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WRC - The forgotten motorsport?

By BenCee on 09 Apr 2011

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When motorsports is mentioned, most people will think of the glitz and glamour of Formula One. After all, it is the most high-profile of all motorsports out there.

But I'm sure that there are some fans of other kinds of motorsports, like the rough and tumble of rallying. Specifically, the World Rally Championship.

The 2011 World Rally Championship is now three events old, but it's just such a pity that there's very little local coverage or interest.

I've always been a fan of the WRC, probably more so than F1. I grew up watching those electric blue Subaru Impreza WRXs and red-and-white Mitsubishi Lancer Evolutions jumping massive crests at high speed. It brought about a kind of exhilaration that cannot be compared to track-based motorsports like F1.

My hero was the late, great Colin McRae. I can't pinpoint exactly why. Maybe because it was his "all-or-nothing" driving style, where he would always be on maximum attack, even at the risk of crashing out.

It feels a bit of a shame that today's WRC is a bit of a pale shadow from the excitement of the 1990s. I suppose the decline can be traced to the middle of the 2000s, when a host of drivers and manufacturers pulled out for various reasons. The retirements of legends Tommi Makinen and Carlos Sainz, coupled with the tragic losses of McRae and Richard Burns, as well as the withdrawal of major manufacturers like Peugeot, Mistubishi and later Subaru, dealt a heavy blow to the sport.

The fact that current World Champion Sebastian Loeb has held a Michael Schumacher-esque domination over the sport for much of the past decade doesn't really help matters. Although, to be fair, you can't say that Ford and its Finns Marcus Gronholm and currently Mirko Hirvonen haven't gave it a go at challenging the Frenchman.

But after a period in the doldrums, the WRC seems to be livening up again. New regulations for 2011 means that smaller cars are now in vogue, with Citroen and Ford using the more compact DS3 and Fiesta hatchbacks instead of the larger C4 and Focus respectively. Even Mini is looking to get in on the act, entering its Countryman WRC car in selected rallies this year.

One can only hope, but I do wish for better things for the WRC in the decade ahead. It does deserve better as the premier world rallying competition.

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Written by BenCee
A petrolhead from young, Ben is living the dream, writing about cars...

  • 1
Caging Apr 09 2011 10:37 PM
In my opinion, Its the combination of the pull out of manufacturer backed teams that contributed in one man dominating the sport.
No doubting Seb's talent but the talent pool out there without the sponsors and Manufacturer backing has stunted other talents from reaching their full potential and ability to challenge Seb.

For me I like both sports equally. And in my opinion Rally Drivers are more skilled in reaction driving than most GP Drivers out there. As they have to adapt to the unknown while they are driving even though they get cues from the co-driver and the map. But still those conditions change.

As the to the future of the sport? When the manufacturers come back the sponsorship will follow suit and the money comes back, in tow so will the media coverage. They are all interconnected.
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