Radical World Rally Championship plans face crunch meeting
|By David Evans||Wednesday, September 3rd 2014, 12:27 GMT|
Some of the most controversial proposals in World Rally Championship history will be submitted next week, with running orders, final day deciders and banning in-car split times on the agenda.
The WRC Commission will table its suggestions in next Thursday's FIA World Motor Sport Council meeting in Beijing.
The meeting will conclude the long debate over the revamp of the final-day format that will come into effect for 2015 WRC rounds, with work to refine the details of the last-stage shootout plan having continued.
Regulations surrounding the running order will also be tweaked to make sure the championship leader is first on the road on both days one and two - as opposed to only the opening day this season.
Reversing the order so that rally leaders run last will only occur on the final day from January's Monte Carlo Rally onwards. That system is currently adopted once the opening leg is done.
This change is likely to prompt significant criticism from reigning world champion Sebastien Ogier, who has repeatedly expressed his frustration at being handicapped by running first on loose gravel, calling the system "the regulation for the loser" earlier this year.
Ogier favours a return to the qualifying format of last season, where the fastest drivers from a single run at the shakedown test were allowed to select their position on the road for day one.
The other big change expected relates to communication between team management and cars competing on stages.
Crews presently have mid-stage split times beamed to them so they can moderate their pace according to rivals' times. This facility is likely to be canned.
A source within the FIA said: "We fully appreciate that some of these decisions will be unpopular - probably very unpopular - but they are taken in the best interests of the sport, not of one individual or individual team.
"Don't forget, in any sport, those with the most to lose will always want to manage out the risks as much as possible and split times help to do this.
"But we should also be mindful that unpredictability makes for great sport, just look at Rally Germany."