It’s fair to say the new 2017 World Rally Championship cars look epic, sound downright insane and are much quicker than last year’s machinery.
But, according to the FIA, the cars are now too fast. This comes after stage 12 of Rally Sweden was called off due to safety recommendations over the speeds of the cars.
No, we’re not joking. The first run through the Kron stage saw Ott Tanak set an average speed of 85.62mph, but the FIA doesn’t want that figure to go over 80mph.
So, according to the FIA’s rally director Jarmo Mahonen, it’s considering rule changes to bring down the average speeds of rally stages.
Here’s what he told Autosport:
“These cars are quicker than the old cars - but in this stage even last year’s [cars] were going more than 130km/h [80mph]. These kind of stages teach us one thing: we need to take a more firm grip when organisers want to introduce new stages, we have to be present to check them.
“If we see a stage time of more than 130km/h then it’s an indicator that we need to be looking at this. From our point of view this was too fast. What we want to do is look at a guideline on this, but maybe we need to think to the regulations.”
But, of course, no one wants to see the average speeds decreasing through artificial means or the cars being pegged back.
Thankfully, Mahonen seems to understand this:
“We want the cancellation of this stage to send a message to the other organisers to think carefully about their route. We want speeds lower than 130km/h, but I remember when I was an organiser and I didn’t want to use straw bales to make chicanes. I understand that, and the answer is simple: use smaller roads that will be slower. This is what we have to do.”
Let’s hope that, if something is brought in, it doesn’t impact the incredible spectacle of the new WRC cars.