Hyundai first to reveal contender for WRC's hybrid era

The World Rally Championship enters the hybrid era when 2022 season gets underway next week, and Hyundai is the first to reveal its contender developed for the premier Rally1 class.

Hyundai's contender is based on the latest generation of its i20 subcompact hatch. Toyota is readying its own contender based on the GR Yaris subcompact hatch, while Ford, via M-Sport, will be represented with a contender based on the Puma subcompact crossover.

In line with the new rules, the Rally1 cars are required to run plug-in hybrid powertrains combining a 1.6-liter turbocharged inline-4 with an electric motor generating a peak 134 hp. Combined output of the system will be over 500 hp.

A 3.9-kilowatt-watt-hour battery will ensure that the electric motor will be able to provide a boost for a decent length of time. Per the rules, drivers will have to use the electric boost in each stage.

The new electric hardware adds about 150 pounds to the weight of the cars compared to last season's non-electrified cars. The new cars also skip liquid brake cooling, as well as hidden air ducts.

One additional measure aimed at improving the sport's green credentials will be the exclusive use of biofuels.

The driver lineup for Hyundai include Ott Tanak, Thierry Neuville and Oliver Solberg. Drivers for Toyota include Sebastien Ogier, Elfyn Evans, Kalle Rovanpera. and Takamoto Katsuta. And drivers for M-Sport include Craig Breen, Gus Greensmith, Adrien Fourmaux, and Sebastien Loeb.

The first round of the 2022 WRC season will be the Rallye Monte-Carlo kicking off on January 20. The new season will also WRC celebrate its 50th anniversary.