“It may be time to con­sider reg­u­lar­ity sec­tions again”

Motor Sport News - - Rally News -

Since the out­law­ing of Targa Tim­ing in 1988 the process of get­ting a re­sult at a true 30mph av­er­age has al­ways been a strug­gle for or­gan­is­ers. There are few lanes that lend them­selves to be a straight­for­ward test for top crews.

To as­sist in achiev­ing a re­sult, farm­yards and short de­tours along tracks have be­come com­mon­place, how­ever the as­sis­tance that these de­vices pro­vide is likely to be largely lost as the MSA, com­ply­ing with in­sur­ance re­quire­ments, take a strict ap­proach to us­ing any pri­vate land on sec­tions timed to the sec­ond. In fu­ture, any sec­tion us­ing the small­est part of pri­vate prop­erty will have to be timed to the minute. Or­gan­is­ers, who have been strug­gling to find a means of get­ting the top crews to drop sec­onds, will have a moun­tain to climb to get a clear re­sult.

Lead­ing crews have now reached a su­perb stan­dard of com­pet­i­tive­ness. A com­bi­na­tion of skilled driv­ing, ex­cel­lent car prepa­ra­tion, al­most fault­less nav­i­ga­tion plus flaw­less event man­age­ment in the left-hand seat makes it dif­fi­cult for or­gan­is­ers to put to­gether a chal­leng­ing route for them. On the re­cent Powys Lanes, the lead­ing crew ar­rived at the petrol halt clean of any penal­ties, while their near­est ri­vals were snap­ping at their heels, with just a few sec­onds dropped. In con­trast, even those in the lower reaches of the top 10 had dropped sig­nif­i­cant time at sev­eral con­trols.

Clearly to get a re­sult some sec­tions have to be timed to the sec­ond. Even if crews could be sep­a­rated by min­utes, it would be im­pos­si­ble to get a clear re­sult for a 90-car field with only 30 min­utes of late­ness.

The rein­tro­duc­tion of tests next year may help or­gan­is­ers. Although there are re­stric­tions on how tests can be run; they must pre­cede the road sec­tions of any rally and all com­peti­tors must com­plete any tests be­fore mid­night. Also, when tests have been used in the past, they have not al­ways been well re­ceived and many crews are un­happy to use them as a method of de­ter­min­ing the out­come of a road rally.

It may there­fore be time to con­sider al­low­ing the use of reg­u­lar­ity sec­tions on road ral­lies once again. They were banned from such events a cou­ple of years ago af­ter their mis­use up to that point. Ba­si­cally they were be­ing used as timed to the sec­ond stan­dard sec­tions but with­out the re­stric­tions that those types of sec­tions en­tailed. If brought back they would ob­vi­ously have to be closely po­liced to en­sure that the po­si­tions of in­ter­me­di­ate time con­trols aren’t known be­fore­hand, that crews will be se­verely pe­nalised for slow­ing or stop­ping within sight of a con­trol and, maybe, even hav­ing vary­ing av­er­age speeds to ad­here to.

The Jogu­lar­ity for­mat would seem to meet these re­quire­ments; it’s a sim­pli­fied ver­sion and wouldn’t ne­ces­si­tate the pur­chase of some­thing like a Brantz timer to main­tain the pre­scribed sched­ule.

This thought may not be palat­able to some but it may be the only al­ter­na­tive to hav­ing ral­lies con­tin­u­ally de­cided on en­gine ca­pac­ity.

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