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Ogier calls for WRC Rally1 windscreen fogging solution

Sebastien Ogier has led a call for a solution to the fogging of windscreens on Rally1 cars that affected World Rally Championship drivers’ visibility in Japan.

Sébastien Ogier, Vincent Landais, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Toyota GR Yaris Rally1

Sébastien Ogier, Vincent Landais, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Toyota GR Yaris Rally1

Toyota Racing

Misted-up windscreens were a hot topic last Friday as extreme wet weather hit the stages. The issue afflicted the prototype spaceframe-built Rally1 cars much more severely than Rally2 machines derived from production-based models.   

Ogier was among a number of Rally1 drivers affected, having to peer through a two-centimetre clear section of windscreen to navigate through Friday morning stages.

M-Sport’s Ott Tanak fared the worst with his vision and was seen crouching in his seat in a bid to see through the windscreen.   

Eight-time world champion Ogier believes the problem should be part of the WRC’s future rethink.  

When asked if the addition of an air conditioning unit could help resolve the issue, he said: “I think it would be very tricky because those cars are full of water inside and they are nearly impossible to build waterproof because of this tubular frame and the carbon panels around it.

“Maybe it is part of the whole rethink we need to have about our sport. These cars have this problem, and they are extremely expensive, maybe there is a way to go back to something a bit more simple, and maybe avoid this kind of problem.”

Sébastien Ogier, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT

Photo by: Toyota Racing

Sébastien Ogier, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT

Hyundai team principal Cyril Abiteboul says his team plans to find a fix, admitting that it's “embarrassing” and not good PR for Rally1 cars.

“It is amazing that we are not capable of addressing an issue like that when you look at the cost of the cars,” Abiteboul told Autosport.

“We know it is not a standard dashboard because we are all trained to optimise things, but we know that these things happen, so maybe we should invest a bit more in this technology and a bit less on aero.

“It is a bit embarrassing, and it is not great PR for the Rally1 cars and clearly it is something we can do better. We will try to fix this as we do need to give a better image.”

FIA road sport director Andrew Wheatley believes a design rethink is a bit too much of a stretch, but is confident teams can resolve the issue for the future.

“The car [is] using a standard windscreen aperture and front door aperture,” Wheatley told Autosport.

“I don’t think you would go to Sweden with the same level of misting that you would have if you came to Japan.

“Japan was not expected to be a tornado and the teams were not expecting that level. When you go to Sweden you know it is going to be cold, damp and the windscreen is going to be cold, and the car is going to be hot.

“In Sweden you take additional checks and balances to make sure you don’t have the misting of windscreens.

“I think a design rethink is a challenge, but I think making sure the cars are optimised to the conditions is possible.

“We are not talking about a prototype car that is dramatically different from a production vehicle. You can still put seals on a carbon door, they are just heavy and I’m not sure everyone wants to carry the weight.   

“I think the teams are clever and they will know what to do to fix it. I’m not sure it will happen so many times again.” 

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