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World Rally Championship - What’s The Problem?

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

The DriveWrite Archives Rally Racing Topics:  World Rally Championship

World Rally Championship - What’s The Problem?

Geoff Maxted
August 29, 2013

Citroen WRC
Congratulations to Dani Sordo and his co-pilot Carlos del Barrio on their maiden victory in last weekend’s German round of the WRC. Sordo has been banging on the door of a win for some time and deserves this victory. This extends Citroen Racing’s run of Rallye Deutschland wins to a consecutive thirteen.

This was a very exciting tarmac event, a surface on which Sordo excels. He kept his cool whilst all about him were undertaking exploratory forays into the undergrowth and examining trees at very close quarters.

Not that most fans in the UK would have known much about it because there is virtually no media coverage of this branch of motor sport. It is only thanks to ITV4 that we can see an hour of highlights during the subsequent weekday evening and even that varies.

You would think, wouldn’t you, that the FIA would want to promote all forms of motor sport to the public and the car manufacturers would also be up for it.

Nevertheless, despite great new WRC sponsorship from all-conquering Red Bull, British fans languish on the sidelines. Sure, there’s a local rally scene and a couple of websites dedicated to the sport but that’s about it. A couple of the motoring mags offer reports but none of it is what you’d call wall-to-wall.

In the interests of all WRC fans DriveWrite emailed the WRC website to get press permissions. There was no response and there was no response to the follow-up email either. Not responding is of course very impolite even if the answer is an emphatic no.

There has been some patchy coverage of the supporting IRC series on Eurosport but that often has to give way to premium athletic endeavours like snooker and darts. We do get plenty of other racing of course, notably ITV4’s brilliant BTCC coverage but rally is very much the poor relation on the box.

It is not as if the sport is particularly unkind to the environment. The cars, although powerful are regulated and the hardcore stuff takes place on closed roads and tracks. It’s about as green as motor racing can get.

The lack of interest in the WRC and rallying in general in the UK is mystifying. The manufacturers bring out rally inspired versions of their cars and people buy them. The latest edition is the Volkswagen Polo R which is an excellent diminutive hot hatch. The huge crowds at the various WRC rounds demonstrates how popular rally sport is. Give the people what they want and they’ll come out for it. FIA take note.

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