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Old 05-29-2003, 11:54 AM   #1
Coati
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Exclamation This will make silly season in the WRC very silly, indeed!

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Top drivers hit by new ruling
29/05/2003 09:58:26

Some of the world’s top rally stars are in danger of missing out on front-line drives in next year’s championship following a decision from the sport’s powerbrokers last week.

At a meeting in Paris, the World Rally Championship Commission proposed to only allow factory teams to register competitors who have not finished in the top three on a WRC round for the last three years as their third drivers, reports Autosport magazine.

Such a move would make it near-impossible to place star names such as Harri Rovanpera and Gilles Panizzi – Peugeot’s current third drivers who both have won a WRC round in the last three years – among the leading teams.

“The driver issue is very contentious,” said one team boss. “To have the best possibility of winning a manufacturers’ title, you need three cars. But to try to create a level playing field, we need restrictions on the third one.”

The decision could be ratified by the FIA World Council, the sport’s global policy maker, next month. The proposed rule change could affect the employment prospects many drivers whose current contracts expires at the end of this season. Teams are unlikely to confirm their line-ups until after the descion on third drivers has been made.

Richard Burns, Panizzi, Rovanpera, Carlos Sainz, Colin McRae, Sebastien Loeb, Tommi Makinen, Freddy Loix, Armin Schwarz, Toni Gardemeister and Alister McRae will all be looking for new contracts next season. Of these drivers only Loix, Gardemeister and Alister McRae have not scored a podium in the past three years.
So if Tommi stays, Subaru can't have Richard. If Richard stays at Peugeot, the Pugs can't keep Gilles or Harri. Citroen has to dump ... Colin?
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Old 05-29-2003, 12:18 PM   #2
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I wonder if teams will still keep they 3 good drivers and just run the third one as a customer entry, like Peugeot used to do, with Rovanpera on Tarmac rallies, and just paint the car a different color
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Old 05-29-2003, 12:44 PM   #3
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What happens to the third driver if he wins? Does he get the boot?
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Old 05-29-2003, 01:31 PM   #4
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Originally posted by driggity
What happens to the third driver if he wins? Does he get the boot?
i would imagine its at the start of the year. what happens afterwards doesn't effect anything until the next season (at least).

the real question is what about 3rd drivers under contract for next year already who would be inelligible with this rule. what happens to them?

and people say the SCCA does wierd things
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Old 05-29-2003, 01:34 PM   #5
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Okay, Toshi, go fast! But if you win, you're fired next year!
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Old 05-29-2003, 02:26 PM   #6
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It has some interesting potential, though... pull fresh, new blood up into the works teams instead of the same old faces making the rounds.

It could flip the championship on its head, as some drivers would end up as privateers, and we could be seeing non-works teams on the podium at some of the rallies.

/Andrew
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Old 05-29-2003, 02:39 PM   #7
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I think the rule is stupid! Whats the point of this rule? YOur going to see people loosing on purpose.
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Old 05-29-2003, 03:05 PM   #8
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Yeah this is pretty dumb. You're gonna see drivers slowing down to get fourth instead of third. There are plenty of better ways to approach the 3 driver thing.
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Old 05-29-2003, 03:28 PM   #9
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I'm not sure what to make of the rule at this point. I think it helps level the playing field if Citroen and Peugeot continue to enter three cars and the rest only enter two. But they have enough money that they'll just pay whoever the best "guy who hasn't placed top three" to run 3rd. So people will flip-flop between the lesser teams like Hyundai, Mitsubishi, Skoda and Peugeot and Citroen. So chances are if all teams start entering three drivers, they'll still have a better third driver than anyone else...
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Old 05-29-2003, 03:35 PM   #10
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yeah, i never liked the old nomination system but i think just having 2 factory entered cars per team would solve alot of problems. privateers/one offs can take up the slack. the way it is now just means that only the really big money teams have a shot at the title which seems kind of silly but regulating the "seed" of the 3rd driver is pretty stupid too.
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Old 05-29-2003, 03:52 PM   #11
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This rule is a step in the right track...TOday, manufacturers are only allowed to designate 2 cars to earn championship points. They have to specify these in advance, so they choose their 2 best drivers.

Why a third car? They run a third car in hopes of that one finishing ahead of the other manufacturers' 2 points cars. So, they're trying to drive down the points earned by the other cars. By not allowing this car to run, they will equalize the playing field.

Allowing a third car for a manufacturer only hurts the teams without as much money. Why do you think teams like Hyundai and Skoda only run 2 cars? Because they can't afford to run a third one which is only there to bully the other teams. Heck, they can barely even get one of their own 2 points cars into the top 5

Not sure what they're trying to accomplish with the wording of this rule, though. I still think they're trying to solve this points system, but they're using a round-about way of doing it.

