The WRC is set undergo significant environmental changes in 2022 when a portfolio of new technical regulations lead the series into a more sustainable future.
The new seasons brings to the fore eligibility requirements for crews entering events that will be simplified and streamlined into a system called the “FIA Rally Pyramid”.
The top tier of the sport will now be known as “Rally1” which is the WRC car.
The second tier, will be the “Rally2” (the former R5) which will be for manufacturer teams and professional independent teams in the World Rally Championship-2.
Rally 3 is a new class to replace N4 while Rally 4 is the former R2 car, 2WD modified.
A Rally 5 is a cheaper 2WD car class for beginners.
Rally1 will also introduce hybrid drive trains to the sport for the first time. This will take the form of an e-motor that produces 100 kW (134.1 hp) fitted to current 1.6 L turbocharged inline-4 engine and must be used to power the car when travelling around service parks and through built-up areas when driving between stages.
Drivers will be free to use the e-motor to offer additional power when competing in a stage, with the FIA dictating how much power can be used and how long a driver can deploy it for.
The hybrid system and the software governing its use will be standardized for three years as a way of keeping the costs of competing down.
The system will be provided by Compact Dynamics, a subsidiary of Formula E team Audi Sport ABT supplier Schaeffler.
The Championship will also introduce a standardised safety structure in a bid to improve safety standards. This will coincide with the homologation requirements being re-written to allow teams to enter a scaled chassis based on production cars rather than having to adapt a chassis to fit a road going model.
Specific liaison sections in which Rally1 competitors must drive in full electric mode will be introduced into the championship.
We asked Safari Rally Technical Delegate Musa Locho what Hybrid Technology entails, and here was his explanation:
“A hybrid vehicle is a car that uses two or more distinct sources of power to propel the car. With the WRC, they will use a combination of an electric energy battery driven and 100% fossil-free fuel. The different energies alternate seamlessly to avoid any inconvenience or loss of power while driving.”
Locho went on: “The motorsports industry has always been very instrumental in complimenting the research and development of the motor industry.Most of the technology that we see on our street going cars is as a result of this investment in Research & Development (R&D) .”
Electric-only Zones Compulsory In Hybrid Era
Specific liaison sections which top-tier competitors must drive in full electric mode will be mandatory in next season’s FIA World Rally Championship. Designated zones close to service parks and ceremonial start areas will be highlighted in the roadbook at all 2022 rounds. Rally1 crews will be required to travel along them with their new-era plug-in hybrid cars in electric format.
The technical changes further reveal that the “Rally3” will be for privately entered and “gentlemen driver” crews competing in the World Rally Championship-3.
“Rally4” and “Rally5” entries will not contest their own dedicated championship, but will instead serve as a bridging category aimed at making the step from R2 to R5 more manageable by allowing R2 entries to be equipped with four-wheel drive.
A total of thirteen rallies following the reveal of the 2022 FIA World Rally Championship calendar will rev-off with the iconic Monte-Carlo event.
The second round will stop at the all-snow Rally of Sweden where the nation’s northern city will provide the sort of icy blast the series needs from what’s going to be a true winter classic.
Safari Rally Kenya
Croatia was a WRC smash hit last season and the roads running through the hills around Zagreb will provide another fine spectacle. Portugal and Italy provide a fine and familiar backbone to the calendar with Kenya chasing a spectacular follow-up to its stunning return last year after a 22-year hiatus.
WRC Safari Rally Kenya 2022 will be the first of three rounds outside Europe preceeding Rally New Zealand and the season closer in Japan.
The Far East will no doubt provide a fitting finale to what’s sure to be a thriller of a first year for the all-new hybrid Rally1 cars.
M-Sport is set to enter the Championship with a new car based on the Ford Puma crossover, named Ford Puma Rally1, but the car will continue to use the engine from the Ford Fiesta WRC.
Petter Solberg, the 2003 World Drivers’ Champion, announced his desire to enter a manufacturer team in the 2022 championship.
Toyota Gazoo Racing team principal Jari-Matti Latvala reveals that the team will be in a position to field a fifth hybrid-powered GR Yaris WRC Rally1 in the second half of next season. The Finnish-based squad will start the year with Elfyn Evans and Kalle Rovanperä running a full programme in the main team. The third seat will be shared between world champion Sébastien Ogier and Esapekka Lappi.
Craig Breen and Paul Nagle signed a two-year full-time programme with M-Sport Ford. They are set to compete for the British team with the crew of Adrien Fourmaux and Alexandre Coria.Gus Greensmith will also remain with the team and would again contest a full campaign.
Breen and Greensmith are the two drivers committed to the full 2022 WRC, but there’s still no decision yet on legend Sebastien Loeb and his countryman and fellow Red Bull-backed driver Adrien Fourmaux. According to Dirtfish website, M-Sport declined to comment on the progression of a possible Loeb deal for next season. The nine-time champion was involved in M-Sport tests in October and will be keen to get any agreement tied down as soon as possible, as he will be busy later this week with Prodrive in Extreme E before departing with the team in just over two weeks for the Dakar Rally, Dirtfish reports.
Hyundai retained the crew of Ott Tänak and Martin Järveoja and of Thierry Neuville and Martijn Wydaeghe as their two full-time competitors.
Oliver Solberg is set to step up into the Hyundai manufacturer team to share the third car with the crew lead by Dani Sordo. Sordo announced he would retire from the sport after the season, ending his seventeen-year-long WRC career.
2022 WRC CALENDAR
1- 20 January 23 January Rallye Automobile Monte Carlo Monte Carlo, Monaco 301.41 km
2- 24 February 27 February Rally Sweden Umeå, Västerbotten County SNOW
3- 21 April 24 April Croatia Rally Zagreb, City of Zagreb region Tarmac
4- 19 May 22 May Portugal Rally de Portugal Matosinhos, Porto GRAVEL
5- 2 June 5 June Rally Italia Sardegna Alghero, Sardinia GRAVEL
6- 23 June 26 June Kenya Safari Rally Kenya -Nairobi County Gravel
7 -14 July 17 July Rally Estonia Tartu, Tartu County GRAVEL
8- 4 August 7 August Rally Finland- Jyväskylä, Central Finland GRAVEL
9 -18 August 21 August TBA TARMAC
10- 8 September 11 September Acropolis Rally Greece- Lamia, Central Greece GRAVEL
11 -29 September 2 October Rally New Zealand, Auckland Region GRAVEL
12- 20 October 23 October Spain RACC Rally Catalunya de España Salou, Catalonia TARMAC
13 -10 November 13 November Japan Rally Japan Nagoya, Chūbu Region TARMAC
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