Lessons not learnt

Motor Sport News - - Have Your Say -

When I first read the FIA tech­ni­cal bul­letin, out­lin­ing the free­ing up of en­gine/power re­stric­tions in ral­ly­ing, diff de­sign, over­all di­men­sions and aero it was about the time that stage records were be­ing rewrit­ten on the rally for­merly known as the 1000 Lakes – Rally Fin­land.

Now ex­posed to rou­tine in-car footage on most events, the prospect of these cars trav­el­ling even faster in­evitably brought back mem­o­ries of the day in 1986 when Henri Toivo­nen and Ser­gio Cresto lost their lives in a Group B Lan­cia Delta.

Par­tic­u­larly, the in­ter­view with Hannu Mikkola, his great friend, who ap­peared, de­spite be­ing con­tracted to Audi, to lament the im­pact of the tech­nol­ogy race, em­pha­sis­ing that fierce com­pe­ti­tion, and the spec­ta­cle was just as great in the past years.

De­spite be­ing the au­thor of those reg­u­la­tions, the FIA’S im­me­di­ate re­ac­tion was to ban Gp B, rev­ert­ing to show­room Gp A, in the in­ter­ests of safety.

So, as we again climb the slip­pery slope of engi­neer­ing rally cars to­wards greater speed and cost, where has that les­son been lost, and who will pay when the in­evitable hap­pens?

I would ask every­one to re­flect on the bril­liant ar­ti­cles pub­lished in

about those great years when mul­ti­ple man­u­fac­tur­ers flooded our sport, com­pe­ti­tion was fierce, great names were born and our sport flour­ished, with ‘af­ford­able’, pro­duc­tion-based cars.

You can’t turn the clock back, but you don’t need multi-mil­lion pound rally cars, or any more tech­nol­ogy driven tragedies in our sport, es­pe­cially when the re­sult is that event safety reg­u­la­tions are now crip­pling our sport, at all lev­els.

April 6

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