Tractor chicanes leave world champion Ogier fuming in Finland
The use of tractors to create a chicane on a Rally Finland stage was deemed “irresponsible” by the teams last week.
World champion Sebastien Ogier said the drivers first raised their concerns about having the two tractors on a stretch of asphalt where the crews were running gravel tyres, as potentially compromising safety in the event of rain.
Ogier told MN: “We talked about this straight after the recce and said this can’t be serious. The FIA is fighting [for] road safety and in F1 we see such bad accidents involving tractors. OK, our cars are a little bit safer with more [protection] around us and we don’t arrive with the same speed, but anyway there’s no point in that – it’s not really clever. We have asked for these to be removed after we drove the stage on Thursday night, for the second time we go to the stage on Friday, but they were not [removed].”
Rally Finland clerk of the course Kai Tarkiainen said the decision was his to place the tractors on the road as part of a commercial agreement with event partner Valtra.
“The company consulted with me to see if that could be done, I consulted the FIA and then made the decision,” Tarkiainen told MN. “We measured and considered everything that could happen. It was done with the FIA’S measurements regarding how much free space there has to be between the obstacles and the regulation doesn’t define what the obstacle should be. I’m surprised to hear this because none of the teams have approached me about it.” ● Rally Finland’s place on the WRC calendar is confirmed for the next two seasons.