Explosive changes coming to World Rally Championship? What to expect in 2024!

The World Rally Championship (WRC) commission is preparing for a transformative shake-up, with key event format changes on the horizon. Set to be discussed in an upcoming commission meeting, these changes come on the heels of critiques about the WRC’s appeal and perceived direction.

**Backdrop to the Reforms**

For the past few months, the WRC Promoter has been diligently collecting a range of innovative ideas to rejuvenate the championship. Their initiative followed concerns from drivers, some of whom questioned the current appeal and trajectory of the WRC.

Highlighting these concerns, Hyundai’s Thierry Neuville previously expressed his thoughts during Rally Portugal. As a result, the WRC Promoter gathered drivers in June to brainstorm ways to boost the championship’s allure.

Additionally, Petter Solberg, the vice-president of the FIA drivers’ commission and the 2003 world rally champion, played an instrumental role in gathering these proposals. It has been disclosed that several transformative ideas will be discussed in a meeting slated for 22 September.

**What to Expect**

Among the potential reforms, the WRC Promoter has hinted at reshaping Sunday’s format. Other suggestions include compacting events, overhauling the points system, introducing more remote services, and transitioning away from a central service park.

The implementation timeline suggests a gradual roll-out. Changes are expected to debut in 2024, with a broader set of modifications earmarked for 2025. However, these changes will be contingent on FIA’s approval, with the next meeting for the World Motor Sport Council scheduled on 19 October.

Furthermore, in an inclusive move, the WRC Promoter has encouraged WRC drivers to designate a spokesperson to join the WRC Commission for ongoing discussions.

WRC event director, Simon Larkin, expressed the organization’s views on these changes. He emphasized the need to adapt to the changing times, while respecting traditions and considering the varying global dynamics. Larkin suggested that the essence of each event should be distinct, comparing a season to a book with 14 unique chapters.

Addressing the notion of transitioning from a central service park model, Larkin expressed openness to the idea. He shared that the inclusion of tyre fitting zones has already diversified the roles, allowing mechanics to play a more active part. Larkin believes that this change not only maintains the race’s narrative but also shines a spotlight on the unsung heroes: the mechanics and engineers.

**Final Thoughts**

As WRC gears up for these potential changes, the overarching aim remains clear: to rejuvenate the championship while preserving its essence. The coming months will surely be filled with anticipation as enthusiasts worldwide await the next chapter in WRC’s storied journey.