Should we stay or should we snow?
Unless something terrible happens, like a tropical storm in the Arctic, the second round of the World Rally Championship should be safe and we should be getting our traditional snow fest. The organizers had to make some significant cuts, though. They took their hot knife and sliced through the itinerary to make it shorter, and they also kicked out the old cars competing in the Historic series. We kinda got used to this sort of drama concerning Rally Sweden in the last couple of years, but how long can all this go on? I mean, we can live with events and organizers going broke or losing local government support, but what can we do about the weather? Before you do, please don’t – let’s not drag climate changes into this particular post.
It seems nothing is safe and certain in WRC. The fate of every single event in the calendar is as solid as a balding studded tyre being forced to look for grip on an exposed stretch of thawed gravel. Budget issues, conflicts, natural disasters and now the weather. What else can evil gods of other-motorsport-series throw at us in hope of killing or at least seriously wounding us? Sometimes it really feels like someone out there is poking a WRC clad voodoo doll with poison-tipped needles. Is it not enough for them to take manufacturers away from us, so now they’re after our events? Sooner or later patience will run out and this particular not-so-snowy-anymore event could be asked to answer for its crimes. Because, as we know, organizers have control over the weather.
Over the last couple of days, many alternative locations have been mentioned, in case Sweden stubbornly decides to deny us any snow in the coming years. Canada, Norway, USA, even Russia – you know, places with snow in winter. Moving the event even further north in Sweden could provide more certainty in terms of weather conditions as well, according to some WRC weather specialist and climatologists. But what if we stick to what we have instead?
What if we decide we like this new challenge, at least for the time being? Nobody is asking for completely dry or completely frozen tarmac on Monte Carlo stages, so should we just embrace similar philosophy for Rally Sweden? One stage will have snow on it, and all those fat, juicy banks, but the following test will have larger sections of exposed gravel and dirt. Why is any kind of challenge forbidden in Sweden – just because it’s always been the-only-snow-event in the championship? So what. We like to pride ourselves on endurance and fighting spirit, on valuing wisdom over sheer speed, and on the ability to deal with any kind of weather and surface we are put against? Well, here’s a challenge for you and make sure to do your best.
Slightly more serious disclaimer: I am fully aware of the fact that tyres are a limiting factor here and that things are a little more complicated than “oh, snow’s gone on some stages, make sure to load some gravel rubber as well”. On the other hand, dealing with things, even improvising, is very much in our DNA, and I don’t think WRC should be afraid to tackle such obstacles, even with limited resources – just make do with what you got.