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World Rallying - State of the Union


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#1 FlatOverCrest

FlatOverCrest
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Posted 30 December 2009 - 20:04

I am sorry David Evans (Autosport)....but I simply don't agree with your view that all is well with the WRC. It is far from well...it is sick and it has cancer, in fact several cancers and it’s time for some therapy. I have met David on several occasions and he is a nice guy and a good journalist, but unfortunately of late he has become a mouthpiece for the WRC, and in my opinion, he is not reflecting the true feelings of rally fans and competitors.

I have been toying with this article for a while and I have put to paper some thoughts, experiences and observations that go against the current view that all is well in World Rallying. I did have this in 3 parts but I have placed it all together as one article at Gilles suggestion. I hope some of you may find it of interest.

With the arrival of Kimi Raikonnen to the World Rally Championship in 2010, it is fair to say that a little more spotlight will be on the WRC this year and in turn it will bring many new fans to rallying, which is never a bad thing. The following is a little bit of an overview of what was, what has come to pass and what might be. It’s a long piece, so if you have 15 minutes and a cup of coffee and you’re bored, then welcome to a small patch of Forest in the cyber world... I have decided to split this into 3 parts, as it is quite long!

Global rallying has been through some incredible highs and some extremely dark lows; however the one thing it will always have is the following of the great bobble hat brigade! At least...it used to.

In days gone by, mainly the 70's and 80's we saw rallying grow into one of the most supported and followed motorsports the world over. Time and time again, the great names like Blomqvist, Allen, Makinen, Hopkirk, Rohrl, Mikola and the young Vatanen, many of these guys became names that our fathers knew and watched and the cars progressed from the two wheel drive Opels, Mk2 Ford Escorts, Porsche’s and the incredible Lancia Stratos, through to a changing time in the sport. Many feel even to this day, that the sheer speed and skill shown by these drivers in two-wheel drive machinery will never be repeated, due to the advancement of technology and driver aids. In those days, the driver had a screaming engine, with plenty of space in the engine bay for a club fisted mechanic to wield spanners and bash things with hammers and simple enough to fix that the driver and co-driver could often affect repairs on the event itself. The cars were simple to drive, but staggeringly frightening to drive flat out and yet they did...and the sights and sounds were spectacular... don’t believe me? Have a watch of possibly one of the very best in a two-wheel drive car, Ari Vatanen...here in the Manta showing just how mind blowingly fast you could actually drive these cars.... bear in mind...this is wet tarmac...Downhill...and at 37 seconds into this clip....if he hadn’t have caught the back of the car in that split second....the two concrete gate posts could have easily killed either one of them...a simply breathtaking moment of talent! Listen to the co-driver’s response...says it all...


The 1980's brought an era yet to be seen again, although we came close, VERY close, but I will come to that later. In the 1980's Audi shocked the world with a 4 wheel drive car that was to transform World Rallying forever and create a brand and a name that even today millions know, yet many do not realise the origins of where it came from. "Quattro" was the new thing.. and in rallying terms, manufacturers like Nissan, Opel, Ford, Lancia and Toyota suddenly saw the future and it was with 4 wheels driving instead of 2! The age of Group B was born! More names on the driver front became household items as well....Rallying was about to enter the most popular era it has ever had.

As the world began to see these monsters appear, the Audi S1 Quattro Sport, the Lancia Delta S4, the Peugeot 205T16, the Austin Metro 6R4 and the Ford RS200, plus others, we began to see Rally cars with Formula 1 engine Turbo chargers and super chargers, producing fire spitting animals with such advanced aero dynamics that they could literally ‘fly’ through the air over crests and jumps, with enough aero downforce to push the rear of the car downward and keep the nose up. Driver’s knew these machines were the very pinnacle of motorsport engineering and the competition was truly incredible.

As more and more fans came flocking to the sport, it was actually getting out of control. Driver’s were being asked to go flat out on the road yet they could not see the road 80 yards ahead as the crowd would be standing “IN” the road, in front of them, to get that camera shot, or that sensation as this fire spitting, noisy combination of man and machine came flying toward them. Insane? Yes.... spectacular to watch... like we have never seen again.... Watching some of the videos of Walter Rohrl in the Audi flat out and looking from the onboard, seeing the road appear in front of him like Moses parting the red sea... was scary, breath taking, crazy, stupid, ...there simply are not enough adjectives to describe the sensations of that time.


It was during this time that legendary names started to appear in addition to the drivers’ names.... names like Sisteron, Kielder, Corsica, Safari, 1000 Lakes and one of the most famous places in all world rallying...the Col du Turini

Unfortunately...it was simply too much. People became more irresponsible about where they stood to watch and unfortunately drivers to this day, are fallible human beings. If you have watched the Youtube video above, you can see the sheer number of fans, hundreds of thousands, 10,20,30 deep in places...but where they were permitted to stand at times was indeed sheer lunacy and this placed even greater pressure on the drivers of the day.

There were of course the crashes that not only took spectators lives, they took some great drivers lives as well. We had begun to see a transition of the old guard to the new guard. The likes of Mikola, Blomqvist, Pond, were seeing drivers like Juha Kankkunen, Vatanen, Toivonen, Mouton, Salonen all start to make their mark and name for themselves. Tragically we only got to glimpse a talent that could possibly have been the greatest talent of his generation when Henri Toivonen was snatched from us at a very young age. With his death, it was clear that Group B machines and more importantly the millions of spectators that followed the sport, had gotten out of control and so Group B came to an end in 1986.

For many manufacturers Group meant the end of their interest, yet Group A now took over and whole raft of new drivers became household names, it was in this time that the Lancia Delta Integrale became the weapon of choice, but several manufacturers were now gathering and observing this new format any many liked what they saw. Toyota soon returned with the Celica GT4, along with Ford with the Sierra Cosworth, Mitsubishi with the Galant VR4, Group A had arrived and the 1990’s saw names like Biasion, Kankkunen, Sainz, Auriol, Vatanen, Eriksson and Delecour, take this new level category of Rallying and make it their own.

It wasn't long before the world came to hear and understand of a young Scotsman by the name of Colin McRae. Colin was setting the national rally scene on fire, spectacular yes, frustrating yes, wreckless yes, but no one could deny the young guy’s raw talent and in 1992 he burst onto the world scene in Finland with the chance to drive the Subaru Legacy and his first foray into the world championship with Prodrive Subaru.

From this moment onwards.....the world rally championship seemed alive again! With cars that many of us grew up desperately hoping to own one day, the Subaru Impreza, Toyota Celica GT4, Ford Escort Cosworth, Lancia Integrale (just about), Mitsubishi Lancer, now with names like Makinen, Sainz, Auriol, Delecour, Schwarz, Kankkunen (still going), Eriksson and now McRae.

With drivers coming through the British Rally Championship like Colin’s brother Alistair and a young Manxman by the names of Richard Burns. The middle to late 90’s saw any of these drivers able to win a world championship event in a variety of different cars. In 1994 and 1995 Colin McRae ended the UK’s drought of WRC wins and in 95 took the championship. McRae was now officially one of the worlds fastest and most talented drivers. But he sat in extremely capable company with many true characters in the sport...who remembers watching Kankkunen get out of his car and immediately light up a small cigar?

It was in a fact a snowy Dalby forest in 1993 where I had woken up at 2am at the request of a University buddy of mine (at Leeds) to go up the road to the Yorkshire Forest, as the Rally was coming close and the stage was about an hour away. This would be my very first “live” rally to attend, having watched it for so many years. So we get up in the pitch black cold and ventured up the road in my little MG Metro Turbo in what can only be described as god awful conditions, driving sleet/snow, ice building up on the car aerial as we drove, the headlights becoming dim with snow and ice...I looked at my mate and said....”have we completely lost our minds?”..but we carried on. Well we didn’t park in the Forestry Commission car park at Dalby....we ‘slithered’ and how we didn’t hit some of the other parked cars I will never know and we ‘slid’ into a space that was the spot we decided to park in. Into the sleeping bags, grab a few hours kip...and see what we have in the morning.

What we had in the morning was a winter wonderland of fresh snow and freezing conditions and the final leg of what used to be an Epic Rally event over 5 days! As I waited for car 1... I again questioned my sanity at 7.30am being stood on the inside of a 90 right that was at the end of a long downhill section.... Then I heard it.... that sound that generations have heard, the screaming engine notes of a distant car..the excitement built and there it was...slithering from one side to the other...the nose of the car dancing and heading toward us as speed was Juha Kankkunen and Nicky Grist in the Toyota Celica GT4 ST185, popping and banging as the anti-lag kicked in, it turns the corner nose right by our feet and drifts beautifully to the outside of the corner at full acceleration the perfect Scandinavian flick having been perfectly performed and it was away...fire spitting from the exhaust with every gear change and a backfire from the antilag like a shotgun blast.... This gives you an idea of conditions..


My mouth fell open...my mate is grinning at me from ear to ear and he says “so you liked that then?”.... My decision to get involved in this sport was cemented there and then on that patch of frozen/snowy forest!

Another fact to consider.... in 1993, One Hundred and Seventy Six (176) cars started the event!!!!!!! When was the last time you heard of a current WRC event attracting over 100 entries? Let alone nearly 200!!!

At this time...the Network Q/RAC Rally was drawing 3.2 million “live” spectators to the event, just one round of the world rally championship. Statistics show Rallying was in fact at this time, the most widely watched sport ‘live’ in the world. This included TV coverage that understood that daily highlight programmes covering all the major events of the day were exactly what fans wanted to watch, with Sunday often having a ‘live’ stage from Cheltenham racecourse, plus a recap of the day’s events. The Top Gear Rally report was something that every British rally fan looked out for, in fact most of us would have been out in the stages during the day to head back to try and catch the report on TV, or at least record to then watch as we dried out our clothes ready for the next day which again would start at about 4am!

You see, in those days, groups of friends would band together in cars 4 and 5 in each vehicle, as a car park pass was just £5 for the car, irrespective of how many you had in the car. So part of the great experience was getting the maps out and planning where you were going to watch and what the access in and out was like, to enable us to watch the top 20, then head back to the cars to head off to the next stage we wanted to see and we would try to fit in around 4 or more stages in the day, as well as a visit to a section of the route where the cars would pass, even finding pub car parks where say the Toyota Team had suddenly set up a mobile service point.

