Rally News

WRC has reached a critical point, needs change

WRC has reached a critical point, needs change

Rallying’s top flight has attempted to attract new marques in recent years, and this was one of the key objectives behind the introduction of its Rally1 hybrid regulations last year.

Toyota, Hyundai and M-Sport Ford committed to the new rule cycle until 2024, but the move to hybrid vehicles has so far yet to lure any additional manufacturers.

As reported last week, the WRC has identified three unnamed new marques with whom it is currently involved in discussions regarding potential future involvement in the championship.

But a potential hurdle is the fact the WRC’s longterm future pathway has yet to be announced. It is expected that an evolution of the Rally1 hybrid regulations, including an expanded use of hybrid power, will be adopted for 2025 and 2026.

The FIA is currently talking with manufacturers to understand which path to take beyond 2026, with the method of propulsion a vital element of the discussion. Hybrid, hydrogen and battery electric power are all being assessed.

Hyundai driver Neuville made his view clear when responding to an Autosport social media post last week canvassing opinion as to which manufacturer fans would like to see join the world championship. The Belgian responded to the post saying: “Can the WRC Promoter and the FIA keep the current 2.5 manufacturers committed to the WRC?”

When asked by Motorsport.com to expand on his tweet ahead of this weekend’s Rally Portugal, he said: “For my personal feeling, yes [the WRC is at a critical point].


“I am very long in rally now, I have a lot of experience. Personally I believe that obviously COVID has given a big hit to the WRC, for sure.

“Before COVID I would say it was reasonably okay, after COVID for me WRC went on the downhill slope. And I have the feeling like, nobody really realises it, how drastic it is.

“But as a driver you can feel it in terms of media attendance, I can feel it in Belgium. Nobody really cares about WRC anymore.

“I feel that the manufacturers’ involvement is not the same as it has been in the past. So there is a lot of things which gives it a feeling that yeah, we need to react.

“But not only this, we also see that Formula 1 is capable of changing the format, during the season, with the new format for the race in Baku with the qualifying on Friday.

“MotoGP is adding sprint races, and rally – there is no change. And we live in a time where nobody wants to follow anymore just cars driving through the forest. Yes it’s spectacular when…

Click Here to Read the Full Original Article at Motorsport.com – RALLY – Stories…