RUNNING ORDER SOLUTION DRAWS NEARER
New plan meets with universal approval
Last month’s World Rally Championship Commission meeting appears to have brought clarity to the controversial debate over running order regulations in the series.
The quarrel over who runs first on the road has plagued this year’s season. When Sebastien Ogier wasn’t voicing his disquiet, his former team principal Jost Capito was predicting his retirement from the sport should change not be affected soon.
Change it appears is on its way and Ogier has spoken out in favour of what he sees as the fairest – and apparently the most likely – option.
That option is championship order for the opening day with championship order reversed for the priority drivers on day two before reversed classification order (as it has been this season) for Sunday’s stages.
When asked if the format could work, Ogier said: “Why not? I will be fine with that – it is fair. I think this can work, it can still be affected by the weather, things can still happen. For me that will make me happy and it will be also a big gain for the championship because it means we can skip this subject which is all the time in the mind of everybody. It’s impossible to avoid it – it’s such a big influence on the performance and the result of everyone.
“Look to the last six months, it looks like I lost the performance, but that’s not true – I still had the speed and I showed this on every Sunday morning and e very powerstage. It was just that I was not able to do this when the conditions were not equal.”
Ogier’s new team principal Sven Smeets agreed that a solution could be in place before the end of September from the World Motor Sport Council meeting at the end of the month.
“That’s the intention,” Smeets told MN. “Like we have said consistently: we want the fairest option. We had a lot of ideas being talked about, now we’re down to just a couple.”
MN understands the alternative is a return to championship order on day one followed by reversed classification of World Rally Cars on both Saturday and Sunday.
A return to qualifying has been ruled out by WRC Commission.