I can see -- judging by the stats from our Facebook fan page -- that a fair share of our followers are big on F1. That saddens me, I'm afraid. F1 is quite cool, yes, but when it's all said and done, it's a cold and far away land.
Even for us journalist, it's hard to get in; it's hard to talk to the drivers; it's hard to visit the garages; it's hard to access the hospitality zones… Don't go thinking we're all sipping drinks around a table with Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen on race weekends.
There are other racing series in the world that are much more spectator-friendly. I'm talking about the World Series by Renault in Europe, where the admittance is free, the paddock open, and the general atmosphere cool. You actually get close to the stars of tomorrow, guys like Stoffel Vandoorne, Carlos Sainz Jr., and Kevin Magnussen.
I would say that rally is actually even better when it comes to getting up close with the actors. Spectators stand on the side of the roads on which the special stages are run one minute, and the next watch the crews live while they’re servicing the cars in the assistance area.
Think about it: Rally cars are actually street-legal machines!
They don't have monstrous wings slapped on them or weirdly shaped bodies. Rally cars are your car or my car pushed to the absolute limit by immensely talented drivers. It takes big balls to come up at the speeds they do and shave tree lines, always in control, always inches from disaster.
All around the world, September is a good month for rallying, with many events staged all around the globe. I strongly urge you to check out your national level calendar and go see the guys (and girls) who are crazy enough to get out there for rallying.
You'll find yourself surrounded by great drivers and co-drivers, and knowledgeable, friendly, and interested spectators who simply love their sport.
Sure, you won't run into Alonso or Vettel, but who knows, maybe you'll catch a glimpse of a certain Robert Kubica…
|Photo: René Fagnan|