Stobart driver Matthew Wilson has come out with opposition to the mixed surface rallies that the WRC has instituted. The British driver for the Ford satellite team even issued this statement regarding the events to Autosport:
“To me, it just doesn’t make any sense, it’s spoiling the character of some great rallies. It’s not like an event like Rally New Zealand needs to add to the spectacle, is it?”
Wilson believes that the way mixed surface rallies used to be tackled was better. This method saw a day of gravel and then an overnight break followed by a day of tarmac stages.
“For me, and I know this won’t go down well from a cost perspective, but if we’re going to run these split-format rallies, let’s do it properly, like Sanremo used to be; changing the cars from gravel to asphalt specification overnight. That was a real challenge and a great event.”
I disagree with Matthew and here is why, tactics. Plain and simple it all boils down to the tactics that teams issue for all gravel stages. It is also a true test of a driver to control a car in gravel trim over tarmac surfaces. As we seen in Turkey, the road surfaces negated any tactics used as Petter Solberg was able to stay ahead during day 2 when the surfaces changed. I agree with the current setup and any steps that can be taken to stop the teams from ruining a rally with their tactics.