The World Rally Championship has lots of problems. Many of the manufacturers have dropped out, and the action just isn't compelling as it once was, relegating top-tier rallying to obscurity. We've got our own ideas on how it might be fixed, but more on that later. Italian tire maker Pirelli, meanwhile, which supplies the control rubber to the series, has a proposal of their own.
While other motorsport disciplines like formula, stock car and even motorbike racing have feeder series, as in steps along a continuous ladder that starts with the most accessible and tops out at the pinnacle, rallying, for the most part, does not. A junior class of rallying would allow aspiring drivers to showcase their talents and top-tier teams, on the other hand, to scout new drivers (and co-pilots, for that matter). Pirelli, for its part, is trying to start up such a program with the Pirelli Star Driver initiative, which will pit a field of five drivers against each other in identical cars – possibly Group N-spec Subaru Imprezas or Ford Fiesta STs – on six rounds of next season's WRC calendar. But more support would be needed to turn Pirelli's junior driver program into a full-on WRC2, and Pirelli hopes that parties behind the existing WRC will ante up in an effort to save the sport.
[Source: Autosport | photo courtesy of Pirelli]