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Ogier brands start order plans 'stupid'

14 November 2013

World Champion Sebastien Ogier has hit out at plans by promoters of the World Rally Championship to use championship positions to decide the starting order on events next year.

The current desire of the promoter is for championship order to be used for the opening two days of competition before the starting order is then reversed on the final day - a move which has come under fire from teams.

Volkswagen, Citroen, M-Sport and Hyundai have expressed concern that such a format would unfairly punish the front-running drivers next year on loose surface events by forcing them to effectively sweep the road for their rivals behind, with the teams working together to try and find a solution that would create a level playing field for competitors.

Under the rules in place this season, qualifying is used to determine the starting order for the opening leg of gravel events, with the quickest driver having first choice over where he will start.

The running order is then based on reversed positions on the following days, which prevents the quickest drivers from being penalised.

“Hopefully we can find something clever as what is being discussed at the moment is stupid and it can't be like that,” VW ace Ogier said ahead of this weekend's season finale in Wales when discussing the current issue. “Of course it would be nice to have more competition and to reduce the gap between the best drivers and the younger drivers who are still learning, but you can't do everything to make sure the best can't win.

“If you say that the best drivers have to open the road for two days in the dry [on gravel] then that isn't fair and hopefully we can find a solution. It has to stay fair.”

Following discussions in recent weeks, the leading teams are now working together to try and find a solution to the running order issue, with M-Sport boss Malcolm Wilson stating that there was a united front from those involved.

“There has been confusion about what has been talked about in start order terms,” he said. “We want is to work with the FIA and with the promoter to find a solution.

“We are united in meetings with VW, Hyundai, Citroen and with Michelin and want to show our support in order to find a solution that will allow us to have a fair race, and to have something that is simple and that people can understand.”


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