Reigning World Rally Championship constructor Hyundai has been testing a prototype version of its hybrid-powered 2022 entry in southern France. Images of the Rally1 car undergoing a proper shakedown for the first time were released albeit in camouflage guise.
Eagle-eyed readers will notice the South Korean carmaker’s effort is based on its i20 N hot hatch.
The aim of the outing was to understand the car’s behaviour, its strengths and weaknesses and to plan the next steps according to the findings of this first outing for the German-based team.
“It’s a special moment when you take a car to the road for the first time and as always there are some challenges to face,” said Hyundai Motorsport Team Principal Andrea Adamo.
The team, which was established in 2012, is tight-lipped on the Rally1’s technical features and exterior appearance as the press images illustrate. They wouldn’t even say which of their four drivers was behind the wheel in France. All we do know is that the hybrid powered rally car, featuring a combustion engine and an electric motor, will be in accordance with the FIA regulation for next year’s championship.
“We are starting from scratch with brand-new rules, a different concept and a new base model, the Hyundai i20 N,” Adamo said.
The team’s boss noted the test in France highlighted “interesting things” about the car that “need to be changed and improved”. Adamo commended the team for an ” amazing job” to prepare the car for the first test in such a short amount of time.
Last month it was announced that the team’s number one pairing of Thierry Neuville and Ott Tänak signed new multi-year contracts. Neuville currently occupies second place in the drivers’ championship after three third-place finishes with Tänak two places back in fourth.
The move to hybrid cars is part of a greener WRC future which also includes a fossil-free hydrocarbon-based fuel supplied by P1 Racing Fuels and a sustainable energy supply in service parks, the series said.