Rally2, yet another look at this menace

Okay, this “Yet Another One” will be short. It will! With that out of the way let me share some ideas concerning the infamous Rally2 restart system and it’s place in modern rallying. And this time I’ll even try to give few ideas on how to actually keep Rally2 in the World Rally Championship.

One thing in particular amazes and puzzles me – calls for return of endurance character rallies and stages are stronger than ever – so strong in fact that Michele Mouton recently said she wants crews to actually experience the epic feeling of finishing a long, marathon stage or entire leg. Upcoming rally in Argentina should serve as a test of that idea with stage over 60 kilometers long. This part I have no problem with, if teams, sponsors and organizers can afford to run such rallies and stages I can only say “Excellent!”

However, there’s one tiny problem in this oldschool revival of WRC. And it’s Rally2. On one side we have endurance rallies, shaped so they test crews and teams, and on the other side we have escape route called Rally2. So, no matter how epic the feeling of finishing a grueling long stage might be, if you fail to finish – no problem. Rally2 is here and so are you, back and running next morning. Bullshit, right?

One of the reasons for Rally2 existence is small number of entries, especially those backed by all-important sponsors. Take few away due to crashes or mechanical issues, and sponsors are going to get nervous. And cheap. But at the same time, calls are raised for endurance rallies, week-long itineraries and monster stages.

Put simply – you want endurance character and sense of using the brains and not only right foot? Just remove Rally2. Really.

But if Rally2 must persist and remain in WRC, it should be designed so that it almost completely removes the possibility of scoring championship points for returning crews. They should not, under any circumstances, be able to reach the bloody podium after stupidly retiring the day before!

Translated, each stage missed should be 10 minutes penalty, and cancelled stages should not be deducted from the penalties. So, if those crews and teams still want to take part in order to test things, and to provide exposure to their sponsors, they can easily do that. But they should not be able to get nowhere near the points. Yes, some retirements are just sad, some are very disappointing and unfair, but I don’t recall rally being about forgiving and giving the second chance. Just ask any of the oldschool drivers, the very ones who were active in the times of now-popular “endurance” rallies.

But, I already smell a conspiracy and mass retirements by privateers of both manufacturers in order to push the Rally2 high-profiles up the order!

In the end, I know I’m more or less beating a dead horse here, and this topic has been discussed so many times, but I felt another call for termination of Rally2 was in order.

photo: Julian Porter

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