One snow event is enough?
I believe so. In essence, this sport is about drivers, co-drivers, teams and manufacturers fighting against time and elements. With one snow event we do have this particular element covered, especially when Monte Carlo is also playing nice with its ice and slush and snow. There is, in my humble opinion, absolutely no reason for two or more snow events, especially if they are all set to share very similar, if not outright identical, character. I fully appreciate the endurance aspect of rallying, so we do need long and/or rough gravel stages, but I also think sport should not forget about its “everyday” aspect, if I can call it that. Rally cars are supposed to at least look like the normal cars we see in everyday traffic, and roads they use for special stages are also supposed to be similar to roads normally used in day-to-day going from point A to point B, at least in some capacity. For me, this is an important part of sport’s character. Relatively normal cars (even though in reality they aren’t) on roads and not race tracks. With that in mind, I am aware that driving in snow is absolutely normal thing for many people, living in colder regions. To “cover” that part of “man driving against the elements” we have Rally Sweden. And for me, that is all we need, all snow and winter bases covered, no need for extras. Unless…
First, in current calendar I see absolutely no room for another winter/snow event, period. We will see how China will fare, but if anything, WRC needed an extra tarmac round, because that is more in line with many national and regional series, and is, after all, more in line with “normal” driving in general.
Second, if we were able to somehow expand the existing WRC calendar further, then I would be open to an idea of another (additional) snow event, but under one, in my opinion, very important condition. This additional snow event should be completely different in character to the existing one in Sweden. If Sweden is, for example, more about very fast forest stages and less about technical and tight roads, we would need to have an exact opposite event as our additional snow rally. More technical, twisty, narrow… sort of like Cyprus vs Finland in terms of gravel, even though this might be pushing it too far.
We do, however, need that one snow event in our calendar. Whether it is Sweden, or Japan or Canada or something entirely different, is not what I wanted to sort of discuss here. I was just alarmed by some ideas I saw, calling for additional snow rally to replace of one existing gravel or tarmac events. That, in my opinion, should not happen – only should be considered as an additional, not a replacement, event and again only if it provides different character to Sweden.
In the end, I’m game for another snow event on top of the one we already have in Sweden, but I don’t want it to be another Sweden. It should provide completely different set of challenges compared to Sweden. It makes no sense to have two superfast snow rallies. For me at least. I want to hear drivers complain and whine and work their way through it – one event with forgiving snowbanks and fast flowing bends is quite enough.