Crews want safety changes

Phil Mills, Petter Solberg's co-driver, says a meeting with FIA president Max Mosley before Rally GB is the drivers' last chance to persuade the sport's rule makers that gravel crews are an essential safety buffer in the sport

Crews want safety changes

Gravel crews go through every stage of a rally a few hours before they are run competitively, noting down changes in the condition of the road that may have occurred since the recce. From next season the use of gravel crews has been banned to reduce costs. The FIA believes gravel crews give drivers a competitive edge, rather than being a safety issue.

"It is the only last gasp hope that we have, really," said Mills of the Mosley meeting. "Everybody is in total disbelief. Cost savings are fair enough but the only thing we can see is safety disappearing.

"I think the biggest mistake everybody made a few years ago was calling them gravel crews," he explained. "Had they been called safety crews then we wouldn't be having this conversation now.

"It is as bad as if they tarmac-ed all the gravel traps and took out all the tyre walls in Formula One. It is the same thing in rallying. It wouldn't happen in racing because there would be a public outcry. Yet the biggest single safety buffer we have is the gravel crew. It is our pair of eyes and it has been taken away and nobody - without exception - can understand why.

"The system we have at the minute works so well so why change it? I just can't believe they are doing it. It is putting rally safety back 20 years."

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