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 Re: wrc drivers future. by Chris B

12-Mar-09 06:54 AM 

LevinGT - I don't actually find football as with the oval ball near as annoying than soccer. My it is because football-rugby is not known in Germany. It could never be my favourite sport either, but football with the oval ball seems to have more speed and less silly rules. This I must admit is also part of my football - as in soccer - hate relationship. Because of soccer, other sports are totally ignored. This not only goes for rallying, but indeed football-rugby, golf, etc.. When a new World Champion in Golf is decided, even if it is a German, he will get no air time because it is more important to report about something like todays colour of the knickers of Bakhams wife, who isnt even German! But the core why I hate soccer - and that links back to unclever adverts - is not only because I get something I do not find in the least interesting rammed down my throat 20-30 times every day since years, it is indeed stuff that makes me even more convinced soccer must be the most boring sport in the World, having day in day out nothing better to report than about players wife knickers, sacking of a manager in Kongo and how the farts of a Russian trainer smell....

Even in rally reports, my friend Mike Biehl liked to complain about EuroSports Norbert Ockenga repeatedly implementing to us that Marcus Grönholm is not a professional rally driver but a farmer. But for me this was only half as bad as being repeatedly reminded that Carlos Sainz is a member of the Barcelona soccer club - "Can't you even leave me in peace with this shite on a rally report, if I wanted to know about it, I would tune into soccer, not rallying!"

Better don't get me started on it....

bringbackrealrallying - That's exactly it! Monte and Safari as huge events are also famous as a challenge and glamour or adventure because they were big events. Sweden and Finland were always short but stood out for the snow or the fast yumps.

Mix Corsica in with this variation in length alongside conditions. This is a long time ago and I don't necessarily have to go back to such extreme, but Corsica was a 36hrs affair, one-and-a-half days. Yet it was not a sprint rally, they drove non-stop, all through the night, and such covered the whole island! Maybe indeed for safety reasons I would be carefully swinging the pendulum back too far the other extreme, as running without pace notes and having tired drivers run past cliffs all through the night after hours of driving without break. But you get the point how Tour de Corse such fitted in as a unique challenge in its own rights in a championship calendar that made people understood exactly what rallying is about - mastering huge diversity!

And maybe pendulum is the right word. I can understand that we don't necessarily need to cover 5000km of road sections and stay in a different hotel every night for a whole week and run a chase car for each competition car all the route on public roads at silly speeds to deliver a good RAC. But certainly the pendulum has swung way too far! Simple example alongside clover leaf, why can't we have night stages? Monte is famous to even less interested Joe Public for the Turini Night of the Long Knifes. And it was a success exactly because of this as an IRC edition! And if, as seems the case, San Remo keeps sticking to that 60km night stage on the opening day, it will built a very unique name for itself for everybody because of this!

And mixed rallies, yes. That was the beauty i.e. of the old style San Remo. Before the last day, even if the Quattros were 4min ahead, you still did not know the winner as we were now on Lancia surface! Yet this is again an example of the silliness of current procedures. So Cyprus is a mixed rally. Great. But why we make the drivers run -again!- on totally inadequate, if not potentially dangerous tyres on this loop. How stupid and dumb!

The RAC Park stages, even if you say for the less die hard fans compared to forests, OK, but it made the RAC unique, delivered fantastic, marketaable pictures and this made better promotion for this sport than a superspecial ever will! In this light I am a great fan of the park stages. And as an example what you say, maybe the current manufacturers will moan for a moment, but run it twice and they will love it for the marketing potential they get out of it! Eventually people will remember who won this rally for a while! While even me die hard fan could not tell you off my head who won which rallies last year, despite this being an easy one as Loeb won 11 out of 15.

Again so much written. Sorry, this subject gets my emotions burning, hope everyone can keep up reading and will contribute their views and ideas....



 Re: wrc drivers future. by Chris B

12-Mar-09 07:12 AM 

"But you get the point how Tour de Corse such fitted in as a unique challenge in its own rights in a championship calendar that made people understood exactly what rallying is about - mastering huge diversity!"

