All you need to know about Saturday’s World Rally Championship launch

Star drivers and pioneering new hybrid cars delivered a high-voltage introduction to the 2022 FIA World Rally Championship in Austria on Saturday evening. 

The WRC’s ground-breaking new Rally1 cars from the three manufacturers gathered for the first time in Salzburg’s Hangar-7 as the 2022 season was launched five days before the opening round at Rallye Monte-Carlo (January 20-23). 

Team Ford poses for a photograph during the WRC launch at the Hangar 7 in Salzburg, Austria on January 15, 2022.

In the presence of FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem, reigning champions Toyota Gazoo Racing, Hyundai Motorsport and M-Sport Ford revealed their stunning all-new cars which will compete across 13 rounds on four continents.

The Hyundai i20 N Rally1 WRC car seen during the WRC launch at the Hangar 7 in Salzburg, Austria on January 15, 2022.

Among those attending were Toyota’s 2021 championship runner-up Elfyn Evans and team-mate Kalle Rovanperä, who became the youngest WRC rally winner in history last season.

 Also present were Hyundai’s lead drivers Thierry Neuville and Ott Tänak. New M-Sport Ford signing Craig Breen and his Killarney co-driver appeared alongside the team’s hotly-tipped youngster, Adrien Fourmaux.

M – Sport Ford Puma Hybrid Rally1 car seen during the WRC launch at the Hangar 7 in Salzburg, Austria on January 15, 2022. // SI202201150092 // Usage for editorial use only //

In the championship’s 50th season, the WRC will undergo major environmental changes as new FIA technical regulations drive the series towards a more sustainable future.

Plug-in hybrid-powered cars built around an upgraded safety cell chassis, 100 percent fossil-free fuel and sustainable energy supplies are key to the sport’s commitment to a greener future.

The Toyota GR Yaris Rally1 car seen during the WRC launch at the Hangar 7 in Salzburg, Austria on January 15, 2022. // SI202201150093 // Usage for editorial use only //

The new hybrid cars blend a 100kW electric motor with a competition-proven 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engine, which has powered the sport’s top-tier cars since 2011. The package raises peak performance levels to more than 500bhp whilst also reducing harmful emissions.

President Ben Sulayem, a former WRC competitor himself, said: “Today’s launch of the new Rally1 era is a very proud and significant moment for the FIA, the entire rally family and I would like to congratulate WRC Promoter for delivering a great show at the start of the championship’s 50th anniversary season.

“The enthusiasm for the FIA’s new technical regulations has been very much in evidence in recent months and the event further underlined the momentum coming from the teams and manufacturers, with Rallye Monte-Carlo just a few days away.

“Beside the hybrid technology adding a new dynamic layer of performance combined with safety improvements, Rally1 cars will be using 100 percent sustainable fuel and work is also ongoing to achieve greater sustainability in the organisation of each round of the series. I look forward to an exciting season.”

WRC Promoter managing director Jona Siebel welcomed the start of a ‘landmark period’ for the championship: “Tonight we’ve seen what the future of the WRC looks like. I applaud the manufacturers’ hard work and commitment in readying these amazing and innovative Rally1 cars for the WRC’s new era.”

Paul Nagle at the WRC launch at the Hangar 7 in Salzburg, Austria on January 15, 2022.

“This evening was a marvellous opportunity to showcase the WRC and exhibit the strong desire to create an environment where both fiercely competitive motorsport and the planet can thrive together.”


Subscribe to Kerry Motorsport News for €50 per year.

Access the latest Motorsport News from the Kingdom of Kerry and around the world, when you subscribe today.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s