Can Fafe help promote rallying? Tough one, I know…

The weekend of Fafe Rally Sprint in Portugal and Acropolis Rally in Greece was also the weekend in which World Rally Blog made the switch from one server to the other – engine swap if you will. Thanks to wonderful people over at Nilmedia, the operation went well and now the site should be a tad bit faster and more responsive. That switch, combined with a few other non rally related things meant I had only limited amount of time available to follow the two rally events. Well, no matter, because if you’re not there, you may as well take your time and watch the reports and many videos when time permits.

Fafe Rally Sprint, of course you know all about it. It’s a wonderful tribute to this sport, to its tradition and passion and charm and excitement. This event is not part of the World Rally Championship, yet each year teams take part in it, preparing for the “real thing”, showing off their cars, flashing their sponsor logos, entertaining the crowds because, ultimately, that’s why they are doing what they’re doing – investing huge piles of cash into this sport, hoping it will help them promote their products. Or at least that’s what I think they’re doing – unless they’re just laundering money.

This weekend was quite a typical motor sport weekend on Twitter. “Where is the live stream at?”, “Any idea how to watch Fafe live?”, “Links to good streams anyone!!??”… I am sure the costs and logistical challenges involved in possible live coverage of Fafe Rally Sprint are much bigger than, say, costs and challenges involved in having a guy jump from outer space, but maybe, perhaps one fine day we will be able to sit down and enjoy this fantastic spectacle live. I don’t think manufacturers would mind. Some say Red Bull knows how to mix sugar with stimulants and sell them for premium prices compared to a good old coffee – perhaps Red Bull could, in their infinite wisdom (and wallets) find a business model which would allow them to show Fafe Rally Sprint live on their own channels on the internet. I don’t know why Fafe isn’t used as a fantastic little feature, showing what rally is all about and bringing the sport to global audience. It must be very complicated.

Somehow I still have this odd feeling; can it be that some “forces” still fear rally is not popular or interesting enough? Is that what their TV stats are telling them? Does it make any sense investing if the returns are so poor or at best questionable? If all this is true, who is it to blame? Are drivers too slow? Cars are not good enough? Perhaps the sport ultimately is boring as hell compared to, umm, the overly exciting new Formula 1? Let’s say rally is not a boring discipline – why isn’t it popular then? Maybe it isn’t promoted properly? How the hell is utterly boring Formula 1 race, held in front of empty grandstands in Malaysia considered a top motor sport event, and Fafe, with huge crowds and official manufacturer teams is just a side show? If you want to present rallying to the world, don’t be stupid and invent idiotic things such as powerstage shootouts – use Fafe instead.

WRC media coverage this year is much better compared to last year and years before that, but that’s not enough, that cannot be enough. WRC promoters should really think and look outside the box, as I’m sure they are. Including events like Fafe Rally Sprint into their media coverage calendar would be a nice step forward. Again, I don’t think manufacturers would mind.

As always, this rather simplistic post refuses to acknowledge all the tiny details, fine prints, lawyer fees, percentages and interests. Ain’t nobody got time for that (except those who are actually making/milking money out of it, of course).

Here’s one Fafe Rally Sprint video, kindly linked to my by David.