Rally – Manufacturer Supply and Demand Issues

2011 will see both Ford and Citroen drop their current WRC cars in favor of the new technical regulations that allow for only S2000 chassis and 1.6 litre turbo engines. That has presented an interesting issue.

Both Citroen and M-Sport are at capacity building the DS3 and Ford Fiesta WRC respectably. Because of the manufacturers efforts in developing, testing, and building these machines in time for next season, there is currently no way to produce a C4 or Focus in case of emergency this season. This can be a REAL problem considering both teams have drivers who love to destroy machinery (Kimi and Jarri…but more Kimi).

With Ford running their factory effort as well as the Stobart, Munchi, and Monster World Rally; they don’t really have the spare parts or shells to fix the current machines if Jarri Matti or Ken Block destroy cars and take from the small reserve. Citroen has the Total effort, Citroen Juniors, and Petter Solberg’s privateer effort as well. The French outfit has already told both Conrad Rauntenbach and Gigi Galli they could not support the drivers due to the supply shortage.

This highlights THE major problem in my opinion. The lack of manufacturers to build cars for the talent pool currently looking to race. Had the WRC not lost Subaru and Suzuki a couple years back, this would be kind of a non issue, however because the economy dropped to record lows and people were looking to leave…here we are. I think that this may actually become a problem for a couple reasons. Kimi Raikkonen rolled at Rally Mexico and destroyed the car. Now Citroen is looking to its supply depot for cars and parts that may have been in the queue for Loeb or Sordo. Same with Ford and Jarri-Matti Latvala. The Finn has been doing a better job this year, but we know what can happen if he gets a wild hair. If the cars become overly destroyed, we may see some programs canceled until next year or a vast reduction in the car entry list for events down the road. Either way, this event clearly shows there is a want for drivers to participate in rally’s top flight and also the need for more manufacturers to relieve the pressure.

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