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Discussion Starter #1
http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/motorsport/world_rally/4259762.stm

"The whole philosophy of rallying is that the cars should be as close as possible to production cars - it's part of the appeal for most people that the cars they see are similar to those you can buy and drive on the road.

To make huge steps forward we have to challenge that whole philosophy and say for safety reasons we are prepared to see the cars less close to the production cars on which they are based.

Because the safety structures need to be built into the doors and the actual structure of the car, we need to create more space for the occupants.

Maybe the driver and co-driver should be staggered rather than alongside each other. There are lots of things that could be done but that would need a wholesale review."

Lapworth also believes changes must be made to the courses.

"If you hit a tree at 160kph it is very difficult, if not impossible, to design a car which can protect you properly," he said.
 

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"We have to look at the environment and the nature of rallies."

We could always go to the extreme and run the rally in a big open field. But then it wouldn't be a rally. It's good to re-examine things periodically. But there is always the danger element. Also I'm sure at least one person was killed on the public highway on the way to or from an event in the last year but that shouldn't stop us from having rallies as they are.
 

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I don't believe that any of us who participate in any manner of MOTORSPORTS does so without being aware of the inherent risk in our activity.

We are making more then reasonable efforts at protecting ourselves right now.

How long since the last fatality in World Rally?
How long since the last fatality on public roads?

This makes a better argument for improving safety standards and driver training in road cars then it does for rally.......


John Lane
Viva Le Pro Le Ralliat
 

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>How long since the last fatality in World Rally?
>How long since the last fatality on public roads?

Excellent point. What that means however is that racing fatalities, which are pretty rare, tend to be high profile whereas traffic accidents are, sadly, all too routine.

Ian. :-(
 

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Here is my $0.02

> But this would dilute the traditional link between production cars and their rally equivalents

Other than the looks and the fact that WRC cars and their production syblings sit on 4 wheels and have internal combustion engines, what link is he talking about ?

> Maybe the driver and co-driver should be staggered rather than alongside each other. There are lots of things that could be done but that would need a wholesale review

Why don't we just stack them up and build a cage around them aswell, look at the bright side, they would be staring at the same angle.

>If you hit a tree at 160kph it is very difficult, if not impossible, to design a car which can protect you properly

Slow down the damn stage, for European Cup rallies they have a 120 km/h maximum average speed limit (which I think is still too fast) for each special stage.

Here is how the rule reads;

>3.1.2 The maximum average speed in the special stages is 120 kph.

Plain and simple. It is 120 MAX average speed

Here is how the rule reads for WRC;

>3.4 Maximum average speed in special stages
It is recommended that :
a) The average speed of any special stages run on gravel or a loose surface should not exceed 130 kph.
b) The average speed of any special stage run on asphalt or a sealed surface should not exceed 110 kph.

It is RECOMMENDED not REQUIRED

Now if you allow such a high average speed, the cars will see a lot higher top speeds considering the slower sections of stages.

>We have to look at the environment and the nature of rallies

Stop using "Environment" and "Nature" in the same sentence when the topic is rallying. Ubersensitive treehuggers will get the wrong signal.

We are all aware of the risk we are taking when we strap ourselves in our rally cars, it's the nature of the beast. Even though the risk involved is the same for WRC teams, due to the pressure they are under, the probability of incidents or accidents is a lot higher.

I was very angry when GrB cars were banned, I hated the knee jerk decision back then and I still do, however the WRC cars of today are not much different than the GrB cars as far as performance is concerned, when the budgets and expectations are taken in consideration it is not very difficult to see the direction we are heading.

I never thought I would say it but perhaps the cars need to be slowed down a bit, perhaps FIA's Super 2000 project should replace the WRC cars. Don't get me wrong, I love the WRC cars as much as anybody else but in my humble opinion they have little to do with the everyday production cars and perhaps the spirit of the sport is getting lost in the technology wars between factory teams.

Maybe Tony Chavez is right, maybe I am getting old.