THIS was world rallying at its best, the fans close, making it a weekend experience to try and get the most action you could see and then be home to watch a report, get warm, get some food and do it all again the following day. In 1994 I had the Subaru team servicing in the garage forecourt on the Otley Road in Leeds, directly opposite my student house! You have no idea the joy and happiness this caused! But the long routes and mobile servicing was not long for this world....more on that later.

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In 1998 the World Rally Championship introduced a new car for the WRC which would be called, funnily enough a “WRC” car. Having seen the likes of Makinen dominate the majority of the Group A era with some fantastic competition from others, the new WRC cars the Toyota Corolla, The Subaru Impreza, The Ford Escort, all showed the future direction of the sport. Mitsubishi however decided to stick with the Group A Lancer and held on for as long as it could but it was clear the new technological WRC cars were the way forward.

By the year 2000, the WRC had Hyundai, Seat, Subaru, Ford, Toyota, Skoda, Mitsubishi, Peugeot all competing in the championship with WRC cars and the competition was EPIC! The atmosphere at stages like Col du Turini on the Monte, were electric, with the atmosphere returning to similar Group B era fan noise and spectacle... We had Sainz, the McRae’s, Burns, Kank’s (still), Delecour, Auriol, Makinen, Gronholm, Schwarz, Eriksson, Rovenpera and a young man by the name of Solberg appearing in the wings... and a cast of others all fighting for event wins with incredible competition.....


THIS in my personal opinion, was the moment world championship rallying had regained as close as it had ever been, to the heady days of the Group B era. It was simply..fantastic to watch.

In addition, national rally championships were also once again thriving and the French and British championships with their “Formula 2” rules with screaming two wheel drive rockets, producing great drivers like Loeb, Head, Rowe, Higgins, Gardemeister, Laukkanen and the great Welsh Bus driver....Gwyndaf Evans was still schooling the youngsters. For once the national championships had a focus and a position which again has yet to be repeated, as a feeder ground for the World Championship. More drivers found their way to the World Championship from the British Championship than at any previous time.

It was also at this time that Bernie sold the rights of the WRC to International Sportsworld Communicators (ISC) a company lead by Dave Richards and it was decided that the world championship could and should become more like Formula 1, more organised ticketing, better control on spectators, shorter routes, no more remote service points and clover leaf servicing that returned the cars constantly the service area which could become like a Formula 1 paddock with passes issued for certain areas of access, media support rooms and central rally control run from plush F1 style trucks and transport just as capable of any F1 paddock. In short.... Expenditure started to go through the roof, teams started having huge grand paddocks, deals were signed with groups that generated ISC a lot of money and so events like the British Round of the World Rally Championship became “Rally Wales”, so the days of long events and epic competition of crews and teams encountering all sorts of different stage conditions and styles of stages...were gone!

In short, there was a belief that the WRC can become something that it is not and that is a ‘live’ action made for TV style of sport, just like F1. It isn’t and never will be and from 2002 onwards it became clear that with more and more manufacturers quitting the WRC, the format was clearly not working.

It was at this time that we lost yet another young star from the world of Rallying and a genuinely super fella and that was Richard Burns. Soon after I was once again at the stop line of Margham Park to interview the drivers on the finish line along with Jon Desborough with the TV crew, in 2005. We noticed a very unusual long pause between cars and this normally meant someone had been off...but then no further cars came through at all. I took my headset off and Jon did the same and asked what he had heard and with the satellite tracking it was known it was Marko Martin who had gone off in the Peugeot 307 and it was bad.

It wasn’t until Harri Rovenpera came through the stage some ¾ of an hour later after the stage had been cancelled that we realised how bad it actually was. To this day I will never forget the look in his eyes as they described being first on the scene to the crash and not being able to help Michael ‘Beef’ Park, who passed away from his injuries in the accident.

The community that was the WRC took one of it’s all too familiar shots of reality that day as it had done in the past and everyone was simply in a state of shock. Both he and Richard were two truly superb guys and very genuine fellas that never deserved to leave us so soon, but the sport is dangerous, everyone knows the risks and as many would say, when your number is called, it’s time to go. However, none of us at the time would have expected to have lost Colin McRae as well just a couple of years later to that fateful Helicopter accident. The world of Rallying lost something when we lost these three gentlemen, but Legend then simply grows with time and as Colin said “We’re here for a good time, not a long time”.

The middle of the ‘Noughties’ as they have been known has been dominated by the Loeb, Gronholm, Solberg with the occasional supporting cameo’s from Sainz and McRae, but this was soon to become bit part appearances for the former world champions as Seb Loeb and Citroen stamped their authority on this sport with really only significant challenge coming from Ford and Subaru. There have been fleeting glimpses of other manufacturers like Suzuki and Skoda, but in reality....the days of the WRC car were clearly numbered. However, first Toyota left, followed by Seat, Hyundai, Skoda, Peugeot, Suzuki, the phrase – ‘Rats leaving a sinking ship come to mind...’

It was also proven that under the leadership of Simon Long at ISC, the championship declined from what was an incredible series, supported in its millions around the world, to something that is a former shadow of itself today, obsessed with flashy gimmicks, flashy motorhomes, ridiculously expensive ticket pricing to go stand in a Forest and the rally fans have felt ignored and abused and at the hands of just a few people.

I have to disagree with David Evans, this year was not a stunning year for the World Rally Championship, it was a close battle between TWO drivers, which yes went to the wire....but nobody cares anymore. It is truly devastating that a man can win 6 world championships ...SIX!!!!!! and yet no one really cares....for that I feel sorry for Sebastien Loeb, as the guy truly is one of the most gifted drivers of recent times.

Even back in 2005, I remember saying in a conversation with my radio colleagues that Super 2000 was the way to go for the future and to say I was ‘poo pooed’ is an understatement. The championship has completely lost sight of what it is all about, what made it and can make it great again. It tried to become a sport made for ‘Live’ TV, but what they failed to realise is.... Rallying has a dedicated and core fanbase, your average household sports fan does not want to watch just one car go racing past then we wait for another minute before another goes past...on TV that is dull!!

So that meant that ISC developed these wonderful (and they were wonderful) tracking graphics that showed the cars at different sections of the course in 3D animation, but all of this was only possible because of the sponsorship of Inmarsat and it was as clear as the nose on your face, that the astronomical costs of ‘live’ picture feeds via satellite, cannot be recovered in ‘sponsorship exposure’ sales and sure enough....Inmarsat pulled their sponsorship. Due to the sheer logistics involved in getting camera equipment, crews and images into stages and positions that were maybe 25 miles in length...proved that ‘Live’ TV simply does not have a place in the mainstream household living room for large parts of the event. Super specials yes....even spectator special stages like the Stately home stages of the old RAC Rallies yes....but not much more.

The championship has gone down the Bernie path, of giving championship slots to events that pay the most money, thus depriving everyone of some of the greatest rallies ever known, all because we are told...”its fine...we know best...we want uniform events, paddock style service areas, etc etc etc” in short, ISC has not only pushed the fans further back from the stages in the forests, they have pushed them further back from the competitors in the service parks and most importantly they have priced many families out of the event with lunacy pricing for a weekend ticket costing north of £90!! To go stand in a field in the freezing cold!!!!!!!!!!?????? And pay to buy some crappy overly expensive burger due to the catering contract for a given stage being given to the highest bidder....

There has become a focus on money generation and a sanitisation of the sport to make it more of what the owners want to see and as a result, what they have forgotten is the fact that Rally GB now barely struggles to achieve 300,000 fans attending the event ‘live’, as opposed to the previous days of 3.2million fans.

They have completely forgotten the principle of “Win on Sunday...sell on Monday”. This principle made the entire Subaru motor manufacturing brand popular in the last 20 years.....sales of the Impreza sky rocketed the world over due to its involvement in the WRC and the certain activities of a young Scot by the name of McRae. Manufacturers themselves have not learned from what Mitsubishi and Subaru and even Lancia knew from days of old.... people want to buy the car they see their drivers/team driving on the WRC. THAT is the beauty and difference the WRC brings over Formula 1, Indy, Nascar, etc... You can or rather YOU SHOULD, be able to go buy a 4x4 2.0 Litre Turbo Charged Skoda, or Citroen, or Ford Focus, not an enhanced supermarket runner with fancy bodykits on and a diesel engine!

The championship rights have since been sold to North One Television and now we have a TV executive telling readers of Autosport and the Motorsport development world in Monaco that the World Championship does not need any more than 4 manufacturers, well I am sorry Mr Neil Duncanson, you do not have a clue what you are talking about....and please, do the world of motorsport and in particular Rallying a favour and walk away from the sport you clearly know absolutely nothing about.

The WRC has in fact now been hijacked and overtaken by people who actually do not understand the sport and have not listened to the fans as to what they want to see. But there is one group that did...and there is one group that now has more fans migrating in their thousands to go watch.....

The organisers of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge (IRC) saw an opportunity developing in other countries like South Africa with the Super 2000 regulations and the fact that companies like Toyota and Volkswagen seemed to like what they saw in terms of brand exposure versus cost/value.

In the last two years, the IRC started picking up all the events that the WRC was telling to ‘go away for a year’ so that they could grab some extra cash from countries throwing money to host an event, rather than where tradition has long held the sport. To this extent, the ‘Bernie’ effect is alive and well in the WRC in that an events place on the calendar is more to do with money for ISC, than the growth and development of the championship once again. For example...how much rally talent and fan base growth with the WRC get from Abu Dhabi? The one thing I will say for the Gulf State, is that is has supported one works team (Ford) and parts of the championship in sponsorship that might otherwise have left the series in tatters and for that...they have probably earned a spot on the calendar.

However if you now compare the IRC versus the WRC, we are faced with some stark reality facts and as the age old saying goes, “it does not matter how much lipstick, fancy clothes and perfume you put on a pig....it is still remains...a pig” and the WRC has become a particularly fat, slow and ugly pig to say the least.

