Hyundai Motorsport is powering into a brand-new era of the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) with its Hyundai i20 N Rally1 challenger and a four-crew line-up that is intent on delivering more success for the team in 2022.
As two-time manufacturers’ champions, Hyundai has reaffirmed its commitment to the WRC by fully embracing the sport’s new Rally1 hybrid regulations, which come into effect from Rallye Monte-Carlo (January 20-23).
The team has worked tirelessly to develop its new contender for its ninth season at the pinnacle of international rallying, carrying out an intensive test and development programme. Based on the Hyundai i20 N road car, the WRC version will further cement the link between motorsport and Hyundai’s production car technology, as the team targets more victories and championship titles in 2022.
We are excited to be part of this new hybrid era of WRC and to demonstrate Hyundai’s firm commitment to international motorsport. WRC is about putting the most technically advanced cars, driven and navigated by the best crews, on the world’s toughest stages: the 2022 season is set to take things to the next level. Furthermore, from a corporate perspective, it is important for Hyundai to be associated with road-relevant technology; the WRC move to hybrid brings together the brand’s motorsport and road car activities. We are confident we have the package to fight for our third manufacturers’ title – and to support our crews to be in the hunt for the drivers’/co-drivers’ titles too.
Scott Noh President of Hyundai Motorsport
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 Tänak/Martin Järveoja. Both will be keen to make an impression in the title chase after mixed fortunes in 2021.
Left: Martijn Wydaeghe Right: Thierry Neuville
Neuville will be aiming to add to his victory tally in 2022, with the Belgian now boasting 15 WRC wins entering his ninth year with Hyundai Motorsport. In his first season with co-driver Wydaeghe, the pair quickly established a potent partnership that amassed two victories and a total of seven podiums. In their third campaign with the Alzenau-based team, the Estonians 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 the team, taking two wins and eight podium finishes in 2020 and 2021.
Left: Martin Järveoja Right: Ott Tänak
A third Hyundai i20 N Rally1 will be shared throughout the season by Swedish rising star Oliver Solberg, who steps up to the manufacturer team after demonstrating exciting pace in selected rounds last season, and experienced Spaniard Dani Sordo.
Left: Cándido Carrera Right: Dani Sordo
Solberg will be co-driven by Elliott Edmondson, while Sordo begins his ninth season as a Hyundai Motorsport driver in 2022 alongside Cándido Carrera.
Left: Elliott Edmondson Right: Oliver Solberg
Crews will tackle a 13-round calendar covering the WRC’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.
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. It is a case of third time lucky for the new events in New Zealand and Japan, to which we have been looking forward for some time. There’s a lot of intrigue and unknown for the 2022 season, which will keep WRC front of mind for motorsport fans around the world.
Pablo Marcos Hyundai Motorsport Team Manager
While the new events will be welcomed by crews, the entire championship will be a bold step into the unknown with the introduction of WRC’s hybrid technology. Hyundai Motorsport has been testing its new Rally1 car since May last year, putting the vehicle through its paces on different surfaces around Europe.
The new Rally1 technical regulations have been established to showcase WRC’s commitment to a sustainable future, as well as improvements to safety and equality between competitors. Hybrid technology has been introduced into WRC for the first time, necessitating a new approach to rally car development, along with 100% sustainable fuel.
The Hyundai i20 N Rally1 is the product of the new regulations – combining a traditional 1.6-litre internal combustion engine with a common plug-in hybrid unit – and the breadth of experience built-up by the team over eight competitive seasons in WRC.
We have welcomed the technical challenge of WRC’s new hybrid era. It promises to be a step into the unknown for every team, but we are confident we’ve done the best job possible with our Hyundai i20 N Rally1. The main objective has been to combine the internal combustion engine and the plug-in hybrid unit, getting all the components working together harmoniously within the chassis. We have carried out testing with the car in different scenarios on different terrain to gather as much real-time data as possible. Our simulation test in October put the car through a representative experience of a real rally weekend, and from that we’ve been able to further tune the Hyundai i20 N Rally1 ahead of its competitive debut. The car’s performance level will only really be known when we get to the rally stages against our competition.
Julien Moncet Hyundai Motorsport Deputy Team Director