Not long ago I was asked to write a preview for Rally Espana for Oppositelock of Jalopnik and in that preview I wrote a bit about the starting order for this event’s final day. The fact was, I had no idea what the starting order will be like, I simply assumed the crews will start the final day of the event based on the classification, regardless of the fact that the stages of day 3 are set on gravel. And hey, as silly as that did sound back then, it’s exactly what will happen in Spain.
Drivers and teams are not happy, we hear. But who was the only one to actually speak against the idea mixing tarmac and gravel in such a way? Spanish hero and Citroën’s driver Dani Sordo. Why only him? According to the official WRC website, many teams and drivers are complaining about the system which will see crews tackle the slippery gravel stages in the order of the provisional classification at the end of the second day. Meaning, we’re sure going to see drivers intentionally slowing down in an attempt to drop down the order and secure a more favourable starting position for Sunday. But why is Sordo the only one complaining in public? Why aren’t teams and drivers all over media and social networks, complaining and requesting change? Do they feel that it would not make any difference?
I really hope that one day teams and drivers will really start voicing their opinions in a more elaborate way. “With backing from a number of WRC teams, Rally de Espana organisers had requested a waiver of the road order regulations” is not enough, we must see teams say it, drivers say it.
I really must admit I liked how WRC.com is OK with relaying Sordo’s story to the public and even saying FIA denied the change asked by teams, drivers and organizers. What I don’t like is lack of proper explanation of why FIA decided against making changes to the final day starting order. But again, we’re kind of used to it by now, we’re mere mortals, lesser kind, the FIA will never feel the need to explain itself to the likes of me. And this is one of the reasons why there is such a reluctance to speak out against some bad things in this sport. You can speak, but what good will it do, right?
“I’m really disappointed that there is no reclassification at the end of the second leg. What is the point in pushing hard, building up a good lead, if you then find yourself first on the road, sweeping the line for your rivals on the Sunday?” Sordo said, according to WRC.com’s story.
Now, how could the starting order mess be fixed? Perhaps base it on the results of the first stage of the second day? Or make the final stage on Saturday a power stage (which in fact this stage is, but is it important enough to warrant risking bad road position for few more points?). Or keep the same starting order throughout the event.
Sordo speaking against the starting system in Spain – wrc.com