Sebastien Ogier and VW team-mates urge Jean Todt to halt WRC change

World Rally champion Sebastien Ogier and his Volkswagen team-mates have written to FIA president Jean Todt urging him to defer a decision on 2015 WRC running order rules

Sebastien Ogier and VW team-mates urge Jean Todt to halt WRC change

Ogier, Jari-Matti Latvala and Andreas Mikkelsen wrote to Todt outlining their fears over the regulation change expected to be ratified by the president and World Motor Sport Council in Beijing on Friday.

Currently, the championship leader runs first on the road on the opening day of a WRC round, putting them at a disadvantage on gravel rallies as they sweep the road clear for cars that follow.

New rules put forward to the WMSC by the WRC Commission late last month will place the points leader first in the order on leg two of rallies as well.

Ogier, who instigated the letter, told AUTOSPORT: "As a driver, of course, I am thinking about the future of my sport and I discussed it with my team-mates.

"Afterwards, of course, we communicated our opinion to FIA."

The Frenchman has been a long-time critic of running order regulations that handicap the championship leader.

"The idea behind this new rule is clear: the best drivers in the championship are disadvantaged in order to reduce the gap between all the drivers and create greater excitement in the championship," said Ogier.

"In my opinion, this new regulation goes too far and is unfair.

"We are sportsmen and, as such, love to compete to prove who is the best.

"It is an essential spirit, which is to be found in every sport.

"My team-mates and I would prefer to run in championship order on day one, in reverse championship order on day two and in the reverse of Saturday night's classification on day three.

"This would be fair, consistent and easy to understand."

Latvala described the 2015 proposal as "a bit too much" and thinks it could be even more costly under the latest incarnation of the final-stage shootout plans.

"We see from the new rules for the final day that you will have to be in the top four to fight for the win and it's not realistic on a rally like Mexico to run at the front [of the start order] for two days and then come back and be in the top four for the last stage," he said.

In contrast to his drivers, VW team principal Jost Capito backed the rule change.

"Sebastien is outspoken about this and I can understand why he doesn't like it, but we have to accept the rules from the FIA and I'm still convinced the fastest will still win," he said.

"If you are opening the road you are doing that because you have the most points - and the driver second in the championship is right behind you, it's not like he's 10th on the road."

shares
comments
Radical World Rally Championship plans face crunch meeting

Previous article

Radical World Rally Championship plans face crunch meeting

Next article

WRC Rally Australia: Kris Meeke leads Citroen 1-2 on shakedown

WRC Rally Australia: Kris Meeke leads Citroen 1-2 on shakedown
Load comments

About this article

Series WRC
Drivers Sébastien Ogier
Author David Evans
Why the casualty of rallying's evolution should still be cherished Plus

Why the casualty of rallying's evolution should still be cherished

The WRC's support categories are in a process of streamlining that will spell the end of a formalised 2WD world championship-level category. While its relevance to the top level has been questioned for some time, that doesn't mean it should be swept quietly under the carpet

WRC
Apr 5, 2021
Why WRC's hybrid path could leave it at a crossroads Plus

Why WRC's hybrid path could leave it at a crossroads

With all three major manufacturers committing to the World Rally Championship’s hybrid era from 2022, the future of the series is assured for now, but it could lead to trickier twists and turns further down the road

WRC
Apr 1, 2021
How Tanak froze out the competition at the Arctic Rally Plus

How Tanak froze out the competition at the Arctic Rally

Ott Tanak made up for a disastrous Monte Carlo Rally by leading all the way on the snow-kissed stages of the Arctic Rally Finland and in the process hit back at an event Toyota had been expected to dominate

WRC
Mar 1, 2021
What to expect from the WRC's venture to the Arctic Plus

What to expect from the WRC's venture to the Arctic

This week's Arctic Rally Finland will bring the World Rally Championship into new territory. And, almost without exception, the service park can't wait for the subzero challenge to commence

WRC
Feb 25, 2021
How Ogier achieved a fitting Monte Carlo farewell Plus

How Ogier achieved a fitting Monte Carlo farewell

Against pandemic-shaped odds, the World Rally Championship season opener went ahead in Monte Carlo last weekend as a familiar face again took top spot. But for an emotional Sebastien Ogier, his record-breaking eighth win meant more than most

WRC
Jan 25, 2021
What to look out for in the 2021 WRC Plus

What to look out for in the 2021 WRC

As the 2021 World Rally Championship prepares to launch amid tight COVID-19 restrictions in Monte Carlo, here are the eight things unrelated to the pandemic that you should keep an eye on this year

WRC
Jan 21, 2021
Evans on the talking points of WRC 2021 Plus

Evans on the talking points of WRC 2021

He came close to the title last year, and now Toyota's Elfyn Evans gives his verdict on what to expect from 2021 as the World Rally Championship prepares to reconvene for the Monte Carlo season opener

WRC
Jan 20, 2021
Why Britain's continued WRC absence is a wake-up call Plus

Why Britain's continued WRC absence is a wake-up call

OPINION: With Rally GB dropping off the World Rally Championship calendar for the second year in a row, one of Britain's best-attended sporting events faces an uncertain future. It's an unfortunate situation that points to troubling times ahead

WRC
Jan 12, 2021