Not to forget, in a huge and picturesque Safari the Loeb of the day had to give best against 5.0 V8 Mercedes that were specially prepared for this event and 3 weeks later the Loeb of the day had to give best against nutter Darniche and Beguin in their BMW M1 and against nutter Jean-Claude Andruet driving his Ferrari past the cliffs all night long! That surely is more interesting as the Loeb show of around 2008!

And that's back to my Dakar rant. If Loeb and co had to live with and fight such diversity, single events would be more interesting, and this eventually would lead to more public and media interest automatically. Sure current teams would initially be shocked having to do a 3000km Safari Rally, but eventually the same marking potential that made Mercedes built a special Safari and Bandama car and that make VW throw 110 Million Euros at the Dakar alone will be a marketing potential the teams will love!

Unforunately it is not easy, as this has gone on for too long with too many contradicting rules. When I see that i.e., total random pick, in 1985 we had 16 manufacturers scoring WRC makes points, you could simply say if Ford did not want to do Safari, good, its their loss! Today, if we lose Ford, it is the best cost saving meassure we could have, just forget about the rallies and hand the trophies to Citroen and Loeb straight away....



 Re: wrc drivers future. by bringbackrealrallying

12-Mar-09 01:20 PM 

I dont even see where there is a decision to make or an arguement to have here. The rising cost of rallying is down to the cars, any rises that would be incurred by returning the individual rally's to their former glories could be recouped with interest by going back to some sort of Group4/A/N regulations. Now if a privateer buys a WRC car for say the start of the Irish season, by the time they turn up for the Irish Rally in November or whatever they would not be competetive. You cant keep up that speed of development without spending a shit load of money. Compare that to the back end of Group A, how long were the Imprezza 555 and Escort Cosworth competitive for, nearly 3 years, and that was only cut short by the regulation changes. All that spending on trying to make some piece of engine half a gram lighter is what costs. If the cars had to be production based then these costs would be cut.

Just to add weight to how much of a challenge the Tour de Corse used to be in 1985 the RAC was 880km long which was spread over 63 stages, Corsica was 1078km spread over only 29 stages. So as well as getting no sleep and having to concentrate when knackered, the drivers had to concentrate for extremly long periods. I'm guessing Corsica was not popular with the slightly portlier drivers, stages that long must take a lot out of you! I'm not saying they have to go to that extreme, it probably was a bit dangerous, but regaining some of the former character would be nice. Another event which has gone the way of the pear, although not WRC, is the Circuit of Ireland, that used to be a 5 day non stop blast around the whole of Ireland. Markku Alen once attempted, got 3rd but said he'd never do it again unless it was in the WRC because it was so hard. Last year the winners time was a slight over 3 hours. So replacing a nationwide event which probably the entire population of Ireland turned up to watch and most the top drivers and teams attempted at some stage is a little club event. Thats such a shame. Its a pity the Circuit never made the WRC, that was a challenge!



 Re: wrc drivers future. by m4d-mike

12-Mar-09 03:41 PM 

well yes that is but then they would have to admit that rally sligo is a more apt name than rally ireland.i cant even rememberwhy that was ped.

this is another reason why the talent is lacking a little all rallies seem to be cut short these days so no one is really up to it any more.
right now it is a short sharp shock sport and if the fia is not careful the erc will take over as the world rally championship altogether, it was d for tv and makes bloody good telly too.



 Re: wrc drivers future. by Chris B

13-Mar-09 06:36 AM 

Bringbackrealrallying, reading through the first chapter of your last post makes me even more convinced about my earlier thought, that these annual homologations drive the costs high too! Apart from the fact that works drivers can only use the latest spec and not return to an alternative, which is rubbish and pointless. The annual homologation was creaated to keep development costs down, as teams would develop once a year rather than continuously. The result seems they develop all year round anyway and try to get things right in every tiny detail, because they can return to the old car and they are stuck to the new car for a year. I don't know how you can control development cost, as there certainly seems reason to attempt controlling it. But it is fact that a group4 Escort Mk2 was nearly unchanged and still always competitive from 1975 to incl. 1981, same applies to the groupA Escort Cosworth from 1993 to incl. 1997. Today, if you buy a new WRCar, you get one that is a year old and turns ever less competitive as the year progresses, while works team development costs are higher than ever.