The WRC now has the mighty impressive total of TWO motor manufacturers generating a whopping FOUR factory works drives. This has resulted in the teams themselves embarrassingly having to support ‘junior’ teams, to simply boost the numbers of cars in the top 10 of WRC status. That is a failure of EPIC proportion; how David Evans can call that a success is quite beyond me.

But is it any wonder? My former colleagues are going to get it slightly in the ear here too as they have a hand and a responsibility to part of the decline. We no longer hear or more importantly SEE, anything significant of competitors outside of the top 10. Having competed myself, I know the challenge of generating sponsorship money for rallying. If you think getting cash to go club racing is hard....you have no idea how much more difficult it is to get cash to go rallying, simply due to the fact that unlike race tracks with nice plush corporate boxes and constant action in one fixed place and lots of media coverage, Rallying gets very little. When I was doing some of the interviews for Radio, I desperately tried to get some coverage for the production guys and club drivers on the WRC rounds, taking a moment to mention their sponsors. To me it was a mere couple of seconds of effort, to them; it could be a token gesture that might just possibly help them retain their sponsor for the following year.

Then let’s look at the cars. Apart from wealthy business men and Irish construction millionaires or Middle Eastern oil Sheiks, who on earth can afford to purchase and run a quarter of a million pounds worth of rally car, especially in the current economic climate. Even Group N cars in the last 10 years have basically gone from £40,000 new to over £80,000 new now, for a Subaru or a Mitsubishi Lancer, this is madness. It is compounded now by local national governing bodies being forced to restrict the types of car that people run and the opportunities to make home built safe rally cars that can compete sensibly with some of these Group N and WRC cars are effectively gone now.

World Rallying under the current leadership has built itself into an Ivory Tower, with the worst case of “the Emperor’s new clothes” syndrome that I have ever encountered. There is a fundamental floor to the entire thought processes and vision for Rallying and it is only the actions of the IRC and the manufacturers supporting it, that is forcing the hand of the current leaders of the WRC, while all the while making it sound like THEY are coming up with these wonderful new ideas for World Rallying, the arrogance is breathtaking. So where do we go for the future???

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The IRC now has 10, repeat TEN!!! Car manufacturers with Super 2000 spec cars, built and competing. They are: Volkswagen, Skoda, Peugeot, Ford, Toyota, Honda, MG, Abarth (Fiat), Opel, Proton and now with Subaru announcing their registration for the IRC and possible future inclusion for Suzuki, Mitsubishi, Alpha Romeo, Mini and Chevrolet... it is clear to anyone with a single ounce of common sense, that this particular category is being welcomed by the manufacturers and yet already, those at the WRC think they know best and want to make the WRC a 1600cc Turbo Charged engine, based series of which we currently have ZERO manufacturers running said rally cars. MAYBE...just maybe...the return of Prodrive with a Mini based programme and a car that is likely to have a 1600cc Turbo engine and link between Dave Richards and ISC has something to do with this????? Who knows?

The one thing I will say about S2000 is something that Colin McRae once said to me when I asked him about the S2000 cars, they are exactly the direction the WRC should be going in terms of reducing costs and standardising parts...but they DO need to raise the power levels. I agree with him fully, the cars sound great right now, but they are not quite there yet. I also implore the powers that be, to tell the politically correct environmentalists why it is actually necessary to have noisy rally cars. As far as Rallying is concerned, making the cars quieter is actually dangerous. People walking in stages can actually now be surprised by cars, as they walk down stages, whereas before in Group B and with anti-lag, you could hear a car coming for miles. The S2000 cars are better than the current WRC cars in terms of sound volume...but this is an area of safety and ‘heritage’ that the rallying community should stand by its principles and tell complainers where to go, which 9 times out of 10 is yet again a small minority group trying to make their voices heard over the majority. Democracy it seems, does not apply to these people and it becomes a fight of ‘their way or the highway’.

So, the IRC is collecting events in the championship discarded by the WRC and competitors are starting to enter the IRC events, not only for the history of these great events, but because they have a fighting chance for victory and even more important...coverage. Why on earth, would anyone who has managed to get a sponsorship package together for an S2000 campaign, go and enter the WRC S2000 Cup series, to run behind all the WRC cars and yet again be made to feel slightly like a second class citizen? The IRC treats all S2000 crews as the primary focus and their TV coverage and quality to the events has been superb and it is getting better with every year.

If they can simply ‘tweak’ the S2000 cars to maybe allow a smaller engine with Turbo charger OR a larger normally aspirated engine size like 2.5litres, THEN we will have reduced cost vehicles over a WRC car and yet plenty of spectacle. £150,000 for a world championship level car is probably about right, however we still have a LONG way to go with club level rallying. Yet again, Neil Duncanson has recently highlighted how truly little he understands about the problems being faced by the sport with his drive to get youngsters in ‘off-road buggies’ earlier and younger to help the grass roots of rallying. THE ACTUAL problem Mr Duncanson is not getting them into buggies, etc as they have actually already been doing that for generations, the problem is the cost of local competition and the cost of cars to compete. One make championships have proven a good entry stepping point (Peugeot 205 Scholarship series for example) and even the BRC now offers a more stable level of competition, but yet it is still WOEFULLY lacking in media coverage and that does not allow youngsters to attract sponsorship from firms that might then choose to go sponsor someone in the Renault Clio Cup, racing for example.

BUT HERE is where Mr Duncanson falls flat on his face with this concept of getting more people into the sport. According to him, the world championship only needs FOUR manufacturers... that is the sum total of EIGHT works drives available. The thing he fails to grasp that in the year 2000 when we had Hyundai, Skoda, Subaru, Ford, Mitsubishi, Peugeot and Seat all competing in the Championship...there were still not enough seats available for the huge number of extremely good drivers in the National Championships, people like Rowe, Head, Higgins, Evans, Laukkanen, Ipatti, Kytolehto, Dale, Wearden and even now WRC TV reporter/interviewer Julian Porter...none of these guys could land a works seat, so HOW on earth does Mr Duncanson hope to offer a path of hope a huge new wave of rallying youngsters, if the very championship he now has his hands in, only see’s the needs for FOUR manufacturers??

The fact is; we need to develop a uniformed feeder path that is the same the world over. R1 (Rally1) for Group N cars up to 1600cc should be the stock of all regional championships. Good long, cheap events with cars easy to build and cheap to maintain, no dog or sequential boxes. The national championships should not have N4/S2000 cars, but a new ‘Regional’ S2000 car an R2000 car for want of a better term, basically allowing anyone to bolt the championship approved 4 wheel drive system to any 1600 cc cars, along with a dog gearbox. Again, the engines must remain stock apart from a few minor mods and exhausts, brakes, etc free to change at will.

This way, you get rid of the wealthy businessmen types who are simply out for the ‘jolly’ in their former WRC car and back to championships where private teams can start to compete together with a car that should cost no more than £50,000 maximum for a National Championship level car. A historic series could then be established for the older former WRC machinery, on the proviso that the vehicle must have been out of the championship for at least 4 years, this way, many still get to go and watch some classic machinery being enjoyed by their wealthy owners, but National media focus is concentrated on the National championship.

Once people have progressed through the National Championship Level, they get to enter the ISC and N4/Super 2000 cars are the next car to use, but this brings Eurosport and other TV coverage and a greater ability to offer exposure for sponsors. Finally, if someone is good enough to have made it this far through these championships, then they have the final goal of the WRC and works status. However, the WRC is the championship that should retain its classic events and all new countries looking to offer world championship events should get the IRC as a first option, then if after a few years the event has proved itself to be well supported, then it might earn a spot on the world championship calendar.

Finally the events and coverage itself... Rallying always was and should remain an endurance event to a degree. It is the ultimate display of teamwork and trust between two people in the car and the mechanics outside the car. With the reduction in vehicle costs and standardised parts, it opens the door to return to the events that made Rallying so great to follow. Events that covered 5 days sometimes and not restricted to a specific area. Everyone is quite frankly sick to death of the Rally of Wales formerly known as Britain’s round of the World Rally Championship. The event has become DULL, over priced and frankly the overzealous actions of local Police and their attempts to generate revenue through impromptu speed traps, has had many thinking that they have absolutely zero desire to go and give even more money to the region and that is a great shame. Rally fans want to return to the days where taking some time off work to follow the rally was an adventure, a time where friends could camp in Forests, get the camping stove out, have a few beers and let off a few fireworks and generally have a good fun few days, without the feeling that some thief has just emptied your wallet for such a privilege. If events like Rally GB brought back Car Park passes for £5 a car, I guarantee you, a rise in the number of spectator numbers. Also, the overzealous marshalling of people into animal like pens to watch a specific area has got to stop. The Nanny state has taken over this sport as it has in every facet of our lives now and it is time to start pushing back! I will not condone anyone standing in the road waiting for a car to approach or on the exit line or outside of any corner, but anything else should be reasonably flexible. Much of that rests with the FIA, whose safety team in the Helicopters have frankly taken the enforcement of safety to stupid levels and having done a safety officer role on Rally GB, I know how pedantic certain people from both the FIA and Rally GB’s senior organisational team have become in such matters.

Coverage of rallying can and SHOULD be about catering to its core audience. If it returns to some of its principles and roots, IT WILL start to attract the numbers back again. So Mr TV ‘Luvvy’ that does not mean putting on some comedy idiot that does not know the first thing about rallying who then proceeds to show absolutely zero interest in the sport, but by all means include some fun pieces like placing a celeb or other sports star in the Co-drivers seat during a test stage, that gives people response and feedback from people they ordinarily like to watch, completely out of their comfort zone and experiencing something which is truly unique and that is being thrown through a rally stage by a committed driver that knows what he/she is doing.

Rallying is NOT a ‘LIVE’ TV event, other than I have previously mentioned, Super Specials or special spectator focused days of an event. Let’s face it, not many people are pushing that hard on a Sunday, so why not throw in a few more spectator focused stages at stately homes, specific venues etc. Who can forget the timeless image of Luis Moya throwing his helmet through the rear window of the Toyota Corolla which had broken down a mere 700 metres from the finish in 1998 on the Rally GB at Margham Park. There is no reason why each evening of an event, a national TV channel cannot host a half an hour show showing the day’s highlights, followed maybe later at night with another programme giving studio and service park style interviews, just as they used to. Then come Sunday, hold a full hour and half programme recapping the whole event and taking in some ‘Live’ feeds.

