A struggle between three manufacturers
Three brands will compete for the constructors' title: Toyota, Hyundai and Ford. With Sébastien Ogier as the spearhead, the Japanese manufacturer crushed the competition last year, signing nine successes With former driver Jari-Matti Latvala at their head, the Yaris will leave with the favor of the forecasts even if Sébastien Ogier will not be no longer there (he will only compete in five or six rallies this season to help develop the hybrid racing car). In terms of hybridization, Toyota has already demonstrated all its know-how in other disciplines, such as Endurance. It is hard to see how the Japanese firm could miss this great technical challenge.
There are fewer certainties, however, in the Hyundai clan. The team lost last year its team manager Alain Penasse, then its director Andrea Adamo, and the integration of new technology into the car could take longer than expected before displaying a satisfactory level of competitiveness. This is all the more worrying as in terms of drivers, the Korean manufacturer looks great with Thierry Neuville, Ott Tänak and Dani Sordo.
M-Sport dons the perfect outsider costume with the Puma with its very successful exterior design thanks to its rounded and clean lines.
Malcolm Wilson's team has been working hard on the hybrid project for two seasons with strong support from Ford.
The only problem is that he may be missing a size behind the wheel to pull this promising team up, even if Sébastien Loeb has agreed to do one or more freelance jobs during the season.
The favorites for the pilots title, Elfyn Evans in an armchair?
The games are more open than ever with the departure of Sébastien Ogier, crowned eight times between 2013 and 2021. Elfyn Evans, vice-world champion 2020 and 2021 ticks all the boxes to be the successor of the Gapençais with Toyota but he will have to wary of the Finnish prodigy Kalle Rovanperä who continues to impress at 21 years old within his own team.
At Hyundai, we are finally waiting for the time of Thierry Neuville, the "Poulidor" of the WRC, always placed (five times vice-world champion) but never a winner (15 victories anyway in the list of the World Championship). The Belgian (33), who suffered an impressive accident in December during testing with the I20 hybrid, may have missed his time. It is up to him to prove the contrary. Ott Tänak must imperatively relaunch his career after two disappointing seasons at Hyundai.
We will closely follow the probable last season of Dani Sordo, Loeb's former teammate at Citroën (partial program of seven events), as well as the performances of the promising Oliver Solberg (20 years old), son of his illustrious father, world champion 2003. At M-Sport Ford, the Irishman Craig Breen seems to have the cards in hand to become the leader of the team ahead of Fergus Greensmith, a paying British driver.
But beware especially of Adrien Fourmaux, who could be the nice surprise of the season.
The Frenchman has driven a lot with the hybrid Puma which he will drive all season with a full program.
At 26 and with as many starts to his credit in the WRC, he embodies the future of French rallying after spectacular progress.
Adrien Fourmeaux ¨Panoramic
13 rounds on the program
The 2022 season will have one round more than in 2021, being essentially centered on Europe.
No rally is scheduled in South America, one in Africa (Kenya) and two in the Pacific (Japan and New Zealand).
The concentration on the Old Continent has allowed a significant and essential reduction of costs to the detriment of the planetary dimension of the discipline.
A date remains to be defined between Rally Finland and Rally Greece between August 18 and 21.
We will once again regret the absence of the Rallye de France, a nation that is nevertheless essential in the rally.
The calendar for the 2022 season. WRC
The arrival of the hybrid, finally!
The WRC finally opens the electric chapter with the new cars called Rally1. Complicated, costly, very long and laborious to implement, this reform was essential to the survival of the discipline at a time when the reduction of carbon emissions has become an absolute priority for manufacturers. How not to take this problem into account in a championship which, unlike many other disciplines on motor sports circuit, uses “natural” terrain as playgrounds?
The new cars will be equipped with an electrical system developing 100 kw (about 134 hp) that can be associated with the 380 horsepower heat engine.
The pilots will therefore be able to have more than 500 hp in acceleration for a few moments in special when the two units are working together.
But beware, to benefit from this additional boost, the crews will have to generate this electrical power during the recovery phases, when braking (except at the start of the special where the battery will be charged to 80%).
It will therefore be easier to use this contribution on asphalt rallies where the braking is more numerous and violent than during events where the piloting requires flexibility and the art of sliding in the trajectories.