Its fair to say that, at the moment, the WRC is still a bit of a mess. But, luckily its all about the future.
I’d like to say two things off the back of Rally Germany. The 1st, is That there was alot of noise about Toyota and their rather interesting looking rally car. They brought along a Toyota Yaris Rally car which was used as a zero car for the event. Must admit, not too sure exactly what their plans are in terms of top level WRC, but they wouldn’t just spend all that money on a car like that if they weren’t looking closely at Joining the Championship.
Secondly, I couldn’t help but notice that VW, who will be joining the Sport next year, seemed to take up more space in the Service Park than either Citroen or Ford. With their massive hospitality which, looking through their sliding automatic tinted glass doors stood a big stair case, many giant TV screens, Fridges full of drinks and impressive 20oz Steaks, along with a mountain of chocolate on the side of the bar with comfy chairs inside and out on the front decking, It looked more like a building in an F1 paddock than a motorhome in a WRC service park. This hospitality unit was situated next to their workshops, service area, parts truck, Another hospitality unit with meeting rooms, Control room which comes standard with their very own Out door lounge on the roof. With all that set up and ‘show-off’, you’d have thought they were running a jet fighter team for the royal family. Not running two tiny S2000 Skoda Fabia’s…… or… at least that’s what they appeared to be doing. – On Thursday, I was sitting in Fords Hospitality just before Shakedown came to an end, When i heard a sound which was a little different to that of any other WRC car. With interested, I poked my head around the side of Fords unit, only to see a White and blue VW Polo R findings its way down the lane. Parking itself in VW’s service area. And after firing some shots of their 2013 WRC beast, along with VW driver Mr.Ogier. It was hidden away and wasn’t seen again throughout the rally weekend.
As we know VW have been doing a huge amount of testing to their Polo. But what I find interesting is that the roads they test on are the same roads used for the WRC just a few days earlier. Which is very clever by them. Because if they use the same layout as the Rally no matter how much money they spend on getting them closed. Then only they know how fast they are in comparison to Ford and Citroen. It’s the first time I have heard of a team doing this, but im sure its something Rally teams have been doing for years. Run your own rally, same stages, same mileage as last weekend’s event. Get out the stop watch. Compare your times to those from the WRC results and then you’ll know how much your 100million euros will blow everyone else away, or see how much Loeb is still able to beat you. They may be a new team, But Ford and Citroen had better watch out. Coz VW are in it to win it. I think the WRC is really building up to be one of the best seasons next year. 2013 will be the turning point for the sport.
Now from a fantastically run Rally Germany, to the usual complaints of Rally GB this weekend. Its better that the Rally is now based back in Cardiff rather than a sheep shed, but everything is so spread out and slow. We arrived for Rally GB last night. And After having to miss this morning’s stage (more on that in a minute) we took a walk around the bay and the 3 service parks that are spread across just about everywhere. In the time that I have been here I have not seen one piece of Promotion. There is nothing that tells you there is a Rally on. The service park is quieter than a grave yard. And before I left, anytime I mention I was in Wales this weekend to people back home they would be asking “what you going wales for”. Even in the last few years there has been at least some kind of advertisement in a newspaper or on radio. This year its like it doesn’t exist in the outside world, even in wales. Where are the banners, the posters, the promotion? A gold pass cost £130 per person. Where does that money go? What happened to all the sponsor money? Is the man behind it raking in profits for his pocket or isn’t this rally making any money. I don’t like to talk to much about money without all the facts, but from what I’ve seen so far, well… I haven’t seen anything at all. Events make the money so they can spend it on the event, its hard to see where the money gets spent here on this event. Considering this is the 80th Rally GB I was expecting alot more.
Now for my final paragraph and complaint. The reason I’m able to write this blog is mostly because, The Gold rally pass is £130 and not worth my money. The only other option was to buy Car Park passes, but means that fans have to plan exactly where they will go, which on Rally GB, rarely works. Our plan was to do SS7 Crychan, the first stage of the morning and the re-run. But due to the box office where we have to get the tickets which closed at 7pm, it means when we got here at 7:30pm we couldn’t get them. 7am this morning we had to pick them up and miss the first stage. If we had a Day pass we could have gone to any of the morning stages. I knew something would go wrong with this option and sure enough it did. Organizers need to make this event more attractive to fans, not less. I was already put off this event due to the cost, the way it’s laid out and the limited options there are. As a result, only 32 Drivers have entered and I could have counted the amount of spectators I’ve seen so far with my fingers. I do hope things start to improve before GB is kicked into the non-recycling bin.
But apart from all that, there are still some great stages. So if you’re a fan and thinking of coming and have never been to a WRC event, then GO. Despite the problems you will still see great action and It’s still an important round of the best Spectator Sport in the World.