The idea of having a separate power stage at each WRC event is another not-so-new one, but it did not attract too much attention and/or support, other than occassional mention and quick dismissal. Last year, WRC community often discussed the issue of power stages, and sometimes this idea came up – separate the power stage from the overall results, and run it as a “side show”, for extra points, for spectators and, in the end, for live TV audience, which might find usual WRC action so inherently boring.
Such “separated” power stage could run couple of hours after the end of the rally. That would give everyone involved in live TV show enough time to properly discuss the results of the rally, and introduce the competitors to the TV audience, all in an easy to digest format, with visually appealing highlights from the proper stages of the proper rally, all in preparation for the running of the power stage.
Such stage would only make sense if the rest of the rally was properly presented and highlighted, so the two don’t end up being separate events, looking to amuse and attract totally different audience. And it would also make a bit more sense compared to that other initiative to have a shootout for the top 10 positions.
But back to that other, totally bad idea, presented few days ago. I find it hard to understand why anyone would think idea of having that other, “shootout for the win” power stage is a good one. I am not enjoying the fact that sometimes gaps between leaders are huge in the end, and this is, apparently, what makes it hard for sport to attract interest of TV audience, but what good will it do to strip Sebastien Ogier, or anyone else in big lead of the event, of everything he’s done over the course of three days, just because he was slower by as little as 1 tenth of a second on that all-importan last super-power stage? How can this be called exciting, interesting, engaging or even fair?
Why sport needs to be destroyed further, just to artificially compensate for the fact that Sebastien Loeb and Sebastien Ogier are so dramatically faster than anyone else? How is that sport’s failure? Perhaps it is, because more can be done in streamlining the progress from lower categories towards the WRC, so more talented drivers can emerge, and challenge the current crop. Perhaps it’s the lack of commercial and technical stability that keeps new manufacturers away from the sport. But whatever the reason, and I really mean whatever the reason, there should be no excuse in allowing the sport to become this fast-food-piece-of-cheap-thrill – who in a right mind would support the idea of taking away 1 minute advantage from Ogier, Loeb or anyone else, just because they were slower on one last stage, by 1 tenth, and only compared to one other driver!!! How hard it is to understand that this shit makes no sense whatsoever.
Perhaps WRC cannot and should not be “sold” to just about anyone. Similar to how NASCAR will not be enjoyed by every single motorsport fan. Perhaps audience which would find “new power stage shootout” interesting, isn’t really the ideal audience for WRC – because they actually do not understand the sport, or appreciate it’s character.
Finally, I am still asking the same question. Who can say that this new concept would bring massive crowds, and advertisers? Some people are very keen on dismissing the current WRC as boring and not fit for TV. Well, when was the last time you watched WRC stage(s) televised live, with plenty of cameras, helicopters, live onboards and top notch commentary? That’s right. Never. So, how do you dismiss it before it even happened?