Are day points the solution to WRC’s scoring debate?

What if pure speed was rewarded in the WRC? Andrew Mair crunched the numbers to find out


Before the Monte Carlo Rally began, I’d already been slaving over a spreadsheet to calculate how the 2024 points system would have rewarded the drivers at last year’s season finale in Japan.

I had persuaded myself that the new system wasn’t really going to cut it. The leading Toyota trio had been cruising on Sunday and Takamoto Katsuta, who’d crashed on Friday, had scored more stage wins than anyone else on the Saturday and Sunday.

I expected the new-for-2024 system to penalize the podium and serve up greater rewards to Taka. The top three’s rewards were slightly lower but, surprisingly, Taka would have received little benefit for all his efforts either.

Unsatisfied with the 2024 system, I cranked up the spreadsheet to the next level: day points.

IMSA in the US scores its crown-jewel event, the Daytona 24 Hours, in six-hour segments. Meanwhile, British Touring Cars, a series feted for its non-stop action, has three races per weekend; one with a reversed grid. So too, in a sense, does WRC, with the inverted road order on the opening day – and there are, generally speaking, three days. So why not points for each day?

My imagineered rally points system was to award points per day based on the cumulative times each day. Hence, if someone crashed out on the first day, they could still get top points for being fastest on day two and fastest on day three.


"Nice day points you've got there, Taka. I'll have some too." – Ott Tänak, if Japan 2023 had taken place in an alternate day-points universe (probably).

The Rally Japan benchmark

Firstly, we look at Japan for context. The nature of the 2023 season finale taking place under the old system means an outsized effect can be expected: the top three on Friday occupied positions five, six and seven on the second and third leg leaderboards. Katsuta meanwhile was fastest on Saturday and second-fastest on Sunday, recovering from his altercation with a tree on Friday.

Rally Japan 2023 results by day

Pos Fri Sat Sun
1 Evans Katsuta Neuville
2 Ogier Tänak Katsuta
3 Rovanperä Neuville Lappi
4 Mikkelsen Lappi Tänak
5 Munster Ogier Evans
6 Gryazin Rovanperä Ogier
7 Lappi Evans Rovanperä
8 Tänak Mikkelsen Mikkelsen
9 Katsuta Munster Gryazin
10 Kovalainen Gryazin Kajetanowicz

We’ll work under a new points system here: 15-12-10-8-6-5-4-3-2-1 to the top 10, each day. The maximum possible score from a rally, therefore, is 45.

Japan demonstrates day points to the extreme thanks to plenty of Saturday and Sunday cruising by those ahead: Taka-san would have been handsomely rewarded by the end of Sunday.

Rally Japan 2023 points per day

Pos Driver Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Total 2023 Pts
1 Evans 15 4 6 25 25
2 Ogier 12 6 5 23 18
3 Rovanperä 10 5 4 19 15
4 Lappi 4 8 10 22 12
5 Katsuta 2 15 12 29 10
6 Tänak 3 12 8 23 8
7 Mikkelsen 8 3 3 14 6
8 Gryazin 5 1 2 8 4
9 Kajetanowicz 0 0 1 1 2
10 Arai 0 0 0 0 1
Ret Munster 6 0 0 6 0
Ret Kovalainen 1 0 0 1 0

I’m rather pleased with the outcome of points per day here: Taka and Thierry take home decent points for solid drives after a bad first day. Toyota’s top three tanked in the rankings after failing to be top performers on the last two days; it seemed right they should take a scalp on points-scoring for it.

And there was a nice bonus in there for Andreas Mikkelsen and his first-day giant-killing with fourth place on Friday; so too for Grégoire Munster.

What would day points mean for Monte?

The Monte provided a different sort of case study: what pans out when the drivers do know that Saturday and Sunday will influence their final points total? I could run points per day again, giving it a fairer measure than the 2023 system.


Last month's Monte was the first round for the WRC's alternate point-scoring system

There was one question in particular to answer about the new 2024 points system: would it solve the Sunday drivers problem or merely shift it to Saturday driving, cruising for Sunday points?

