Manufacturer teams told to commit or stay away

Manufacturers in the World Rally Championship will be forced to make a Formula 1-style commitment to the championship and contest every event on the calendar

Manufacturer teams told to commit or stay away

According to this week's Motorsport News, this was the outcome of the first meeting of the WRC Commission last week. Any new marques joining the championship will be expected to contest every round in its first year, or it won't be eligible for points.

It also decided that the two highest-placed manufacturer drivers, as opposed to the current nominated driver system, would be eligible to score Manufacturers' Championship points - which should encourage teams to run three cars.

The FIA is keen to limit each manufacturer to three cars, although the third machine from each team is likely to be piloted by 'specialist' drivers - such as Peugeot's asphalt wizard Gilles Panizzi.

"There are advantages and disadvantages but it's a reasonable compromise," Subaru rally boss David Lapworth told MN. "I think it's fair to say nobody objected strongly."

Mitsubishi Ralliart chairman Andrew Cowan was less happy, however: "I don't think we'll ever be able to run three cars on a full time basis, at least in the near future."

Ford's Malcolm Wilson said: "We are quite happy. It's good that we are still talking about nominating two main drivers at the start of the season and then running a third car, which could give us a chance to run a younger driver."

The changes are likely to be approved by the FIA in time for next season's championship.

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