Joint action by ORLEN 74th Rally Poland and WRC Magazine
Every single FIA World Rally Championship round is a great show for spectators. The first three rallies of the season have already shown how new technical regulations have made rivalries even more attractive. Safety standards for fans and spectators has also stepped onto a higher level. Safety stages are one of the most crucial issues during each rally. There are no excuses for organisers when it comes to safety.
Speed is associated with emotions, but is also dangerous. You cannot forget how risky it is even for a single second. In the last edition of our action we mentioned how fans should act and cooperate to make this flagship event a good one. Now we want to focus on specific situations and we will give you some advice - where not to stand while watching a rally.
Some spectators often do not share the organisers’ opinions about dangerous places. Emotions we meet at the rally stages, including awesome speed and big slides overshadow not just safety rules, but even common sense. The worst possible place to stand on the stage is at the outside of the corner. You will not fool the laws of physics. It often happens, that a car is going too fast into the corner and just slides across the road – to the outside. If there are no trees or rocks there - after going wide at the corner - drivers just head straight ahead. We fear to think what could happen if people stand there.
Theoretically, the safer place is on the inside of the road, but even there some tragic surprises can occur. For example, a situation when a driver is cutting a corner way too much can lead to the car being pulled off the road.
Drivers are noting every dangerous place in the co-driver’s notebook during the recce. For example, hidden rocks or tree trunks. These type of hidden traps can sometimes go unnoticed. Hitting them during a rally can often cause suspension or wheel breakages. Then, the rally car does not react to a driver’s commands and may even roll. Fitted with safety cages, rally cars provide safety for the crew, but these will not help fans standing in the wrong places.
Crests, where rally cars are jumping for long distances, are the favourite places for fans to gather. The line of going into a jump is predictable, but the place where the car lands is clearly not. It often happens that the car lands outside the road and may well finish on its nose or on one of its wheels. Always be sure that you are watching the flying cars from a safe distance or from specially designated fan zones.
The new generation of World Rally Cars are equipped with huge rear wings. That improves their aerodynamics. Thanks to that, they hug the ground better and that increases the possibility to take corners even faster. Powerful wings also give some extra stability during jumps. But, remember, not all are new generation WRC cars.
The most important document for each day is a safety plan. It develops during many months of work, where organisers are checking every single place on the special stages. It will also contain safety areas for fans and media and all the places where you cannot stand.
This plan is also a result of experience acquired from many rallies in Poland and all over the world and after talks with FIA specialists. The safety plan for every single round is checked and verified by Michèle Mouton, who is responsible for all safety issues within the FIA.
Michèle Mouton receives the safety plan for ORLEN 74th Rally Poland three months before the start and, after seeing it, she will convey comments to the rally organisers. The former championship runner-up will naturally be present in Mikołajki for the rally and will drive through every single special stage to check its conditions just before rally crews begin their rivalry. We hope fans will give her reason only to smile.
The safety plan from last year’s edition of Rally Poland consists of 427 pages! All the data included in this plan can only be read by the specialists. We show you two pages from it to portray how detailed it is. We should all respect the organisers’ efforts to make this event as safe as possible.
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