Praise for the new WRC format – “A good example of us working together to help develop the sport”

Last week, the new format was trialled for the first time at Rally Sardinia.
Richard Millener.
Richard Millener. Photo by: M-Sport Ford
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The rally started on Friday morning with a shakedown, and the real action began on Friday afternoon. Changes have been desired in the World Rally Championship, and now they have been introduced. The “sprint rally” was well received, at least in the M-Sport Ford camp.

Although the rally was compressed into a tight schedule, the drivers still covered over 260 competitive kilometres, so the distance was not significantly reduced compared to the usual 300 kilometres in WRC rallies.

“We don’t want every rally to be short. I keep saying we don’t need to do 300km just for the sake of 300km. But another fantastic rally. Different formats work well,” said M-Sport team principal Richard Millener.

“We all discussed it together – teams, organisers, and all others – and came up with the plan, and it worked. I think it’s just a good example of us working together to help develop the sport as well. No one will look back and say that it was crap.”

Millener also noted areas for improvement. According to him, the route included unnecessary regroups that extended Saturday.

“It was a long day for the crews on Saturday, but that’s because in Sardinia they had special challenges and had to run two stages, then regroup, and run another two stages. So we lost two hours to regrouping on Saturday. I think, you know, we don’t want that,” Millener reflected.

“The only tweak I would make is that there shouldn’t be a midday regroup. I think the reason for the regroup is the number of marshals on the island, and obviously, there were a lot of cars here. I don’t think it’s just a sporting issue; it’s something we can quite easily solve.”

The next round of the World Rally Championship will take place in Poland at the end of June.

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