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GP Week : Issue 25
An impending WRC lock-out? MArtin HolMes rallies editor THE battleground for promoting the World Rally Championship gets muddier every day. The latest confusion comes with the demands for top-level exclusivity that teams feel they should enjoy. No sooner have the 2010 World Rally Car rules been effectively settled, the calendar finalised for the next two years and the way forward for turning the sport in to a green friendly anti-polluting exercise announced, than more areas of debate have arisen. 24 The latest open door concerns who can benefit from the new 2010 World Rally Car rules. Are the rules a wide open opportunity for enticing more manufacturers into top level rallying, or will they tighten the entry doors into the top level sport even more firmly? When the current World Rally Cars were introduced in 1997, one of the conditions was that no manufacturer would be allowed to homologate a World Rally Car unless the manufacturer was first registered in the World Championship itself. Within a couple of years there were no fewer than seven manufacturers in world championship rallying and they all homologated World Rally Cars of one design or another. The ‘no registration, no homologation’ rule offended nobody, but should the 2010 regulations continue this rule? The number of manufacturers homologating Super 2000 cars with the FIA, all of which could easily be converted in a S2000+ version of a World Rally Car, is now around twice the number of manufacturers whose teams are registered in the world championship. If the rule is rescinded, future world championship rallies could once again produce entry lists with a wide variety of top line cars. These new manufacturers are eyeing the chance to compete at world level longingly, or to provide top-level cars to eager privateers who will no longer have to wait for hand-me- down, second-hand, obsolete cars. The problem is that the teams who are currently registered in the championship want this rule to continue ... Olivier Quesnel, Team Principal for Citroen Sport, said that the rule was a fundamental part of world championship sport. “We are supporting the FIA by investing heavily in the World Championship, and we are supporting their efforts to promote the championship through a global promoter. One of the basic things is that we must keep the rules the same for everyone – for example everyone must enter opinion