It is simply to do and the true reason why we do not have this currently is the simple cost that the rights holders are trying to charge TV stations to run the coverage. As a result, the greed shown in the last 10 years to bleed the sport of cash has turned the TV stations away and with little or no coverage, the sponsors walk away and without sponsors, the drivers cannot fund their drives and what is left are a bunch of wealthy businessmen playing in Rally cars, who no one really wants to watch as none of the said drivers are actually much fun to watch due to their talent/commitment level and thus the sport DIES!!!!!!!!!!

It has been bleeding to death for nearly 10 years under the guidance of Simon Long at ISC and just as Max Mosley had to step down, it is long past time that Mr Long hands over the WRC to someone who actually knows what the championship SHOULD be all about and bring in advisors involved from the ‘hey day’ of the sport to help rebuild it, to what it once was.

The IRC has forced the hand of the current championship organisers and THIS is a great thing as it is finally being proven that actually, those running the world championship don’t actually know what they are doing and it has been long past time that someone highlights what a truly incompetent job they have done and as a result, they should have all rights to the championship removed from them, unless they make significant changes.

It is time that Rallying is given back to the people who helped make it what it was in its prime and away from the people who have single headedly destroyed it. It is time to lay a clear blueprint for the future, a clean set of fixed rules for the next 5 years and a return to the challenge of longer events, through all conditions, including night!

Yes this year will receive a shot in the arm to the WRC by the inclusion of Kimi Raikonnen and even Ken Block, to help increase following from the US. Unfortunately there is a remarkable similarity between the WRC and current politics, namely that much was promised, then proven to be woefully inadequate and fundamentally flawed over 10 years only to have the said same individuals then have the bare face cheek to stand there and say....’Don’t worry, we are the only ones who know how to make things better’ when in fact the world would probably be a better place if they had never been allowed to meddle with things in the first place....

The IRC has now overtaken the WRC in truly understanding what it is that fans want to see and what competitors want to compete in as a championship and that is a well supported series, where over 10 drivers have the opportunity to fight for wins on a regular basis and where coverage is geared for and designed with the target audience in mind, not Mrs Miggins who watches Eastenders or the spotty ‘Yoof’ that thinks Gavin and Stacey is a gripping drama.... In short....let’s get rid of those who have clearly lost the plot running the sport currently and bring in some respected experienced individuals who combine proven experience in rallying and business skills in partnership negotiation to bring the coverage back...bring the prices down....bring back some traditional values and make Rallying once again, one of the world’s leading motorsport disciplines.

Regards
FOC.

Edited by FlatOverCrest, 31 December 2009 - 16:28.


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#2 motoman2100

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Posted 30 December 2009 - 23:18

im excited for part 2!

#3 Kucki

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Posted 31 December 2009 - 14:33

Interesting. Thanks

#4 BlackCat

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Posted 31 December 2009 - 16:05

Yes, I do remember it was Dave Richards who ****ed WRC up – to put it mildly. But I’d like your opinion on FIA role in it. Making the cars circle around one servicing point like flies around turd was one thing, but there were some rules-tweaking also that seems more like FIA playground. For one year every factory had to have three cars and who could drive the third car, then it was back to two cars, then you had to decide before the rally who will compete for points... But as I see it, giving up homology(?) rules was the worst. So, instead of making at least 50 rally cars it was sufficient to make 50 000 cars mildly representing the rocket you competed with – the cheat Peugeot and Ford gladly used. Iirc the cost of 206 WRC was about 32 times the cost of basic 206 etc.

#5 FlatOverCrest

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Posted 31 December 2009 - 16:47

Yes, I do remember it was Dave Richards who ****ed WRC up – to put it mildly. But I’d like your opinion on FIA role in it. Making the cars circle around one servicing point like flies around turd was one thing, but there were some rules-tweaking also that seems more like FIA playground. For one year every factory had to have three cars and who could drive the third car, then it was back to two cars, then you had to decide before the rally who will compete for points... But as I see it, giving up homology(?) rules was the worst. So, instead of making at least 50 rally cars it was sufficient to make 50 000 cars mildly representing the rocket you competed with – the cheat Peugeot and Ford gladly used. Iirc the cost of 206 WRC was about 32 times the cost of basic 206 etc.


The World Rally Championship Commission under Morrie Chandler's direction since 2006 has frankly been a disaster and could even be put into the same level of mis-management as ISC. There has simply been no clear direction as to where the future of the pinnacle of the sport is going and more importantly how that relates to National championships.

I have listened to people currently involved with the WRC media team who sit and pat each other on the back and claim everything is great and look what a super championship we have and how close it was! In all seriousness you cannot point out to them the dparting manufacturers, the numbers of paying spectators falling off the face of the planet and the HUGE gap that there has been between National Championships and a fully fledged WRC effort.

The championship has become wrapped up in itself and when the warning signs are blaring loud and clear...they continued.... the perfect comparison would be between Monty Pythons Black Knight and the WRC....no matter how many bits keep leaving/getting chopped off...it's still standing there claiming "its but a mere fleshwound!!"
Posted Image

As to the FIA's part in this......... all this nonsense talk of changing the engine regs from 2011 to possibly a 1600cc Turbo engine is absolute madness! I agree that the current S2000 engines need a tweak in power, much like Seb Loeb has stated, but the most pressing importance right now is to rebuild global rallying to a format that everyone understands and currently, by the sheer number of manufacturers building S2000 cars... they understand it...they like it...and they are supporting it.

That is not to say that the FIA should not say...."OK...from 2015, we want the WRC engine regs to be purely Bio-fuel based and a 1300cc engine with turbo charger, if that is what is deemed the target, but by this time, such a small engine could probably easily produce 350bhp while achieving the political/environmental targets to show that motorsport is doig its part in helping the environment.
But if it is going to do this it must announce such regs THIS YEAR! Get rid of this bloody stupid idea to run 1600cc engines in 2011 and plan the whole thing properly, leaving S2000 in place (with tweaks till then)...

But then this would require Jean Todt to appoint someone like Ari Vatanen as President of the Rally Commission rather than Mr Chandler, who simply has to go!



#6 cheapracer

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Posted 01 January 2010 - 12:06

Don't have the tenacity to read all you wrote but having lived through it i imagine it's not far from my thoughts.

My Dad was a 4 times works driver and I grew up in the forests in the 60's and 70's servicing and doing controls, speccy points etc. before competing myself.

Simply what happened here is that cars got too expensive with 4WD and turbo - sure you could buy a used rally car for a moderate price but what did you do when you broke a box? What did you do when you stuffed it into a tree (most were late model, standard based cars of course) again you sat out some events because the repair bills were too dear.

Gone was the roll up in a cheap rally car that you could prepare yourself and go for it - we had a situation where a small handful of works drivers who didn';t have to pay for anything were up against rich privateers, rich meaning money before skills.

In short time feilds reduced from an average of 60 - 80 cars to 20+ and cancelled events.

But worse was the newer drivers couldn't extend themselves driving wise because of the possible cost results.

As evidence, in the first Oz WRC a couple of retired ex Australian Rally Champs George Fury and Ross Dunkerton got into cars and proceeded to blow the doors off the then current Oz Champ runners as did WRC regular competing Group N cars and later even Monster in the Suzuki Swift 1300 GTI as did Malcome Wilson and Louise Aitken-Walker in their front drive Opels.

I still and will always advocate that a silohette 2 litre, RWD formula is required either for support or to be 'it'.

I'll build by the way and they won't be Colin McRae "cough, 1/4 million dollars, cough, bullshit" priced.

Posted Image

http://www.autoblog....s-r4-rally-car/

This racing car world from a club drivers point of view has gone insane.

#7 Stumpthumper

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Posted 01 January 2010 - 14:54

I visit Autosport primarily for F1 news, though I've been interested in starting to follow rally so I checked out this thread (I live in the states and it's not real big hear). I must say, this is by far the best and most interesting thread I've read on Autosport for a multitude of reasons. Please keep the info and insight coming. :up:

#8 cheapracer

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Posted 01 January 2010 - 17:49

. Please keep the info and insight coming. :up:


I have bad feeling about sticking it up McRae because he was a great driver and of course passed away now but what was he thinking?

He was what rallying needed to help the lower levels and when I heard about him making a 2 wheel drive one make series car I was so excited then he released the rubbish above.....

Carbon Fibre bodywork? So how much is that going to cost everytime you bang a tree or get the tail on a bank? I could point out lots more but thats enough to start.

My point is he didn't help the situation and in fact showed the FIA support for this money cost madness that has destroyed the foundation of rallying for the 'common' man (who happen to be the bulk of the paying licence holders, go figure that).



#9 FlatOverCrest

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Posted 01 January 2010 - 21:22

I have bad feeling about sticking it up McRae because he was a great driver and of course passed away now but what was he thinking?
He was what rallying needed to help the lower levels and when I heard about him making a 2 wheel drive one make series car I was so excited then he released the rubbish above.....
Carbon Fibre bodywork? So how much is that going to cost everytime you bang a tree or get the tail on a bank? I could point out lots more but thats enough to start.
My point is he didn't help the situation and in fact showed the FIA support for this money cost madness that has destroyed the foundation of rallying for the 'common' man (who happen to be the bulk of the paying licence holders, go figure that).


Cheap, I understand your frustration, but having a pop at Colin or his ideas is probably not for this thread. From what I understand the concept for the R4 was sound in principle, namely that the guys in Rallycross, the people like John Cross etc, have proven that you can make a spaceframe vehicle with fibreglass panels and keep the costs relatively restricted. Beaing in mind how much contact there is in rallycross, this is not high grade carbonfibre but fibreglass panels. Now....I do however believe the ideas slightly 'skewed' on the R4 and it in itself became more expensive than needed.

However... TIMES have moved on... when your dad was competing there was no 'Need for Speed' or 'Project Gotham racing' or Xbox's or Nintendo's and as such, the modern generation of kids and motosport fans want to see fast and spectacular but also something that they might in the future be able to aspire to own for themselves.

