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GP Week : Issue 33
>> WRC InSIGHT Nicos Thomas and Nick Georgiou Then came the trickier issue of how to select the two winning drivers. The shoot-out was to be based on a competition in which normal competition processes did not apply. The selected drivers were to come to the event with their own rally cars, big or small (but not World Rally Cars), and although the event was going to be based on six special stages, the ‘winners’ would be selected according to criteria that in some respects was far removed from the results of the rally itself. In fact, it was not clear whether the times of the stages would be published at all. Certainly it was clear that individual interviews with a jury of six people would highlight relevant factors such as communications skills as much as speed over stages. In other words, drivers and their cars head for Austria far from sure what they need to do to win … Pirelli’s current agreement to supply control tyres is for three years, and uppermost in the minds of the individual regions is what selection process to use next year. Morrie Chandler, President of the FIA’s World Rally Championship Commission, which is overseeing the project from the FIA’s perspective, personally leans towards the European system. He is worried that a slight misfortune on a rally could unfairly deny a worthy driver the career chance of a lifetime. But whether concentrating decisions on an additional stand- alone event like the European system will unfairly penalise drivers from regions where traveling is already an excessively high factor is unresolved. But there is time in hand before this has to be decided. Plenty of time, by FIA standards. Days, maybe even a few weeks … 43