World Rally-Raid Championship

Power Selective Section, permanent driver numbers approved by FIA for 2025 W2RC

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Credit: Julien Delfosse/DPPI

The World Rally-Raid Championship will be taking a page out of the World and European Rally Championships in 2025 with the introduction of a Power Selective Section. The FIA World Motor Sport Council approved the addition, among other changes, at their second meeting of 2024 in Samarkand, Uzbekistan.

Although specific details have not been ironed out, the Power Selective Section takes inspiration from the WRC and ERC’s Power Stage, which is typically the final leg in a given rally. A Power Stage awards bonus points to the five fastest cars regardless of their ranking and is timed to a thousandth of a second rather than a tenth. The W2RC already hands out five bonus points to each stage winner in an FIA class, with one fewer for each position after, meaning a direct copy of the WRC format is redundant unless the points allocation is changed.

Power Selective Sections will be optional for 2025 before being mandated in 2026.

The WMSC will also borrow from the WRC and Formula One by allowing competitors to pick their own permanent numbers. Currently, numbers are assigned by points standings and change at each race. For example, Nasser Al-Attiyah had #200 to begin the 2024 season as the reigning champion, then Carlos Sainz became the points leader after winning the Dakar Rally, giving him rights to the number while Al-Attiyah was second and therefore started using #201; once Al-Attiyah passed Sainz to reclaim the top spot two rounds later, he was once again #200 for the Desafío Ruta 40.

The only numbers blocked from selection are #200, #300, and #400 as those are for the defending World Rally-Raid, Challenger, and SSV class champions, like how #1 is reserved for the titleholder in WRC and F1. The number must still be within the range of the category that the driver is racing in (200s for Ultimate, 300s for Challenger, 400s for SSV, 500s for Stock, 600s for Truck).

For safety reasons, FIA competitors will have an orange or red reflective flag attached, which must be at least two meters above the roof, while certain areas where it is too dangerous to attempt to overtake will be marked as such in the roadbook. Drivers are not allowed to request for slower cars in front of them to yield while in these zones.

Regulations for the Stock and SSV classes will be updated with the goal of making them more affordable. Unlike Ultimate and Challenger, Stock and SSV cars are production vehicles that typically draw smaller fields due to the difficulties in converting them for racing. To help out, the FIA plans to allow manufacturers to homologate vehicles based on modern four-wheel-drive cars while a budget is implemented for teams.

“The current T2s (Stock) are not very competitive, especially when you look at the route as it is at the moment to fit with the T1+, so the new T2s will have more capabilities,” FIA cross-country rally manager Jérôme Roussel said in May. “That was the main work. The good news is that three manufacturers are really interested to develop vehicles, so it could bring new vehicles soon to the sport.

“We wanted to have vehicles more simple, close to production, so the chassis will remain standard and many parts will remain standard. The idea is really to control the cost and to avoid having an SxS class which is a bit too high, so this is the idea of the new stock SSV regulations.”

Specific cross-country rally regulations will be drafted over the summer and fall before being finalised ahead of the 2025 season. The changes apply to the W2RC as well as the FIA World, European, and Middle East Baja Cups.

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Justin is not an off-road racer, but he writes about it for The Checkered Flag.
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