Friday | 10 Jan 2020

Matton eyes more manufacturer cars

FIA rally director Yves Matton says the governing body is working towards record-breaking levels of manufacturer competition in the World Rally Championship in the next five years.

Matton wants 20 manufacturer-backed cars competing in the WRC on a regular basis and sees the latest changes to the support series as key to increasing the level of factory-backed machinery.

The Belgian was at pains to stress he’s not talking about 20 World Rally Cars, but 20 manufacturer-backed entries.

“We want this to be the average number,” said Matton. “Never before have we seen those numbers regularly in the WRC and that’s the target – that’s our aim in the next five years.

“I think we would be dreaming to talk about 20 World Rally Cars on the start, but step-by-step we are putting in place the tools to have 20 cars at the start. I know it’s a long process to talk about five years, but this is the only way to achieve this.

“The changes we make for WRC 2 and WRC 3 are really important for this.”

This year, WRC 2 runs for manufacturer and independent team entries, while WRC 3 runs for the same R5 specification cars, but with privateer drivers only.

Mads Østberg will be backed by Citroën Racing in 2020 in WRC 2

Matton is also keen to see privateer drivers returning to World Rally Cars.

“We know some of the manufacturers are interested to sell cars,” he said, “and we know some of them are showing more flexibility to find privateers who could run these cars.

“These will not be new cars, they will be from the current (2017 onwards) generation, but they will be slightly older homologation. We are working on this and it makes sense to put some cars on the market.”

Despite the loss of Citroën, Matton is confident the number of factory World Rally Cars would remain at a similar level in 2020, with the three teams taking up the option of a fourth car via the WRC Team entry.

“It’s too early to make a conclusion about the number of cars we’re going to see, but I am not sure we will have less (World Rally Cars) starting than we did in 2019.”

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