Modern Roll Cages Are Amazing

During the Portuguese round of the World Rally Championship, Kris Meeke crashed his Citroën C3 WRC into the woods. But the outcome could have been much worse.

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YouTubeWRC

Ever since Jeremy Foley and Yuri Kouznetsov at the 2012 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb with their Mitsubishi Evo built by Kevin Dubois, pretty much anybody with access to YouTube can get a sense of what modern roll cages can take. But as the years go by, the evolution and engineering of WRC-spec safety cells remains as amazing as ever, saving lives one stage after the other.

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Kris Meeke and Paul Nagle should be particularly fond of strategically-placed steel tubes, having managed to climb out of this crash on Saturday, unhurt.

The trouble came during the 6th stage of Rally de Portugal, when Meeke took the outside line on a long sweeping left-hander, only to lose grip and crash into the woods completely sideways. Following the sudden deceleration, the C3 WRC came to a halt on its passenger side between two trees. Despite the Citroën's horrific state, the British-Irish duo had no trouble leaving their race car in one piece.

The FIA's were enacted in 2013, specifying everything from the cages' materials to the allowed welding techniques, required mounting points, tube dimensions and the seats and harnesses that allow the cage to do its job in the first place.

WRC teams go much further than just satisfying the rules, but the base recipe remains the same: approximately 130 feet of cold-drawn seamless unalloyed carbon steel is used for each cage, with reinforcement plates at each mounting point, welded to the bodyshell.

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The high-strength steel structure needs to keep the passenger cell intact, while absorbing as much energy as possible. Today, FIA roll cages do both remarkably well. Just imagine if we had the same technology during the Group B era...

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