Rally Poland under pressure to prove safety to ensure WRC future

Rally Poland takes place under the FIA's microscope this weekend, with any failings on the safety side likely to result in its ejection from the World Rally Championship

Rally Poland under pressure to prove safety to ensure WRC future

Last year's event was criticised for spectator safety shortcomings, with the governing body giving it a final warning.

The 2016 rally runs under the FIA's so-called yellow card in the same way Rally Argentina did earlier in the season.

WRC safety delegate Michele Mouton inspected the Polish stages and safety plan two months ago and is happy with what she has seen.

"It was fine for me," she told Autosport. "The inspection went very well. I drove the stages with Jacek [Bartos] and with the deputy clerk of the course.

"They have been working well and differently from last year. I think it will be OK."

Rally Poland clerk of the course Jaroslaw Noworol is confident his team has done enough.

"Just after last year's edition of our event we talked a lot about what we should do to improve safety matters," he told Autosport.

"We changed the philosophy of safety activities concerning the stages.

"We will use a lot of fences instead of tapes. We are building 41 spectator areas - almost twice more than in 2015.

"We have about 1000 safety marshals working during Rally Poland 2016, which again is more than at the previous edition."

The rally has created more dedicated spectator zones and Noworol said stages would only be cancelled as an absolute last resort.

"We prepared these places with parking places and facilities like toilets, food and drinks," he said.

"It can happen that some of the rally fans will choose to appear in no-go areas; we will be moving them to the safe places.

"I am determined to do it and not to cancel special stages except in exceptional situations."

Noworol is confident the changes will ensure Poland stays on the calendar.

"I am sure we will be in the WRC family next year," he said.

"We have spectacular, fast and flowing gravel stages loved by drivers.

"We have a lot of fans on stages and TV, radio and internet statistics are great, which is very important for the FIA and WRC Promoter.

"There is no other choice: Rally Poland has to be in the WRC calendar next year."

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