Rally GB criticised for being too long

Group Rallying Editor
@davidevansrally

FIA rally director Jarmo Mahonen has criticised Wales Rally GB and other events in the World Rally Championship for being too long and not in-keeping with what the governing body wants from modern events.

Mahonen, who retires from the FIA at the end of the year, said the time had come to return to a more formulaic, standardised format for WRC rounds.

The Finn said those favouring a return to the endurance element of the sport should seek it from the FIA’s World Cup for Cross Country Rallies.

Mahonen told Motorsport News: “I’m sorry to say this, but in the UK, how long shall we allow it that the events dictate the format?

“In Wales we had a day of 140km (87 miles) and a long time [with no service] and on the first day, no service at all. I fully understand the reason behind it, Wales is coming with the money, but at our end, what shall we do, do we just accept it?

“We have given freedom to the organisers to come with their strengths and do the rallies as they would like to have it, but I have to say that we have failed.

“In some cases it works, in some cases it doesn’t, but we need standardisation for the rallies.”

Mahonen wants service parks to be used more. Pic: LAT

Mahonen also said World Rallies must utilise the service park more often, hitting out at systems such as remote tyre fitting zones.

“I’m not in favour of remote services,” added Mahonen. “We have to remember we are building this championship for the manufacturers and when you go to the service park, the manufacturers are investing millions in the hospitality, but you go out in the morning and come back late in the evening. What can you do with the guests?

“Today’s rallies should be compact and they need a heart and that heart is the service park, where entertainment is offered. We started this centralised service in Finland because we know the city people, they don’t go to forests, so we build the service for them to enjoy the atmosphere for the rally.”

Central locations are a must-have, according to Mahonen. Pic: LAT

Mahonen was also critical of the length of road sections on some rounds, once again he singled Britain out for disapproval. This year’s Rally GB comprised a 922-mile route, of which 20.6 per cent was competitive.

“The stage mileage should be 25 per cent of the total route, we see some of the events which are getting under or close to 20 per cent in the UK and in Sweden and this is touring, it’s not rallying any more,” he said.

Rally GB route co-ordinator Andrew Kellitt is well acquainted with the Mahonen argument. He told MN: “I can completely see Jarmo’s point, but the issue we have is one of a lack of a big piece of flat, hard-standing in the right area [for a service park]. We’ve tried basing the event in Builth Wells, which is closer to the stages and gets us the right ratio of competitive to road miles, but there’s not a very big population base there and the teams didn’t want to stay in the area.”

Endurance stages, like the one used in Mexico, are in spotlight. Pic: LAT

Mahonen also said that longer, endurance-style stages are not relevant to modern rallying.

“My personal thoughts about this are that you have [more] 10km (six-mile) stages,” he said. “Then you have lots of stages generating lots of news for social media. You remember we talked about the 80km (50-mile) stage in Mexico last year? What happened in that stage? Nothing and the people switched off because they were bored.

“I say rallying has come through evolution, we can’t go back to the old times. Rallying how we used to know it, it doesn’t exist anymore. This is racing on gravel. And these cars are not made for endurance.”

Recent news

Column

Motorsport isn't about gender

By Jack Benyon

Racing News

British champion Ahmed closes on Euro F3 deal

BRDC British Formula 3 champion Enaam Ahmed appears to be closing in on a deal to move up to...

Racing News

Barwell expands to three Lamborghinis for British GT

Barwell Motorsport will expand to field three Lamborghini Huracan GT3s in next year’s British...

Racing News

New race series for classic Porsche 911s

A new race series for pre-1966 Porsche 911s has been launched by Peter Auto, the French-based...

Racing News

Simpson moves from Dynamics to Eurotech

British Touring Car Championship racer Matt Simpson will move from Team Dynamics to the expanding...

Racing News

Morris won't return to defend British GT3 title

New British GT3 champion Seb Morris will not return to defend the title he won this year alongside...

Rallying News

Bakkerud to make Andros Trophy debut

World Rallycross ace Andreas Bakkerud will make his debut in the Andros Trophy ice racing series...

Column

Stop kicking the WRC Down Under

By Colin Clark

Rallying News

New rules to cut costs in World Rallycross

A raft of measures aimed at reducing costs in the World Rallycross Championship have been introduced...

Racing News

Bushell to return to BTCC with Team Hard

Two-time Renault UK Clio Cup champion Mike Bushell will return to the British Touring Car Championship...

Rallying News

VW R5 car completes first public test

Volkswagen's Polo GTi R5 World Rally Championship WRC2 car has been seen testing in public for...

Racing News

Double R signs American for 2018 British F3

Leading BRDC British Formula 3 team Double R Racing has made American driver Dev Gore its first...

Racing News

Combe changes set to tackle track limits

The Castle Combe Circuit will make changes for 2018 in a bid to stop track limits being exploited...

Rallying News

WRC split on Mahonen's plan for shorter stages

FIA rally director Jarmo Mahonen’s plans for shorter stages in the World Rally Championship...

Racing News

Clio champion Bushell eyes TCR UK move

Two-time Renault UK Clio Cup champion Mike Bushell says TCR UK is a “serious option” for...

Rallying News

WRC eSports final on Motorsport.tv and Autosport

The 2017 eSports WRC Powered by Hyundai Grand Final will be live streamed by Motorsport.tv today,...

Rallying News

WRC title fight will go to the wire in 2018

M-Sport boss Malcolm Wilson believes that his team will face an even bigger challenge to defend...

Rallying News

Rovanpera and Solberg team up in Fiestas

World Rally Championship stars of the future Kalle Rovanpera and Oliver Solberg will team-up...

Racing News

DTM returns to Brands Hatch for 2018

The DTM will return to Brands Hatch next season, with the Kent venue securing an August date...

Racing News

HHC signs Ginetta champion for GT4 expansion

HHC Motorsport will expand to field two cars in next year's British GT Championship, and has...

Rallying News

M-Sport gets Ford support from America

Malcolm Wilson has revealed that his M-Sport team will benefit from technical backing from Ford...

Racing News

Button's year out "best thing I've done"

Jenson Button says his "love for motor racing is back" after spending a year away from Formula...

1 2 3 36

More national news, in-depth race reports and analysis. Subscribe to the Motorsport News paper today.

What’s On

This weekend

No Events

Later

No Events

X