone Competition Tyres
WHAT'S YOUR VIEW? Email us your thoughts on the current state of the WRC - email@example.com
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