Petter calls for permanent re-instatement of Stage 1 Technology as WRC timing
Ford driver Petter Solberg has led calls for the permanent re-instatement of Stage 1 Technology as the timing and tracking supplier for the World Rally Championship.
Solberg said the British firm's return to the WRC on last week's Rally Sweden was a victory for common sense and a big step in turning the series around.
Stage 1 Technology had been unable to attend the opening round of the WRC in Monte Carlo due to former promoter North One Sport being placed in administration. The agreement reached for S1T's presence on round two in Sweden is the preferred option of the drivers and teams.
Solberg said: "This is about safety, it's the simple. When we are going into the stage, we have to know that the teams know where we are going to be. We need the plane, the [S1T] system and we need the FIA to have the safety helicopter everywhere. We've been without this system for one rally and we can't go back to that, this needs to stay now, for sure. It's too much of a risk for the WRC to be without these kind of systems."
Solberg's team principal Malcolm Wilson echoed those sentiments and added that S1T's timing system brought value. He said: "Not only do we know where the cars are 100 per cent of the time, but we can also use the split times. This means we're not having to send more people out into the stages to manually send the splits. It also means the media can build the story as the rally progresses. These things are vital."
The FIA is believed to be considering options for the timing and tracking supplier, with S1T the likely 2012 solution.
This year's Monte Carlo Rally - which was supplied by a mobile telephone-based local tracking firm ' S1T has worked in the WRC since 2001.
S1T managing director Simon de Banke said he was delighted to have his team back for Rally Sweden.
"S1T is a team of experts, but we're enthusiasts as well," said de Banke. "And sitting at home trying to follow the Monte was a frustrating time for us all. Getting out again in Sweden was fantastic and we have to pay tribute to the foresight shown by both the FIA and Rally Sweden organisers for making that possible.
"We've helped write the recent history of this sport, now we want to help shape an exciting future. We are in the middle of negotiations with the FIA regarding the rest of the 2012 season at the moment and hope to have some good news in the near future."