Less than a dozen rallies from now, the first generation of B-segment-based World Rally Cars will ride into the sunset. I cannot speak for anyone else but me, of course, but I don’t think many tears will be shed over their demise in the WRC community. They were often called all sorts of names, chief among them being “toys”. Some fans could never get over their compact size, others had issues with the way the 1.6 liter turbocharged engines sounded like, and finally it was often heard that these cars are simply too driveable, too stable, too… boring?
In all honesty, I cannot really think of any reason to call these cars boring. None. I could discuss and possibly even accept the criticism concerning size, I can allow some space to those who would like meaner sounding engines, but how did we come from that to boredom, all in a space of one car generation, in what is certainly one of the most exciting forms of motor sport in the world? Maybe it’s because everything seems to be so exaggerated these days, everything. You cannot watch a single documentary TV show anymore without risking seizures from all the camera shakes and ultrashort scenes. Everything is loud, short, bright and, in most cases, stupid as hell. Photographs are being destroyed by all sorts of “creative” filters and HDR became a synonym for talent and knowledge. It’s mostly bullshit, but it sells, big time.
Maybe modern World Rally Cars really aren’t fast, loud and stupid enough for today’s expectations. Except, they are. The only problem is, some fans just do not get this sense of speed, they’ve become immune to really awesome things by being bombarded by mediocre crap 24/7. They also do not really spectate at rallies – instead of watching cars, trying to catch a glimpse of driver’s or co-driver’s face or study the behaviour of the car’s setup in corners and jumps, they are looking at tiny screens of their smartphones. Which makes cars seem small, slow, boring.
I could be totally wrong, of course, and I can understand people who are calling for more outrageous everything in today’s WRC, but let’s keep it real. Even if one driver keeps winning, even if one car is that better than others, the WRC is far from boring. For me at least.
If only there was a way to either ban smartphones (for fans’ sake!) on stages. Or a way to sit every doubter in a rally car, strap him/her tight and let any of the current WRC drivers give them a ride over some jumps of Ouninpohja, for example.