15th FIA Rally and Cross-Country Officials Seminar attracts strong global following


Attendees representing 97 FIA Member Clubs from around the world followed the annual FIA Rally and Cross-Country Officials Seminar on February 20.

Held for the second year as an online training as part of the FIA Safety Week, the 15th edition of this popular event attracted a record 1 192 registrations, including 171 from the most represented country, Kenya.

The seminar incorporated the Closed Road Operational Safety Seminar and welcomed two participants from the FIA Immersion Programme, Khatuna Julakidze and Enoch Leroy Olinga. 

Attending from the Georgian Automobile Sport Federation and the Federation of Motor Sports Clubs of Uganda respectively, Julakidze and Olinga joined the morning and afternoon sessions as honorary guests.

In addition to sharing their experiences, both provided their views and expertise during the interactive session in the afternoon when they helped to review typical situations faced by the Stewards' Panels sitting at rallies and cross-country events in 2023.

Hosted by WRC reporter Molly Pettit, the FIA Rally and Cross-Country Officials Seminar opened with presentations by FIA Road Sport Department Director Andrew Wheatley, WRC and ERC Category Manager Marina Duñach and Regional Rally & Cross-Country Rally Category Manager Jérôme Roussel. 

They gave an overview of the key achievements of 2023 and looked ahead to 2024 and to the various opportunities, such as the introduction of the Rally5-Kit technical regulations designed to increase motor sport participation globally. 

Andrew Wheatley explained the FIA Rally Department’s transition to the FIA Road Sport Department, the new-for-2024 FIA World Rally Championship points-scoring system and the important role of the Working Group. Established at the request of FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem, the Working Group is being led by FIA Deputy President for Sport Robert Reid and World Motor Sport Council member David Richards to evaluate and recommend the future direction of rallying.

As well as highlighting the success of the FIA Rally Star talent detection programme, Jérôme Roussel updated attendees on the changes to the International Sporting Code and the Regional Rally Sporting Regulations and the Cross-Country Rally Sporting Regulations for 2024. There was also an update on the Rally section of the FIA Motorsport Games, scheduled to take place in Valencia, Spain from October 23-25, by Marina Duñach, who also highlighted the WRC and ERC regulations changes for 2024.

Following the morning session of the FIA Rally and Cross-Country Officials Seminar, the Closed Road Operational Safety Seminar took place and was followed by 250 online participants. It included insights on Rally, Cross-Country and Hill Climb Operational Safety with presentations by Rescue Specialist Ian Dunbar, the President of the FIA Closed Road Commission and WRC deputy safety delegate Nicolas Klinger, Closed Road Safety Manager Clément Lauté and Hill Climb Safety Delegate Rémi Sudre.

Arnas Paliukenas, an FIA Steward and qualified lawyer, joined FIA European Rally Championship Sporting Delegate Miikka Anttila in the afternoon for the interactive session of the Officials Seminar, examining various Stewards’ case studies and questions from the audience. 

FIA Road Sport Department Director Andrew Wheatley said: “We once again thank FIA Chief Technical and Safety Officer Xavier Mestelan Pinon and his colleagues for incorporating the FIA Rally and Cross-Country Officials Seminar into the framework of the FIA Safety Week. By hosting the event online, we were able to welcome several hundred attendees representing 97 FIA Member Clubs, which is a fantastic amount. As well as being a demonstration of the huge global interest in rallying of all kinds, the high level of attendance provided the FIA Road Sport Department with an excellent opportunity to widely share key information and learnings and engage with as many of our community as possible, especially during the interactive session. The overriding positivity points to another successful season.”