With winter testing wrapped up and hybridisation resulting in some astonishingly quick all wheel drive challengers that are comparable to the Group B machines of the 1980s, the most anticipated season of the FIA World Rally Championship will soon be underway. Here is a brief guide as to what has changed for the 2022 season.
Firstly, the world of rallying is often discredited by more mainstream track based competitions like Formula 1 and MotoGP and it’s hard to understand why. The 2022 season will take place in 13 different countries, with stages featuring treacherous terrain like sand, snow, tarmac and just about anything that can be categorized as a road surface in between and the brave few pilots who are skilled enough to tame them.
The historic Monte Carlo Rally which takes place between the 20th and 23rd January will kick the season off while the Safari Rally Kenya will bring the competition to African soil between the 23rd and the 26th of June.
The picturesque scenery of the principality of Monaco and native wildlife in the biomes of Kenya will be a blur to the vision of all those competing as this season marks the introduction of high power-output hybrid powertrains. The new regulations have mandated that the existing 1,6-litre turbocharged inline 4-cylinder engines remain unchanged but the powertrain includes the use of a plug-in hybrid system which can generate 100 kW of power.
What this all means is that at full performance with anti-lag spooling the turbo and a red-hot exhaust bellowing the occasional flame in unison to the hybrid system, a 2022
spec WRC car will push the maximum power output to 387 kW, in some cases beyond the clutches of the famed beasts of Group B rallying.
Not to mention the WRC’s commitment to a more environmentally conscious future by employing a fuel derived from a blend of synthetic and bio-derived components. For the first time in history, competition in the WRC’s top tier is 100% sustainable.
That being said, the sport is famed for high performance models that vaguely resemble the production prototypes on which they are based and this year is no different. With battery-cooling scoops, bolt-on aero scaffolding akimbo, and air intakes, the Rally1 cars will look as dramatic as anything that’s graced the stages before.