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WRC crews will be banned from receiving split times in Special Stages from the start of the 2015 season, in a move intended to spice up competition.

The FIA World Motor Sport Council voted for the ban today in Doha, with big penalties, likely to include exclusion from the championship, for breaking the rules.

The ban will apply only to crews in the car; it does not include teams or spectators.

Split times, which enable crews to know their pace and competitive position at certain point while driving on a stage, are available from the championship’s results service and

Teams quickly forward the information via text message, which appears on a screen in front of the co-driver.

Drivers use the data to manage time gaps to rivals. It allows them to decide whether to push harder if chasing a competitor, or to measure their pace to preserve a stable margin over a driver behind.

The ban is intended to prevent teams from controlling their drivers so much and to preserve unpredictability.

It means times cannot be sent by text message via a third party away from the rally, or by a team member displaying information on a board in the stage, as happened before electronic transmission became the norm.

It also means drivers cannot be informed during a stage if a rival has retired or lost time.

Safety information, including notifying crews if a stage has been neutralised following an accident, will still be permitted.

The WMSC also confirmed that any car which does not leave a stage start within 20secs will be considered as retired from the leg, while only the highest-placed car in a team can score points in the WRC 2 and WRC 3 categories.

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Chris Nixon

Chris Nixon is Media Manager for Kennards Hire Rally Australia.

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