In February, 1991 Britain’s railways ground to a halt when heavy snowfall hit the country. Asked to explain the situation, British Rail’s then-director of operations Terry Worrall offered what he thought was a sensible explanation.
Little did Worrall know, DirtFish would be using that same sentiment in a story almost three decades later.
“We are having particular problems with the type of snow,” Worrall said.
Fast forward from BBC Radio 4’s Today studios to the M-Sport Ford World Rally Team’s pre-Monza Rally function and Esapekka Lappi ponders a question from WRC Promoter commentator Becs Williams.
Paraphrasing, Williams wonders if snow’s easier to deal with for a Scandinavian.
Lappi picks up where Worrall left off.
“I don’t understand why the snow is so much more slippery outside of Sweden, Finland and Norway.
“It’s the same with Monte [Carlo Rally] and here, it’s just crazy slippery when you get a bit of snow, so it really doesn’t help. It’s nice to slide, yeah, but you can’t control the slide [and] that’s the problem, you cannot stop it. And then normally the road is not so wide on the mountain so that’s why it doesn’t really help.”
DirtFish wasn’t willing to let this one drop, and sought a more scientific approach. Offering the explanation that Scandinavian snow might be, er, drier…
“Maybe, like you said, maybe it is drier or the tires are much better or something. Well also the surface, our Tarmac is clearly not so smooth than the Tarmac on the mountains so maybe that has something to do with that. I don’t know what it is. You need to ask somebody else who has looked more into it.”
Has his team-mate Teemu Suninen looked into it?
“Yeah,” he said, raising hopes of a meteorological approach to this phenomenon.
“I have realised the same thing. I believe in Finland we have colder weather or dry snow which creates more grip and basically that’s it.”
As ever, it’s M-Sport team principal Richard Millener who gets to the heart of the topic.
“They use studded tires in Finland,” Millener told DirtFish. “I think you’ll find that’s why it’s not as slippery.”