Wednesday is a good day to be Andreas Mikkelsen. The Norwegian not only confirmed his return to rallying’s top-flight, but his desire to see safety note crews returned for WRC2 runners has also been signed-off.
The Norwegian was one of many drivers to be frustrated at a policy which only permitted Rally1 crews to be fed information on how the stages had evolved since the recce or between loops of stages.
“I really hope the FIA does something for Rally2 crews,” he said. “We are also pushing really hard on the stages and we could do with knowing where is the mud. Rally2 cars are also going over 200kp/h (120mph) and I don’t think a Rally1 driver’s life is worth more…
“Not having the gravel [safety] crew is dangerous.”
The FIA listened and World Motor Sport Council signed off the return of safety crews for P2 (Rally2) drivers on asphalt rallies.
The FIA’s statement said: “Based on feedback from competitors, P2 crews will now be allowed to use route note cars.”
Oliver Solberg, the fastest WRC2 drivers through most of those stages this year, was in favour of the decision. He said: “It has to be safety first, every time. This seems to be a simple decision, but we have to be grateful to the FIA for taking the initiative and making this happen on Tarmac.”
The reason it’s only for asphalt events is that the potential change in grip level from recce to rally or between loops of stages on gravel events isn’t deemed to be as dramatic on gravel.
In addition to the news of more safety crews on selected WRC rounds, WMSC also reduced the number of hybrid units available from nine to three per car through 2025 and 2026. And Rally1 drivers will use their third run at shakedown to offer a passenger ride to media or VIPs.