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GP Week : Issue 3
15 WRC news >> Images used in GPWEEK are shot by the photo-artists at Sutton Images. Posters available of any shot – CLICK HERE for more information Interested in Aussie V8 Supercars? CLICK HERE to access Australasian Motorsport e News ... IT IS a character of rally sport that every event has its own special requirements. In the case of Wales Rally GB, the support of the Welsh Development Agency comes with a condition that the Millennium stadium must feature strongly. It is hard to empathise with the organisers, however, because the passion for using the stadium has always been compromised by problems. Parking troubles, unwanted road sections, interfacing the rally with pop concerts, disruption to the effective running of a championship rally and a general lack of respect for the sport and its premier championship seem to come with the Millennium. And now it seems that the organisers have accepted the cherished position as the final event in the sporting calendar without being certain they could get the date they applied for. The once happy and proud RAC,(later Network Q) Rally has developed into an unpleasant commercial monster. For competitors the Welsh forests have wonderful allure, but the spirit of the event is now compromised. Sporting concepts take second place behind selling stadium tickets. The promoters do not appear to realise that a licence to run a World Championship comes with responsibilities to serve the sport and the people within it. If this proposal goes ahead, no world championship round will have finished later in the season since 1980. There are very good reasons not to run any world championship event after November – indeed the FIA has already ordained that the 2009 and 2010 seasons will end in October. Finishing a championship as late as December severely limits the time when championship success can be exploited. This is bad enough, but even more worrying is the way things have happened. What other sport allows commitments to be made by organisers who can't commit to a date? Budgets are made by teams based on long-term planning, on the presumption that the people they work with also have long term plans. The overall impression is that World Championship Rally Sport is out of control. On the one hand the FIA sets policies to entice manufacturers back to the sport, then they make life difficult for those who are already there. And where in all this debate is the ISC, charged through North One with the promotional interests of the sport? Do their concerns extend beyond the instant effect of television? If the proposed date change is accepted, it will seriously reflect on everyone at the top end of the sport. And has anyone dared to tell the world council that the championship is being sold down the river ... for Rugby? MArtIn HolMES rallies Editor o p in io n THE FIA’s world council meeting on 26th March is to consider a request to postpone the Wales Rally GB for a week, so as to run the event on 5-7 December. The use of the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, where the rally headquarters is based and a short promotional stage is to be held, will be lost if the permission is not granted. A rally spokesman explained; “the stadium is now no longer available on the date applied for, because of an important Rugby fixture. A change of date will allow us to again run a stage which is very popular with ordinary families. “To run the rally one week earlier is not an option, because that would prevent the turf being relaid in time for the Rugby match.” If the postponement is approved, there will be significant consequences concerning the opportunities for teams to promote success in the championship in the two remaining weeks before Christmas. The FIA is also waiting for a request for a change of date for the penultimate round of the championship, Rally Japan, which is rumoured to want to defer its event by a week, but that event would still be five weeks before the British round. Football before Rally Wales Raly GB date under threat thanks to Rugby game at Millennium Stadium