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WRC Rally Italy

WRC drivers meeting a “constructive” forum for future improvements

The World Rally Championship has declared a meeting with drivers to discuss ideas to improve the championship’s appeal as “constructive”.

Elfyn Evans, Scott Martin, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Toyota GR Yaris Rally1

Drivers and team representatives took part in an online meeting on Wednesday, instigated by the championship’s promoter, to share ideas to improve the championship.

The WRC called a meeting following the comments made by Hyundai Thierry Neuville in the lead-up to last month’s Rally Portugal, where he claimed the championship needed to make changes to improve its appeal for manufacturers and fans.

This discussion with the championship promoter followed a meeting with drivers chaired by 2003 world rally champion and vice president of the FIA Drivers’ Commission Petter Solberg at rRally Sardinia last week. 

The WRC issued a brief statement to Autosport following today’s meeting, stating: “It was a constructive meeting but the details will remain confidential.”

It is understood all top-level WRC drivers and the three Rally1 teams were represented in the online call.

Toyota WRC team principal Jari-Matti Latvala also described the meeting as ”constructive” in regard to discussing ideas to enhance the championship for the future.   

“Rallying has always been and remains an amazing sport, and the WRC has an incredible history since it started 50 years ago,” said Latvala in a statement issued to Autosport. 

Neuville has questioned the ability of the WRC to retain its existing manufacturers

Neuville has questioned the ability of the WRC to retain its existing manufacturers

Photo by: McKlein / Motorsport Images

“It’s also important that we think about the future and what we can maybe do differently to make it better. 

“We had a constructive meeting on Wednesday between the different stakeholders where many topics were discussed with some nice ideas to enhance things for the future. It’s good to see this positive collaboration and hopefully, it will benefit the sport and make it stronger.”

Neuville isn’t the only driver or team representative to raise concerns over the future direction of rallying’s top tier in recent weeks. 

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Last weekend Toyota’s Kalle Rovanpera called for crews to be given fresh tyres for the Power Stage to prevent tyre saving on Sundays, which lessens the spectacle for fans, while Hyundai boss Cyril Abiteboul has pushed for a review of the entire format.  

The WRC and FIA have already announced that it is considering introducing a cost cap in a bid to increase the return for manufacturers and entice new brands to the discipline. 

Speaking at last weekend’s Rally Sardinia, M-Sport team principal Rich Millener was hopeful this week’s meeting would result in a series of key action points for the future.

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