Last edited by jprowland; 05-29-2003 at 04:06 PM.
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Old 05-29-2003, 04:42 PM   #12
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Quote:
This rule is a step in the right track...TOday, manufacturers are only allowed to designate 2 cars to earn championship points. They have to specify these in advance, so they choose their 2 best drivers.
this is how it was up until a couple of years ago. that's the whole nominating drivers to score points. i agree, it was silly. now, however, you can enter 3 cars and the top 2 finishing ones score the points, regardless of which two those are. if McRae crashes, Sainz and Loeb can still get points. that's really the key to running 3 cars now, you have a spare so to speak. just take a look at the results this year and see how they would change if only the 2 top driver's per team could score points. it would be a whole different ball game. or just imagine if subaru had the money for 3 cars, then, hopefully one of the cars could make it through a rally without breaking
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Old 05-30-2003, 03:43 AM   #13
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Its is actually an interesting scenario. The previous winners (Burns, Panizzi, Rovanpera, etc.) could potentially be hired by Skodas, Mitsubishis and Hyundais as their 1, 2 drivers, while star drivers from mentioned teams could be hired as 3rd drivers for Peugeots, Citroens, Fords. That would be the way of leveling the playing field. Imagine Richard Burns winnig Monte in Hyundai Accent WRC

Any other solution simply does not make sense...Or does it?
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Old 05-30-2003, 06:36 AM   #14
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Totaly insane idea IMHO.

Imagine you worked your ass off/sacrificed everything you had and managed to score points in a privateer entry or one off factory run to get noticed. You score a top3 results and bang, you cant be hired. Totally crazy policy.

Imagine if someone came to your work and said, anyone getting more than 90% customer satisfaction is fired next year, service levels would drop and you would be pissing your customers off, just to keep your job. Madness.
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Old 05-30-2003, 11:22 AM   #15
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I have been around racing all 28 years of my existence. This may be the oddest rule I have ever seen.

Not bad, not good, just odd.

Okay, so anyone with a top 3 (I thought they were going to make it anyone with a win) in the last 3 years can not be a teams 1st or 2nd driver. You're top tier drivers are safe (your Gronholms, Burnses and Loebs). You're 3rd tier drivers are safe (You're Loixes, Auriols and Duvals). What about that middle pack, the tier 2 drivers (Martins, Rovanperas and Solbergs), they are in trouble.

We can't expect them to simply shift over to Skoda or Hyundai. These are low budget teams that can not magically create the dollars needed for their million dollar contracts. Nor do I expect to see privateers picking them up and making a run for the championship given the cost of the sport and the amount of travel (for reference, see F1 teams Prost, Arrows, Minardi, and Jordan).

I don't think you'll seen those long term contracts like Solbergs anymore, either. Teams will want more flexibility if they have a driver that starts to show signs of greatness to move them to the top tier. Count on a return to team orders and new drivers putting around to drop below third.

On the bright side, there's no arguement here against brining in new blood, and I like the possibility that this will cap the 3 and 4 driver French super teams. Truth is, in most racing series there are only 4 or 5 drivers that really matter in a season and those drivers are still secure in this system.

Still, it's just odd.
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Old 05-30-2003, 03:04 PM   #16
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2 cars, 2 drivers... is that so hard?? Limit the teams to 2 cars and 2 drivers... machinery costs go down, contract costs go down, etc. Shoot, Mitsu didn't drop out of the WRC on a whim... the program was losing money while the 3 car teams were making points harder to get. Let the 3rd tier guys fight it out in GpN, leave the WRC cars to the big boys. Sure, the werks teams can still run cars in the other class but at least they wont be competing for the limited points.
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Old 05-30-2003, 03:44 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally posted by BOY
Let the 3rd tier guys fight it out in GpN, leave the WRC cars to the big boys.
Junior WRC is probably the best place for these guys...Sure, they probably stepped up through those ranks, but if there isn't room for them, then maybe they have to stay there. Or they could just as easily run as a privateer WRC entry. Takes a lot of cash, but that's what sponsors are for, right?
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Old 05-30-2003, 05:20 PM   #18
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Radical thought, leave it alone. These people seem to have to justify their positions by medling with rules, just like politicians have to have policies that change things, it reinforces the fact they are there. Sometimes leaving things as they are is the best option.

Mitsubishi dropped out because they were uncompetitive, Skoda were kicking their arses. They left to regroup, it had nothing to do with the fact Peugeot were running 3 cars, its still only the first 2 that score points.

Imagine if you were a profesional driver with the posibility of having your livelyhood removed because of this, you would not be too impressed right now.
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Old 05-31-2003, 05:21 PM   #19
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This rule change is just as strange as the new qualifying rules in F1

What the heck is the FIA trying to do to their sports?
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Old 05-31-2003, 07:00 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally posted by ChrisW
This rule change is just as strange as the new qualifying rules in F1

What the heck is the FIA trying to do to their sports?
Oh, nothing. They just want to make sure that they make money. Since F1 is not as profitable as it once was, I believe that FIA wants to make sure that this deas not happen to WRC. So we see some strange stuff going on. Will it work? Time will tell.
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