After instituting a controversial rule dictating which third drivers WRC squads could hire, the FIA World Motor Sport Council has now ruled that teams may only enter two cars each in 2004.

After instituting a controversial rule dictating which third drivers WRC squads could hire, the FIA World Motor Sport Council has now ruled that teams may only enter two cars each in 2004.


In June, the FIA ruled that should a WRC team field more than two drivers, the third pilot must not have scored a podium in the rally series in the previous three years. Major teams like Peugeot have already secured the services of third drivers for the 2004 season. Peugeot, for example, recruited Hyundai's Freddy Loix as its third driver for 2004, but it seems the Belgian will now have to ask the Korean team if he can have his old job back.


The FIA this week said factory teams will only be allowed to enter two cars into the championship, with both cars' results counting towards the manufacturers' championship.


The FIA says this will lower the barrier to new manufacturers, reduce the differential between the well and not so well financed teams and create a more level playing field.


The championship will also increase from 14 to 16 rounds, with Mexico and Japan joining all the events in this year's calendar.


And the 'Mille Piste' concept of recceing will be adopted. On the Wednesday before the event, crews will be allowed a single pass over all the stages. On the Thursday, any remaining stages will be recced and scrutineering and shakedown will take place.


On the mornings of the event, crews will have a second pass over the day's stages, before tackling the stages at competitive speed. The recce will have to be completed in a standard road car or the actual rally car, and gravel crews will be banned.


Rally Monte Carlo and Rally Sweden will be exempted from the Mille Piste system in 2004 because their planning is already too far advanced.