Rally Argentina to change route after FIA raises spectator safety concerns
Rally Argentina has made major changes to the route for next month’s event after the FIA was unhappy with safety for the proposed itinerary.
WRC safety delegate Michele Mouton travelled to Villa Carlos Paz just before last week’s Rally Mexico to look at the planned route. Mouton was concerned at the fast nature and limited access for fans on the second and longest day. The organisers scrapped the Saturday itinerary and issued a revised schedule.
Rally Argentina is running under warning for spectator safety infringements last season and WRC manager Jarmo Mahonen made it quite clear that a repeat of those issues would result in Argentina being ejected from the series.
Talking to MN about the changes made at her request, Mouton said: “Saturday’s stages were a long way to the north of the service park and I understand why they did this – they were taking the route away from the spectators to try to avoid the problems we had last year. The trouble is that the three stages they had used were in very quick succession with very little road section between them.
“These were stages from Dakar, just straight roads and too fast. The other problem was that you could only get spectators into the first stage. So, now we have three stages much closer to Cordoba [the biggest population centre], but with enough room for the spectators.”
The original 12-hour Saturday included 89 competitive miles but has been replaced by 98 miles in 10 hours of action.