AndyRAC wrote:It's a disappointing entry, again. Feel sorry for the organisers. However, it's not part of any series, and it's only a new event. I do think they should have used an existing Scottish round, and made it a 2 day event. As for the British scene, remember last year on RallyGB, there wasn't a single BRChampion entered......
I believe the deal was for 3 years - I fear next year will be the last one.
I don't think after 3 years it's over. The IRC likes to have an "RAC" and the British like to have something in IRC I would think. I believe there are several reasons for this, not just one.
1) The British scene is incredibly weak anyway. Don't know what they have done wrong, but since the ban of A8/WRCars in the late 90s the BRC became a far cry from it's former international glory in a very short time, and the local stars also became difficult to judge or even there aren't any coming along any more.
2) The core of your post: Yes, in the rules the IRC applies, with no demand for teams to start every round (still better than WRC, as we have seen in an "all or nothing" regulation, the majority of teams decides for nothing, quite logically) there is always a danger for the last round. But it is maybe a bit of a lottery, it can work for you, it can work against you. Throughout WRC history, the RAC mostly has been the last round, and whenever the title was decided before the last round, Lancia would not turn up to the RAC! However if the title battle goes to the last round, at least if it is for the makes (now see why I feel the makes title is more important and interesting than the drivers), the effect was the opposite! My fav example is 1982 - look at that entry list:http://www.rallye-info.com/event_entrylist.asp?event=90
Going into the last round, Audi was leading Opel with 104 to 102 points. As back then WRC rules were like IRC today, and unlike WRC today, nobody was prevented adding celebrity, guest and local drivers to their line up, which made the last round even more to an incredible, nailbiting highlight. Audi entered 1-Mikkola, 5-Mouton, 17-Wilson, 21-Buffum, 24-Demuth & 27-Lampi, Opel entered 2-Vatanen, 4-Röhrl-replaced-by-Kleint, 7-Toivonen, 11-McRae(Jimmy) & 20-Johansson. That's 11 works cars for only 2 teams! If within these 11 works cars there are several entry numbers inside the 20s, it is because even other teams without title hopes still joined the party, Lancia testing their new 037(1), Talbot(2), Toyota(3), Vauxhall(3), Mitsubishi(2), Datsun(4), Mazda(2), Skoda(4),.... what an entry!
This was no one-off, as i.e. in 1977 Ford came surprisingly close to Fiat in the title bit. Ford did not even do a full season, and RAC was always their home-rally-end-of-season-party. But before RAC Fiat led with 136pts to Ford's 124pts:http://www.rallye-info.com/event_entryl ... ?event=371
As you see, the team that always missed out RAC when the title situation allowed, here sent 5 cars, and not only that, their regulars 3-Markku Alen & 17-Fulvio Bacchelli were complimented with 3 exciting guest drivers: 6-Timo Mäkinen, 10-Timo Salonen & 13-Simo Lampinen. Ford entered with works cars or works support: 1-Clark, 5-Waldegaard, 9-Vatanen, 20-Hämäläinen, 23-Brookes & 28-Taylor, making again for an 11 works cars title showdown, even though Ford needed a miracle to beat Fiat.
Unfortunately in later years, especially with Lancia in groupA, occasions of the makes title being decided on the final round were rare, and then came that rule that to score makes points makes had to start all or nothing, soon followed by the rule max 2 cars. And still, the RAC was always one of the best events for surprising added entries. I think it was 1991, when Toyota gave up on the title moments before the start and did not let Armin Schwarz & Mikael Ericsson start, even though they were on the entry list. On that occasion Lancia surprise entries Bruno Saby & Robert Droogmans however still too the start.
One strange observation: I would have thought today it is all much more perfect about testing and preparation? Well, there were 2 opposing opinions within the makes, once titles were decided. Some decided to not start the last round to save budget for next year - we still have that today, see Skoda. Others however then started the RAC specifically as a live test for next season - we don't have that any more. See Lancia with the sole 037 entry in 1982, see Ford letting Fiorio start in 1990, Alister McRae and Ari Vatanen in the works Subaru in 1998, where did that come from all the sudden?
The - to my mind - worst bit of bad sportsmanship in history affected the RAC as last round too: 1960, when the ERC was the top discipline, when René Trautmann crashed his Citroen, the title was automatically Mercedes' - who then celebrated their title in withdrawing their entries mid rally and go home, not even finishing the rally! Typically Mercedes.
- So it can work for you, or against you. So now Scotland had bad luck twice. Better luck next time? In fact the IRC saw this problem, as I feel that is the reason why IRC went against the valued (by them) tradition and had Scotland as penultimate round this year. However how much damage did it do this year? If the title fight was still open, Skoda would have sent additional entries for Kopecky & Loix, Peugeot probably for Bouffier. That would have us up at a total entry of 27 rather than 24, that still is catastrophic! This means the problem is deeper:
3) Maybe the event is simply not attractive! While it is certainly attractive to close the season with an RAC Rally, this is no RAC. As I said in another discussion, in the 1990s I did not miss a single RAC Rallye, not even the F2 only one in 1996! This year is better than last year, but superspecials is not rallying for me, so we have Saturday 3 stages run twice, Sunday 2 stages run twice - you expect me to pay time and money for a long trip for that? Definitely NOT! Make it a proper effing rally, like Monte, Corsica and others do in IRC!
I think the rally in this WRC-style format is simply not good! The few stages it has are actually fantastic, but as another example, Cyprus, rock fields, not picturesque, not memorable for spectators, no marketing value. And with all the rocks the size of footballs, the WRC history of this event has proven to be a lottery rally with punctures and wheels hanging off, and in IRC without the WRC tyres this is going to be even worse. I would have hated it to decide the titles there! It would have been better deciding the titles by throwing a dice. OK, you may know me as someone to not like rough rallies, but honestly, in the old days, when not every WRC round looked the same, I dearly loved the Acropolis - but I could still not have imagined the Acropolis as the season final, it just is not how to eventually decide the title! And I feel I am certainly not alone with this opinion, insiders that should know feel the same. By what I have heard so far who is going to Cyprus, I would make a predictor and say Yokohama is going to win it! Yokohama? Yes, you have heard right, because judging be the people that so far are definitely going, the win is going to either Khalid Al Qassimi or Burcu Cetinkaya, and then I say maybe this time Yokohama is a little more lucky than Pirelli.
But back to point. I am sure my point 2) aka Andy's point surely is part of the problem, and it is in fact why the event has been moved forward this year, but even if Kopecky, Loix & Bouffier came, it would be like 40% more top drivers, but it still would only be 27 entries total! And as Andy points out, last year's WRC Welsh Rally did not have a single BRChamp at the start line. But IRC RAC MSA Scottish, not even Jock Armstrong has entered, who was 4th here last year! Were is Alistair Fisher, who did very well here until retirement last year? Where is Craig Breen, where is Gwyndaf Evans? Where are David Higgins and Martin Rowe, who even entered the Chinese IRC round in the past?
Obviously something is wrong with the event itself!
OK combining it with the final BRC round would be interesting and helpful, good remark. But even my 1970s/80s RAC examples above did not count for anything else but WRC, and then the BRC is not much these days either.
So something's wrong with the event itself! I think too small, too few stages, just not interesting enough to be the British season highlight the RAC used to be! If I was still an active competitor and resident of the UK, despite my love for the IRC, I'd rather do the Roger Albert Clark, because that is a proper rally, and it's fun!