Cheers
M.Samli
 

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This ain't brain surgery

>Lapworth also believes changes must be made to the courses.
>
>"If you hit a tree at 160kph it is very difficult, if not
>impossible, to design a car which can protect you properly,"
>he said.

And Loeb is quoted as saying, "...the speeds have perhaps become too high"

Well... DUH!!!!

Speeds have been way too high for a long, long time.

A silly suit won't save your a$$ from going over a cliff, into deep water, or a tree.

Rally needs to think about returning to its roots and dumping this forest sprint racing garbage.

The body count keeps rising, but not due to chance. Rather it keeps rising due to stupidity.
 

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>>How long since the last fatality in World Rally?
>>How long since the last fatality on public roads?
>
>Excellent point. What that means however is that racing
>fatalities, which are pretty rare, tend to be high profile
>whereas traffic accidents are, sadly, all too routine.

This is not really the issue.

If that road were rated for 160 km/h as a public road or a road racing course, it would not have a tree like Martin hit that close to the road. There ARE additional risks in rally.

alan
 

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RE: This ain't brain surgery

Jens we will have fatalities in racing no matter what we do with slowing things down or any manner of 'Safety improvements.'

As has been previously mentioned.....when it is a high profile (READ: anything to do with cars on TV) fatality we will always have the knee-jerk reaction followed with a bad case of the 'Do-SOMETHING disease.'

If the fatality were due to the driver having a heart attack followed by hitting a tree it would still be called 'Speed-related' and as such obviously another example of what 'must be done in the name of safety.'

Are the WRC cars going too fast? I'm a speed-junkie and believe that they are going too damned fast. Slow them down with two-wheel drive and tighter courses. Just don't slow down the events that I participate in.......I LOVE the fast stuff in my FAST two-wheel drive car and accept that what I'm doing has an element of danger involved.

Motorsports is not for everyone.

More people die annually falling out of bed then in rally.
Should we mandate cushioned floors or improved helmets while we sleep?

John Lane
Viva Le Pro Le Ralliat
 

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Sorry but...

The holy grail of sponsorship requires results, it's a bit 2 faced to blame the pressures of competition and the need to win for the tragedy. That's what he seems to me to be really saying.

Elsewhere in this thread there is the comparison of commuter miles/fatalities to rally miles/fatalities. Although the base statistic for accidents is they are a function of miles travelled, to compare common over the road use in any way (which is being done with such a statement) is not fair. It's like comparing a sentry posted in Minot N.D. to a Marine on patrol in Iraq and their expected mortality rate as members of the armed services.

How about less performace mods allowed, making it slower and cheaper to run. Run those "showroom available" cars as such with safety mods the primary concern.

Bernie
 

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RE: This ain't brain surgery

John,

My comments relate more to U.S. rally than WRC.

How much fun will you be having if you hit a tree at 100+ mph? Rallying and racing have their dangers; that's a given, and it should be accepted.

However....

Would you jump out of an airplane without a parachute? You might survive, but maybe not. Running a car (I don't care how good the cage is) at 100+, on the edge, next to trees is asking for trouble. If you die you'll look pretty in your silly suit.

You like high speeds? Fine. That is the point of racing, but if more people die the insurance rates will rise and rally will die and you won't have a place to play.

Rally has lots of "feel good" rules and some half-hearted (or misguided) safety rules, but none of them address the real problem... speed and trees.

BTW: If it wasn't for the insurance issues I wouldn't care if someone bolted a JATO pack with an afterburner to their car so they could go 300mph. If they killed themselves that would be their problem. Until there are no insurance or legal issues excessive stage speeds are everyone's problem.
 

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>Slow down the damn stage, for European Cup rallies they have a
>120 km/h maximum average speed limit (which I think is still
>too fast) for each special stage.

We've got a 120 km/h rule in Canada, too. If you average better than 120 km/h, you get scored as if you did exactly 120. The only exception is a stage on a licenced race track.

