FIA explains decision to allow non-hybrid Rally1 cars in WRC

The World Motor Sport Council agreed to a WRC Commission proposal for Rally1 cars to compete on WRC events without running the standard plug-in hybrid system.

Instead, they will have to carry the equivalent weight of the full EV system in ballast and won’t be eligible for manufacturers’ championship points.

Running without the 100kW Compact Dynamics hybrid unit will result in a reduction of approximately 100 horsepower compared to a 500 horsepower hybrid-powered Rally1 car.

However, it will also offer reduction in costs for competitors and also opens the doors for Rally1 cars to compete in regional rallies.

FIA road sport director Andrew Wheately believes the decision will help bridge the gap between Rally2 and Rally1.

“The option for drivers to compete in Rally1 cars without the hybrid unit now exists,” said Wheately.

“It essentially creates a step between Rally2 and Rally1 and it’s something the manufacturers have supported.”

The decision is among a raft of changes ratified for the WRC season, including a move to limit teams to using a maximum of three new hybrid units in 2024 – compared to the previous nine – to reduce the cost of competing.

Lorenzo Bertelli, Simone Scatttolin, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Toyota GR Yaris Rally1

Photo by: Red Bull Content Pool

Lorenzo Bertelli, Simone Scatttolin, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Toyota GR Yaris Rally1

“Cost-saving is an ongoing process and due to the performance and reliability of the hybrid units, we can pass on a substantial cost saving to the teams by reducing the number of hybrid units from nine to three,” Wheatley added.

Among the biggest of the changes for 2024 is the introduction of a new points system that will see championship points attributed after Saturday’s leg and new allocation of points specifically for Sunday, in a bid to spice up the final day of rallies.

Under the new system, the sliding scale of 18-15-13-10-8-6-4-3-2-1 points will be awarded at the end of Saturday’s final classification, but only if a crew reaches the final classification of the rally at the end of Sunday.

If a crew fails to finish on Sunday, the Saturday points will be awarded to the next best-placed pairing.

Championship points will also be awarded specifically on Sunday’s performance. The prime reason for the introduction of this points system is to prevent drivers from cruising through Sunday’s stages and preserving tyres for the end-of-rally Power Stage.

Competitors will do battle for a maximum of seven points on Sunday, with points awarded to the top seven competitors in a 7-6-5-4-3-2-1 sliding scale.

The FIA has now confirmed that the impact of the changes to the points system will be reviewed and monitored over the course of the upcoming season to allow for adjustments wherever necessary.

It was also announced that drivers will no longer incur a five-minute penalty for changing an engine between pre-rally scrutineering and the first time control.

M-Sport’s Ott Tanak was impacted by the previous rule at Rally Estonia this year.

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