Well, that bit of news stirred things up (see previous post) and has created some serious and heated debate. On that basis I thought you might like to read the official reasons for this new directive from the MSA ...
" The reason .. follows the increased level of scrutiny that the sport currently finds itself in and the reports from two of the stage rallies that have run split fields so far this year. The reports from the, on those occasions, MSA Observers, were that when they surveyed the Special Stages before the first field went in that the levels of spectators, their distribution and general behaviour were satisfactory but that by the time the second field ran the situation had changed sufficiently to become unsafe, and that is for the faster cars. "
" Obviously the value of the Safety Delegate's survey is of reduced value if ahead of the first field because at that time the spectator levels are somewhat less. We have considered his running between the two fields but then the first field wasn't checked before it ran and so forth. Put simply the practice of running two or more fields, whilst popular with some competitors is not conducive to overall safety and that must be our overriding concern and priority. "
For the moment it doesn't look as though the MSA will change its mind. That's down to a couple of things, and not just the level of scrutiny they are under from higher authorities, but also because the issue of rally Safety Delegates is still far from defined. At the moment there is only appointee for Scottish events, and as I understand it, that is a temporary position until responsibilities have yet be clarified.
In fairness to the MSA their hand was pretty much forced with regard to the appointment of Safety Delegates and it was done in such a rush that the initially appointed SD, working with the organisers of the first event up here, were working things out as they went along. The idea being that from this first practical assignment a set of interim rules could be created and worked on from there.
As of this moment there is still no final system in place nor a list of duties that an SD must perform. It is very much work in progress.
I suspect that this business of smaller capacity cars and 2WD cars running ahead of bigger cars and 4WD machinery will be discussed further in the weeks and months to come.
And whilst I urge patience from all corners, the trouble is, we don't have the time!
What was it Corporal Jones once cried? "Don't panic!"