If a competitor breaks 120 average on a stage, the organizer has to show that changes have been made so that the speed limit won't be broken again, or the stage isn't included in the next year's rally.

Jeff
 

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Bernie we call that class 'Production' You will not usually hear them coming from a ways off and will have LOTS of time to see them as they motor past the spectator area.

I go racing to drive fast, hang the tail out and have a good time with my friends. I accept the risk to myself as well as the responsibility for my Co-Driver should something happen.

The trees are there. Don't hit them at speed.

John Lane
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>>Slow down the damn stage, for European Cup rallies they have
>a
>>120 km/h maximum average speed limit (which I think is still
>>too fast) for each special stage.
>
>We've got a 120 km/h rule in Canada, too. If you average
>better than 120 km/h, you get scored as if you did exactly
>120. The only exception is a stage on a licenced race track.
>
>If a competitor breaks 120 average on a stage, the organizer
>has to show that changes have been made so that the speed
>limit won't be broken again, or the stage isn't included in
>the next year's rally.

This doesn't alter the fact that the peak speeds can still be in the 200+ km/h range, and that might be down roads with trees right beside them. All a maximum speed rule does is force organizers to be creative in their use of stage roads. It doesn't force them to remove the more dangerous sections.

Adrian
 

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According to that article, the last WRC fatality for a co-driver was 12 years ago and the last driver fatality was 19.

The last fatality in Formula One - which does not have trees - was Ayrton Senna in 1994, 11 years ago (another driver was killed in testing the same weekend).

The last fatality in NASCAR - again no trees - was Dale Earnheart, 4 years ago.

(ref - http://www.infoplease.com/spot/autotimeline1.html )

The last fatality on a public road here in the United States was (statistically) just over 8 minutes ago.

(ref - http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/pdf/nrd-30/NCSA/RNotes/2005/809897.pdf ... 2004 stats, not counting pedestrians, motorcycles or other)

The point is that while racing fatalities are just as tragic as any other kind, they are much rarer but all too easily blown out of perspective.

As for circuit racing, there have apparently been eleven fatalities in the US alone (NASCAR & Indy Car) since the last WRC fatality - despite its lack of trees and yumps.

I'm not saying that safety shouldn't be improved - that should ALWAYS be on the agenda - or that speeds shouldn't be lowered or stages revised. I'm just saying that all this should be put into perspective.

Ian.
 

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RE: This ain't brain surgery

Jens says......

>How much fun will you be having if you hit a tree at 100+ mph?

Not much fun I'd suppose Jens.
This is why we drive around the trees on the ROADS.
I'm sure that it is hard for a number of us to believe; but I really DO avoid hitting the trees....
I also avoid testing my safety equipment, but am always glad that it worked when it happens. Thanks Dave.....
I go Hornetracing too for a fun cheap racing fix, but rally is where the driving really happens. Risk and all.

John Lane
Viva Le Pro Le Ralliat
 

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RE: There's a precedent for this

Back in the dark ages, car damage was given a negative score.
Today, there's Super Rally where mistakes barely count.
If a front-runner lost 15 points for throwing a car off the road, Max Attack may be a bit more rare.

Delete half or more of the services.
Increase event mileage.
Lost points or add time for dents.
More lost points (negative points) for DNF.
Spec. diffs. - no wires, no pumps.
Would all go a lot toward changing the tactics.

rz
 

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Nevermind that they are already going to 2-liter NA cars with mechanical diffs for next year

I think that will slow them down a bit

Why not wait and see what changes the new rules bring before re-rewriting them??

Matt
GTX #291
 

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>Nevermind that they are already going to 2-liter NA cars with
>mechanical diffs for next year
>
>I think that will slow them down a bit
>
>Why not wait and see what changes the new rules bring before
>re-rewriting them??

No they arent. The 2006 spec WRC car rules are still 2 liter turbo motors, and still allowed an active center diff. They only major differences of next years cars, to the current, are no front/rear active diffs, and no water injection.
 
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