Toyota driver Elfyn Evans has called on the FIA to review regulations involving returning retired drivers in the running order on World Rally Championship rounds.
During Rally México earlier this month, Evans’ chances of staving Ott Tänak off were dented when the Estonian’s team-mate Thierry Neuville adjusted his position on the road to run behind the Toyota, but directly ahead of the defending world champion.
That meant Neuville, who had been due to run first on the road, helped sweep a cleaner line for his fellow i20 Coupe WRC driver, while forcing Evans to run on looser gravel.
Evans told DirtFish: “The rules need looking at it. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not bitter at Hyundai for doing that – the rules are there to allow this to happen. But that’s not to say our team would do the same.
“It would be quite easy to fix this. If a driver is returning after retiring on the previous day and can’t start a stage in the position you’re allocated [in that day’s start list] then it’s quite simple – you go to the back of the [WRC] drivers.
“If you’ve had a genuine problem on the first day [as Neuville did, given an electrical problem forced him into retirement] then it doesn’t matter to you [where you run on the road] on the following days.
“Like I said, it would be easy to fix. This sort of thing is interfering with the right, if you look at the times, the biggest difference was when there was two cars between us on the road.”
Evans’ team-mate Sébastien Ogier was critical of what Hyundai team principal Andrea Adamo described as “a convenient technical problem” for Neuville on day two in León.
The six-time champion backed Evans’ call, adding: “I never thought so much about this side, but it’s clear that with the rules you can do something.”
Asked for comment on the situation, Adamo said: “I read the rules and I apply the rules that are there.”