When the decision was taken to outlaw current specification World Rally Cars for next year, it was seen as a tacit admission that 2022 would mark a slowdown in the sport’s highest level.
The sport’s governors were not keen to see the all-new hybrid machinery outgunned by well-driven year-old motors. So they were banned. But now they might be back.
FIA rally director Yves Matton is leading discussions with the teams to see if there’s the appetite and opportunity to keep the World Rally Car name and category alive at the highest level.
“We are talking about this at the moment to see if we can use these cars in 2022,” Matton told DirtFish.
“What I can tell you now is that they will not be at the same level of performance we have at the moment.
“I had more meetings in Portugal and I believe we can keep this car inside the championship.”
The most likely change will come in decreasing the size of the restrictor. The current cars are fitted with a 36mm restriction on inbound air flow. Taking that back to the 2016 level of 33mm would retard performance and offer a more useable car to the target market of gentleman drivers.
“I think it’s more for the gentleman drivers,” said Matton. “I don’t see these cars [used by] the manufacturers.”
One mistake Matton won’t have the FIA repeat from 2017 is the introduction of another bespoke crown for old cars. Greek driver Jourdan Serderidis remains the only man to have lifted the WRC Trophy following his victory at the wheel of a DS 3 WRC. On five of 13 possible scoring rounds in 2017, only one driver registered. One event had no WRC Trophy runners at all.
“I don’t want to make a proper championship for these  cars. I don’t want to come back to the 2017 season when we introduced the new cars and made a specific championship for the old cars,” added Matton.
“At the end we were giving a title which had no proper value. It will not be like this.”
M-Sport managing director Malcolm Wilson admitted he was in favor of the rule change ahead of 2022.
“I’m sure there are a few customers out there who would like the opportunity to keep competing in the WRC,” he said.
“This would be a good initiative to keep drivers out on the stages next year – we need to try to get the numbers back. If you think back to when we had the Stobart team as well as Munchi’s, we had a lot of cars competing on these rallies.”