DRIV­ERS CON­FUSED OVER CAN­CELLED STAGE

Motor Sport News - - Rally News -

There was frus­tra­tion and con­fu­sion from the driv­ers af­ter the FIA can­celled one of the World Rally Cham­pi­onship’s fastest ever stages in Swe­den last week.

The sec­ond run of the 20-mile Knon test was canned on Satur­day af­ter­noon. M-sport driver Ott Tanak set an av­er­age speed of 85.62mph in the morn­ing be­fore the FIA stepped in and called a halt to the re-run of the stage.

The pre­vi­ous high­est av­er­age speed in re­cent sea­sons was Se­bastien Ogier’s 83.88mph run through My­hin­paa in Fin­land.

Tanak him­self ad­mit­ted he wasn’t sure about the can­cel­la­tion, say­ing: “I don’t know if it’s a safety thing. The stage was just fast, very fast, but ac­tu­ally a lit­tle bit bor­ing – it wasn’t a stage like Oun­in­po­hja. It was just straight.”

There had been a ques­tion mark over the Knon stage from the mo­ment the crews fin­ished the recce for what was a brand new road on this year’s route.

One driver added: “I don’t un­der­stand how we can get to this point in the rally be­fore the FIA stepped in and did some­thing about it. The road was just straight, not dan­ger­ous, just bor­ing. But it was like this when the FIA in­spected the route.”

FIA rally di­rec­tor Jarmo Ma­ho­nen said the de­ci­sion was taken as soon as pos­si­ble.

“We agree to look at the data af­ter the first run,” he said. “From our point of view, it was too fast.

“These cars are quicker than the old cars – but in this stage last year’s [cars] were go­ing more than 130kph [80mph]. These kind of stages teach us one thing: we need to take a more firm grip when or­gan­is­ers want to in­tro­duce new stages, we have to be present to check them. If we see a stage time of more than 130kph then it’s an in­di­ca­tor that we need to be look­ing at this.”

Tanak was rapid on stage

Pho­tos: mck­lein-iim­age­database.com

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