Points changes for Power Stage
Controversy in Mexico has led to new points rules for the Power Stage
All drivers will be eligible to score Power Stage points in next week’s Rally de Portugal following controversy over the scoring system in Mexico earlier this month.
Mads Ostberg and Andreas Mikkelsen both retired on the Saturday and restarted Sunday’s leg under Rally 2 rules, but new regulations meant they were not allowed to score points in the final live TV Power Stage.
Both were frustrated that drivers who retired in Friday’s leg were eligible to score. Mikko Hirvonen, whose Ford Fiesta RS was sidelined with alternator problems on Friday, returned to take the final bonus point.
The recent WRC Commission meeting in Paris proposed the rules be changed to allow all returning drivers to score. This will be introduced under waiver in Portugal next week, with the matter due to be rubber-stamped at the next FIA World Motor Sport Council meeting in Marrakech on 11 April.
Also new for Portugal is a return to the start order system in which retired drivers restarting under Rally 2 will open the road at the front of the field.
In Mexico returning drivers enjoyed the best conditions after starting behind the leaders on clean roads. In contrast, Chris Atkinson, the lowest placed top driver after surviving opening leg problems, was disadvantaged by starting first and sweeping the stages.
A third change is that Priority 1 and 2 drivers must complete a minimum of two runs through the pre-rally shakedown instead of four.
The commission agreed that two runs is sufficient for top teams to check their cars before the start, although drivers can complete more runs if they wish. Priority 3 and non-priority drivers are only permitted three passes.
The running order and shakedown proposals are also due to be ratified at the WMSC.
More on WRC