Latvala: TV graphics update needed to avoid WRC points confusion

Toyota boss reckons better visuals on Sunday mornings are the key to fans getting onboard with points structure

GFOS 2023 Jari-Matti Latvala 00043

For the second consecutive event, the World Rally Championship’s new-for-2024 points system had a significant impact on the outcome of Safari Rally Kenya.

In Sweden, second-placed Elfyn Evans outscored rally winner Esapekka Lappi. This time around, the victorious Kalle Rovanperä left Kenya with the biggest points haul; but he scored only one more than Thierry Neuville in fifth.

Despite finishing 10 minutes down on the winner, Neuville outscored podium finishers Takamoto Katsuta and Adrien Fourmaux, as well as his chief championship rival Elfyn Evans.

It means that Neuville doubled his lead in the standings over Evans to six points ahead of Croatia Rally later this month.

Thierry Neuville

But when DirtFish asked Toyota team principal Jari-Matti Latvala for his thoughts on the points system, Evans’ boss was keen to focus on how it is communicated rather than criticizing the system itself.

With three ways of scoring points, none of which are based on the rally-long leaderboard, he believes it is crucial that fans at home can easily follow the unfolding situation as they watch Sunday’s stages on the WRC’s live online coverage.

“What I would like to see is on Sundays, when you look at the TV, on the screen I could see how it’s going with Sunday points,” said Latvala, whose drivers’ title protagonist has benefited and suffered at the hands of the new scoring system over the past two events.

“You would know where you are on the Sunday. I think that’s the important thing; we wouldn’t need to calculate afterwards.”

As David Evans’ report highlights, the Safari provided the perfect situation to showcase the new points system – with the top six separated by intervals measured in minutes rather than seconds heading in to the final day – provided that viewers can keep abreast of the Super Sunday standings.

“I think that is the step we need to make everybody understand more easily where you are with the points on Sunday,” Latvala concluded. “That needs to be on the screen of the rally broadcast.”