This year’s Rallye Monte Carlo really put endurance before speed and brought back memories of the past and rallies with very long road sections. And while many will praise 80th Monte and it’s spectacular return to World Rally Championship scene, voices are being raised against week-long rallies. With Monte’s unique character, tradition, reputation and popularity it’s not easy to speak against the decision to run it over five days, in fact, we can even say Monte should remain different in many ways, even though five days of special stages is playing against the nowadays popular “cost saving” philosophy.
If anyone had any doubts about Monte deserving a spot in WRC calendar, these doubts are all but gone after this year’s edition. Huge number of fans flooded the stages and Monte proved WRC is still extremely popular among motorsport fans. At the same time, drivers also praised rally’s itinerary and atmosphere, but they were not so keen on event’s long format.
“I have a family now, and with five day of rallying I must be away from home for two weeks! And rally is in Europe! I propose future rallies to have two days of stages and one day of training” joked Monte winner Sebastien Loeb.
Former world champion Tommi Makinen thinks long format rallies are not the right choice for future of World Rally Championship. According to Makkinen, WRC should work on expanding it’s presence in media and introducing new elements into calendar. “Russia is one of the places WRC should visit in future, but not in five day format. Costs and logistics challenges are simply too high. Instead, WRC should focus on establishing stronger presence in media and among fans” Makkinen said.
For future rallies long run format is most certainly not the best option and surely it cannot be applied to every rally in the calendar. Longer individual stages and complete termination of superally restarting system might be first step in bringing back endurance factor into WRC, but as always FIA will have to walk the fine line in order to keep everyone involved happy and, well, involved! Manufacturers and sponsors, we’re looking at you!