The FIA has appointed Sistemas Integrales de Telecomunicacion (SIT) to run World Rally Championship safety tracking and timing, despite continued requests for continuity from rallies and teams.
The FIA will announce later this week that SIT is to replace Stage One Technology, the company that has timed and tracked the WRC for the last decade. Both manufacturers and event organisers had voiced concerns over the potential for change in this area of the sport.
A senior source from one of the opening 2013 WRC rounds told AUTOSPORT: "We have to trust in what the FIA is doing, because we don't know this new company. It's OK for the events at the end of the year, but for us, we are like the [guinea] pigs, aren't we? Let's hope it is good, because, for us, we never have a problem, not one, with Stage One."
The draft FIA press release that will announce the SIT decision states: "The FIA has reached an agreement with SIT to provide timing and safety tracking services for the FIA WRC in 2013.
"The Spanish sports technology group will also be responsible for delivering this all-important data to the championship promoter, the content being an integral part of its vision to develop and enhance the television and digital product.
"Based in Madrid, SIT has 78 employees dedicated to providing high-level technology across a broad range of sports. With its own fleet of 15 airplanes and seven helicopters, the company's experience in delivering rally-related expertise dates back to 1985.
"Its various telecommunications technology, timing, tracking, results, broadcast transmission and real-time internet services have since been used on the Spanish Rally Championship, Rally Catalunya, Rally de Portugal, Baja Espana, the Race of Champions and La Vuelta a Espana, a multi-stage cycling event which is part of the UCI World Tour. SIT will use proven UHF radio wave technology, familiar within the WRC and frequently used for television broadcast services."
Confirmation of the SIT deal comes less than 24 hours after senior FIA staff said that no decision had been made.
SIT's systems' only previous WRC use has been as back-ups. January's Monte Carlo Rally will be the first time the Spanish firm's equipment has ever been used as a frontline system in the WRC.