WRC set to make rule change to prevent more powerstage controversy – WRC

Rally


A new rule is almost certain be in place for the next round of the World Rally Championship eliminating the likelihood of a tactical approach being taken to the powerstage.

The final stage of the last two rounds of the series have been hit by crews taking a time penalty in an effort to find a favourable and faster place on the road in search of the maximum five bonus points.

WRC stakeholders and Commission members were asked to vote on a simple change which meant any time penalties taken on the final day of an event would make the crew ineligible for any bonus points.

Autosport understands the that electronic vote concluded on Wednesday, with the alteration expected to be ratified by World Motor Sport Council in time for the Tour de Corse, which starts on April 5.

Sebastien Ogier was the first driver to take advantage, when he took penalties to start the Rally Sweden powerstage further down the order. Ott Tanak and Thierry Neuville followed that lead last time out in Mexico.

The FIA attempted to put the ball in the teams’ court in Mexico, emailing them to request they came up with a solution between them.

One leading driver told Autosport: “This was a joke. When one person started this, everybody was going to look for it.

“And nobody can blame Seb, ask any driver and they would all do the same.”

A gentleman’s’ agreement was reportedly in place among the teams prior to Sweden.

The driver added: “Incredible that we can think to rule this sport with that kind of idea. This is a professional championship and now it looks like we get some sense.”

M-Sport managing director Malcolm Wilson said he would welcome the change: “A solution which would mean crews forfeiting their chance to take points would seem the most sensible and straightforward solution and that would get our support.

“We did it in Sweden, others did it in Mexico and we have absolutely no issue with that whatsoever.”

The matter has been brought to the table sooner than expected, with FIA rally director Yves Matton telling Autosport in Mexico a possible regulation change would be debated at the next Commission meeting in May.



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