Rally no place for a tractor


The use of tractors to make a chicane on a Rally Finland stage has been deemed “irresponsible” by World Rally Championship drivers and teams. Source: Autosport

Two tractors promoting event sponsor Valtra were positioned in the formation of a chicane on the Harju spectator stage run on the first two days of the event.

WRC champion Sebastien Ogier said drivers were particularly concerned because the chicane was on an asphalt section where they were running gravel tyres, making grip levels lower – particularly if it rained.

There was also a feeling among crews that the move was in poor taste given Formula 1 driver Jules Bianchi’s impact with a trackside recovery vehicle in the 2014 Japanese Grand Prix.

“We asked for these to be removed after we drove the stage on Thursday night for the second time we went to the stage on Friday, but they were not,” Mr Ogier said.

Volkswagen team principal Jost Capito backed his driver’s stance.

“It was irresponsible to allow this to happen,” he said. “Tractors have no place on a stage.”

Rally Finland clerk of the course Kai Tarkiainen stood by the decision to place the tractors on the stage as part of the commercial tie-up with manufacturer Valtra.

“The company consulted with me to see if that could be done,” Tarkiainen told Autosport. “I consulted the FIA and then made the decision.

“We measured everything and considered everything that could happen.

“It was done with the FIA’s measurements regarding how much free space there has to be between the obstacles and the regulation doesn’t define what the obstacle should be.”