Rovanperä calls for powerstage tweaks

He believes fresh tires could improve the show for the preceding stages on Sunday


World Rally champion Kalle Rovanperä has called for fresh tires to be made available to all World Rally Championship drivers on powerstages to make Sundays more exciting.

Each P1 driver is allocated 36 tires for a round of the WRC – 24 of the prime compound and eight of the option with four tires of either compound available for shakedown.

The WRC’s control tire supplier, Pirelli, decides before each event whether the soft or hard is the prime tire.

However, Rovanperä feels more rubber should be made available ahead of the points-paying powerstage in order to make the spectacle more entertaining for fans on the final day.

Typically, if overall positions are settled or drivers are running under super-rally after issues earlier in the weekend, speeds are reduced for the first few stages on Sunday morning in order to preserve tires for an attack on the powerstage – which rewards drivers with up to five bonus championship points.

The problem was exaggerated on last weekend’s Rally Italy Sardinia, given Pirelli had nominated the hard tire as the prime candidate expecting hot and dry conditions, only for unseasonal rain to completely transform the event and make the soft tire the preferred choice.

Arriving at the end of SS17, the Sardegna stage that would run as the powerstage later in the weekend, Rovanperä made his opinion clear.

“I think these Sunday mornings are a bit stupid when we have to save the tires for the powerstage,” he said.

“I feel bad for the fans on the stages because we are not going full speed.

“I think the organizers should do something so we can get fresh tires for the powerstage so we can enjoy the morning and then push on the powerstage.”

Rovanperä then went and won the powerstage a few hours later, but his feelings hadn’t changed by the time he made the FIA press conference.


Asked to clarify his stage-end comments and if he had a solution, Rovanperä said: “I think it is quite clear, FIA has to make a rule to keep new tires before the powerstage.

“I think it is not a big add to the cost and it is quite easy to make a tire fitting zone before the powerstage.

“Like in Portugal it is the same thing, when there is no fight it feels bad for the fans.

“We are actually going very slow on the stage and you do it because everybody else do this also.

“It is not so nice for the fans and not for us either. I think that could be a solution.”

WRC drivers are meeting virtually with WRC Promoter today (Wednesday) to discuss the future direction of the WRC.

A meeting was already held last Monday in Sardinia, chaired by vice president of the FIA Drivers’ Commission Petter Solberg.

Words:Luke Barry