Two-car teams confirmed for 16-round WRC

In the face of opposition from almost all the factory teams contesting the FIA World Rally Championship, the World Motor Sport Council voted by fax on Monday to approve an expanded 16-round fixture list (separate story) and a restriction to two-car factory teams in 2004. The FIA also announced yesterday evening that the WMSC had approved a five-day 'recce' and competition event schedule

Two-car teams confirmed for 16-round WRC

Points towards the WRC Manufacturers title are currently scored for the best two results from three cars entered but, from 2004, points will only be awarded to two-car teams, with both results counting. The FIA asserted yesterday that this would "lower the barrier" to new manufacturer teams, and reduce budget differentials in the expansion from 14 to 16 events.

The event schedule in 2004 (except in Monaco and Sweden, where planning is already at an advanced stage) will be based on the so-called 'Mille Pistes' concept. 'Gravel' cars will no longer be permitted for stage 'recce' procedures, and competitors must use either standard road cars or their actual rally cars.

The WMSC asked Shekhar Mehta's FIA WRC Commission to submit detailed plans for testing, 'flexi' service arrangements and the use of telemetry systems at its next convened meeting next month.

All the current participant manufacturers are opposed to the switch to two-car teams, with the exception of Citroën Sport, which believes that this is an effective cost-control measure.

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