Powerstage points have been removed from the World Rally Championship’s premier support category, WRC2, for 2024.
Since 2021, the fastest three drivers on the powerstage have scored three, two and one bonus championship points respectively to add onto the ones earned from their overall finishing position on rally.
It has proved critical in the past, with Andreas Mikkelsen able to secure the 2023 title one round early on Central European Rally thanks to winning the powerstage.
But for 2024 the standalone WRC2 powerstage has been axed, although Rally2 drivers can still claim overall championship bonus points should they feature in the overall top five for the stage – as Mauro Miele did at last year’s Rally Japan.
The reasoning for this is due to the disparity in the running order for the powerstage.
Broadcast live on TV, a number of WRC2 crews (often the leaders or those with an onboard camera) will complete the stage before the Rally1 cars – that number of Rally2 cars varying on how many Rally1 cars are still running.
But having such a big gap between some WRC2 crews and the rest can advantage or disadvantage several competitors as weather conditions for example could greatly affect the outcome of the stage.
The FIA has therefore said it “wasn’t considered fair” to award WRC2 powerstage points going forward. There is precedent for this in the past, as when several WRC2 crews did not get the chance to complete the powerstage on Rally Italy Sardinia at competitive speeds this year, the FIA’s sporting delegate decided to not award points for the stage.
WRC2 teams will also benefit from more service park space next season – a result of direct feedback from competitors who feel it would help both working conditions and boost their own presence.