LOEB WINS ON 205 T16 DE­BUT Ma­ho­nen: Rally China can­cel­la­tion has forced 2017 cal­en­dar re­think

BRC 3 ti­tle win­ner Wheeler eye­ing a come­back af­ter crash

Motor Sport News - - Capito’s Farewell - Pho­tos: mck­lein-im­age­database.com Barum Rally Zlin re­port, p30

FIA rally direc­tor Jarmo Ma­ho­nen has told Mo­tor­sport News the can­cel­la­tion of Rally China has ‘de­railed’ next year’s cal­en­dar.

The cal­en­dar had been com­ing to­gether and was ex­pected to be re­vealed in Septem­ber. Now, how­ever, the full sched­ule of 2017 ral­lies won’t be known much be­fore the end of the year.

Ma­ho­nen said: “Ev­ery­thing was look­ing good and we were happy with 2017, now this hap­pens we have to go back to the draw­ing board and push the puz­zles around. I think it’s fair to say China has de­railed the cal­en­dar for next year.”

The gov­ern­ing body and WRC Pro­moter will res­tart ne­go­ti­a­tions with China, but a ques­tion mark over one long haul event has a knock-on ef­fect for the rest of the cal­en­dar.

Ma­ho­nen added that he wants a sig­nif­i­cant re­think from this year’s cal­en­dar.

“The [2016] cal­en­dar is not bal­anced,” he said. “We shouldn’t have six gravel ral­lies in a row and then we have two big gaps . We would like to see Cor­sica back to its spring date, run­ning in April.”

The first three ral­lies of the sea­son – along with the dates – will be con­firmed as Monte Carlo, Swe­den and Mex­ico from a WRC Com­mis­sion meet­ing to­day (Wed­nes­day). More of the cal­en­dar will come from World Mo­tor Sport Coun­cil at the end of Septem­ber, but it could take an­other month from there be­fore the full sched­ule is known.

Chris Wheeler has sealed the BRC 3 ti­tle and vowed to re­turn to ral­ly­ing af­ter his hor­ror crash on the Nicky Grist Stages in July.

Wheeler has won the ti­tle as none of his ri­vals have en­tered the fi­nal round, the Rally Isle of Man, on Septem­ber 15/17.

Wheeler had to be cut out of his Citroen DS 3 R3 af­ter a drive­shaft ex­ploded on land­ing af­ter a crest on the Nicky Grist. He and Yan Grif­fiths were thrown into a tree head on.

Wheeler said: “Next year I’ll have a bit of fun. I’ll do a few small events to get my con­fi­dence up. I want to get back out prop­erly in 2018.”

Wheeler suf­fered a frac­tured kneecap, torn lig­a­ments and in­ter­nal bruis­ing to the chest and back from the crash. He is now walk­ing with­out crutches with the aide of a knee brace. ● Wheeler’s co-driver Yan Grif­fiths faces a long road to re­cov­ery af­ter dam­ag­ing his back dur­ing the crash. He suf­fered a crushed L2 ver­te­brae and cracked l5 and coc­cyx. He’s in a body brace with scans up­com­ing in Septem­ber. The Welsh­man has also vowed to re­turn, af­ter 24 years com­pet­ing.

Cor­sica could move

Wheeler’s DS 3 on the Nicky Grist Stages

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.