WRC organisers are mounting a new push for the return of privateers

World Rally Championship organisers are mounting a new push to get privateers back in the series' top class via modified current-specification World Rally Cars

WRC organisers are mounting a new push for the return of privateers

A proposal to replace the 2017-specification cars' 36mm turbo restrictor with a 34mm version for non-factory entrants was discussed at the FIA's World Rally Car vision meeting in Geneva last month.

There is also a desire for the new-generation World Rally Cars to be used outside the WRC.

WRC's promoter and the event organisers are concerned at the lack of privateer participation, with former regulars such as Lorenzo Bertelli and Martin Prokop absent from current entry lists.

Bertelli is the only private driver who has attempted to put a sustained programme together in a current car, tackling Sweden, Mexico and Argentina in a Ford Fiesta last year.

The FIA has always voiced concern that the speed of the new-generation cars makes them unsuitable for privateers, but this has been questioned by some in the service park.

One source told Autosport: "We're investigating the potential for putting a 34mm restrictor into the current World Rally Cars.

"One of the concerns about the new generation of cars was that they could be too fast for some privateer or gentlemen drivers.

"Taking the restrictor down would take them back to where the previous generation of cars were.

"We need to see more cars competing and it would be nice to see these cars outside of the WRC."

M-Sport's Malcolm Wilson is in favour.

His team has traditionally sold its Fords to privateer entrants and supported independent programmes.

"We're not selling cars, so we're keen to look at anything that can change that and bring the revenue we need to compete at the highest level," he said.

"There's a real desire to see these cars in national championships."

Toyota team principal Tommi Makinen said he was "not sure" about the 34mm restrictor proposal as he does not believe the current cars need to be slowed down for privateers.

"I'm not sure these cars are too dangerous," he said.

"But it would be interesting to see them back in places like the European Rally Championship."

Toyota has been linked with running a fourth car on a private basis for Nasser Al-Attiyah on selected events, but Makinen said this plan had been dropped.

"We can't guarantee it's going to happen, so it's better to say no," he explained.

"It's not our target to be running a private fourth car. It can be done and if it's something positive then it could be done, but it's not our priority right now."

FIA rally director Yves Matton would not be drawn on specifics of the meeting, but told Autosport: "We had a very productive meeting with the manufacturers about the middle and long-term vision concerning WRC cars.

"We will continue to discuss and study the possibilities for our discipline, which has different challenges to some other forms of motorsport."

shares
comments
Toyota rules out making Latvala number two for Tanak WRC title bid
Previous article

Toyota rules out making Latvala number two for Tanak WRC title bid

Next article

Toyota's World Rally Championship rivals fear 'embarrassing' Yaris

Toyota's World Rally Championship rivals fear 'embarrassing' Yaris
How Tanak turned the tables to deliver Hyundai a timely WRC triumph Plus

How Tanak turned the tables to deliver Hyundai a timely WRC triumph

The 2019 champion has been a bit-part player recently, but Ott Tanak ended a 15-month drought in fine style with a dominant win in Sardinia. On a weekend when championship leader Kalle Rovanpera struggled with cleaning the road, his Hyundai rival has made his belated arrival into the title race and given cause for those predicting a walkover from the Toyota star to pause

WRC
Jun 6, 2022
How Rovanpera overcame rallying royalty in Portugal to extend his WRC lead Plus

How Rovanpera overcame rallying royalty in Portugal to extend his WRC lead

Although the Rally Portugal entry list featured World Rally Championship royalty in Sebastiens Loeb and Ogier, victory was secured by rallying's rising star in Kalle Rovanpera. Here's the story of his 2022 hat-trick, as his key rivals faltered among the gravel and asphalt ahead of them

WRC
May 23, 2022
The former WRC star playing the unsung hero role for Rovanpera Plus

The former WRC star playing the unsung hero role for Rovanpera

Kalle Rovanpera’s 2022 World Rally Championship displays have been spectacular, with the Toyota driver benefitting from a secret weapon in his crew to win two of the opening three rallies. But while the former challenger to Sebastien Loeb won’t take credit for his fellow Finn's performances, a key bond has been formed which could prove key to Rovanpera’s title charge

WRC
Apr 29, 2022
How Rovanpera's Croatia turnaround sent a message to his WRC rivals Plus

How Rovanpera's Croatia turnaround sent a message to his WRC rivals

After a dominating Rally Croatia, a wrong tyre choice on the final day looked to have undone all Kalle Rovanpera's hard work and left him with a mountain to climb heading into the power stage. That he emerged the winner all the same has surely quelled any lingering doubts that the Finn is the man to beat in the 2022 WRC

WRC
Apr 25, 2022
How M-Sport's faith in Loubet led to a WRC reprieve after a dismal 2021 Plus

How M-Sport's faith in Loubet led to a WRC reprieve after a dismal 2021

It's fair to say 2021 was a year to forget for Pierre-Louis Loubet. A maiden full World Rally Championship season offered hope but soon turned into a nightmare that ended in hospital, after being hit by a car in a road traffic accident. Now handed a lifeline by M-Sport, the Frenchman is desperate to rebuild his career

WRC
Apr 20, 2022
Why WRC mechanics deserve more respect Plus

Why WRC mechanics deserve more respect

The drivers get the glare of attention, but it’s the mechanics who are key to the operation of any World Rally Championship car. Autosport donned a set of overalls and joined M-Sport on a Belgian national rally event to get an inside look into the trials and tribulations of a rally mechanic

WRC
Apr 17, 2022
The African McRae aiming to become a WRC pioneer Plus

The African McRae aiming to become a WRC pioneer

Taking his first step into the Junior World Rally Championship category, McRae Kimathi - named after 1995 world champion Colin - found himself in the unfamiliar climes of Sweden's snow and ice. Having impressed, Kimathi hopes to blaze a trail to the top level of WRC and help other African drivers to step onto the ladder

WRC
Mar 8, 2022
How Rovanpera grabbed the Rally Sweden spotlight after the Loeb vs Ogier show Plus

How Rovanpera grabbed the Rally Sweden spotlight after the Loeb vs Ogier show

After a blockbuster opening act to the new era of the World Rally Championship with the battle of the Sebastiens at Monte Carlo, Rally Sweden would be the first chance to assess the next superstar of rallying. While teething issues with the new hybrid power thwarted some of the cast, Kalle Rovanpera’s display gave him headline billing

WRC
Feb 28, 2022