The WRC has introduced a new points structure this year which is designed to spice up rallies particularly on the Sunday, where drivers have previously cruised through the final day preserving tyres for the end of rally Power Stage.
Drivers can still earn a maximum of 30 points, but these will be distributed differently this year. Points will be awarded under the scale of 18-15-13-10-8-6-4-3-2-1 to those in the top 10 at the end of Saturday, but only to those crews who reach the final classification of the rally at the end of Sunday. The Saturday points of any crew who fail to finish on Sunday will be awarded to the next best-placed pairing.
Additional points will be awarded for a separate classification based purely on the Sunday stages to the top seven, on a 7-6-5-4-3-2-1 basis. This is in addition to the five bonus points awarded on the Power Stage.
While championship points are not Ogier’s main priority this year, given he’s contesting a partial campaign for Toyota, the eight time-world champion is struggling to understand why the championship has adopted the concept.
“I don’t care much about the points, the clear target for me is more the overall win that’s for sure,” said Ogier when asked how the new points system could affect tyre strategy in Monte Carlo.
“But anyway, these new rules make no sense. I cannot understand. I hope I’m wrong, but so far, I see only inconvenience of changing that system.”
When asked if he thought the structure would improve the show on Sunday, he added: “That can be [the case], but it’s still wrong.
“You devalue completely the victory, you make it complex and nobody will really understand from the wider public, except [if] you are a nerd and really into rally.
“Otherwise they will ‘eh, what, this guy did P1 but he didn’t score maximum points, how is it possible?’ And that will happen at some point.
Photo by: Toyota Racing
Sébastien Ogier, Vincent Landais, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Toyota GR Yaris Rally1
“And also you avoid the strategy of the Sunday but you can create a much bigger one before.
“If someone has an issue at the beginning of the rally, then he doesn’t drive as hard on the limit and he just saves tyres and cars all weekend just to push for the 50km on the Sunday and be able to have 12 points – where the guy who worked his ass off for the whole weekend can have only 18 maybe on Saturday night. So that’s not logical at all.
“Aat some point, I made one recommendation [to have] maybe just one point per stage win. Why not? That forces everybody, there is always a point to catch, but not like this.”
The points structure has divided opinion in the service park heading into the season opener, with drivers citing that it devalues the overall victory, while M-Sport has praised the change.
This weekend Ogier is eyeing a 10th Monte Carlo win, to extend his own victory record at the famous rally.
The rally has moved back north to the town of Gap in search of more wintry conditions, but it appears roads will be largely devoid of snow and ice. However, Ogier still believes the stages will be difficult to tame.
“It won’t be easy, even if sometimes we all quickly make the conclusion that ‘there is no snow, it will be easier’,” Ogier added.
“It was probably the case in the last two years in the south, but now with the stages we have, there will still be some tricky sections. Early in the morning especially there will be some frost, some ice in places.
“Especially if there is almost no snow, you have to go for slick [tyre], and those sections on slicks then are going to be very tricky. We will find out how difficult it is this year, but I’m convinced it won’t be easy.”
The rally begins with two stages held in darkness on Thursday night.