The new cars live up to that age-old mantra of looking fast while standing still. We’re also encouraged that they’ll back this up when they’re on the move.
We were lucky enough to watch Kris Meeke and Citroën at one of the C3 WRC’s final tests in Wales, and the car’s ability to carry speed on a soaking, muddy stage was everything that rallying should be: a jaw-dropping vehicle allowing a top crew to display skill, judgement and cajones on terrain that would overcome mere mortals. The new cars will be even better to watch over the snowy tracks of Sweden or in the murky depths of Welsh forests.
The technical shake-up and the absence of the all-conquering VW factory team should deliver a more open series, too, and it’s conceivable that by the final quarter of 2017 we could have four teams and six drivers capable of winning every event.
There’s also good news regarding coverage of the WRC. After years of its promoter being caught between a desire to land global television deals and a growing realisation that internet streaming could deliver the immersion rallying’s die-hard followers crave, it has been announced that the 2017 season will be broadcast on Red Bull TV (available at redbull.tv or via a dedicated app) and available to watch free of charge. There will be live coverage from each round, plus highlights shows, while a series of guest hosts are set to include a certain Mark Webber.
So not only could WRC in 2017 deliver close competition and a dazzling spectacle, it should now be easier for more people to actually see it.