Well, many of us F1 fans were greatly disappointed in Todt’s victory over Ari Vatanen for the FIA presidency, but there are some positive things that M. Todt is doing. First of all, surpasses his predecessor by realizing that there’s more to the FIA that Formula 1. The WRC isn’t as strong as it used to be, and in response, the FIA held a forum to discuss ways to improve the FIA involvement in rallying at all levels. The forum was attended by several manufactures, Ford and Citroen who are already a part of the WRC, and VW and BMW who are heavily invested in the Dakar Rally. Many current and former drivers were present as well including former Citroen driver and now VW driver Carlos Sainz, and unwitting privateer Petter Solberg. The collective group of representatives from throughout the rallying community came to consensus on the need for developing a coherent and logical structure of regional and development series that feed into the WRC as the “pinnacle of the rallying pyramid.”
“The overall spirit of the meeting was frank, constructive and there was a sense of common themes,” added [Simon] Long, [President of ISC]. “There are new people around bringing fresh perspectives to rallying in general and, of course, it’s exciting having an FIA president with rally in his blood. I don’t think that makes him biased in any way but he happens to understand, very well, the roots and heritage of rally and has an open mind about how it needs to evolve going forward. I think its really good news for the sport that he’s there.
“All the ingredients are there for a fantastic sport, now the job is to mix them together and serve up the best that rally can offer.”
You can read the rest of the article at WRC.com.
This is a great step forward. Sure perhaps nothing concrete in terms of structure has been decided, but simply recognizing the issues and laying out the path forward is a great way to start in strengthening rallying at all levels. I see this as the administrative equivalent to developing pace notes for the way forward. Good on M. Todt for taking this positive step. We here at The Open Paddock may not always agree with his Formula 1 policies, but I think we can all get behind this rally initiative.