A few days before the joint World Championship presentation, Hyundai presented its new hybrid racer for the 2022 season. Technically and visually, the differences between the brand new i20 Rally1 and its WRC predecessor are huge.
Next weekend, the World Rally Championship will start a new era. The World Championship promoter invited all factory teams with their crews and vehicles to a joint presentation in Hangar 7 in Salzburg on Saturday (15 January). The new FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem is also expected to attend.
Hyundai didn't seem to want to wait until the group appointment. The Koreans have already published the first pictures of their new hybrid all-wheel drive in advance. In the case of the cars in the new rally premier class, the focus is of course on the drive. The 1.6 liter turbo combustion engine, which must be operated with 100% biofuel, will be coupled with an electric machine in the future. The 3.9 kWh batteries can be charged using a plug-in connector. Of course, recuperation is also carried out when the pilot takes his foot off the gas or is on the brakes.
The electric motor runs at 12,000 revolutions per minute and is connected to all four wheels via a drive shaft. The system brings an additional 134 hp and weighs 87 kilograms. Three application modes are available to the pilots: The all-electric driver has a range of 20 kilometers, for example for connecting stages or driving to the service park.
Boost mode or permanent power
There is also a so-called "stage start mode". Here the electric motor provides a 1,000 kilojoule boost for the first meters. According to the regulations, the power surge may last a maximum of 10 seconds. The third setting is called "Stage mode". The additional power can be called up on the special stage according to a previously defined mapping.
The i20 Rally1, which was built for the first time on a tubular frame chassis, not only comes with a completely new inner workings, but also looks very different from its predecessor. Although there is still a mighty wing at the rear of the vehicle, the many small flaps on the front of the vehicle have disappeared due to the regulations, as have the openings on the rear fenders.
The large air intakes for cooling the hybrid block, which Hyundai places behind the rear side windows and thus higher than the competition from M-Sport Ford and Toyota, are clearly visible. The newly designed rear apron with the diffuser, which is now significantly higher according to the regulations and without longitudinal fins, is also clearly visible in the first pictures.
Neuville and Tänak are staying on board
Not much has changed with the pilots. Thierry Neuville is already in his ninth season for the Korean works team, which operates its rally base in Alzenau, Franconia. He will also be at the start of all 13 World Championship races, as will 2019 World Champion Ott Tänak.
Junior Oliver Solberg usually sits in the third works car of the manufacturer champions of 2019 and 2020. Experienced Dani Sordo, on the other hand, should preferably take over at those World Championship rallies where the Hyundai team expects a tactical advantage from a rear starting position.
The new World Cup season starts just one week after the presentation with the classic in Monte Carlo. After countless test kilometers on gravel, asphalt and snow, the new Hyundai i20 Rally1 has to measure itself for the first time in a direct comparison with the competition from Toyota and M-Sport Ford. In the gallery we show you the Hyundai i20 Rally1 in detail.