Much as you might like to build a homegrown 2litre rocket, no one is actually that interested in watching those cars that much. Is that true? absolutely, how many people went out specifically to watch Darrians or Fiesta Cosworths, or modified Toyota Starlets? a few granted...mainly those who cling to the past, rather than take elements of the past and fold them into today, to produce something which people actually want to watch.

People loved watching Andy Burton's 306 with the German Touring Car motor in it...it was loud...fast but also...NOT CHEAP!

Salaries and income have moved on fom what they were in the 60's and 70's and where an expensive car was once £5000 it is now £50,000. Does that restrict some people from going rallying...yes it does...but then again I have met more than my fair share of people who complain and moan about how they cannot afford to go rallying but then dont have a clue or even care to try to get sponsorship, nor do they care what their car looks like....i.e. is it clean...does it have an eye catching colour scheme, do they make their own press releases to promote themselves, etc etc etc.

A clubman racer has to decide very early on whether they:
A: Want to go rallying simply for fun... in which case go get yourself a peugeot 205 1.9 Gti and go race with 30 other guys who just love the sport....OR
B: You want to actually try to make a career from the sport, in which case it's not all about just going out with a cheap car...its about presentation, PR, marketing, promotion, management, etc.

The fact is, there is plenty of club level Rallying competition to be had for relatively cheap money, unfortunately you seem to confuse your own personal ideas of what a rallycar for you should cost versus a path for an aspiring Seb Loeb.

Yes there are great drivers out there like Callum Duffy, who can drive the backside of a MK2 Ford Escort like no other currently... but Callum is not trying to get into the WRC, otherwise he would have tried to take a different path.

YES rallying became far too expensive, but lets not confuse the pinnacle of the sport with the wants and needs of the clubman racer. The biggest issue I have tried to point out, is that currently, there is not a clear enough ladder of progression for those wanting to get into the sport seriously. They can start in a single make series and very quickly run out of road and get stuck at a clubman or National level or even simply fade away, even if they have great talent.

Having everyone running around in £5000 Rallycars built from the back of your shed is not going to get World rallying back to where it needs to be. I have no doubt the car would be fun to watch and at single venue rallies etc, there would be a core of rally fans that would come to watch, but you DO have to differentiate between your own desires for a rallycar and a roadmap for the sport per se.

If you take the time to actually read the article in full, you will see that I have highlighted a clear path and structure for the future that enables every 'common man' as you put it, to choose the level they wish to aspire to reach and if it means club rallying in a 1600cc car amoungst a tonne of other 1600cc two wheel drive cars then so be it. But the world does not revolve around the days of the MK1 & 2 Escort, they had their time, but the principles of what made that time so great can very much be embraced for the future.

As such, there does need to be a significant change in the bluprint from regional>national>international>World Championship for rallying and it cannot come soon enough.



#10 Ducks McTeeth

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Posted 02 January 2010 - 00:15

Excellent review, thanks for that.

#11 Hairpin

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Posted 02 January 2010 - 21:00

Very good, FoC. I am personally very thorn when it comes o WRC and I still do not know what I really think would be best, when it was best and what made it fall. The fall was a combination of things, but something must have been the "drop". I think I would ban 4WD o start with and maybe even force RWD. Like most other racing series. It is too fast now anyway.

#12 ClubmanGT

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Posted 02 January 2010 - 21:58

Let's have a bit of perspective on Morrie here. I absolutely cannot stand the WRC as it stands, and I accept that some of it is up to him to shoulder the blame for. However, a lot of the issues we're facing now are the result of institutionalised thinking, that one person alone cannot talk an organisation out of. Look at Milles Pistes, for instance, and how that was inflicted on one rally - NZ - which single-handedly destroyed the art of spectating in this country. It's lead to repeated stages, which has essentially killed the endurance aspect of the sport, and all of this was unfolding well before Mr Chandler was appointed. Infact, as a New Zealander who hoped to see his appointment bring about a change for the better, I could say I'm disappointed, but as a WRC fan, I'm happy he has chosen to tackle the sport as a whole, instead of playing favourites with his home rally. Let's be honest, if Chandler wanted to, he could have spent the last four years trying to fix Rally NZ and still have a lot of work to do.

I think the path that the WRC has found itself skipping down was mapped a long time before he got there though. The series was expanding, the rounds were being reorganised constantly and it was perfectly clear that the whole thing was being set-up for television highlights/live internet subscription feeds. At some point, it just stopped going anywhere, and now we're left with a product that is essentially neither what it once was or anywhere near what it could be. Nothing irks me more than strong brands and traditions that have been ruined without acheiving the very basis for changing them, and the WRC is a prime example. It shows what small incremental change can do when, through various appointments and people leaving an organisation, the whole goal is sort of lost and the reasons for changing just get forgotten. Everything grinds to a halt, and as a result, no one is happy.

I get the feeling the manufacturers are of the same school of thought. For some, there was a genuine economic need to leave the sport. For others, the need to constantly create a new platform for homologated competition was just too much when the rules were constantly changing. The truth is there's no real solid future for rallying, and it hurts. We've now got two competitions, one with all the manufacturers and another with all the star drivers, although as economies pick up again, I wouldn't be surprised to see the money that manufacturers can offer being the deciding factor. The saddest thing of all is that I can very easily see the IRC being somewhat surpressed if it becomes the superior competition, just to protect the WRC brand.

As a fan, it saddens me now that you can have a world rally championship without events like Monaco or New Zealand. Infact, New Zealand's change to an alternating round with Australia annoys the hell out of me, given that Australia was dropped because of their infighting and also because they refused to accept schedule changes. It seems we're getting sidelined so someone who decided to eject to the toys from the cot can get back in, and that's not right. Anyway, the point is that the WRC as a commercial AND sporting venture is sort of adrift - I can't think of a better word for it. Until someone can come in and tell these guys what the regulations will be for five years, how the sport should be marketed and can develop a fixed calendar with a mix of traditional and upcoming rallies - which, IMO, are the ones that should be on rotation, then it's not really going to go anywhere.

#13 FlatOverCrest

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Posted 03 January 2010 - 02:18

Let's have a bit of perspective on Morrie here. I absolutely cannot stand the WRC as it stands, and I accept that some of it is up to him to shoulder the blame for. However, a lot of the issues we're facing now are the result of institutionalised thinking, that one person alone cannot talk an organisation out of. Look at Milles Pistes, for instance, and how that was inflicted on one rally - NZ - which single-handedly destroyed the art of spectating in this country. It's lead to repeated stages, which has essentially killed the endurance aspect of the sport, and all of this was unfolding well before Mr Chandler was appointed. Infact, as a New Zealander who hoped to see his appointment bring about a change for the better, I could say I'm disappointed, but as a WRC fan, I'm happy he has chosen to tackle the sport as a whole, instead of playing favourites with his home rally. Let's be honest, if Chandler wanted to, he could have spent the last four years trying to fix Rally NZ and still have a lot of work to do.

I think the path that the WRC has found itself skipping down was mapped a long time before he got there though. The series was expanding, the rounds were being reorganised constantly and it was perfectly clear that the whole thing was being set-up for television highlights/live internet subscription feeds. At some point, it just stopped going anywhere, and now we're left with a product that is essentially neither what it once was or anywhere near what it could be. Nothing irks me more than strong brands and traditions that have been ruined without acheiving the very basis for changing them, and the WRC is a prime example. It shows what small incremental change can do when, through various appointments and people leaving an organisation, the whole goal is sort of lost and the reasons for changing just get forgotten. Everything grinds to a halt, and as a result, no one is happy.

I get the feeling the manufacturers are of the same school of thought. For some, there was a genuine economic need to leave the sport. For others, the need to constantly create a new platform for homologated competition was just too much when the rules were constantly changing. The truth is there's no real solid future for rallying, and it hurts. We've now got two competitions, one with all the manufacturers and another with all the star drivers, although as economies pick up again, I wouldn't be surprised to see the money that manufacturers can offer being the deciding factor. The saddest thing of all is that I can very easily see the IRC being somewhat surpressed if it becomes the superior competition, just to protect the WRC brand.

As a fan, it saddens me now that you can have a world rally championship without events like Monaco or New Zealand. Infact, New Zealand's change to an alternating round with Australia annoys the hell out of me, given that Australia was dropped because of their infighting and also because they refused to accept schedule changes. It seems we're getting sidelined so someone who decided to eject to the toys from the cot can get back in, and that's not right. Anyway, the point is that the WRC as a commercial AND sporting venture is sort of adrift - I can't think of a better word for it. Until someone can come in and tell these guys what the regulations will be for five years, how the sport should be marketed and can develop a fixed calendar with a mix of traditional and upcoming rallies - which, IMO, are the ones that should be on rotation, then it's not really going to go anywhere.


I fully agree sir and also that it's certainly not all Morries fault, however the drive by the FIA to now go 1600cc Turbo's is something he has a major hand in.

However the key focus for fans anger at what has been done to their sport at the top level, MUST be vented at ISC and now North One Television, neither Mr ong or Mr Duncanson have got a glue what they are doing and in any normal profession they would have been fired long ago. Unfortunately, until Jean Todt makes sweeping changes and or simply switches the FIA focus to the IRC, these guys are never going to lose their jobs and they will continue to be forced down the path that anyone else can easily see is the way forward. nfortunately they will get there and then turn round and say "hey look how we turned the sport around"...when in reality, they are the ones who killed it in the first place.

I would gladly dive into this crapstorm and try to turn it around from a business development perspective and I know just the guys I would bring in to help me, including one former world champion co-driver. Alas...the Ivory tower is VERY tall and the chance of outsiders getting in, is slim to none...

