i’d like to offer an answer to some point raised in this thread so here goes -
-Merge the IRC and WRC. More rounds, more cars, more manufacturers and more drivers can only be a good thing, plus I suspect the likes of Mikkelsen are more than capable of holding their own against Loeb et al.
Great in theory, won’t work in practice. If both were to merge, there would still only be one team per manufacturer, Currently the manufacturers in both series are - Ford, Citroen/Peugeot, Skoda/VW, Renault, Subaru, Mitsubishi, Mini. Looks an awesome line up until Citroen/Pug decides to run just under the one brand, same with VW/Skoda. In doing so making many top level drivers redundant, they in turn would take the seats of other privateers and along with that the sponsors they would probably use. Yes the entries would be bountiful, until budget restraints kick in and drivers start missing long haul rounds as its cheaper to stay in the EU rounds. Just ask Kris Meeke!!
Base the cars on road-legal production models. I don't mean some expensive, economically unviable homologation run. Set the rules so the cars on the rally stage have to be capable of being bought and specced if you had deep enough pockets. Take Ford for example - You can buy a Fiesta and take it to Mountune for modifications. Whether in-house or privateer-based, this process should always be possible for road cars.
They are based on road legal production cars. The Fiesta WRC is a Fiesta ZetecS base. Then given to M-Sport for their work to do.
M-Sport offer kits for the Fiesta starting at the R1 which is £17,000 all in right up through to WRC which is in the region of £340,000 visit http://www.m-sport.co.uk/
and scroll to the bottom for their dedicated websites to each spec of car. R1,R2,S2000 & RRC
-Bring back touring stages. Rather than having everything packed into a small area or even an arena, they should have stages all over the country with transfer stages run to regularity rules in between. Physically spreading out the action means they can scoop up more spectators.
We did this on Rally GB last year, and will again for this year, the competitors weren’t overly fussed with the distances in all honesty as there was considerably more road miles than there were stage miles. Spectator reactions were similar too.
They need a major terrestrial/digital broadcaster behind them. This needn't necessarily be a front-line channel (BBC1/2, ITV1, C4 etc), simply because I recognise that it's not going to grab as big an audience as, say, the football or the athletics. However, the superb entire-day's-motor-sport coverage we get on ITV4 on BTCC racedays suggests there's capacity for it. Perhaps a 'rallying roundup' could be added to the end of the BTCC programme, or they could do a more substantial show on non-BTCC weekends. Still, ITV4 proves there's mileage in non-F1 motor sport coverage.
Not having a TV deal still is a big blow for us fans. But one appeal to the current format of close action within a few km’s of each other means its easier to film. Longer stages means more people to film, more people means more cost in wages, and this i think is the sticking point in current negotiations. IRC run most of their stuff from chase helicopters and in car footage, but often you lose part of the spectacle viewing it from above, still it’s better than nothing!
However, if the car had to start life as a production-line showroom car (albeit the hottest version), and the transformation from road car to rally car was handled by an outside tuner (in the manner of the BTCC), then it'd be easier for manufacturers to manage and market their 'rally specials' (they'd just have to build 'tribute' versions of their hot hatches), what would look like hard work to a manufacturer becomes a great lifeblood contract for a third-party motor sport preparation firm, and punters could buy these cars in the showroom knowing they were only an overhaul away from being the cars on the rally stage - then they'd be simultaneously cheaper for the manufacturers, better news for Britain's motor sport sector, more appealing to buyers and easier to compete in.
I’ve answered this one already
BUT the cars must be to a set price and privateers must be able to purchase a car off the shelf from whoever they want. Maybe a limit of Â£300k for a car?? And engines like in F1, have to be lifed to last a certain time, have rev limits, and breath through restrictors.
This is already in place re engine lifeing, they run to restrictors also, 34mm ones i belive.
Vocal Minority said:
I am all for the reduction of costs by making the cars more basic. I understand the major cost in modern rallying is all of the clever electronic jiggery pokery. If the road car don't have it, the rally car shouldn't. Though mechanical parts, eg. engines, clutches, gearboxes, suspension can be beefed up for spectacle's sake - this is relatively cheap.
This also happend in the new rules, diffs were changed to mechanical, paddle shifts were outlawed, centre diffs binned (i think).
Nick M said:
They don't excite me !! They're clearly being driven quickly, but the drivers no longer seem to be on the back foot - they're not having to fight to control the cars, to tame them even, just being smooth and quick and efficient. Boring.
Richard Burns proved early on that clean safe driving was the best way to win a rally, McRae,Gronholm,Solber etc all got shown up by it, as exciting as they were to watch hanging it out every chance they got, when they binned it or had a moment, Mr Consistent would breeze past, still going at a pace, but just making it tidier. Imo having RWD only cars wouldn’t bring the spectacle back as the current crop of consistently tidy drivers would tame it, knowing ass out round the bend is slower than getting the power down later in the corner.
In the UK the MSA needs to stop banning perfectly good cars from competing.
They saw fit to ban the biggest draw, at a national level, Andy Burton's Pug 306.
My neighbour can't get his logbook renewed due to his car being a kit car, one pissed off owner who'd like to see the MSA up against a wall and
Then they wonder why entries are falling.
Another problem with WRC right now is the loss of the Spectacular Drivers, apart from the Solberg Bros no one else in the sport seems to have the enthusiasm for it. i’d question whether Loeb even counts as a celebrity outside of France, actually probably even in France! No driver has given the ‘mass marketing’ appeal drivers of old did. Loeb always appears as if he’s turning up for a 9-5 desk job and rarely emits any form of emotion whereas Petter is so passionate about it that he cant help but show his emotion, the interview he gave at stage end on the last round after going the whole stage without power steering was amazing, he was clearly drained of all his energy and downed a bottle of water in 3seconds flat, but still gave one hell of an interview, Loeb rolled up, did his usual mumble then drove off. You can see he’s bored of it all now and is counting down the days till he retires.
When asked if he’d like to see the return of Safari and Kenya as the monster WRC rounds he said no. Why?? The long stages don’t appeal to him and because he likes his sleep. (something like that anyway, i’ll try and find the link). Although i think its because he knows he couldn’t keep up the consistent driving style he has over 100km stages against drivers like Solberg and Latvala.
I know i haven’t given much in the way of ‘fixing’ the wrc, but thats because i’m at a loss to what can be done tbh. I’d love to see more manufacturers using cars we can go out and buy to an almost identical spe. I’d also love to see the African rounds back as they were great for showing up drivers strengths/weaknesses over the long stages. Take the TV coverage back outside the car and from a birdseye view as its not exciting to watch. Yes sometimes you only see a car on screen for 10seconds but the Pro’s behind the camera always knew the best locations to get the action shots, action shots = exciting viewing.
As a last note to someone who asked why the stages are predominantly in Wales, its due to the fact most of Rally GB funding comes from the Welsh Assembly.
And the Forestry commission in Wales don’t charge as much to use the roads as they do in England (so i’ve been told in the past)