Neuville: Rally1 cars like "Formula E driving on a rally road"

Thierry Neuville expects the World Rally Championship's new 2022 Rally1 hybrid cars will require a different driving style, labelling the experience as "Formula E driving on a rally road".

Neuville: Rally1 cars like "Formula E driving on a rally road"

The Hyundai driver has been testing the Korean marque's i20 2022 prototype in recent weeks, adjusting to the new challenges of driving with a mandatory 100kW hybrid system.

Neuville has been particularly outspoken against the WRC's new Rally1 regulations, which introduces hybrid in addition to reduced aerodynamic and suspension travel, while the centre differential is also removed.

The Belgian last month blasted the WRC's future direction, remarking that it was a "pity" that "nobody has the balls to take different decisions and go against what the FIA is deciding".

Although the cars will be stripped back in areas, they will be much safer courtesy of a much tougher chassis and when hybrid is deployed cars will produce 500 horsepower, significantly more than the current generation of WRC machinery that has been in service since 2017.

While Hyundai's prototype is far from the finished product, Neuville says the experience of driving with hybrid so far has been very unpredictable due to the focus required on recovering energy under braking to use on acceleration.

When asked for his feedback on driving the Rally1 car in a media briefing ahead of this weekend's Rally Spain, Neuville said: "It is Formula E driving on a rally road.

"It is very early to say how it is going to be. Many things are not working yet as they should be with the hybrid system, to get real feedback is very difficult.

"For me so far, it is going to be a change [of driving style].

"The target is that you need to recover energy under braking to be able to discharge the [hybrid power] in acceleration. If you don't reach the target under braking, you can't have additional power on the exit, which makes the whole thing inconsistent and unpredictable.

Hyundai I20 N WRC Rally1

Hyundai I20 N WRC Rally1

Photo by: WRC.com

"At the same time, if you reach your target and you accelerate and you lift once the throttle, you lose all the power you have available. It is very is inconsistent so far.

"We have to get more ahead with the testing, there are too many things that are not clear yet.

"I don't know if anyone is going to be a big fan of the first versions of this new car. The only thing that is exciting is nobody knows where we are going and what to expect from next year."

Concerning this weekend's penultimate round of the 2021 WRC in Spain, Neuville is confident he will be able to challenge for victory following a disappointing Rally Finland that ended in retirement due to a water leak.

Neuville kicked off his Rally Spain by finishing third fastest on Thursday's shakedown, only 0.4s adrift of pacesetter Sebastien Ogier, who was 0.2s quicker than his Toyota teammate and title rival Elfyn Evans.

"In Finland it was the first time I had a great speed in the Hyundai there," Neuville said.

"I think I was doing really well. I was going faster than Ogier and it was just Elfyn who did a hell of a rally.

"Craig Breen [in the third Hyundai] was starting from 11th or 10th when I was third on the road, there is no comparison.

"I'm not worried at all about our speed for this weekend. If the car feels fine and I'm comfortable we should be in the fight for victory."

shares
comments
M-Sport not anticipating shock signings for remaining 2022 WRC seats
Previous article

M-Sport not anticipating shock signings for remaining 2022 WRC seats

Next article

The steely determination behind the WRC’s Solberg 2.0

The steely determination behind the WRC’s Solberg 2.0
Load comments
The WRC heirs scrapping to assume Ogier's throne in 2022 Prime

The WRC heirs scrapping to assume Ogier's throne in 2022

Eight-time World Rally Championship king Sebastien Ogier has abdicated (well, gone part-time) in 2022, meaning for just the second time in the past decade we will have a different champion this year. We pick out the drivers gunning to take his place and take over the mantle as the WRC's new ruler

WRC
Jan 20, 2022
The WRC star that's earned the right to lead M-Sport's revival Prime

The WRC star that's earned the right to lead M-Sport's revival

Part-time opportunities with Citroen and Hyundai have offered brief glimpses of what Craig Breen can do in a World Rally Championship car. Now signed up by M-Sport to lead it into the WRC's new hybrid era, Breen has been given the chance he's pursued for so long and is determined to make the most of it

WRC
Jan 18, 2022
Why the WRC's 'modern Group B' era was rallying at its bonkers best Prime

Why the WRC's 'modern Group B' era was rallying at its bonkers best

The World Rally Championship has brought down the curtain on the aggressive, aero-laden generation of cars first introduced in 2017 that have been likened to the 1980s Group B icons. As the championship prepares to begin a new era of Rally1 hybrid cars, its stars explain just why the outgoing machines were so special

WRC
Dec 24, 2021
Ranking the top 10 WRC drivers of 2021 Prime

Ranking the top 10 WRC drivers of 2021

On the eve of a new hybrid era for the World Rally Championship, the 2021 season was a blockbuster fought out between Toyota's two top dogs, with a familiar figure eventually emerging on top after a final showdown at Monza. We pick out the 10 best performers from the top class and its supporting cast

WRC
Dec 21, 2021
Why Ogier's WRC swansong was a season to savour Prime

Why Ogier's WRC swansong was a season to savour

He’s shuffling into semi-rally-retirement, but Toyota star Sebastien Ogier was at the peak of his powers in the final season for the high downforce era-World Rally Championship cars. Despite Toyota's domination, there was still much to enjoy as the old master emerged atop a fierce title fight against teammate Elfyn Evans.

WRC
Dec 19, 2021
How WRC legend Ogier will be remembered by his peers Prime

How WRC legend Ogier will be remembered by his peers

After winning his eighth WRC title, Sebastien Ogier has drawn the curtain on his full-time rallying career. To understand Ogier's legacy, many of his former rivals, team-mates and colleagues have shared their thoughts on a vastly successful career

WRC
Nov 26, 2021
Ranking lost WRC legend Richard Burns' 10 best rallies Prime

Ranking lost WRC legend Richard Burns' 10 best rallies

Richard Burns was a determined driver who took on the best rally drivers in the world during a boom period in the early 2000s, and beat them. On the 20th anniversary of his crowning glory in winning the 2001 WRC title, and 16 years on from his death on the same date, we pick out his 10 greatest drives

WRC
Nov 25, 2021
The internal focus that made Burns a legendary world rally champion Prime

The internal focus that made Burns a legendary world rally champion

At the turn of the millennium, WRC was full to the brim with rallying's great and good - and 20 years ago on this day, Richard Burns became England's first world rally champion. Although Burns' natural talent drove him to the top, his steely determination and mental strength was the key attribute behind his title-winning form

WRC
Nov 25, 2021