WRC: Series poised for running order rule talks

2016-06-17 13:53:16
http://www.racer.com/component/flexicontent/502-rally/130852-wrc-poised-for-crunch-running-order-rule-talks?Itemid=1
Date:
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World Rally Championship organizers will hold talks with teams and drivers over the controversial running order regulations in Poland next month, having set an August deadline for deciding 2017 rules.

The stipulation that the championship leader must run first on the road – and therefore encounter the dirtiest stage conditions – for two full days on each WRC round has proved increasingly controversial during 2016.

Points leader Sebastien Ogier has not won a rally since Sweden in February, frustratedly watching drivers with better road positions thrive.

Though the World Motor Sport Council meets in Turin on June 24, FIA WRC manager Jarmo Mahonen said talks over running order format for 2017 would require longer than that and expects a September announcement.

He met with the teams and drivers in Sardinia last week and will do the same again in Poland next month, by which time he expects a clearer idea of what the new rule will be.

"I'm talking to Sebastien, I'm talking to everybody about this, we're evaluating everything," Mahonen told Autosport. "I have told the teams I want to nail this regulation in August, in time for World Council [in September]."

Mahonen would not be drawn on current thinking, emphasizing that all options were open.

WRC insiders have hinted that a return to the system of the points leader only running first on day one then the subsequent start order being the reverse of rally classifications is on the table.

A revival of the qualifying system under which the Thursday pacesetter had first choice of position in the running order is also possible.

Citroen's Yves Matton said the Poland talks would vital for the future of the WRC but should be kept private.

"I am open to discussion on the start order, but this must be a private discussion away from the media," he said. "We have had everybody's ideas and a lot of noise and trouble has made about this, so now I want to sit with the team principals and drivers, make a plan and send it to the FIA. And this is better to do in private.

"One thing I will say is that when we make the new regulation, it should stay. It's not good to be changing every second year."

HOW RUNNING ORDER RULES HAVE AFFECTED 2016

RALLY        SURFACE      WINNER              INITIAL ROAD POS
Monte Carlo  Ice/asphalt  Sebastien Ogier         1st
Sweden       Snow         Sebastien Ogier         1st
Mexico       Gravel       Jari-Matti Latvala      8th
Argentina    Gravel       Hayden Paddon           5th
Portugal     Gravel       Kris Meeke              13th
Italy        Gravel       Thierry Neuville        8th

Originally on Autosport.com

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