2017 World Rally Championship cars have proved to be much quicker than their predecessors, but the FIA thinks they are a bit too fast.
The WRC entered a new era at last month’s Rallye Monte Carlo, with this year’s machines proving to not only look great but also be pretty damn quick too.
But, the FIA thinks this year’s 2017 cars are a bit too quick and is considering rule changes to control the average speeds of stages.
This is after the bizarre fact that stage 12 of Rally Sweden was cancelled due to safety concerns over the higher average speeds (Ott Tanak set an average of 85.62mph during the first run through).
The FIA wants rally stages to not go over an average speed of 80mph and rally director Jarmo Mahonen told Autosport it’s considering ways to ensure this happens. He said:
“These cars are quicker than the old cars – but in this stage even last year’s [cars] were going more than 130km/h [80mph]. These kind of stages teach us one thing: we need to take a more firm grip when organisers want to introduce new stages, we have to be present to check them.
“If we see a stage time of more than 130km/h then it’s an indicator that we need to be looking at this. From our point of view this was too fast. What we want to do is look at a guideline on this, but maybe we need to think to the regulations.”
However, he (thankfully) admitted artificially cutting the speeds of rallies isn’t the best way to go:
“We want the cancellation of this stage to send a message to the other organisers to think carefully about their route. We want speeds lower than 130km/h [80mph], but I remember when I was an organiser and I didn’t want to use straw bales to make chicanes. I understand that, and the answer is simple: use smaller roads that will be slower. This is what we have to do.”
The new WRC cars look great, sound mega and are insanely fast. It’d be a shame to see speeds pegged back, but if the FIA does want to slow things down, we can only hope it’s done in a non-artificial way.