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WRC final-stage shootout could be for top three in new 2015 plan

Kris Meeke, Citroen, WRC Finland 2014

The World Rally Championship's 2015 final-stage shootout format could be for the top three drivers on each rally rather than the first two as originally mooted.

The much-debated format for next year's WRC events looks set to be revealed in September, and the concept of a last-stage decider remains on the cards.

But instead of the winner coming from the top two drivers, as previously proposed, it is now likely to come from the top three.

Fourth will be battled for by the drivers from fourth to sixth; seventh from seventh to ninth and the final group included in the revised final-stage format will be drivers from 10th to 12th.

WRC Promoter's Oliver Ciesla hopes the constant evolution of the shootout idea will ensure it finds widespread favour.

"People want an unpredictable outcome that keeps the result open as long as possible and that's what we need to try to solve: how can we arrange that, despite a long-distance run over 300km and three days?" he said.

"How can we find a model that's exciting enough to still watch the last hour?

"Every couple of weeks we are making steps in the right direction.

"Our work is a little bit like that on an operation, where we are trying to make surgery on one core spot without causing any collateral damage around it.

"The damage we try to avoid here is to stay fair to the drivers, don't increase the complexity and keep it simple.

"Do that and the objective to increase the excitement and unpredictability will be achieved."

Ciesla admitted the original discussions had brought confusion and disharmony, but said he was happy with what has emerged.

"The first proposals brought some collateral damage," he said, "but now we're reducing more and more the side-effects of this operation. We now enjoy broad approval from the stakeholders.

"This is not a big change, but it will increase the need to go flat out from the start of the rally."

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