FIA released in-depth description of new rules for 2012.

International motorsports governing body FIA released in-depth overview of new rules, set in motion for this year World Rally Championship season.

Although rules were published a while ago, FIA decided to give detailed description of most interesting changes in rules which will, hopefully, help WRC to get rid of some of the less appealing practices, such as road position tampering on gravel rallies.

In an effort to reduce costs for participating teams, FIA further limited the amount of tires available to each crew during the weekend. During 2012. each crew will be able to use total of 35 ties + 5 tires during shakedown as opposed to 48 + 6 tires during 2011 season.

Undoubtedly most interesting part of new rules is introduction of Free Practice and Qualifying Stage tests into WRC events. Under the provisions of new system, effective only on gravel rallies, starting positions for P1 and P2 crews will be based on results of Qualifying Stage – fastest crew will pick it’s starting position first, second fastest will follow, etc.

Full FIA release after the jump.

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Full text of FIA’s release:

On gravel rallies a Free Practice and Qualifying Stage will be organised for P1 and P2 drivers in order to establish the event start order until at least the first regroup following a 45 minute service. P1 and P2 drivers may complete a maximum of two passages for Free Practice within a two-hour time frame. Competitors will then choose their start position for the first day of a gravel rally according to the results of the Qualifying Stage. The fastest driver will choose position first, then the second, followed by the third etc.

The Qualifying Stage will be the same stage as the Free Practice stage and will be included in the programme of the event and the reconnaissance schedule. After the two passages allowed for Free Practice on gravel rallies, P1 and P2 drivers will start the Qualifying Stage according to the current FIA World Rally Championship classification for Drivers with a two minute interval between each car. The Stewards shall decide the order of drivers who have not been classified in the previous World Rally Championship for Drivers.

A competitor whose car is unable to complete the Free Practice, Qualifying Stage or following road section will be required to wait for the organiser to recover the car after the session has finished. Any driver who does not correctly complete the Qualifying Stage will choose position last. If more than one driver does not complete the stage, positions will be chosen according to the starting list for the Qualifying Stage. The competitor shall nevertheless be required to attend the ceremonial start.

On asphalt rallies, as in previous years, P1 and P2 drivers shall complete a minimum of four passages during Free Practice/Shakedown within a four-hour time frame and will start the event in the order of the provisional Championship classification.

On gravel rallies, P1 and P2 drivers will restart the first section on subsequent days as a merged group in reverse order according to their provisional overall classification at the finish of the final special stage on the previous day. On asphalt rallies, P1 and P2 drivers shall normally restart as a merged group in the order of their provisional overall classification. P3 and all other drivers shall normally restart as a merged group after the P1 and P2 drivers in the order of their provisional classification.

For the Qualifying Stage and the Power Stage, timing will be to a thousandth of a second. Stage times from the Qualifying Stage will not be counted towards the final results of the event.

For the purpose of allocating points, the Power Stage classification shall be calculated using the stage time plus any other time penalty accrued on this stage, including any false start penalty. To score points, a driver must be classified in the Final Official Classification of the rally. In case of a tie the same rule as for a normal stage will apply. No points shall be awarded for the Power Stage if it is definitely stopped before all P1 and P2 drivers eligible to start the Power Stage have had the opportunity to complete the stage.

If permitted by the event Supplementary Regulations, a crew which has failed to complete a section may be assumed to re-start the rally from the start of the next section following the overnight regroup, unless they confirm otherwise with the clerk of the course. Restart after retirement will now be known as ‘Rally 2’.

In 2012 there will be a reduction in the permitted quantity of tyres and for WRC cars there will be a maximum of seven tyre changes on any rally with a maximum of five tyres per change (35 tyres + 5 tyres for Shakedown per rally by comparison with 48 + 6 in 2011).

Each Manufacturer or WRC Team must use no more than three engines per seasonally allocated car number. A Manufacturer may apply to the FIA for a waiver to use one additional engine per manufacturer team car during the year, giving full justification for the request. Once sealed, this engine will be assigned to a seasonally allocated car number. In the case of engine failure between scrutineering and the first Time Control it is permitted to replace the engine but a 5-minute penalty will be applied. In this case, the original engine may not be further used during the season. At any time, no more than two engines may be sealed for seasonally allocated car numbers. Only in the case when a car does not finish a rally, may an extra engine per seasonally allocated car number be allowed without incurring a penalty. No more than two extra engines per seasonally allocated car number and per season may be sealed without incurring any penalty. When the extra engine is used, the engine which was fitted on the retired car may not be used anymore during the season.

Exceptionally, in the first Championship year of homologation, a new manufacturer may register as a WRC Team and score Manufacturers’ points on a maximum of seven nominated rallies.

Amendments have been made to the Priority status of drivers: P1 drivers are those in World Rally Cars who have been nominated by a registered Manufacturer or WRC Team for the purpose of scoring points for the FIA World Rally Championship for Manufacturers, or have been entered by a Manufacturer or WRC Team but not for scoring points in the Manufacturers’ Championship. A driver may also be awarded P1 status if they have been classified among the first 10 in a World Championship rally during one of the two previous Championship years or during the current Championship year.

P2 status relates to drivers of World Rally Cars who have won a support Championship in either of the two previous Championship years, or those proposed by an organiser to the FIA whose entry is supported by a letter from the driver’s ASN and whose results justify P2 status.

P3 drivers are those who are eligible to score points on Support Championship rallies, or drivers of Classes 2 or 3 proposed by an organiser to the FIA and whose entry is supported by a letter from the driver’s ASN and whose results justify P3 inclusion. As directed by the FIA, these drivers must then comply with the rules pertaining to the SWRC or PWRC.

The surfaces of an event may be mixed but must remain the same between two overnight 45’ services. Within a special stage these road surfaces must not be mixed, however for the use of limited sections of asphalt on gravel stages, a waiver may be sent to the FIA.

Throughout the rally, both crew members must have a valid driving licence.