Great example also with Circuit of Ireland. Throughout the 1980s, even sitting in Germany, I was following this event with interest. Same about Manx and others. Today I can't even tell you which events and drivers are part of the BRC. Partly this is because in BRC there are no WRCars, hence no WRC drivers, no top class entries in which even talented locals can prove a point. The Circuit of Ireland today is a joke to its former self. And the Rally of Ireland of course is a different event. "The Circuit" - which was enough of a name for everyone to know what event is meant, was a classic Easter affair. And despite the Alen example, people like Mikkola, Vatanen, Toivonen and teams like Audi, Rothmans Opel, etc loved to come! Even if it was no WRC event, the Circuit of Ireland was an absolute seasons highlight for Northern Europe drivers, teams and fans!



 Re: wrc drivers future. by Chris B

13-Mar-09 07:03 AM 

"Just to add weight to how much of a challenge the Tour de Corse used to be in 1985 the RAC was 880km long which was spread over 63 stages, Corsica was 1078km spread over only 29 stages. So as well as getting no sleep and having to concentrate when knackered, the drivers had to concentrate for extremly long periods."

Thanks, great analysis! And I remember this too, just forgot to mention. It puts weight behind the diversity of the WRC.

The RAC was for 5 days and in number of stages 1985 was actually a short one! I can remember RAC editions with up to 80 stages! Unique stages this is, no repeats! Of course the park stages would be short. And Kielder stood out because it were rough and extremely long stages. The average stage length was 10-15km. And each part of the country had their bit. Sunday parks, Monday Yorkshire, Tuesday Scotland, Tuesday Night Kielder, Wednesday Lake District, Thursday Wales. Thursday is all of Wales of course, not spending 3 days in Cardiff area. Or other way round. Even one year to the next the RAC always had variation, following year this example the start would be Chester, not Birmingham, and the first Monday forest stages were Wales, not Yorkshire first and Wales last. Each day a new area and a new challenge.

Tour de Corse in comparison was 36hrs over and done with, but in fact longer competitive mileage than RAC, night stages were the norm and stages averaged at 50kms. 50km average meant 35-40km was a short stage. And it was not only the length of the stages that was so knackering. One Corsican classic was the Liamone stage, which was 83km. So, rally quizz, how long do you need to cover an 83km asphalt stage half an hour. 40minutes. Bollox, on any other rally this could be correct. Jean-Pierre Nicolas on the 205 T16 debut in 1984 became a live time record holder. 59m57s means he is the only man to ever cover this stretch of road in less than an hour! 1h04, 1h05 was a very fast time on this stage alone! The stage was so twisty and demanding that Lancia often ran a strategy of doing a mid stage pit stop to change tyres and brake pads, which were absolutely knackered after 50km of this torture!!!!


One more thought I had on these annual homologations rocketing the cost. I somehow thought of the example of the Escort Cosworth. The car was competitive for 5 years. And when the Escort WRC came, partly down to handing over to Malcolm Wilson limiting development time severely, the main short coming of the Escort Cosworth gA was the rear axle geometry. And buying a new design rear axle would allow a privateer to upgrade his Escort Cosworth to an Escort WRC, so with little effort he still would have an up to date car! The Escort Mk2, like my earlier example somewheere about Opel Ascona 400, it was available with different size wheel arches that could be changed with the tyres and you had some other options, like injection or carburator engine. In group4 Kit car meant you could buy a set of parts and convert your car between events quite easily and such have a car that is competitive everywheere for the next 4-5 years. But today Kit Cars are different. I dont know the solution. But the Escort Cosworth maybe a good example indeed. Why did they not change that bad rear axle before WRCar rules. Because in groupA they were stuck with this road design! But as it was the same for everyone, so the Cosy had a difficult handling rear axle, the Sunny GTI-R had an interwarmer and the Impreza had something else, so the Cosy could stay competitive so long with minor tweaks. And quite likely, the the Mk2, without annual homologations a team was not forced to provide something every year of which they knew if it was crap they are stuck with it for a year. They Mk2 and the Cosy, they d something when and as needed, and most of the time we spoke details that were also for private teams easy to upgrade.



