Hyundai‘s World Rally Championship (WRC) team is ready to rock the gravel, mud, and snow in the 2022 season that gets underway this month from 20-23 January at Rally Monte Carlo. This year, groundbreaking hybrid Rally1 cars from Hyundai, Ford, and Toyota headline the event and will set the world’s most prestigious off-road racing stages alight.
This new era of rally vehicles is said to offer more performance and more speed than ever before.
As a two-time manufacturer champion, Hyundai reaffirmed its commitment to the WRC by fully embracing the sport’s new Rally1 hybrid regulations that come into effect from the first race this year. The team says it’s worked tirelessly in an intensive test programme to develop its new contender for its ninth season at the pinnacle of international rallying.
Based on the Hyundai i20 N road car, the WRC version is expected to cement the link between motorsport and Hyundai‘s production car technology, as the team targets more victories and championship titles in 2022.
The team is pumped up for action
At the helm of the Hyundai i20 N Rally1 cars for all rounds of the 2022 championship will be the team’s rally-winning crews, Thierry Neuville/Martijn Wydaeghe and Ott Tanak/Martin Jarveoja.
Neuville boasts fifteen WRC wins entering his ninth year with Hyundai Motorsport and will be aiming to add to his victory tally in 2022. In the Belgian’s first season with co-driver Wydaeghe, the pair quickly established a potent partnership that amassed two victories and seven podium finishes.
The Estonians Tanak and Jarveoja, who enter their third campaign with the Hyundai team, will be the only world champions competing in all rounds of the 2022 season. The crew has performed strongly in its first two years with Hyundai, taking two wins and eight podium finishes in 2020 and 2021.
This year, a third Hyundai i20 N Rally1 will be shared throughout the season by the Swedish motorsport star Oliver Solberg, who steps up to the team after demonstrating an exciting pace in selected rounds last season, and the experienced Spaniard Dani Sordo. Solberg’s co-driver will be Elliott Edmondson, while Sordo begins his ninth season with Hyundai alongside Candido Carrera.
WRC crews will tackle a 13-round calendar covering the championship’s usual mix of terrain – gravel, tarmac, snow, and ice – with returning favourites and new additions. Rally New Zealand and Rally Japan are set to make their belated debut, having been forced to relinquish their rally for the past two seasons due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Pablo Marcos, Hyundai Motorsport team manager, says: “We are fortunate to have one of the most versatile crew line-ups in WRC to tackle one of the most eclectic calendars we have seen in recent years. We hope that the unique combination of Thierry, Ott, Oliver and Dani will bring us the right mix of experience, youth, and passion to deliver the results we’ve worked so hard to achieve.”
The stunning Hyundai i20 N Rally1 is the product of the new regulations – combining a traditional 1.6-litre internal combustion engine with a plug-in hybrid unit. A WRC certified factory rally car in this class now delivers 388kW and the ability to get from A to B at a staggering rate. The power hike comes via the plug-in hybrid system that generates 100kW of power to accompany the unchanged 1 600cc turbocharged engine from last year’s season.
Source: Pritesh Ruthun (www.wheels24.co.za)