FIA considering of changing the Sunday format and adding a qualifying stage from 2024

The WRC senior sporting director, Peter Thul, says that FIA is thinking of making some changes to the Sunday format of the rallies and to add a qualifying stage from 2024.

It is obvious that World Rally Championship has lost the interest from many fans, who are attracted by other motorsport series, as there are only three WRC teams and small competition at the top level in comparison with the past years. In addition to that, WRC drivers stop pushing on Sundays as it is not permitted to have a new set of tyres, therefore they are saving the tyres for the Powerstage where they can take some extra points for the championship. As consequence of these two main factors, FIA and WRC Promoter are working very hard to restore the prestige of WRC by extending the calendar to 14 rallies and visiting some other countries outside the European region, such as Chile and Kenya. A new-point system, an interaction with the fans on tyres for Sunday and a qualifying stage to define the road positions are among the proposals for 2024.

"Sunday format is the top of the list", Thul said.

"I was even surprised when I got the internal data but a lot of people are watching rallying on Sunday morning and we would like to have Sunday as a proper finale, and that's not because nothing happens on Friday and Saturday.

"We would like to avoid cruising. 

"There was a discussion about whether a fresh set of tyres would help. 

"A large group of the drivers said no. 

"There is not a 100% proper solution.

"We are thinking and discussing, without any finalisation so far, whether a certain smart points system would help to make them go faster on Sunday.

"This would mean that someone who has had to rejoin under Super Rally rules could get more points which would be worth the driver to invest in. 

"At the moment if there is somebody that is out of the points, they are cruising the last three stages, and then they go for it on the Power Stage.

"I cannot tell you a number in terms of how the points system will work because it is not decided, but it has to be balanced with the rest of the system.

"The winner should get the most points and clearly those who finish the rally must have a benefit for that or otherwise we devalue the days before. 

"We have to make it not too complicated for the audience.

"Maybe we can also have the tyre fitting zone or regroup before the Power Stage, that is more interactive. 

"A grid walk with fans and things like that. 

"This has to be harmonised with the parc ferme rules, but there is a way to do it. 

"The good news is there is nobody road blocking anything.

"The qualifying stage works very well in the ERC but if we do it wrong then we could end with the total domination of one driver and then we have exactly what we had before.

"I'm not against it, I personally like it but we have to see the other disadvantages. 

"We don't want to screw it up. 

"We have to carefully evaluate and get all of the information.

"We discussed about shortening the format not on every event. 

"We think maybe sometimes shorter stages can bring more excitement and we can show more cars. 

"Everything is on the table. 

"It was really fruitful discussion that we had.

"I think we will change and not everything immediately, and if we do decisions maybe somebody will be disappointed. 

"I'm quite confident next year will be better than this year".


Photo Credits: Toyota

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