Thursday, December 4, 2014

Plans for all-professional WEC LMP2 line-ups shelved

The idea of allowing all-professional LMP2 line-ups in the World Endurance Championship has been shelved for next season.

Series promoter Automobile Club de l'Ouest revealed in April that it was undertaking a review of the category as a result of reduced entries in 2014 and that all-pro line-ups were on the agenda.

This was known to be favoured by some within the ACO, but after consultation with the teams, it has now opted to maintain the rule that demands at least one driver rated as silver or lower in each line-up for next season.

ACO sporting manager Vincent Beaumesnil said: "We proposed this to the sporting working group, but it was considered that because we are in a period of economic instability, it would have been a risk to change even if the idea is good.

"We will keep the same rules for at least one more year, but we do not know what we will do in the future."

A move to fully-professional line-ups in the WEC would not have been mirrored in the European Le Mans Series.

That would have meant a separate pro-am class for P2 cars at the Le Mans 24 Hours.

"At the very least we would have had a specific trophy for the best pro-am car," explained Beaumesnil.

The ACO is continuing to work on ways to make LMP2 more attractive after a downturn in entries for this season that was followed by the withdrawal of the Delta/ADR-run Millennium squad and the Strakka team, which is now due to give its new Strakka Dome S103 a debut in the WEC finale at Interlagos in November.

New push to resolve 2015 World Rally Championship format row

The 2015 World Rally Championship format will finally be agreed via a specially-convened WRC Commission meeting and FIA World Motor Sport Council e-vote next month.

Controversial changes to the Powerstage system were expected to be ratified by the WMSC in Beijing earlier this month, but despite getting unanimous WRC Commission approval, the scheme was unanimously rejected by the FIA's rule-making body.

 ANALYSIS: WRC reacts to revamp snub

The WMSC asked for a review of the proposal, which is aimed at reducing the time gaps between crews to close up competition and improve the chances of position change on the final stage.

The WRC Commission - led by FIA president Jean Todt - will meet in Geneva on October 16, with a WMSC decision expected quickly afterwards.

FIA rally director Jarmo Mahonen said: "It was important to reconvene the WRC Commission as soon as possible, in order that we have the opportunity to re-discuss our proposals for the future.

"There will be an [WMSC] e-vote as soon as possible after the meeting."

 OPINION: Has the WRC missed an opportunity?

WRC Promoter's Oliver Ciesla remains convinced that the radical format change will still go ahead.

"I believe this is the right step for the WRC to move forward and achieve the objective of reaching more people," he said.

"I have no indication that we should not be optimistic."