 Re: wrc drivers future. by Chris B

13-Mar-09 07:23 AM 

"59m57s means he is the only man to ever cover this stretch of road in less than an hour!"

Off subject, well it has to do with the diversity of single WRC events such standing out.

This Liamone stage 1984, please note that was 59m57s driving one stage with a 205 T16 groupB car, a rather extreme and fast car!!!! The stage was so crazy, I remember the 1984 Liamone story as the Lancias did pit stops and reached a time of 1h04m. Stig Blomqvist in the Quattro did no pit stop and made 1h05m. So the Lancias were faster despite a 2min pit stop! This must have been crazy attack, basically taking 3min out of the house holding Quattro on the last 40km on fresh tyres and brakes! Nobody could understand Nicolas' time. He did no pit stop, such did not stop for 22min mid stage, these 2min cleared out, how could he still be another 2min faster than the Lancias on worn tyres and melting brakes!

And the RAC strategy. The Sunday park stages was playing around in tricky conditions, such it was rallying, easy to do mistakes, very slippery, very spectacular. But for what was to come, it was just a playful warm up. The RAC was mainly day action, every day in a different country or region of Britain. Only the longest stage, which were deep, dark, spooky Kielder, were at night, as a mid-event highlight. A very good friend of mine, Gordon Jarvis, did the RAC 1984 in a group1 Talbot Sunbeam TI. I would find this story twice as hysterical, because on this occasion he was navigated by Gavin Stewart, who later in the Peugeot 205 was my navigator. When they reached the first Kielder Forest stage, Gordon told the timing marshal "come over to my side, and pssst, be quiet, my codriver is asleep!" Gordon drove very, very carefully and smoothly through Kielder, Gavin was asleep throughout! At the end of the Kielder complex, Gordon would wake Gavin. Why now, after the stage? Crasz! Well, Gavin would drive the next long road section, Gordon would sleep throughout the road section and next service. Their RAC 84 strategy: Attack the last day with a fresh driver and a car in good shape! Others decided to attack Kielder, which would probably give them a huge lead, but potentially end in a knackered driver driving a knackered car on the showdown! Gordon and Gavin won their class being "lazy losers" in Kielder! Now is that a story or not!



 Re: wrc drivers future. by m4d-mike

1-Apr-09 05:27 AM 

One thing whichindirectly seems to have killed the privateer here is the inability to score points unless you do the whole season. although i may be wrong there was something i have heard and based on what hhappened in the 80s i would say the most entertainment was to be had watching the local drivers sticking it to the pros



 Re: wrc drivers future. by Chris B

1-Apr-09 09:36 AM 

Exactly my point! One of many!

In WRC to score points as a privateer you have to start at least 8 rallies. This can only be afforded by a rich pay driver. With them in pace, why would Ford or Citroen support a privateer in a 7th car who can't score points. And if he can't score points or if M2 teams can only take makes points away from the manufacturer itself, why would they give them the latest cars, apart from rules not allowing latest spec cars for non-full-works drivers. And WRCars are supposed to be exclusive for WRC, so how is a newcomer meant to get used to or prove himself in one. Surprised we dont find someone to challenge Loeb - me not, we rob non-billionaire talents of any possible chance!

Unlike the IRC, there is no minimum number of starts, we even have droop scores, any driver can score full points for his make, of course people like Ogier, Hänninen in Russia lst year, Bouffier, or Magalhaes on the next event get the best car for the best price, Peugeot would be stupid not to do that.

M2 teams, minimum starts, droop scores, makes points, this is at least 4 aspects contributing to this situation. And as long as the WRC is not willing to learn from the IRC, the WRC will stay boring with the same results event after event, sorry!



 Re: wrc drivers future. by Chris B

1-Apr-09 09:39 AM 

exclusive cars for WRC forgotten, its more than 4 aspects wrong contributing to WRC being a boring one-man show...


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