The FIA's World Motor Sport Council has announced plans that will, from 2012, put a stop to the 'go slow' tactics regularly seen at the end of the first and second days on World Rally Championship gravel rallies.
Currently a driver may opt to back off and sacrifice positions on the final stage on a Friday and/or Saturday so that they secure a better road position for the following day and thus avoid having to 'sweep' the road. However from next year, the WRC will return to reversing the start order for all Priority 1 and 2 crews on days two and three.
Furthermore at the start of gravel
events, the championship leader will no longer be penalised by running first. Instead the pre-event rally shakedown will be used as a 'qualifying stage' to determine the start positions.
“From 1 January 2012 the shakedown will be used as a qualifying stage for all Priority 1 and 2 drivers to determine the start order for each individual gravel rally," the FIA confirmed. "Taking into account the shakedown times, P1 and P2 crews - in order of fastest to slowest - will be permitted to select their start positions
“[On] subsequent days, all Priority 1 and 2 crews will restart in reverse order. The start position of all remaining crews will be determined according to the current regulations.”
Meanwhile, in a separate development, the WMSC clarified that 'all priority and non-priority drivers competing with Group R4 cars must use the specified tyres produced by the FIA's nominated tyre companies'.
Furthermore, from 1 January 2012, 'save dispensation, both crew members must have a valid driving license throughout an event'.
This latter rule has been brought in to close a loophole and stop a repeat of the bizarre situation that occurred on Rally Sweden this year, when Petter Solberg's co-driver, Chris Patterson, piloted their Citroen DS3 WRC car through the final test, after the Norwegian had lost his drivers' license for a speeding offence earlier in the event.