And has time flown? Yes, it is time for the often lamented (or lamentable) disgrace to the english language that is other wise known as the….
Oh stuff it.
I’m sorry but I cant do this this time. I cant keep trying to invent and write something that makes at least someone smile and maybe even laugh if the heart isnt in it and frankly when I see the current state of the WRC… I just dont care. I do this parody to take the p*** out of the sport, because we all need to have a decent laugh and as poor a driver as I can be, I still am a big fan of the drivers and cars blasting around in a forest at far too high a speed. I also parody because I actually really LIKE what I see, I find it amusing, or I have a point to make and yes, sometimes the barbs I plant do have a point.
The WRC is full of characters, situations and expressions that make writing a parody quite easy and indeed, most of the time it is. You take an idea you glean from the broadcasts, convert it and run with it – Duval’s tounge has to be one of the better examples, Gronholm’s exuberance, Solbergs sheer joy at just being alive, Atkinson’s bluntness, Loeb’s slighty less than perfect command of English…. it’s infectous and the personalities shine through. It’s all of this that makes it a joy to write and to use.
But something is happening this year I dont like. WRC is without a doubt the most exciting motorsport, but this year it’s gotten to be a joke. Argentina’s fiasco of the super special is really what’s set this rant off, plus the seeming dumbing down and neutering of rallying at the top level.
Look, we all know television is the Holy Grail of sport and things like marketing, sponsorship are now what most manufacturers care most about. But it seems to have reached an extreme level, where even rslly media that should know better have mistaken “marketing” and “coverage” for the two things rallying used to have in spades – “heart” and “soul”. WRC is losing those two things that are most precious and I for one have noticed. What we have now is a “product” that gets “marketed” and frankly… who the **** caes about a mere product? Who the **** cares about marketing, target demographics, etc? What the blazes happened to 12am service parks, lights blazing i nthe dark, long stages, cars and crews pushed to the limits, fans and drivers mixing, the newcomers and the WRC veterans at the same events all around the world in cars that actually are properly derived from road cars? Super 2000 and WRC are probably MORE modified than the past Group B cars, unobtainable except to the rich and the big teams, requiring support and money resources that dwarf even the late Group B supercars? Look under the new Citroen C4 WRC, there is simply NOTHING left of the road car except for the shell – and even that is heavily modified. The closest we have to a road going car is the Subaru and that is frankly begin left behind in the development stakes because of that fact.
And what of the drivers?
Marcus Gronholm is hardly himself this year, all looking harassed and uncomfortable. Sebastian Loeb doesn’t look all that pleased either, Mikko Hirvonen isn’t even looking like he’s asleep anymore, Petter Solberg’s spirit and joy has been crushed by the ****box he’s in. Chris Atkinson’s been worth a few quotes but apart from the Monte’s alst day battle, what the blazes has happened in this year to warrant further comment from anyone? Loeb continues to dominate at will, Subaru’s are pathetic, the personalities of the drivers seem to be neutered
The cars themselves are fast, but they arent even that exciting to watch.
What ever happened to drivers like Colin McRae, who were willing to bin cars and always turned it on like the following video?
Why has twaddle like super specials in tiny stadiums become so important that they can cause a full day to be lost? Look, the Langley Park Super Psecial probably had it right, not too small, close to the service park and was at the time a great gimmick. But look at the super specials that infest Europe – in soccer stadiums????? WHO CARES????? WHAT’S THE BLOODY POINT?????
I really do think media like RSN, ISC, plus our sport’s governing bodies need to wake up, stop with the garbage and droning MBA speak, remember what rallying is properly and truly about and actually start delivering what we know is best and what we all love.
Ed, The Lord bless his Nomex socks, gets it. He is also 100% right about how well rallying could survive without TV, WRC or the ARC, or the big teams (ie, it’ll be fine). He is also right in how long it would survive if you took away the very life and soul, which actually still exists at lower levels and how long it would last if State level competition was killed (ie, it would die)
When I first encountered rallying in the early 90’s, it struck me how the shared community and mateship was present from the top to the bottom. It didnt matter whom you were, you were welcome. And it was all about fun only.
15 years later and 10 years leave of absence, the community is still there but there feels like a barrier between us down here at the bottom and those at the top. What happened…? Have I just got my head up my backside and not seeing things right?
Anyway, that’s the rant over with. And for what it’s worth, I think Mikko Hirvonen will with Greece, with Danni Sordo second and Aktinson third – well, Subaru’s luch HAS to change and I think Greece may be it.
Loeb’s Citroen breaks, Marcus goes off. Solberg fourth and Solberg fifth, Latvala sixth, a muse seveth and I dunno another Ford eight?
You normal WRC parody will return for Finland once I’ve refilled my funny and my bank account.