#14 pingu666

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Posted 03 January 2010 - 04:29

im not sure its worth trying to save the WRC when the IRC is becoming what we want, all thats missing is star drivers (but there wrc drivers are only stars because of our exposure too them from when wrc was good, and ken block and co i know more from dirt game and the promo stuff they do), and apart from loeb im not sure the other drivers are better than IRC top guys tbh. and abit more power shouldnt be too hard to add

I think a on the fly video/radio coverage like radio le mans do would help alot too.

the biggest obstical is how do you make people care again? maybe banning loeb

#15 Mary Popsins

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Posted 03 January 2010 - 07:27

I cannot assess the qualities of Loeb's opponents, however I strongly disagree with the assertion that he is having an easy ride in WRC. Some of his titles came with a bit of luck (and a lot of talent), but it's always easy to dismiss the day and open a bigger book called "History".

It is true that the participation in WRC is frustratingly minimal. Citroen or Ford goes, and it's the end of the show. In that respect I couldn't care less about Raikkonen driving a junior, since there are a lot of promising drivers in WRC. And there again I doubt very much that ICR has produced the equivalent in terms of racing champions.

It seems that IRC is doing to WRC what IRL did to CART. That might be for the best since the manufacturers are now busy enough in investing in more vital technologies instead of building monsters. Of course IRC cars still look ridiculously underpowered but this will change and in the meantime we might be able to see some of it on the telly, because the rally coverage in general in below appalling.

Is there a channel in UK where they show the Dakar by the way?

Edited by Mary Popsins, 03 January 2010 - 07:27.


#16 cheapracer

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Posted 03 January 2010 - 10:18

unfortunately you seem to confuse your own personal ideas of what a rallycar for you should cost versus a path for an aspiring Seb Loeb.



I'm not confused at all, I know what a competitive car for an aspiring Seb should cost to build - something cheap to actually give the factories teams concern as Carlos Sainz and Juha did for example..

I can put you in a basic mind blowing RWD forest car for less than 20K USD and intend to go down that path within about 2 years.

Or you could buy this .... http://www.motorspor...sold/13333.html for 13K USD and a set of wheels or something and stick it a 205 and still go nowhere.

All on the average 24,000 pounds sterling per year if your not a Corporate advertising whizz which most of us are of course, lucky for that :rolleyes:

Edited by cheapracer, 03 January 2010 - 10:22.


#17 ex Rhodie racer 2

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Posted 03 January 2010 - 13:41

The success or failure of rallying today has to be judged by the amount of popular support it enjoys, rather than ones own idealistic view of the sport. Judging by that criteria, it has never been healthier.


#18 noikeee

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Posted 03 January 2010 - 15:17

The success or failure of rallying today has to be judged by the amount of popular support it enjoys, rather than ones own idealistic view of the sport. Judging by that criteria, it has never been healthier.


What? It has more popular support than ever? :confused: :confused: :confused:

#19 DOF_power

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Posted 03 January 2010 - 15:40

I'm not confused at all, I know what a competitive car for an aspiring Seb should cost to build - something cheap to actually give the factories teams concern as Carlos Sainz and Juha did for example..

I can put you in a basic mind blowing RWD forest car for less than 20K USD and intend to go down that path within about 2 years.

Or you could buy this .... http://www.motorspor...sold/13333.html for 13K USD and a set of wheels or something and stick it a 205 and still go nowhere.

All on the average 24,000 pounds sterling per year if your not a Corporate advertising whizz which most of us are of course, lucky for that :rolleyes:




Bah, that's not how a rally car should look like.

This is what a rally car should look like.
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#20 FlatOverCrest

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Posted 03 January 2010 - 15:58

The success or failure of rallying today has to be judged by the amount of popular support it enjoys, rather than ones own idealistic view of the sport. Judging by that criteria, it has never been healthier.


That's Sarcasm right?

:confused:

If you think the sport by popularity has never been healthier then there is no way you have watched the sport for any more than the last couple of years. It is actually at the LOWEST popularity it has been for about 30 years now, by vurtue of the sheer volume of fans watching, the number of national prime TV stations covering the sport and the number of manufacturers competing in it.

Only the blinkered take a view that any of the the above is an 'idealistic' view, it is the view expressed by hundreds of thousands of rally fans and competitors throughout the world as demonstrated by the articles, comments and observations that you can find across the internet, at events, at motorclubs...in fact EVERYWHERE other than those currently involved at World Championship level.

#21 FlatOverCrest

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Posted 03 January 2010 - 16:27

I'm not confused at all, I know what a competitive car for an aspiring Seb should cost to build - something cheap to actually give the factories teams concern as Carlos Sainz and Juha did for example..
I can put you in a basic mind blowing RWD forest car for less than 20K USD and intend to go down that path within about 2 years.
Or you could buy this .... http://www.motorspor...sold/13333.html for 13K USD and a set of wheels or something and stick it a 205 and still go nowhere.
All on the average 24,000 pounds sterling per year if your not a Corporate advertising whizz which most of us are of course, lucky for that :rolleyes:


I have no doubt you can build a RWD car for less than $20,000 USD that to you is mind blowing in the forest, the fact is there are 100's of people already doing just that and competing every weekend! The difference is they know what they want, and the car you are talking about building has got no significance or interest from the manfacturers for the World Championship, so yes I do believe that you confuse what you personally want at a club level, versus where the world championship should be. So maybe a thread that discusses your new car ideas for regional level might be opportune?

Besides, for $20k you can go buy an old Subaru Impreza which given any form of slighly slippery conditions, in the right hands, will beat any RWD car. $20k for a home built RWD car is actually pretty expensive and if a youngster had that sort of budget to spend, they would be better spending it in a single make series car like the Suzuki Cup of the Ford Fiesta ST's. Julian Wilkes is the classic example of where Club Racer gets overlooked versus aspiring future rally driver.

Julian is a legend in that Vauxhall Nova...bear in mind this is a FRONT wheel drive 1400cc CHEAP car... and he embarasses guys in WRC machinery... yet he is not in the British Championship. Thi car does not use an £8000 Xtrac Sequential Box and fits all the criteria you are discussing, but is simply front wheel drive...still plenty quick enough!
and thison gravel, I have competed against Julian on Tarmac and its fair to say, he puts that car in top 10 positions where you really dont expect him to.

The are plenty of Chevettes, Escorts, Corrollas, Asconas, hell, people have even tried it recently with the BMW 3 series one make championship all of which were bloody quick, sounded great...but yet no one really watched them other than a very small group. If you want cheap RWD simply go to any Rallycross event and go pick yourself up a cheap VERY VERY fast car....however, you will never make that the aspiring ladder for any Seb Loeb wannabe....WHY? Because manufacturers are not making cheap rear-wheel drive road cars to sell...as front wheel drive cars are inherently easier for the majority of the populace to drive, without getting themselves into trouble. Their focus is to see their rally stars of the future in cars currently being sold on the high streets.

I wish you the best of luck with your new car concept and I am sure you will get a die hard group of rear wheel drive fans populating the series and I am sure it will be great to watch. Yes it might be a run on the ladder that teaches a lot of car control etc, but it is never going to be the National or International level machine of choice by THOSE who will fund and pay for top class drivers, i.e. the manufacturers.

Cheap entry levels to the sport should always be encouraged, but you cannot confuse these types of cars with cars which have and always should remain the pinnacle of the sport, which unfortuntely, is always going to cost a great deal more than $20k.

Edited by FlatOverCrest, 03 January 2010 - 16:32.


#22 kosmic33

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Posted 03 January 2010 - 17:37

Besides, for $20k you can go buy an old Subaru Impreza which given any form of slighly slippery conditions, in the right hands, will beat any RWD car. $20k for a home built RWD car is actually pretty expensive and if a youngster had that sort of budget to spend, they would be better spending it in a single make series car like the Suzuki Cup of the Ford Fiesta ST's. Julian Wilkes is the classic example of where Club Racer gets overlooked versus aspiring future rally driver.

Julian is a legend in that Vauxhall Nova...bear in mind this is a FRONT wheel drive 1400cc CHEAP car... and he embarasses guys in WRC machinery... yet he is not in the British Championship. Thi car does not use an £8000 Xtrac Sequential Box and fits all the criteria you are discussing, but is simply front wheel drive...still plenty quick enough!
and thison gravel, I have competed against Julian on Tarmac and its fair to say, he puts that car in top 10 positions where you really dont expect him to.

take it you've never actually ran a rally car.

$20k, £12400stg is not going to buy you a competitive 4wd car and it sure as hell wont run one for a year either

julian wilkes may not have £8k gearbox but by the looks of that incar he does have a 5-6k engine

#23 Dispenser89

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Posted 03 January 2010 - 17:43

Very interesting read FOC.

Just wondering, what are the chances of a WRC/IRC emerger? If Todt appoints a half competent WRC commisioner, surely they will realise change is needed and what better way than to get the IRC boys in to replace the current WRC chiefs (Unless this is what you mean by your last sentence).

Is there a channel in UK where they show the Dakar by the way?

Eurosport are showing highlights of each day of the Dakar.

Don't think there's a freeview/terrestrial channel covering it.

#24 FlatOverCrest

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Posted 03 January 2010 - 18:07

take it you've never actually ran a rally car.
$20k, £12400stg is not going to buy you a competitive 4wd car and it sure as hell wont run one for a year either


Actually I sold my Escort Cosworth earlier this year for £12500 which I placed in the top 10 of National Tarmac events against WRC machines... there are MANY club level Impreza's available for £12-14,000 currently... granted this will then require a budget to run them, but no where did I say this included the budget.

Here is a Subaru Impreza for £8500 on www.rallycars.co.uk
http://www.rallycars...php?advertid=55

Yes I fully agree and know that running a car for a season costs a lot, but there are now machines coming available that could well become the MK2 Escorts of the future and the early Subaru's are a great example of that.. however no motorsport is ever Cheap per se...  ;)

Edited by FlatOverCrest, 03 January 2010 - 18:30.
removed: oh and JPW... again reverting to snied digs on the poster and not the subject matter again... I was wondering how long before you turned up with childish digs.


#25 FlatOverCrest

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Posted 03 January 2010 - 18:23

Very interesting read FOC.
Just wondering, what are the chances of a WRC/IRC emerger? If Todt appoints a half competent WRC commisioner, surely they will realise change is needed and what better way than to get the IRC boys in to replace the current WRC chiefs (Unless this is what you mean by your last sentence).


