I’ve watched the changes to the WRC cars for this season with utter disbelief.
I’ve been involved with rallying for many years and I’ve seen Group 4, Group B, Group A and then the WRC at the top level so I know all about the speeds and the dangers.
If you look at any of the footage from last year, other than the flat sounds these things make, they’re spectacular enough. We’re going through the most threatening phase that rallying has faced since the demise of Group B yet we’re actually bragging that the current cars are now faster than Group B and the new ones will be considerably faster still. “Ah, but the cars are much safer,” they say.
Yes they are for the crew, but a flat chat car rolling through the trees and taking out spectators with the crew walking away is scant consolation.
Accident investigators will tell you the best way to slow a car down is a big spike in the centre of the steering wheel. Better safety for the crew means just one thing; more speed.
These are the best drivers in the world; look at the great god Group B; no matter how fast and dangerous the cars were they still drove them at and beyond the limit. Rallying does not need these monsters.
Joe Public and MPS cannot comprehend 380bhp in a forest, at 120mph plus speeds, without barriers and run offs.
We’ll receive no sympathy if something terrible happens. Insurers want larger premiums because they’re covering themselves and understandably so.
The forestry owners are getting more and more nervous and so are governments. The organisers are pulling out of organising rallies because they’re terrified of legal action.
If you want to watch crazy four-wheel-drive cars on the limit go and watch rallycross; they’re even more powerful and you’re stood behind barriers in relative safety. Slower does not mean boring; the right cars would still look good because they’ve still got the best drivers. Please leave the rest of us to enjoy the sport we love without waiting for the headlines and the end of it.
The MSA stepped in and made night rallying safer before a likely big accident; the FIA needs to do the same with the WRC before the knock-on effect kills national rallying. Mick Strafford Via email
MN, January 18