After five rallies, has the new WRC points system turned the championship upside down?

The introduction of the new points system has profoundly changed the way we approach the different days of a WRC event. After the Rally of Portugal, let's observe the consequences of this new scale: who gained points and above all, who lost them?

Published on 14/05/2024 à 15:23

Dorian Grangier

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After five rallies, has the new WRC points system turned the championship upside down?

© Paulo Maria / DPPI

Criticized by many, appreciated by some: one thing is certain, the new points system in WRC, introduced this season, leaves no one indifferent. This new scale, introduced in order to spice up the rallies a little more and in particular on Sunday, provoked strong reactions among the drivers and spectators.

Sébastien Ogier, eight-time world rally champion, is perhaps the one with the most vehement speech regarding these regulations and does not hide his dissatisfaction with what he described as " joke " : “It must be admitted that it is obvious that there are things that are really wrong. This makes three out of 4 rallies where the points have no consistency and where the winners do not benefit from having won. Everyone scores the same points and it's very damaging. Nobody understands anything”, he confided to us after the Rally from Croatia last April.

Winners poorly rewarded in WRC

And it must be said that, statistically, the figures prove him right. After the Rally of Portugal, 5th round of the 2024 season, the Frenchman is the biggest loser in this new points scale, compared to the old system used until 2023. With two victories in three participations, Sébastien Ogier has currently 70 points and is in 5th place in the championship... whereas with the old 2023 scale, the Gapençais would have 77 points and would be 3rd in the Drivers' standings! Suffice to say: fortunately the Habs only respect a partial program and therefore are not a real candidate for the title!

Same case for Esapekka Lappi, winner of the Swedish Rally last February: despite his victory in two participations, the Finn only has 23 units, whereas he would have 28 with the old system. First conclusion for this new points scale version 2024: as we feared before the season, the victory of a rally finds itself devalued...

Conversely, several drivers – notably those starting for the full season and competing for the championship – find themselves advantaged by the three-stage scale introduced this season. The biggest winner is Ott Tänak : the Estonian would have scored 18 points less if the 2023 system had been kept in 2024! Thierry Neuville (-15 points with the 2023 scale) and Adrien fourmaux (-14 points) also benefit from this new scale.

However, it is important to emphasize that the gaps in the championship between the main protagonists have been widened by the new points system: the gap of 24 points which currently separates Thierry Neuville (110 points) and Elfyn Evans (86 points), the two first in the Drivers' classification, would only be 16 points with the old scale. If we extrapolate to the Top 4, the gap goes from 39 points with the 2024 system to 34 points with the 2023 scale.

The WRC ready to correct this system?

In addition to these changes in the Drivers' classification - let's hope that these have little influence on the outcome of the championship at the end of the season - it is the lack of clarity and the sometimes paradoxical allocation of points which are strongly criticized by the detractors of this new scale. In Portugal, as in Sweden earlier in the year, it was not the winner who scored the most points over the weekend, with Ott Tänak second but rewarded with 26 points compared to 25 points for the winner. Sébastien Ogier… and 24 points for Thierry Neuville, third.

If you WRC is facing a crucial moment in its history – the World Council should unveil the direction the discipline will take by June – the introduction of these new complex regulations, both for drivers, teams and especially the spectators, will not have provided good publicity for the championship. For the sake of spectacle and entertainment, the WRC has forgotten the simplicity, the clarity but above all, the “meritocratic” aspect that a world rally can offer to its winner. There is no doubt that this subject will be on the discussion table in the coming weeks in order to improve it and reach, if possible, a certain consensus.

With the 2024 scale

1) Thierry Neuville – 110 points
2) Elfyn Evans – 86 points
3) Ott Tänak – 79 points
4) Adrien Fourmaux – 71 points
5) Sébastien Ogier – 70 points
6) Takamoto Katsuta – 49 points
7) Kalle Rovanperä – 36 points
8) Esapekka Lappi – 23 points
9) Andreas Mikkelsen – 14 points
10) Oliver Solberg - 12 points

With the 2023 scale

1) Thierry Neuville – 95 points (-15 points compared to the 2024 scale)
2) Elfyn Evans – 79 points (-7)
3) Sébastien Ogier – 77 points (+7)
4) Ott Tänak – 61 points (-18)
5) Adrien Fourmaux – 57 points (-14)
6) Takamoto Katsuta – 41 points (-8)
7) Kalle Rovanperä – 35 points (-1)
8) Esapekka Lappi – 28 points (+5)
9) Andreas Mikkelsen – 16 points (+2)
10) Oliver Solberg – 16 points (+4)

ALSO READ > WRC – Adrien Fourmaux confirms once again in Portugal

Dorian Grangier

A young journalist nostalgic for the motorsport of yesteryear. Raised on the exploits of Sébastien Loeb and Fernando Alonso.

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Thierry Pingret

14/05/2024 at 07:22 a.m.

The bonus for mediocracy

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