You won't find any Mini Coutrymans in this rallying video...
Rallying is in the doldrums. Both the number of manufacturers competing in the WRC and the amount of people watching it are dwindling. Media coverage is pretty abysmal. The sport desperately needs something to rekindle the interest of marketing folk and the man on the street.
Which one for the heated rear window?
Today's Time for Tea? reminds us of a time when droves of fans made their way to the remotest rural locations to catch a glimpse of driving gods doing impossible things in iconic cars. And few are as iconic as the Audi Sport Quattro, one of the definitive cars of the Group B era.
Group B was banned as it was deemed too dangerous. When fans and competitors are dying at events, something undoubtedly has to change. But the very fact the cars and drivers from the '80s are still being discussed and revered to this day demonstrates what a thrilling era of rallying it was. Can you imagine motorsport aficionados discussing the first time they saw a Mini Countryman WRC in thirty years time? Exactly.
The Audi Sport Quattro and cars of its ilk (Lancia Delta S4, Ford RS200, Metro 6R4) fascinated and entertained a generation of fans. Sit back and remind yourself why with this video, and let's all hope rallying can produce something equally captivating in the near future.
Great video and a smashing car. No wonder rallying is in such a bad way today, the cars just boring. I love watching Seb Loeb drive, but the new cars make even the C4 WRC look hugely exciting. And the battle of the C4 WRC vs the Focus WRC was pretty dire at times, with just two cars running the field!
In spite of Mini and Skoda's efforts to get into the sport, it's still just not that exciting. It's not just because Loeb is so good either, the battle for 2nd and 3rd should become a huge event when Loeb's victory seems assured. But more often than not, it seems a bit dull.
I also think rallying has suffered from the fact that the majority of new cars are more boring than ever now and the fact that so few people are genuinely interested in good cars anymore. Putting a car into the WRC and hoping to sell a few hot models off the back of it would just be a bad idea these days. Race on sunday, buy on Monday died years ago.
Look at that list of names! They also had the Safari rally.
One man is solely responsible for the ruination of the sport: Prodrive mogul David Richards.
His Eccleston-esq dream to bring rallying to the masses by commercialising it and televising it everywhere led to sponsors setting the terms and not manufacturers. Its not about manufacturers proving their cars on the rally scene so that they can sell rally specials, its about providing moving billboards. That's why they don't night stages any more and they are washed at each service...because you cant see the logos! Don't even get me started on paying to get into the forest!
The spectator who stands in a frozen Welsh forest at 3am waiting for the crisp sound of a BDG Escort on full song to pierce the air has been pushed out. Alienate him and the sport dies. Easy.
Group B really was the peak of this amazing sport. It had a resurgence with the early Scoobies but just who would ever be interested in a sodding Mini Countryman?
They really need to find a change. They can't really go back to the Group B concept as you know more people would die than was acceptable.
So, if the modern cars look dull is it the cara that need to change? There is nothing wrong with the drivers. And I can't really see anything wrong with the courses. It's the cars which just don't grab your heart or balls.
Ditch the manufacturers? It does seem that many facets of Motorsport are just more exciting when the big boys aren't running the show. Touring Cars is well past its heyday and would be better going back to less in your face involvement from the manufacturers.
I think people are just bored of multinationals buying victories in order to sell dull cars. Some of these sports need to find a way to still attract enough money to run but without being just a sales tool so obviously.