A tougher kind of rally

Browse pages
Current page

1

Current page

2

Current page

3

Current page

4

Current page

5

Current page

6

Current page

7

Current page

8

Current page

9

Current page

10

Current page

11

Current page

12

Current page

13

Current page

14

Current page

15

Current page

16

Current page

17

Current page

18

Current page

19

Current page

20

Current page

21

Current page

22

Current page

23

Current page

24

Current page

25

Current page

26

Current page

27

Current page

28

Current page

29

Current page

30

Current page

31

Current page

32

Current page

33

Current page

34

Current page

35

Current page

36

Current page

37

Current page

38

Current page

39

Current page

40

Current page

41

Current page

42

Current page

43

Current page

44

Current page

45

Current page

46

Current page

47

Current page

48

Current page

49

Current page

50

Current page

51

Current page

52

Current page

53

Current page

54

Current page

55

Current page

56

Current page

57

Current page

58

Current page

59

Current page

60

Current page

61

Current page

62

Current page

63

Current page

64

Current page

65

Current page

66

Current page

67

Current page

68

Current page

69

Current page

70

Current page

71

Current page

72

Current page

73

Current page

74

Current page

75

Current page

76

Current page

77

Current page

78

Current page

79

Current page

80

Current page

81

Current page

82

Current page

83

Current page

84

Current page

85

Current page

86

Current page

87

Current page

88

Current page

89

Current page

90

Current page

91

Current page

92

Current page

93

Current page

94

Current page

95

Current page

96

Current page

97

Current page

98

Current page

99

Current page

100

Current page

101

Current page

102

Current page

103

Current page

104

Current page

105

Current page

106

Current page

107

Current page

108

Current page

109

Current page

110

Current page

111

Current page

112

Current page

113

Current page

114

Current page

115

Current page

116

Current page

117

Current page

118

Current page

119

Current page

120

Current page

121

Current page

122

Current page

123

Current page

124

Current page

125

Current page

126

Current page

127

Current page

128

Current page

129

Current page

130

Current page

131

Current page

132

Current page

133

Current page

134

Current page

135

Current page

136

Current page

137

Current page

138

Current page

139

Current page

140

Current page

141

Current page

142

Current page

143

Current page

144

Current page

145

Current page

146

Current page

147

Current page

148

Current page

149

Current page

150

Current page

151

Current page

152

Current page

153

Current page

154

Current page

155

Current page

156

Current page

157

Current page

158

Current page

159

Current page

160

Current page

161

Current page

162

Current page

163

Current page

164

Current page

165

Current page

166

Current page

167

Current page

168

Current page

169

Current page

170

Current page

171

Current page

172

Current page

173

Current page

174

Current page

175

Current page

176

Current page

177

Current page

178

Current page

179

Current page

180

Wales Rally GB bosses are championing the return of old-style endurance events

It is no secret that FIA president Jean Todt wants to reintroduce long-distance events to the World Rally Championship.

Whether you think it a good idea or not, the plan has been met with strong opposition from the teams. The proposed 350-mile, four-day 2012 Rally Argentina will be more expensive for the competitors, and to combat time restraints, the practice runs for each stage may be dropped from two to one. Its something that seven-time World Champion Sébastien Loeb isn’t happy about.

However longer rallies would certainly appeal to traditionalists and those that believe the sport should be a test of endurance.

Within a few days of writing a web feature on the topic I spoke to Andrew Coe (right), chief executive of Wales Rally GB organiser International Motor Sports. This year’s British round of the WRC will run over four days rather than three, on November 10-13, and Coe explained why.

“After 10 years of the formulaic approach, the sport can and should take itself back to the people rather than expecting everyone to travel,” he says. “The Tour de France is successful because you don’t have to travel massive distances to go and see it. You can easily get two million spectators because it goes past everyone’s front door. That’s the model that we need to adopt.

“Up until recently there have been regulations in place that have made rally organisers adopt a central service park and then a clover leaf route. Were limited in terms of the fact that we are hosted by Wales, but were starting on the north coast and making our way to the south coast. I think its excited people and caught their imagination. There will be four days of rallying as opposed to three and were taking in a lot of iconic forest stages that we haven’t been able to use because of the central service area format. Names like Clocaenog, Great Orme and Garheiniog are all back. Its hopefully going to breathe new life into Rally GB.”

In order to combat the extra cost involved in running longer rallies, WRC Commission president Jarmo Mahonen has made it clear that there would only be a few longer events and that some of the European rounds would be dropped. Can Wales Rally GB justify the longer route to the teams already?

“You have to accept that without the oxygen of publicity any sport will suffer” says Coe. “As organisers it’s our responsibility to try and engineer our event so that it will pull people in. There are a lot of other sports out there and we have to make rallying relevant not only to the hardened rally fan, but to the fans of the future and to families. It’s a spectacular sport if you see it in the raw and its perhaps more entertaining than many other versions of motor sport.

“You have to listen to the drivers and the teams, though, because they have a perspective and 90 per cent of the time it is correct. After all, this sport is their livelihood; they live and breathe this thing. But so do we as organisers.”

The support for rallying is still there as long as you can put on a show that fans will understand. Last year Wales Rally GB organised a promotional event called Rallyfest and with only six weeks notice organisers managed to pull 14,000 people in to watch “Mathew Wilson messing around in a car park in Llandudno”. If you can get fans close to the action then the interest is clearly there. As Coe says – it’s a dramatic sport in the flesh.

But in the current economic climate what is the right solution? A WRC engine costs in the region of £120,000 which may seem a ridiculous figure, and indeed go some way to explaining the lack of competitive privateer teams. Yes, costs must be kept in check, but we should also be looking at ways to raise the profile of rallying. Expensive engines won’t do that but longer rallies surely would.

Ed Foster