Forward Thinking by David Richards

I really can't remember a World Rally Championship season like the one that just finished a couple of weeks ago on Rally Great Britain. In a schedule of 14 events, we had seven winners in four makes of cars, and both the manufacturers' and drivers' championships went down to the final round. Until Petter Solberg crossed the line in Margam Park, the series wasn't decided. By any measure we have a highly competitive package

Forward Thinking by David Richards

It hasn't been a perfect year, of course. We cannot get away from the fact that the general economic climate creates its own problems. Many of the car manufacturers involved in the world championship and the event organisers themselves are all facing difficult times right now. However, we're not alone in this - all forms of motorsport are suffering, and you only have to look at the situation surrounding some of the football teams to see that the other sports are having their fair share of problems too.

Much has been said about the rule changes and the confusion surrounding them in the past few months. Those uncertainties have not helped matters, but the teams, manufacturers and organisers are starting to pull in the same direction. That is what is going to make the difference for the championship. We have to ensure that the teams and organisers work as one cohesive group and a shared vision if the championship is to continue the progress we have made over the last few years.

I am very optimistic about next year and the continued increase in television audiences worldwide. We must not forget how far we've come in a short space of time, but there is still enormous potential for further gains and we need to harness that. In fact, sometimes when you make such rapid change and progress it can, in itself, cause instability. But when you look at something like our official website, wrc.com, we see the split times and the live results, you can see how much it's improved from last year. That's a tangible benefit of the investments we've made in infrastructure and technology, making the sport easier to understand and more accessible. We're not changing the essence of what people are watching, but we're making it a richer experience.

Of course, Rally GB played host to Channel 4's broadcast of the final stage and our first experiment with a new era of live coverage. It gave an indication of what will be possible, but no more than that. In the future we'll make much use of the full resources and technology that will be available to us, so C4's broadcast was an excellent experiment and, what is more, it was also shown in 60 countries. What we'll be producing and offering over the coming years will be a greatly enhanced version of what you saw from Margam.

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