This week’s season-opening Rallye Monte-Carlo (24 - 27 January) marks the introduction of exciting changes to the WRC 2 support category. We take a look at what’s new and how WRC 2 will work in 2019.
Q. How has WRC 2 changed this season?
A. The category has been split into two championships. WRC 2 Pro is aimed at manufacturer-supported entries, with manufacturers able to field one team of up to two crews per event. World titles will be awarded to both the leading manufacturer and the top driver. Manufacturers must contest a minimum of seven rallies, including one outside Europe. They can count scores from every round while drivers will count their best eight results.
Q. What about the other category?
A. WRC 2 is aimed at independent drivers, those who buy or hire a car from a manufacturer and operate their own team. Their best six scores will count towards the drivers’ title.
Q. And the cars?
A. They have not changed. Both categories will be open to R5 specification cars such as Ford Fiestas, Skoda Fabias, Citroën C3s, Volkswagen Polos and Hyundai i20s.
Q. So which manufacturers and drivers will compete in WRC 2 Pro?
A. M-Sport Ford has confirmed Gus Greensmith and Lukasz Pieniazek, Skoda Motorsport fields Jan Kopecký and Kalle Rovanperä while Citroën Total will enter Yoann Bonato and Mads Østberg. Greensmith, Bonato and Rovanperä compete in Monte-Carlo. Manufacturers can swap drivers and Skoda will draft in snow specialist Eerik Pietarinen in Sweden.
Q. Who has entered WRC 2?
A. In Monte-Carlo there are seven entries. Ole Christian Veiby and Nicolas Ciamin drive Polos, Gregoire Munster and Rhys Yates are in Fabias, Guillaume de Mevius pilots a C3, Adrien Fourmaux has a Fiesta and ‘Pedro’ drives an i20. Sixteen crews are expected in Sweden, including 2018 winner Takamoto Katsuta. Additional entries will appear as the season progresses as drivers choose their preferred rallies in which to compete.
Q. In what order will the two categories start?
A. Pro drivers will always start a leg ahead of those in WRC 2. So even if a Pro drivers trails a WRC 2 entrant in the rally’s overall classification, he or she will restart the following day before the WRC 2 crew.