Is the WRC truly back to its best?

A massive shake up in the technical regulations have changed the face of the WRC heading into the 2017 season.

The cars have been transformed from understated hatchbacks with a lot of attitude into full blown, aerodynamic missiles. The speeds have never been faster, and with the sudden shock withdrawal of reigning champions Volkswagen, the competition is wide open.

Anybody who has (or in many cases, had) an interest in the championship would say the same thing if questioned about the state of the sport in recent years:

“Its lost it’s magic.”
“Bring back Group B cars!”
“The drivers are no longer superheroes.”

And they would be right, the WRC has definitely been somewhat out of character since the glory days of the 20th century. But now, I feel it’s back.

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The 2017 M-Sport Fiesta WRC (Photo from wrc.com)

The jaw dropping pace and ultra aggressive styling of the new cars allow fans to get excited about the sport once again. Arguably, the driving levels are back to their best with the flawless multiple champion Sebastian Ogier leading a field that includes young talent Hayden Paddon, Northern Irishman Kris Meeke- who reminds many of rally legend Colin McRae– and other stars such as Jari-Matti Latvala and Thierry Neuville.

As you can see from this video of Mads Ostberg, these drivers have no fear.

(video uploaded to Youtube by ‘/DRIVE’)

It creates an effective formula:

lots of talent +  lots of character = lots of excitement.

And then, to add the cherry on top of the 2017 cake. The return of two legends working hand in hand, Toyota under the leadership of four time world champion Tommi Makinen.
The Japanese manufacturer was one of the stalwarts during the golden era of rallying, and their return almost symbolises the dawn of a new, muddy day.

Rally Portugal 2013
The WRC has always attracted huge crowds of enthusiastic fans.

The passion, the drama, the character, the superheroes, the beauty…. It’s all back and hopefully, it’s here to stay.

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12 thoughts on “Is the WRC truly back to its best?”

    1. Thanks Colin, I appreciate that! I honestly would absolutely love to more than anything but I think as well as a couple of other challenges (mainly financial), it’s on the same night as our BARC Awards evening this year 😦 It’s something I’m going to have to do though as soon as I can! Gained a massive amount of love for rallying over the last few years.

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  1. I must admit I was a massive Colin McRae fan and have fallen out of favour with World Rally. Watching the video, its very impressive and yes fearless! As a motor racing fan increased media presence would help as you don’t hear about it that much. After reading your article I’ll look out for it more in 2017. Thanks

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  2. Interesting read. Not followed WRC for a while, these days I find the regulations making it fair also make it boring.

    I agree with your formula and I am sure the technology these days does mean higher speeds so better drivers.

    But the further the cars get from your retail car, the less I seem to find it interesting.

    Your article is what WRC needs as media attention to help gain interest I think

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  3. “dawn of new muddy day” so reminiscent of following RAC and Scottish rallies in the days of Group B 🙂 WRC will never get to that level ever again, but as long as we dont have robotic rally restrictions it can get close as you say in the article.

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  4. I lost interest when i no longer knew the personalities. Used to love it and still prefer watching the old escorts, lancia deltas, subs etc. For me – it was the personalities which held my attention and it used to have a much higher profile , so you understood the championship standings and battles from the start. So if I can get a handle on the main rivals, teams etc it will spice it up for me again.

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