‘Honoured’ Martin takes on WRC competitor role
By Jason Craig
Sunday 24th September, 2023 - 10:57am
Toyota’s Scott Martin says it’s ‘an honour’ to become the first World Rally Championship competitor to be appointed to the WRC Commission – a move that ensures drivers and co-drivers will be involved in helping to shape the future direction of the sport.
As reported by Speedcafe, calls have been intensifying for crews from rallying’s top tier to be given a voice in the decision-making process and those were answered when Martin’s name was proposed – and agreed – earlier this week.
It means the Englishman – who is the current team-mate of two-time WRC runner-up Elfyn Evans – will work alongside Petter Solberg, the current vice-president of the drivers’ commission, as well as WRC Promoter Simon Larkin and his colleague Peter Thul, the WRC Promoter sporting director.
Martin is no stranger to rubbing shoulders with the sport’s key stakeholders as he has been directly involved with the FIA’s Closed Road Commission – experience the 41-year-old believes will be beneficial moving forward.
Although his first meeting in his new role on Friday was merely in an observatory capacity, the development is seen as a significant and hugely important step in addressing the concerns of Rally1 competitors, and also increasing their sense of belonging in the World Rally Championship at board level.
Stan Sport is the only way to watch every round of the World Rally Championship. Click here for all the action streaming ad-free, live and on demand.
“I could see that everyone in the room wants to try and keep the sport moving forward – there are some exciting ideas – and I was asked for my opinion on quite a few topics, so already I was having the chance to share the competitors’ thoughts,” said Martin, who has made 172 starts in the WRC.
“For sure, there are topics that we will continue to discuss before the next meeting and I have some feedback to collect. As soon as I was going to take on the role it was when I could get into a meeting and learn how these decisions come the process because, even from this meeting, whatever was agreed in the room it then has to go to the FIA’s World Motorsport Council and agreed by them.”
Martin is back in competitive action at Rally Chile in the next few days but already he has built in time to his schedule to carry out more groundwork in and around the service park which will involve debriefing his colleagues.
“I want to get their ideas as I now know a bit more about what the promoter and FIA are thinking short-term and long-term, and I will also be meeting again with the people who were in the room,” he added. “This is quite good because we can discuss the ideas more because this work is on-going.
“Sometimes in the meeting room it is hard to understand how these new concepts will play out in real terms until you’re actually on event and you then see how a particular scenario might play out.
“But my experience counts for quite a bit and maybe because I have been doing this role with the Closed Road Commission and I have been in touch with the competitors as far as the work we have been doing there, so maybe for a lot of people they felt I was doing that job to a satisfactory level and that I could go into this new role easier than others.
“It is an honour to be voted for it and I am going to take it quite seriously because it is the first time a competitor has had a seat at the table. It is good for everyone and it good the Commission they have a competitor who can give instant feedback because competitors are having discussions all of the time about all different manner of stuff.”
M-Sport Ford Team Principal Richard Millener told Speedcafe this week that Martin would be an ideal candidate as co-drivers like him have “very good knowledge of the sport” and tend to “come up with good ideas”, adding: “We need someone who is actively involved in the World Rally Championship at the moment as they have the best experience of what is going on.”