Two years ago I would have said zero chance at all. However, the 2011 calendar has been put on hold for the WRC as I am sure there are negotiations ongoing with some of the events dropped like the Monte, where obviously there will need to be an evaluation by the events as to whether they want the security of the IRC or the rotational position within the WRC.

New Zealand is a classic example of this.

So I do believe there is an chance that in the future the championships may merge, or that there is a clear difference between the championships in terms of prceived level, i.e. the manfacturers all agree that the IRC will be the 'GP2' effectively of the WRC, but they will also look to maintain at least 6 manfacturers in the WRC to a slightly more advanced/powerful version of the cars?

But certainly those who I have spoken to involved in the IRC events, say that the organisation is really no different to the WRC events and more or less the same standard in some cases better.

Most importantly, the team currently running IRC seem to have a grip on what the manfacturers are looking for and by the sheer volume of support form the fan base, it seems the competition being offered is what people are looking for.

#26 ex Rhodie racer 2

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Posted 03 January 2010 - 19:00

What? It has more popular support than ever? :confused: :confused: :confused:

Definitely. TV has introduced the sport to hundreds of millions.
Name me another era when so many people were watching the sport?

Edited by ex Rhodie racer 2, 03 January 2010 - 19:02.


#27 FlatOverCrest

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Posted 03 January 2010 - 19:14

Definitely. TV has introduced the sport to hundreds of millions.
Name me another era when so many people were watching the sport?


Group B > The early WRC cars in 2000. The BBC ran the show on Thursday evening, friday evening, Saturday evening and a large show in the middle of the afternoon, with its Top Gear Rally Reports shows... these shows alone used to draw up to 8million viewers+. It was the stable platform that anyone that wanted to watch the RAC/Network Rally would watch. They also ran shows at weekend to highlights events of other championship rounds.

I dont disagree that at one point in the early 2000's, ISC probably did have the largest global TV pressence that there has been, but that is certainly not the story today and that is the point. How many national free to air TV companies now offer WRC coverage?

Very few and that is a great shame.



#28 cheapracer

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Posted 07 January 2010 - 11:37

FOC you just don't read what I write and you just don't get it, you have blinkers on.

But you encourage someone to go buy a used 20K Subaru - what are you going to tell them what to do when they hit a tree or blow a box or turbo or a diff and they suddenly find out the real cost of your rallying .........



#29 cheapracer

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Posted 07 January 2010 - 11:44

Definitely. TV has introduced the sport to hundreds of millions.
Name me another era when so many people were watching the sport?


I watch a number of things on TV, it doesn't mean for a moment that I am or want to be enthusiastically involved with it.

And so what, the manufacturers are being catered for, whats that got to do with competitors except for a small handful who may benefit at the cost of the majority ....

In Oz this has caused breakaway groups in both circuit racing and rallying by groups who care about the racer, not the manufacturer.


#30 Peat

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Posted 07 January 2010 - 13:28

What a fantastic article and thread.

I was a huge Rally fan in the late 90's and early 00's. But for the reasons above, i am lucky to catch highlights of 30% of the years races. I just don't care anymore.

Only since getting Eurosport this year and watching thier coverage of the IRC, has my enthusiasm for rallying been re-ignited. the IRC Rally of Scotland is definatley in my plans for this year, WRC rally Wales, or Ireland (Wherever the frig it is this time....) can get stuffed!

#31 FlatOverCrest

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Posted 07 January 2010 - 18:26

What a fantastic article and thread.
I was a huge Rally fan in the late 90's and early 00's. But for the reasons above, i am lucky to catch highlights of 30% of the years races. I just don't care anymore.
Only since getting Eurosport this year and watching thier coverage of the IRC, has my enthusiasm for rallying been re-ignited. the IRC Rally of Scotland is definatley in my plans for this year, WRC rally Wales, or Ireland (Wherever the frig it is this time....) can get stuffed!


Thanks thats appreciated...

To answer Cheap...

Cheap...I dont have blinkers on...I simply believe in horses for courses.... if someone wants to have cheap fun..then great... I am not stopping them.... but if someone wants to begin the process to their career... then they should have other options... and yes I know plenty of guys running club spec Impreza's in TRUE group N form, by simply using road gearboxes and diffs etc, from road wrecked boy racer mobiles and they have 'relatively' low operating costs for the season...

Not everyone has to run a trick diff, 6 speed R&D Dog Box to go have fun... yet it seems you want everyone to come to do rallying the way you personally want it run... I dont therefore think I am the one with the blinkers on chap...you sound very much like your way or the highway...

BTW...if you bothered to read...I actually encouraged you to build said car and wished you the best of luck with it...Hell I may even buy one from you one day...

:D

#32 evo

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Posted 08 January 2010 - 03:28

i'd have to say that this is an interesting thread and would like to see this continue without some slug match going on.

to me, it seems FOC wants to readdress the grassroots to WRC pyramid which seems to involve the commercial aspects, and Cheap wants affordable underdog competitors which can stick it up to the bigger boys.

is this more or less correct?

regardless, WRC is dying a slow death and it's good to see what people think the more appropriate solution should be.

#33 ClubmanGT

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Posted 08 January 2010 - 04:10

Bring back the supercars. The crowds will come :)

#34 cheapracer

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Posted 08 January 2010 - 04:57

Cheap wants affordable underdog competitors which can stick it up to the bigger boys.



regardless, WRC is dying a slow death and it's good to see what people think the more appropriate solution should be.


More or less but manufacturers don't like seeing their millions invested in their machines being rung in by an actual driver. A notion apparently supported by the FIA.

To be expected when one or two manufacturers dominate and with rather unspectacular vehicles competing not that we can ever have Group B again, that was just madness (and as agent 86 says "and loving it"!).







#35 cheapracer

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Posted 08 January 2010 - 05:05

1/ and yes I know plenty of guys running club spec Impreza's in TRUE group N form, by simply using road gearboxes and diffs etc, from road wrecked boy racer mobiles and they have 'relatively' low operating costs for the season...

2/ yet it seems you want everyone to come to do rallying the way you personally want it run...

3/ BTW...if you bothered to read...I actually encouraged you to build said car and wished you the best of luck with it...Hell I may even buy one from you one day...


1/ Until they hit something or want to go faster. Relative to what by the way?

2/ I think you started this thread with that proposition yourself.

3/ You still miss the point but I'll take your money anyway :lol:



#36 FlatOverCrest

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Posted 08 January 2010 - 13:28

1/ Until they hit something or want to go faster. Relative to what by the way?
2/ I think you started this thread with that proposition yourself.
3/ You still miss the point but I'll take your money anyway :lol:


Relative to say a S1600 car, or a proper group A car or even a modern Group N car... Parts fom a scrapyard to go have some fun rallying, can be achieved. However, if you then want to make it more serious and have chance of winning, then yes unfortunately money does become a key problem. Then you have fuel...Pirelli versus Maxsport tyres...etc etc... Motorsport will never be 'cheap' per say..

With regards propositions, I do not have all the right answers and I fully endorse different levels of competition for different levels of competitor, but I can see where the existing championship has gone wrong, rather than specifics as to the way rallying should be for everyone... as to your point 3, I get your point...I just dont happen to agree with it completely...

Back to the thread topic at hand..............

With the announcement that M-Sport has now joined the IRC as well....it is clear Malcolm is hedging his bets...
http://www.ircseries...ews.asp?id=1431 Watching how Mikko does on the Monte will be very interesting...
I would not be surprised to see Citroen possibly do the same thing, IF the board allows Peugeot and Citroen to run at the same time in the same championship.

The writing is currently on the wall for the WRC.... the proposed 1600cc Turbo regs have so far had little or no support from other manufacturers currently outside of the WRC, their only hope will be a Prodrive announcement of the Mini WRC1600 car...but it seems announcements on this are now later than expected...

I have no doubt the IRC will start to work with the FIA to tweak the S2000 rules a little which should result in 300bhp standard engine format and will start to bring the excitement level up from the current level with an S2000 car..

Interestingly enough... one could argue that the S2000 drivers in the WRC are every bit as talented as the WRC drivers, as driving an S2000 car to the very edge is considerably more difficult than driving a WRC car.



#37 FlatOverCrest

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Posted 08 January 2010 - 13:32

to me, it seems FOC wants to readdress the grassroots to WRC pyramid which seems to involve the commercial aspects, and Cheap wants affordable underdog competitors which can stick it up to the bigger boys.
is this more or less correct?

Pretty much! :D

#38 DOF_power

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Posted 08 January 2010 - 13:40

Bring back the supercars. The crowds will come :)




I second that, but you'd need more then 2 manufacturers also.

#39 FlatOverCrest

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Posted 08 January 2010 - 13:49

I second that, but you'd need more then 2 manufacturers also.


speaking of Supercars... some of the best and mind blowingly fast have always been the Rallycross cars... basically keeping the philosophy of the old Group B car... but putting them on a circuit/gravel course... if you have never been to a Rallycross event, I highly recommend it... its certainly an exciting and different form of motorsport...


Edited by FlatOverCrest, 08 January 2010 - 13:49.


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#40 alfista

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Posted 08 January 2010 - 14:11

With the announcement that M-Sport has now joined the IRC as well....it is clear Malcolm is hedging his bets...
http://www.ircseries...ews.asp?id=1431 Watching how Mikko does on the Monte will be very interesting...
I would not be surprised to see Citroen possibly do the same thing, IF the board allows Peugeot and Citroen to run at the same time in the same championship.

The writing is currently on the wall for the WRC.... the proposed 1600cc Turbo regs have so far had little or no support from other manufacturers currently outside of the WRC, their only hope will be a Prodrive announcement of the Mini WRC1600 car...but it seems announcements on this are now later than expected...

I have no doubt the IRC will start to work with the FIA to tweak the S2000 rules a little which should result in 300bhp standard engine format and will start to bring the excitement level up from the current level with an S2000 car..

Interestingly enough... one could argue that the S2000 drivers in the WRC are every bit as talented as the WRC drivers, as driving an S2000 car to the very edge is considerably more difficult than driving a WRC car.


