Mud threatens Superspecial

Thursday night's opening superspecial in Cardiff could get the Rally GB off to a shaky start as organisers are not expecting the muddy track to survive the full 150-car field

Mud threatens Superspecial

In circumstances remarkably similar to those that caused concern at the British GP, the MSA is facing the possibility of having to cut short the action to give the stage a chance to be ready for the second run on Saturday night.

Plans to run the top 30 cars in reverse have already been scrapped as the MSA needs to ensure that the star drivers, led by World Championship rivals Marcus Gronholm and Richard Burns, actually get to compete on a stage that has already been condemned by drivers and media alike.

Hyundai's Alister McRae, while understanding the problems caused by the weather, thinks the superspecial stage might not be the spectator event the organisers hoped.

"The organisers have been batting their head against a brick wall trying to get this built. With the way the weather has been they've had a really tough job," he said. "They've obviously done the best they can but I think there's still a problem with waterlogging down there. I think it's going to be quite a shitty mess on the stage."

Also, the hundreds of photographers face major difficulties getting images from a black coal dust track run in darkness.

One said prior to the start, "The spectator banking is so close to the track that everyone is going to be plastered in black mud. It will be like the Black and White Minstrel Show!"

An FIA official said, "We will start the cars in their normal order, and not reversed, and keep it going as long as we can."

Council officials have spent the night pumping gallons of water from the stage just to have the track ready after another night of torrential rain in Cardiff. As late as yesterday evening there was a good chance that the stage would not be capable of taking even a single car.

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