The World Rally Championship will adopt 'shakedown qualifying' for all gravel events from 2012, it has been announced.
The decision was ratified following a meeting of the FIA's World Motor Sport Council in Singapore on Thursday. The WMSC also clarified the format it will take for all priority one and priority two drivers.
“A two-hour window will be allocated for free practice, during which drivers will be permitted a maximum of two passes over the Qualifying Stage,” the FIA explained.
“Running in the order of the Championship classification, drivers will then be permitted one Qualifying run.
“Taking into account the stage times, P1 and P2 crews - in order of fastest to slowest - will then select their start positions. Any driver not completing the Qualifying Stage will choose their position last.
“On subsequent days, all Priority 1 and 2 crews will restart in reverse order of their provisional overall classification.”
Currently the order on the first day is set by championship position - something that penalises the drivers' at the top of the championship, while the order for days two and three is based on the overall classification at the end of the previous legs. This has led to 'go slow' tactics at the end of the first and second days, with drivers deliberately backing off and sacrificing positions in the final stage to avoid losing time 'sweeping' the road the next day.
Meanwhile, in a separate development, the WMSC has revealed that the SupeRally format may not be used on all rounds next season.
“From 1 January 2012 organisers of WRC events will be allowed to specify whether cars are permitted to re-start after retirement,” the FIA added.
“As the WRC seeks to move into new territories, it is recognised that a more flexible approach is required in order to fit in with local infrastructures.”