When the head FiA job was up for grabs between Jean Todt and Ari Vatanen, I was obviously pulling for Ari because I think that his rally career would be perfect for the return to glory. He new what fans liked and what needed to be done to return our beloved sport to the premier level and shut the IRC up. He lost. Now Jean Todt who has had a stint in both the WRC and F1 has announced at the official WRC launch in Paris, that he will see to it that the WRC survives and thrives in the future. I have my concerns.
Jean Todt has been a rally co-driver and even ran the Peugeot rally operation in the 80’s. Yet, I think it is his stint in Formula 1 that is the source of the concern. Rally is a unique beast and the WRC is in need of some serious TLC. The same methods used in an attempt to help F1 however cannot be incorporated into the WRC. Todt spoke this morning about a rally working group that he was going to create. I sure hope this working group pays off better than working groups employed by the FiA to fix F1. Does it really take a working group to realize that he needs Monte Carlo and Safari every year? He stated a need to promote the heart of the championship. My question to Jean is this: How can you promote the heart of your championship when 85% of the events happen every other year in this stupid rotation that has been devised? From the sounds of Mr. Todt’s comments, he does not need a working group, rather he needs the opinions of the rally fans to make the series successful.
The issue of manufacturers was raised and that truly seems to be the one remaining problem the WRC has that the IRC boasts the most. Two manufacturers are all the series really needs. The likes of a VW or Skoda at the top flight would ease the pain and put it past the IRC and all seven participants it claims. The driving talent is clearly in the WRC but a few more cars ran by a factory effort would do well to bring that talent into a very competitive realm. All of these points are trouble spots for the WRC and you don’t need a working group to figure it out, merely common sense.