The FIA has moved to stop the practice of drivers slowing down on the final stage of a World Rally Championship event leg to get a better road position for the following day.

The practice has been employed by the top drivers over the past couple of years, with nobody wanting to run as the first car on the gravel stages and act as the road sweeper.

In a statement from the FIA it was announced that "From 1 January 2012 the shakedown will be used as a qualifying stage for all Priority 1 and 2 drivers to determine the start order for each individual gravel rally. Taking into account the shakedown times, P1 and P2 crews - in order of fastest to slowest - will be permitted to select their start positions. Subsequent days, all Priority 1 and 2 crews will restart in reverse order. The start position of all remaining crews will be determined according to the current regulations."

Meanwhile, a rule has been introduced to stop co-drivers from taking the wheel if the driver loses his licence during an event, as happened with Chris Patterson and Petter Solberg at Rally Sweden this year.

Solberg was caught doing more than 30km/h over the speed limit on a road section, and under Swedish law lost his licence. This meant that Patterson had to drive the final special stage of the rally.

The new rule states that: "From 1 January 2012, save dispensation, both crew members must have a valid driving license throughout an event."
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