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Todt denies agenda against rally endurance

FIA president Jean Todt has denied having an agenda against including an endurance element to events in the World Rally Championship.At last week’s Tour de Corse, Todt told Autosport that he still saw endurance as very much part of the appeal and challenge of the WRC.

Sebastien Ogier Mexico

But in recent years, event organisers have collectively felt under pressure to reduce the competitive distance on stages.

Using Rally Mexico an example, the WRC’s most arduous event reduced the length of its longest test from 50 miles in 2016 to 35 miles last year and then to 19 miles for ’18.

The 2018 Tour de Corse included a 35-mile test on the final day, something that is now very much the exception.

One event organiser told Autosport that: “The messages we’re getting are definitely mixed.

“Some of the teams are pushing hard against endurance and there was very much a feeling that these thoughts were echoed in Paris and Geneva [by the FIA] last year.”

But when asked if the event organisers were being put under pressure to run shorter stages, Todt told Autosport: “Pressure from the FIA? Not from me at least.

“For me, rallying is not a sprint, rallying should be endurance, adventure.

“Personally, I would love to have some night stages, I would love to see people going in the middle of the night to watch the rallies and I would like to see more service parks.

“But I understand this is more the history than the future of rallying.

“I must say, for me it’s great when you see the first stage [at 30 miles long] in Corsica when we have more unpredictability – they don’t get any information during the special stage and the driver can make a difference.”

Todt added that one of the advantages of adding an endurance element to WRC events would be unpredictability.

“You know one of my problem with actual racing?” Todt asked.

“The cars are too reliable.

“I mean, look at Formula 1, things are so efficient, it’s so much work with the simulation facility and the cars are so reliable.

“This is something I feel is not so good for the sport, we like and I like, things more unpredictable. Racing needs to have some unpredictable flavour.”

Todt also pointed out that changing regulations to force the use of key components for more rallies could deliver the desired elements of randomness.

He added: “Maybe we could give less allowance during the season for engine, transmission and gearbox – this would make things cheaper.

“It’s Yves’ [Matton, FIA rally director] responsibility to discuss that with the teams and come back with some proposal.”

Source: Eurosport. Story by Autosport