Road positioning tactics could make an unwelcome return to the WRC on the Rally of Spain, the WRC's only fully mixed surface rally which takes place in two weeks time.
More commonly known as simply employing 'tactics', drivers slow on the final stage before the overnight halt of each day on a gravel rally so as to have a more favourable starting position on the road the next day. In dry conditions, the further down the order you are the better road conditions you face, with the top couple of cars clearing the loose top layer of gravel from the racing line.
This is known to be disliked by spectators and teams alike, the use of tactics was 'introduced' in 2008 and reached a climax towards the end of the 2 litre WRC car era, when drivers were taking massive time penalties to drop themselves down the order. There was even infighting in some teams over positioning tactics.
However this all changed in 2011 when Shakedown was used as a Qualifying Stage, the fastest driver choosing the best position then the rest of the drivers taking part in Qualifying choosing the remaining positions.
But, with the gravel leg of the Spanish round of the WRC running on the final day, teams are worried they could be forced to re-employ tactics. Organisers of the rally have asked the FIA to reverse the running order for the last day of the rally, but their request was denied. Even the teams themselves have written to FIA Rally Committee director Jarmo Mahonen asking him, and the FIA, to reconsider their choice.
"I really can't get my head around this one. I thought we were moving forward and not having the crazy situation which will happen. We told the FIA in Australia that we 100 per cent didn't agree with this and nothing has happened. We don't want to what we had a few years ago." said Qatar M-Sport team boss, Malcolm Wilson.