NO PRI­VA­TEERS IN 2017 WRC

Motor Sport News - - Rally News -

Pri­vate teams will not be per­mit­ted to run front­line World Rally Cars in next year’s World Rally Cham­pi­onship fol­low­ing the FIA’S rul­ing last week.

The rule change came out of the Turin meet­ing of the World Mo­tor Sport Coun­cil, which dic­tated 2017-spec­i­fi­ca­tion World Rally Cars can only be en­tered by man­u­fac­tur­ers.

Last month, FIA rally di­rec­tor Jarmo Ma­ho­nen ad­mit­ted he had con­cerns about pri­vate driv­ers run­ning the next gen­er­a­tion of World Rally Cars – which with close to 400bhp will be com­fort­ably the fastest yet – say­ing: “We have to con­trol these cars, but I would rather do it a softer way than the su­per­li­cence. Those cars will only be used by driv­ers en­tered by a man­u­fac­turer and ap­proved by us. This gives us con­trol.

“We will look at the mer­its of each driver who ap­plies. Do we want gen­tle­man driv­ers com­ing with these cars? No we don’t. Nor do we want the 18-year-old driv­ers com­ing and do­ing their first world cham­pi­onship round in one of these ei­ther.”

The WMSC state­ment was a sim­ple one: “Only man­u­fac­turer teams will be el­i­gi­ble to en­ter World Rally Cars un­der the 2017 reg­u­la­tions.”

Teams will be able to find a way around this change – M-sport has done this in the past, en­ter­ing pri­vate driv­ers within its fac­tory team.

Volk­swa­gen, Toy­ota, Citroen and Hyundai will, how­ever, only run the three cars ex­pected from each man­u­fac­turer.

WMSC has also con­firmed man­u­fac­tur­ers will no longer have to nom­i­nate a lead driver. Cur­rently, each team has to iden­tify one driver who will con­test at least 10 of the 14 rounds. In­ter­est­ingly, there was no word from the FIA on al­low­ing man­u­fac­tur­ers to nom­i­nate three driv­ers, with the top two scor­ing points. There’s strong spec­u­la­tion that rule will be re­turned for the first time since 2003 next sea­son. ● The FIA has al­tered the al­lo­ca­tion of points on WRC rounds run­ning at re­duced length. From next year at least 75 per cent of the stages must run to qualify for full points – cur­rently only half the rally needs to be com­pleted. From 2017 on­wards half points will be on of­fer if be­tween 50 and 75 per cent of the route runs, while a third of the points are taken for a rally run­ning be­tween 25 and 50 per cent. Be­low 25 per cent and no points are of­fered.

Pri­va­teers out of top flight

Pho­tos: mck­lein-im­age­database.com

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