Perhaps the most sorry truth in modern motorsport is that the World Rally Championship is in crisis. The news of emergency meetings amongst organisers, teams and partners tells as much.
To fix the sport requires a look back to where it went wrong. Until the early 2000s the sport was on the up – spectator numbers at events were bordering on dangerous and drivers were becoming stars outside the sport. And then technology, TV coverage and real-time data came along.
Soon iconic stages were being dumped, replaced by compact ones run multiple times to allow more TV coverage. Engaging with fans around the globe became more important than the thousands standing on a hillside in Spain or Australia.
Fans love(d) rallying because it is visceral and adventurous. Fans want to see who is on the limit and who is out of control. They want flame-spitting, tail-happy racers; knowing who is up by a tenth of a second after the first mile hasn’t added anything to the core appeal.
It might be time to get back to engaging with fans on real rally stages, truly pitting machines against the ultimate challenge and bringing back the things that made rallying great.