Malcolm surely knows where the winds are blowing from. Having Fiesta S2000 running means he is ready to whatever turns the WRC regulations will make. Plus he can make money selling cars not only to WRC teams but to IRC and numerous regional and national championships as well. Another question is how competitive the Fiesta will be. Am I the only one who remembers disastrous Fiesta S1600 project? It is hard to imagine they can have another such failure but then who saw the first one coming?
The most interesting aspect about RMC is how Hirvonen will do compared to the IRC guys. Anything other than commanding win will be a failure although he can always have excuses as his Fiestia is brand-new and unproven. I hope there will be a classic battle as there is no clear favorite.
Concerning Citroen I am not surprised if PSA board allows Citroen to race Peugeot. But I feel could will be temporary until they outphase the 207. Yes , it won the championship last year but IMHO it was speed-wise clearly beaten by Škoda Fabia in the second half of the year. And Fabia was in the very beginning of its development cycle. New Citroen will surely have more speed reserves in it than "old" 207. And there will be other new contenders as well so the IRC field can be something like WRC was in early noughties.


#41 FlatOverCrest

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Posted 08 January 2010 - 14:34

Malcolm surely knows where the winds are blowing from. Having Fiesta S2000 running means he is ready to whatever turns the WRC regulations will make. Plus he can make money selling cars not only to WRC teams but to IRC and numerous regional and national championships as well. Another question is how competitive the Fiesta will be. Am I the only one who remembers disastrous Fiesta S1600 project? It is hard to imagine they can have another such failure but then who saw the first one coming?
The most interesting aspect about RMC is how Hirvonen will do compared to the IRC guys. Anything other than commanding win will be a failure although he can always have excuses as his Fiestia is brand-new and unproven. I hope there will be a classic battle as there is no clear favorite.
Concerning Citroen I am not surprised if PSA board allows Citroen to race Peugeot. But I feel could will be temporary until they outphase the 207. Yes , it won the championship last year but IMHO it was speed-wise clearly beaten by Škoda Fabia in the second half of the year. And Fabia was in the very beginning of its development cycle. New Citroen will surely have more speed reserves in it than "old" 207. And there will be other new contenders as well so the IRC field can be something like WRC was in early noughties.


Malcolm is no fool thats for sure... as to the pace of the Fiesta...by all accounts that I have heard...it is quick and probably able to challenge. There are also a number of privateers looking to run the Fiesta which has had a great deal more work put into it than the S1600 ever did.

The Proton looks pretty useful as well, unfortunately we wont see that again until Sardinia, but it was great to see Alistair giving it a good run in Scotland.. All in all... there is much to take encouragement from the IRC for rallying...

#42 cheapracer

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Posted 08 January 2010 - 14:47

Parts fom a scrapyard to go have some fun rallying, can be achieved. However, if you then want to make it more serious and have chance of winning, then yes unfortunately money does become a key problem.


Apparently you do agree behind your cowering to the dollar.  ;)

Anyway, I will present some sort of plan mid year but it will be along the lines of something affordable that you can hit banks with, can hit holes without bending a LCA/trailing arm or worse, kink the body and you can run into trees at moderate speeds and not only continue but also have a small repair bill later - and very importantly, it will look very modern.

My soon to be released limited production road car has some design elements that will carry over into the limited production rally car and not by accident either.

My ultimate goal has been planned for a loooooooooong time.



#43 FlatOverCrest

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Posted 08 January 2010 - 15:29

Apparently you do agree behind your cowering to the dollar. ;)
Anyway, I will present some sort of plan mid year but it will be along the lines of something affordable that you can hit banks with, can hit holes without bending a LCA/trailing arm or worse, kink the body and you can run into trees at moderate speeds and not only continue but also have a small repair bill later - and very importantly, it will look very modern.
My soon to be released limited production road car has some design elements that will carry over into the limited production rally car and not by accident either.
My ultimate goal has been planned for a loooooooooong time.


:up: Very good...will be very interested to see this machine...

#44 motoman2100

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Posted 08 January 2010 - 17:07

sry for being off topic, well its not that off topic, but living in the states it is tough to get to watch rally, WRC was only brought back to us after a 5-6 year hiatus now with discovery channels HD theatre showing review shows. But are there any good places on the web to watch review shows, and general footage of lets say IRC or even some of the more regional racing? And if one could point me in the direction of a good rally news website.

Thanks for the help


FOC great article, i am younger rally fan and i did miss out on the crazyness of the 80's however when Speed channel aired WRC in the early 2000's i was hooked. It was very fun to watch all those constructors and all the different big names that battled it out, i could only imagine what the earlier years of rally where like if the 2000's where not even the best.

#45 FlatOverCrest

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Posted 08 January 2010 - 18:14

Many thanks. Here's some links for you:

http://www.ircseries.com/html/

http://www.wrc.com/index.jsp

http://www.rallybrc.co.uk/

http://rallymoments.com/

http://www.rally-erc.com/

That should keep you busy.... :D

#46 SpaMaster

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Posted 11 January 2010 - 07:36

Oh, wow! What a fantastic read! :up: :up: :up:

As a new follower of rally, it ascertained many of my casual doubts in eye-opening terms. I have always wondered how can you have only two teams fighting for championship and just two driver. Everyone else is just out of it. I just can't figure out how a guy like Petter Solberg can't be able to fight for championship. He is one of the main stars of rally today, and if he can't fight for championship what is this all about?

Hats off to a wonderfully written article..

Seems like Bernie effect is more visible in WRC than in F1. I used to assume Subaru and Suzuki left just because of economic conditions. But if the rally cars cost less as they used to be, and as evident from the fact that Subaru is considering entering IRC, the reason seems to be totally different. From F1 perspective, I always felt manufacturers are only in the sport for the money. But, in rally it seem quite the opposite. If the cost of participation is less, there is no need for a manufacturer to leave the sport.

How long are we going to have this two horse race? What will Petter do? What hope does Raikkonen have if his dream is to have a shot at WRC title how much ever unlikely it is? If there can be only two drivers in any year who can win title, won't the sport fade away even more quickly?

What do you think is in store in the future, Crest? I am not asking what they should do, and where they might end if they don't do few things. Quite simply, where is it heading in the next 5 years?

#47 cheapracer

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Posted 11 January 2010 - 07:53

:up: Very good...will be very interested to see this machine...



I'll keep you informed.

Drove my prototype for the 3rd time just now and sitting with a coffee thinking about some steering mods I need to pursue, fun watching the expressions on the faces of the Chinese workers who have never seen a car revving and sliding in and around between the poles in a large factory before. In not so long time I'll take them for rides and scare the begeezes out of them ;)

Of course currently it lacks suitable rallying bodywork :p

Posted Image

Edited by cheapracer, 11 January 2010 - 08:21.


#48 evo

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Posted 11 January 2010 - 09:18

that looks a bit of a head turner.. even without bodywork. obviously reminds me of an atom.


I just wonder what kind of rally car you're building. I must've not seen this build thread somewhere or its intentions, but it does look like its coming a long quite nicely. Is it meant to look a bit like a buggy type vehicle?

#49 GeoffR

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Posted 11 January 2010 - 11:32

This is probably a bit OT from the subject of WRC, but I believe the symptoms indicate the same 'disease'.
Cheapracer - You're obviously an Aussie who has seen the best days of rallying in Australia. In that I am referring to the late '70s / early '80s where you had works teams from both Ford & Nissan competing against privateers such as Portman, Bell & Officer.
I can still recall the Endrust (SA) and Alpine (Vic) rallies where Portholes emerged victorious against both the aforementioned factory teams. It was very much the era of 'run what you brung' with 'grunter' Datsuns and Dazdas being an important part of the rallying fabric. I can even recall a Mazda 626 coupe with a turbo 13b aboard (was Jim Kennedy the pilot?) in one Alpine.
Anyway, to relate this to FOC's thread, Aussie rallying subsequently went down the same path the WRC has followed in recent years. The manufacturers got involved, first Toyota giving Batesy a couple of titles, then Subaru with 5 for Possum & 3 for Cody. Pretty much left everyone else floundering around for whatever minor placings they could pick up, but never a chance for an outright win if any of the 'works' cars finished.
2009 from what I have seen has seen a slight change towards the past, with the 'lesser lights' becoming more prominent due to lack of manufacturer support, but there is still a long way to go to get back to the halcyon days.
I don'tprofess to have an answer for the current problems with top level rallying, both WRC & ARC, but I think that years ago there was always a chance that the underdog would come good & beat the factory teams. This has pretty much been eliminated from the equation now, more to the detriment of rallying overall.
Perhaps all rallies should take a BIG step back to being navigational again - just got to love map reading!!

#50 cheapracer

cheapracer
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Posted 11 January 2010 - 12:13

Cheapracer - You're obviously an Aussie who has seen the best days of rallying in Australia. In that I am referring to the late '70s / early '80s where you had works teams from both Ford & Nissan competing against privateers such as Portman, Bell & Officer.


Yes a bit of me was in Hugh's (Bell) car, chassis wise and half the engine by my Father's hand. I didn't have a lot to do with the later RX7 but serviced for him occasionally when he went interstate. As you would know Hugh was a real potential at world level but had no personality to get sponsors (Pedders came through a mutual friend) and was a just a common worker so when the dollar AWD stuff came it was goodnight folks. Same story for Dinta and even Greg Carr sad to say, both former Oz Champions as well as some State champions I knew.

I did a little suspension work for Nissan in the 'golden' years.

I fought long and hard in CAMS to get a modern relatively cheap 2wd sillohette formula going but the Group G guys just kept shooting themselves in the foot trying to hang on to their 1960's hot rods and eventually lost out.

When I lived in Canberra for a couple of years I knew Neil (and Rick) Bates quite well even sold Neil his first LSD for his 1600. They weren't the fastest around, not slow either but their Father was amazing for his promotional skills, money and encouragement and got them where they are today. Again I saw some deserving guys just fall away, one who got a VR4, leading his first event until went off then couldn't afford to repair it and retired from rallying altogether. I have a lot of those stories.


I just wonder what kind of rally car you're building.


It will be a small hatchback style not dissilmilar to McRae's thing in concept - except for the price.

I intend to go after this comapny first for support ....

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Edited by cheapracer, 11 January 2010 - 12:33.