The FIA has officially given its nod to a fresh points system for rallies set to take effect in the forthcoming season. The primary objective behind this novel approach is to inject heightened excitement into the rallies by distributing points on both Saturday and Sunday during the event.
According to the revamped system, Saturday will witness the allocation of points based on a graduated scale ranging from 18 to 1. However, these points will only be granted if a crew successfully concludes the event on Sunday. In the event of a crew’s failure to finish on Sunday, the Saturday points will be bestowed upon the subsequent best-placed pairing.
On Sunday, competitors will vie for a maximum of seven points, with the top seven contestants receiving points based on a sliding scale of 7-6-5-4-3-2-1. The fundamental objective behind this modification is to discourage drivers from conserving their tires on Sunday stages with the aim of excelling in the concluding Power Stage of the rally. Notably, the Power Stage remains unaltered, with the top five swiftest drivers earning bonus points, capped at five.
It is noteworthy that if a driver completes a flawless rally, they will still amass 30 points in accordance with the preceding regulations. Nevertheless, a scenario now exists where the eventual rally winner might encounter issues on Sunday, resulting in fewer points than their competitors.
Thierry Neuville, a Hyundai driver, is optimistic that the revised points structure will introduce a fresh challenge to the rallies, preventing drivers from merely coasting through Sunday stages. He acknowledges that the system could also prove advantageous to part-time drivers benefiting from a favorable road order at the beginning of events.
Cyril Abiteboul, the team principal of Hyundai, has long championed changes in the WRC and commends the adoption of the innovative points system. However, he concedes that the structure is more intricate than initially envisioned. Abiteboul anticipates that the new system will infuse greater excitement into Sundays and attract new enthusiasts to the sport.
Abiteboul echoes Neuville’s concerns regarding the potential advantages for part-time drivers and the existing tire allocation. He has sought a discussion with the FIA to address these concerns. The FIA has affirmed its commitment to reviewing and adjusting the points system if deemed necessary throughout the upcoming season.
In essence, the revamped points system strives to infuse vigor and strategic elements into the rallies while ensuring that the ultimate victor is the one who consistently excels throughout the entire event.