Wales Rally GB clerk of the course Iain Campbell has confirmed planning will continue for Britain’s WRC round despite new UK guidance to avoid having co-drivers in competing cars.
Motorsport UK, the country’s motorsport governing body, released a document yesterday outlining how UK motorsport could be restarted after the current coronavirus-related suspension and lockdown, and it contained several important considerations impacting rallying’s potential restart.
This included the need for coronavirus testing and a reduction in post-rally social events. And, most pertinently, the document stated: “it is unlikely that vehicle sharing, passengers or co-drivers will be permitted while social distancing is to be respected”.
This effectively means that, for the time being, co-drivers cannot sit with drivers in a rally car but Campbell insisted this doesn’t mean Wales Rally GB – scheduled for October 29 to November 1 – will be curtailed.
He told DirtFish: “The one thing you can plan for just now is we’ve no idea what’s coming. Nobody has. Rally GB is five months away next week, so if you think all of this has happened over the last 10 weeks in the UK, what on earth is going to happen in the next five months?
“We don’t know what the legislation and the guidance will be in that time. The document that has come from Motorsport UK is based on the guidance and legislation that’s in place at the moment. It’s something that’s under constant review [but] with Rally GB, we crack on.”
This year’s Rally GB route was submitted to the FIA and WRC Promoter last week and will be presented to the manufacturer teams next Tuesday [May 26]. Planning is therefore, Campbell says, “moving as it always does” but he is also aware that external factors could alter things at any moment in what he describes as a “moving feast”.
“There are points and milestones along the way where we know there’s big decisions to be made, but each one’s got to be measured as you approach it, as everything’s moving so, so quickly just now,” he said.
“If you look at it, an awful lot of Europe has opened up now, England has opened up a bit, Nicola [Sturgeon, Scotland’s First Minister]’s talking about Scotland opening up a bit next week, so things are changing. So that is something that always affects how you go with your planning, and the quarantine with people coming into the country they’re reviewing that every 21 days. It’s a moving feast.
“The FIA and WRC Promoter are being as supportive as they always are,” Campbell added. “They’re wanting to get rallying back up and running as we all are and we all want the events to run when it is safe to do so. We’re still very much a part of their plans and their calendar.”