Rallying is one of the most dangerous forms of motorsport. Many European rallies take place on narrow public roads designed for slow traffic, not on side-thrown all-wheel drive sedans at high speed. As such, Armco traffic barriers (seen here) designed to keep regular drivers out of ditches can prove fatal if struck at high speed in a rally car.
The FIA ââInstitute announced last week that it has developed an inexpensive cylindrical barrier to be placed in front of Armco barriers which it claims will prevent injuries and potentially save lives by preventing the blunt end of the barrier from entering. a car during high speed crashes.
The basic design of the barrier is a steel tube filled with sand. In a test where a rally-prepared Volkswagen was thrown over a pulley system towards the new FIA barrier at 70 mph (driverless, of course), the safety barrier slowed the car to 22 mph and crushed the nose of the vehicle. Without the steel and sand barrier in place, the FIA ââclaims the Armco would have pierced the car’s cockpit. With the barrier, a driver and passenger could likely have moved away from impact.
The design is similar to the plastic barrels filled with sand and water used to protect the ends of guardrails on American highways, known as Fitch barriers. The FIA’s setup, however, is optimized for the shockingly high speeds of the road rally segments.
The FIA ââis trying to prevent Armco crashes like the one that killed Welsh co-driver Gareth Roberts in the 2012 Targa Florio, or seriously injured Robert Kubica in 2011. After the Kubica crash, the FIA ââsought to return the cars themselves safer, but as Sports car points out that additional safety equipment would have a negative impact on engine cooling.
A simple barrier placed in front of the sharp edge of an Armco barrier is better for cars and easier to install for rally organizers. The FIA ââhas set a price target of $ 113 (â¬ 100) per unit to make the use of these barriers viable for small rally organizers.
The FIA ââsays the solution is not quite ready for deployment yet, although it is quite optimistic about its new creation. During its test, the barrier lifted off the ground after the car hit it, so the FIA ââmust develop a solution to keep it on the ground at all times. Once this is resolved, these barriers will be used in World Rally Championship events – which the FIA ââhosts – and then in smaller regional rallies.
Much of the recent discussion of motorsport safety has focused on protecting the cockpit in F1, but it’s good to see the FIA ââfocus on one of its less popular series. We love rallying, but there’s no denying that it’s incredibly dangerous. This solution should hopefully add a greater degree of safety to this wonderful sport.
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