It’s clear no one thinks the 2020 World Rally Championship can be settled on the three events we’ve had so far. But how many rallies are needed to make it a legitimate title? David Evans gets an emphatic view from Hyundai’s team boss.
Someone, I forget who, put the current calendar question into perspective perfectly in the last few days. The calendar question – according to Twitter – is this year’s silly season. That’s about right.
Usually, the silly season’s all about who goes where. This time it’s about where we’re all going. Or might be going. Or might not be going. And whether or not, once we get there, if we go enough times to make a championship.
While filling the post-México news vacuum, we’ve asked just about everybody how many rounds are right in order to offer this season’s silverware. We’ve unified two of the service park’s more disparate voices in Sébastien Ogier and Hyundai Motorsport team boss Andrea Adamo in agreement that three rounds are not enough.
Right now we’re potentially looking at nine events: the three that have already taken place (Monte Carlo, Sweden and México), along with Estonia, Turkey, Ypres, Germany, Sardinia and Japan. But what if we lose another one and we drop to eight?
“Eight is enough,” Adamo said with the sort of authority that made me ask why he was so sure eight would be enough.
Patiently, he explained: “If you look back to the history of the World Rally Championship, one of the seasons which was most entertaining was which one?”
“OK, I tell you. The 1995 season was one of the most entertaining. How many rounds?”
The Italian doesn’t bother to wait while I scratch my head.
“Eight. That was enough then and this would be enough now. Remember 1995? Remember Catalunya? The RAC? It was incredible.”
“Of course this year will be different than then, we are running this number of rallies for another reason – but if we get those rallies then the championship will have the same value at it would in 2021 or 2022.”
Adamo added there was a bigger picture to getting the season up and running.
“When we start again, it shows a strong human story. It shows we have passed a tough moment. This has been a really tough time for a lot of people, many people have suffered and if we – in our small world of motorsport – can get things moving again then we can show to the COVID pandemic that human beings are back.”
The silly season continues next week, when Estonia is expected to be confirmed as the next round of the World Rally Championship. But after that, who knows? Will Turkey move for Belgium? Will Angela Merkel let us into Germany?