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A meeting last week of WRC organisers in Spain failed to produce effective proposals regarding the complex issue of artificially slowing cars down on stages. There had been hopes that workable solutions could be found which should make the work of chicanes more effective, fairer and safer. In the end, the recommendations given to organisers was to use three or four heavy, but movable, bales around 10 metres apart, which had already be in place during recce. These proposals raise their own issues, notably if the location of the chicane is on a normally open public road, they would have to be removed after recce. No proposals were given about penalties for hitting a chicane, it was assumed that an impact would damage a car, thereby creating its own penalty for the offending crew, and that should a chicane be moved, then marshals should be on hand to immediately put the obstacle back to its original position in the road. A straw bale of suitable size can weigh several hundred kilos. No proposals were issued about chicane escape roads, and no explanation was given as to the FIA’s reasons why chicanes were deemed desirable. Was it solely to lower the speed of cars in places which were specially fast, or in specially hazardous environments, or to lower the overall average speed of cars over the stages concerned?
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