Lessons not learnt
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.