Delegates united in the first Cross-Country Rally/Baja Officials Webinar

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The annual Officials Seminar, this year dedicated to the Cross-Country discipline, took place on February 9th with about 100 registrants from around the world joining online in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

FIA Cross-Country Pyramid of the Future

Welcoming Stewards, Clerks of the Course and event organisers, the delegates were invited to attend three sessions dedicated to discussing the future development of cross-country rallies and bajas, updates on the International Sporting Code and Cross-Country Rally Supplementary Regulations, and the role and duties of the Clerk of the Course and Stewards on event.
After welcoming the delegates from around the world, Rally Director Yves Matton confirmed the FIA’s intention to elevate the profile of the discipline. Processes are underway to appoint a Promoter to enhance and further develop the series, and in particular work with the FIA on the introduction of new and experimental technologies across all vehicle categories in the near future.
Jutta Kleinschmidt, President of the FIA Cross-Country Commission, also reiterated the importance of attracting new manufacturers with an open approach to alternative energies.
The pyramid of the future was also presented. Beneath the top level, the current FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Bajas will remain, with newly introduced Regional Cups forming the third level of the pyramid. The first of these, the FIA European Cup for Cross-Country Bajas, will run in 2021 with plans underway to add additional regions next year. The intention is to not only promote the discipline but also provide a cost-effective platform for entrants to compete for a dedicated FIA title. The entry level, four, for the discipline continues to be the rally and baja events and championships run at national level.
Kleinschmidt also updated the delegates about the successful test of the new Digital Road Book, which was trialed on the Andalucía Rally and Hail Baja last year, and successfully used for the first time by priority crews on Rally Dakar in January. This marks a significant step forward for the discipline, as well as increasing the navigation challenge, now that co-drivers only receive the Road Book minutes before the start of a leg. Finally, the President of the Commission advised that the FIA Technical Department is in the final stages of completing a new regulations for T5 Prototype Trucks. In addition, a regulations update to integrate environment friendly cars powered by new technologies is planned for 2022.
Uwe Schmidt led the second session summarising the updates to the International Sporting Code and Cross-Country Rally Sporting Regulations, taking time to answer questions from rally and baja delegates throughout the meeting. There was also focus on measures now in place to ensure the adherence of COVID-19 protocols and the Appendix S Code of Conduct.
The final session, also hosted by Schmidt, covered the role and duties of the Clerks of the Course and Stewards on events, in which the scope and areas of responsibility were recapped, drawing on historic cases as genuine examples.
Summarising the Seminar, Jutta Kleinschmidt said: “This has been an excellent opportunity to gather the cross-country community, share information and knowledge, and discuss our vision for the future. The months ahead are important for the further development of cross-country rallying; it is a momentous time for the discipline that will elevate it to a completely new level.
“All the rally and baja organisers, officials and delegates play a huge role in staging world-class events and their valuable support, input and commitment is essential to the on-going growth of the sport. We thank them all for joining the Webinar and for helping us further shape the future of cross-country rallying.”

And finally, with so many members of the cross-country community united, the annual meeting of rally and baja organisers involved in the 2021 World Cups completed the day.