Rallies can be contested over three or four days, and invariably finish on Sunday. The total distance of the timed stages is between 300 and 500km. A rally may be a mixed surface event, but all the stages in one section must be contested on the same type of road surface (except for a few tarmac sections on gravel stages). There cannot be any more than 80km of stages between two service periods.
Reconnaissance is held over two days in accordance with the schedule defined by the organiser. Crews may complete a maximum of two runs on each stage. Speeds are limited to between 50 and 70kph, monitored by GPS.
The shakedown is mandatory for all P1 and P2 priority drivers, who must complete a minimum of four runs. This session no longer affects the starting positions for the first leg.
The running order of the crews for the first day follow the order of the Drivers’ World Rally Championship standings. On the following days, the P1 and P2 priority drivers start in reverse order according to their positions in the overall standings for the rally.
Cars start the stage at intervals of at least two minutes. The stages are timed to a tenth of a second. Crews set off from a standing start, and end the stage with a flying finish. Any driver making a false start is handed a 10-second penalty.
Service is strictly forbidden outside of the locations and time slots set out in the schedule of the rally. Crew members may however work on the car at any time (except when it is in parc ferme), using the tools kept on board. Service periods may take place in the main service park or in remote service areas. The only people authorised to work on the cars are the crews and the eight mechanics identified by arm bands.
At a remote service, the equipment permitted for use is limited to the strict minimum (jack, stand and manual tools). Repairs may only be carried out using parts carried in the rally car itself
Manufacturers must designate a tyre supplier that complies with the FIA specifications for the entire season. The Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team has therefore chosen Michelin. The crews have a certain number of tyres available at each rally, limited by the event’s specific regulations. A car may carry a maximum of two spare tyres.
A manufacturer entering two cars may use a maximum of six chassis over the course of the season and each car may not use more than three engines. Each manufacturer may request an engine ‘joker’ from the FIA. The turbocharger may not be replaced during an event.
Each manufacturer must designate groups of rallies – or links – in which it intends to use the same transmission and the same batch of spare parts (subframes, steering racks and turbochargers). This season, two links of two rallies, one link of three rallies and one link of four rallies must be designated. Finally, a car may not use more than five sets of dampers and five sets of pivots.
Unless otherwise stated in the specific regulations for an event (e.g. Monte Carlo), any crew that retires during a leg may re-start the following day after incurring a five-minute penalty for every stage they miss or fail to complete (with a minimum penalty of ten minutes). In preparation for their re-start, the crew has a three-hour service period in which to complete any repairs.
All the rallies must include a stage known as the ‘Power Stage’, designed to improve TV coverage. Generally speaking, this stage – representative of the rest of the course – concludes the rally and is less than 10km in length.
For the Drivers’ and Co-drivers’ World Championships, points are awarded at the end of each rally to the top 10 crews using the following scale: 25, 18, 15, 12, 10, 8, 6, 4, 2 and 1. Additional points are awarded to the first three in the ‘Power Stage’: 3, 2 and 1. For the Manufacturers’ World Championship, points are awarded to the top 10 crews appointed by the team to score points using the following scale: 25, 18, 15, 12, 10, 8, 6, 4, 2 and 1. All results count towards the final championship standings.
The FIA awards the Drivers’, Co-drivers’ and Manufacturers’ World Championship titles. There are also titles in the WRC2 (DS3 RRC-type four-wheel drive cars) and WRC3 (DS3 R3-type two-wheel drive cars) categories. The Junior WRC Championship is contested exclusively in Citroën DS3 R3s.
Private testing is forbidden outside of nine countries in Western Europe. A manufacturer/team may organise a maximum of 42 days of testing per calendar year.