The head of the Soviet Union's motor sports federation said recently that auto racing should be made an Olympic event. But he acknowledged that even though his country will host the Games in 1980 and wil have the prerogative to add a sport to the program, the chances of drivers joining the runners and jumpers that summer are slim.
"Times change. There are millions of auto drivers. It is now possible to include technical sports in the Olympics and we have some ideas how it could he done," said Prof. Leonid Afanasyev, president of the Soviet Auto Sports Federation.
Federation vice president Viktor Lapim and Prof. Mikhail Zaletaey, a member of its governing committee. More interviewed with Afanasyev. Afanasyev is sector of the Moscow Institute of Automobile and Road Construction where Zaletaev heads the auto sports engineering department.
They propose a motorized [WORD ILLEGIBLE] among the lines of the current international Race of Champions [WORD ILLEGIBLE] among top professionals.
There would be identically prepared cars. The drivers would draw lots for them. Then, they would compete in five events for the championship," Afanasyev explained.
The Russians suggest a slalom [WORD ILLEGIBLE] to the downhill ski race but over a flat, hard-surfaced course: an autocross over open fields and rough terrain: an all-out-speed time trial: an economy run to test driver efficiency: and another contest to be decided later to complete the "motathlon." All events would be run against the clock rather than against rival drivers, a style Europenas seems to favor for speed contests of all kinds.
Despite their enthusiasm, none of the three feel auto sports will be on the Moscow Olympics program.
"No," said Afanasyer, "it's just too difficult to incorporate it into the efficial schedule at this time. But, we are working hard on it."
The problem of determining jist who is an amateur in auto sports does not trouble the Russians at this time. They noted skiing is an OLympic event though it has few. If any pure amateurs cmpeting.
Their interest in having auto sport in the Olympics is based on their recent success in getting these events included in the Spartakiad, a Soviet Union wide quadriennial competition in dozens of sports held the year before the Olympic. "It was quite an achievement to be included finally," said Afanasyev. Motocycle competions have also been included in the Spartakiad through the efforts of its federation.
Afanasyev had a firm "nyet" when asked if Russia had any plans to compete in Grand Prix road races for singled-seat racing machines." "It's too commercial," he said. "We have no interest in it."
Their efforts are concentrated on Cup of Peace and Friendship events for Communist nations. Inaugurated in 1963, the Cup includes rally, kart and road-racing titles. After more than a decade of very ordinary performances, when they lagged behind the East Germans and Czechs. the Russians are now serious contenders.
"In the rally championship, we are now first with only one event - the Russian Winter Rally in Siberia - the maining to be held next month," said Afanasyev. "In [WORD ILLEGIBLE] we are second to the Czechs. In circuit racing the Czechs are leading in both the sedans and racing single-seat open wheel cars, but we are not very far behind."
"We don't want all the first," he said," After all, this is the Friendship Cup."