Five years ago today, the mythical 2017 cars arrived. These were the cars that delivered the dream. There was more power than drivers had known for generations and more downforce than ever before.
But as the world peered into January, Monte Carlo was eyed nervously. Looking deeper into the season and places such as Finland held genuine fear for drivers and co-drivers alike. Nobody knew what was coming. Nobody.
What came were the fastest rally cars ever to grace planet earth. The speed, the grip and the spectacle forced a complete rethink in terms of what we’d all thought a rally car could do between the trees. It was an era that will never be forgotten – a genuine golden generation.
What will we be saying on January 1, 2025 as we look back on the inbound three-year homologation cycle? What will the world make of hybrid rallying?
If 2017 was a leap into the unknown, the WRC is preparing itself for a blindfolded double backflip into the unknown this month. It’s the one thing the entire service park is aligned on: the fact that nobody knows what’s coming.
Who will win Monte? Forget that. The bigger question is who’ll get through the first day of Monte!
Technical types who know lots about all sorts of technical things are downing tools just long enough to confirm Armageddon’s due sometime on the season’s first Friday.
For the teams, the gathering gloom of apocalypse is, let’s face it, a bit of a nightmare.
You and me? Can’t wait.
I was pretty revved up about the start of the 2017 era, but that’s nothing compared with how excited I am right now. Forget the harbingers of doom predicting flabby rally cars barely able to haul themselves out of hairpins. Yes, the cars are carrying a wee bit of new year timber, but will we notice that extra 100kg? Not a chance.
Will we notice the difference in corner speed? Not a chance.
Granted, the transmission might have been dialed down, the aero’s not quite as trick, but these cars would still cream a 2016 machine.
And that’s before the magic happens.
Once the electricity flows and we’re watching 500bhp-plus being hurled through the mountains in a couple of weeks, I challenge you to hunt out the naysayers and put them right.
Trust me. The 2022 season is going to be an absolute ripper.
And the only place to follow it is right here on DirtFish.
We’re starting our third season here at DirtFish Media and we couldn’t be more excited about what we’ve got to come as well. We’re evolving the site, the features, the films and the chat all the time, but if you think we’re wide of the mark on something, jump on social and tell us as much.
As usual, we’ll have the World Rally Championship front and center through 2022 along with great coverage of American Rally Association promoted by DirtFish. We’re chasing a more consistent focus on the FIA regions into 2022, with the European Rally Championship having turned a corner to sit in the WRC Promoter stable. Outside of Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Asia Pacific and the Americas as well as domestic series from the world over are all growing ever larger on the DirtFish radar.
Rallycross too will continue to hold our gaze as the World RX and now global Nitro series ramp up and take on the challenge of electric. Talking of electric, you’ll find the inside line on Extreme E, Dakar, and plenty more off-road action right here.
March is going to be a big month on DirtFish as we launch our first ever DirtFish Women’s Month. Fortunately, we’ve gone straight to the very top with Michèle Mouton joining forces with our very own force to be reckoned with Josie Rimmer to lead the charge through March.
On a personal note, I’d very much like to thank everybody I’ve worked with both in Europe and at the mothership in Seattle. Leaving Autosport and Motorsport News was a big thing for me. After two decades between both titles, taking the jump to join Steve Rimmer and his gang wasn’t a decision I took lightly – but I couldn’t be happier to have done it.
Steve’s vision and focus on the future is exceptional, the depth of his knowledge and passion for rallying never ceases to astonish me. And they grow by the day.
But I have another big thank you and that’s to you. Thank you for reading, watching and listening to DirtFish.
Your support is hugely – and very warmly – appreciated.
And thank you to the stakeholders around the world. From the very top of rallying’s governance right through promoters and ASNs around the world, DirtFish has been made very, very welcome.
I’d like to take a moment to wish you all the very best for the year ahead. Undoubtedly, the pandemic will continue to bring understandable and necessary restrictions, but we’ll do our very best to keep the stories coming your way through the weeks and months ahead.
As we say in the ’Fish: rally on!