World Rally-Raid Championship

FIA to add non-priority penalty points, EV regulations for Cross-Country Rally

2 Mins read
Credit: Paulo Maria/DPPI

The FIA World Motor Sport Council convened Wednesday in Paris to outline regulation changes for its sporting divisions including the Cross-Country Rally Commission that oversees the World Rally-Raid Championship and Cups for Cross-Country Bajas, the latter of which includes regional tiers in Europe and the Middle East. Such modifications include wording tweaks to the rulebook to closer align with the FIM, who co-sanctions the W2RC, along with introducing a penalty points system for non-priority competitors and approving regulations for electric vehicles and hybrid T3 (Lightweight Prototype) entries.

“The Cross-Country Rally Sporting Regulations have been updated with a view to simplification, including the move of technical requirements to the FIA Technical Regulations, the compilation of the fixed penalties in a dedicated appendix (Appendix I) and the harmonization with the FIM’s wording,” reads a meeting summary published by the FIA.

“In order to make the sport more accessible, a penalty point system for minor infringements to the Regulations is being introduced for non-priority drivers. The principles of new Regulations for the EV and hybrid T3 group (lightweight prototype) vehicles were also approved.”

Priority drivers are defined as those who finished in the top three in points (overall or class) for the FIA Cross-Country World Cup or a race within the past two years, received special endorsement from the FIA, or is entered into a cross-country rally event with factory support. Among the ninety-five priority drivers for 2022 are 2021 Dakar Rally champion Stéphane Peterhansel and the previous year’s winner Carlos Sainz, and defending Cross-Country Bajas World Cup titlist Yazeed Al-Rajhi.

Greenlighting new regulations for hybrid T3 and electric vehicles comes as the discipline, much like other motorsport, further embraces alternative fuel sources. Peterhansel won March’s Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge—the second leg of the W2RC—in March with the Audi RS Q e-tron to become the first EV overall rally raid winner. The Dakar Rally intends to mandate zero-emissions vehicles by 2030, a goal also set by the WMSC.

“The World Motor Sport Council gathered in Paris to discuss a number of topics as we plan the way forward for the organisation, in the framework of our new governance approach,” commented FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem. “We continue to push forward on sustainability, towards our target of net-zero emissions in 2030.

“[…] I want to thank the members for their ongoing efforts in laying out a path for the organisation to meet its long-term objectives.”

The WMSC meeting also impacted other off-road categories like rallying, which saw the approval of electric cars for use in FIA-sanctioned rallies, and rallycross, with the World Rallycross Championship receiving a revised schedule due to delays in delivering certain electric components as the series prepares for its first season with fully electric vehicles.

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Justin is neither a NASCAR nor off-road racer, but he has covered them for The Checkered Flag since 2018.
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