Rally News

WRC to retain hybrid-powered Rally1 cars until 2026 after FIA U-turn

Ott Tänak, Martin Järveoja, Hyundai World Rally Team Hyundai i20 N Rally1

As previously reported, it was widely expected that the FIA would make a U-turn on its February proposal to phase out Rally1 cars in their current guise. The decision was ratified at today’s WMSC meeting held at Samarkand, Uzbekistan.

February’s proposal made by the FIA’s working group was built around a move to remove hybrid power from Rally1 cars from next year as part of a plan to close the performance gap to Rally2 cars through a reduction in aero, through a modified rear wing, and a smaller air restrictor.

This coincided with a proposal for manufacturers to produce an optional upgrade kit for Rally2 cars to increase their performance to allow some competitors to battle at the sharp end of rallies.

It was hoped this could increase entries and provide a smooth transition to all-new technical regulations in 2027.

Changes to Rally1 and Rally2 were strongly opposed by teams and manufacturers which resulted in a letter being penned to the FIA in April requesting for the current rules to remain in place.

The key concerns among the teams centred around the short timeframe to redesign, test and validate changes to cars for next season, and the fact that investments had already been made into the current cars, expected to compete across a five-year homologation cycle [2022-2026].

“Technical stability has been agreed between all stakeholders for the 2025 and 2026 FIA World Rally Championship seasons. The World Council has confirmed that, following extensive feedback and discussions, the WRC Technical Regulations for Rally1/2 cars will remain unchanged for the coming two years,” read a statement from the FIA.

Ott Tänak, Martin Järveoja, Hyundai World Rally Team Hyundai i20 N Rally1

Photo by: McKlein / Motorsport Images

“All stakeholders are working positively together on the direction of the regulations for 2027 and beyond, and there is a good consensus between the World Council members and the manufacturers on the key targets that are aimed primarily at increasing participation at the highest level as previously set out by the FIA.

“It is a strong expectation of the World Council that the current manufacturers will commit to the long-term future of the sport well in advance. These regulations will be presented for approval at the December meeting of the World Council, allowing more than two year’s lead time for manufacturers to adapt.

“Following a clear pledge to invest from the WRC Promoter, the FIA will strengthen its…

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