Paddon reacts to slower WRC events

The New Zealand rally driver Hayden Paddon has reacted to a report that motor sport’s governing body will attempt to restrict the speed of their events.Autosport is reporting that the FIA has deemed that WRC stages are too fast and it won’t be tolerated this season.

A stage on the last day of last weekend’s Rally Sweden was called off after the pacesetter Ott Tanak set an average speed of 138km/h.

The FIA is considering regulatory changes to ensure average speeds do not go above 130km/h.

Paddon has used social media to express his frustrations. “Just my 2c on this topic. Speed is not a measure of how ‘safe’ a stage is – and SS12 in Sweden would have almost been same in ’16 car . From a drivers perspective best is a mix of fast and slow stages – I wouldn’t want to see iconic events slowed down. We want to go fast”.

FIA rally director Jarmo Mahonen told Autosport: “From our point of view this was too fast. What we want to do is look at a guideline on this, but maybe we need to think to the regulations.”

Mahonen hopes other rally organisers will take note of what happened in Sweden.

“We want the cancellation of this stage to send a message to the other organisers to think carefully about their route,” he said.

“We want speeds lower than 130km/h, but I remember when I was an organiser and I didn’t want to use straw bales to make chicanes.

“I understand that, and the answer is simple: use smaller roads that will be slower. This is what we have to do.”

The Swedish stage cancellation prompted criticism from other drivers.

One said: “I don’t understand how we can get to this point in the rally before the FIA stepped in and did something about it.

“The road was just straight, not dangerous, just boring. But it was like this when the FIA inspected the route.”

Mahonen confirmed the FIA would be taking a more active role in checking new stage routes in the future, but said organisers had to do more too.

“Maybe some of the organisers use older drivers who have not been in this game in several years and maybe they don’t have an idea of how quick these cars are,” he said.