In recent times I’d been watching rallies on catch-up. Not this time: I had the power stage splits live, rather invested in how the Sunday standings were panning out. Evans and Tänak were squabbling for second on the day – and Ogier was in the mix too. Katsuta appeared to be tanking – but was a powerstage push to usurp the Fords incoming?

When the dust had settled, we were left with this:

Pos Thu/Fri Sat Sun
1 Evans Neuville Neuville
2 Ogier Ogier Evans
3 Neuville Tänak Ogier
4 Tänak Evans Tänak
5 Fourmaux Katsuta Fourmaux
6 Mikkelsen Fourmaux Katsuta
7 Munster Mikkelsen Munster
8 Gryazin López Mikkelsen
9 López Gryazin Rossel
10 Rossel Rossel López

A clear difference from Japan emerges. The top three weren’t cruising on Sunday. The top three weren’t cruising on Saturday. The top three were not cruising at all! But was that down to the points system or just the natural outcome of a hard-fought Monte?

I’d argue it was definitely down to the points system.

Thierry made a big push at the end of Saturday and he admitted half the big effort was down to the points system. Elfyn had lost touch with the lead pair after a difficult Saturday but pushed on Sunday and was rewarded with extra points. And Séb was most definitely pushing. So yes, the 2024 system delivered on Saturday.

That provides a more accurate baseline for day points. Drivers pushing every day, from start to finish, allows us to answer another question – is day points a fairer system than what was implemented for 2024?

Monte Carlo Rally 2024 points per day

Pos Driver Thu/Fri Sat Sun Day Pts 2024 Pts
1 Neuville 10 15 15 40 25
3 Evans 15 8 12 35 19
2 Ogier 12 12 10 34 20
4 Tänak 8 10 8 26 14
5 Fourmaux 6 4 6 16 11
6 Mikkelsen 4 5 3 12 6
7 Katsuta 0 6 4 10 5
8 Rossel 1 1 2 5 1
9 López 2 3 1 6 2
10 Gryazin 3 2 0 5 3
20 Munster 5 0 5 10 1

Firstly, it’s notable that Evans would outscore Ogier on a points-per-day basis. That’s arguably fair, as he was faster than Séb on two days out of three. Thierry loses out slightly as he didn’t truly hit his stride until Saturday – he suffered a mapping issue on Thursday and then an issue with his ice notes on stage five cost him more time.

Munster does much better, as he had two good days and only one bad day, whereas the 2024 system gave him only small credit for a solid final day.

WRC2 highlights one of the surprising elements of the 2024 system. It only awards points for eighth to 10th place on Saturday. With only eight Rally1s expected at the average rally, WRC2 runners effectively score points for their Saturday position and none for Sunday. It was a surprise to see the driver who finished third with the most points! That’s another reason I prefer points per day.


Pepe López still outscores WRC2 winner Yohan Rossel in day points 

On the Monte, being first on the road did not prove to be any sort of disadvantage. But imagine if this had been a gravel rally. Can you imagine what Monsieur Ogier would have to say if points were dished out while he was cleaning gravel for everyone else? Perhaps even Kalle Rovanperä wouldn’t be so laid back about sweeping in that scenario.

That, admittedly, is a potential drawback of points per day, though they can still draw those back on Saturday and Sunday. They’ll at least have a chance to score big points, no longer being stuck sweeping away at the front of the pack; that could balance out the losses of day one, which were previously harder to recover under the old system.

On Monte, I liked the 2024 system. It solved the Sunday driver problem there. But those WRC2 scores still feel wrong. Perhaps a tweak to 2024 should be a straight split of two-thirds of the points at the end of day two and one-third on Sunday, going all the way to 10th place on both days.

What do you think? Head back to the 2023 system and the day of “to finish first, first you have to finish”? Or is change a good thing? I believe the 2024 system is better – but is the case for points per day even stronger?