Abiteboul warns the WRC Promoter: we want entertainment

cyril abiteboul

Hyundai emerges as a pivotal player in this narrative, explicitly committing to Rally1 until the culmination of the five-year homologation cycle, projected to conclude by the end of 2026. This commitment underscores Hyundai’s substantial investments in the development of its i20 N Rally1 over the ensuing two years.

The Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) is currently engaged in a critical evaluation of the future direction of the World Rally Championship’s (WRC) premier class. This initiative has led to the establishment of a task force spearheaded by FIA Vice President Robert Reid, alongside esteemed figures such as the 2001 World Rally Championship-winning co-driver and the 1981 WRC champion co-driver, David Richards, who serves as the president of Motorsport UK. The primary objective of this group is to assess and recommend the future trajectory of rallies on a global scale.

At the heart of the debate lies the future of the Rally1 class within the WRC. The discussion encompasses various possibilities, including the continuation of Rally1 rules, transitioning to Rally2 regulations, or even the creation of a Rally2 Plus class. Notably, the FIA retains the capacity to implement changes as early as the forthcoming year, suggesting potential shifts in the competitive landscape.

A significant development in this deliberation was the recent deployment of a fan survey by the FIA. Despite its abrupt closure within a few days, this initiative aimed to gather additional insights crucial for steering the course of the WRC. The culmination of these discussions and data collection endeavors is expected to be presented to the World Motor Sport Council on February 28th.

Hyundai emerges as a pivotal player in this narrative, explicitly committing to Rally1 until the culmination of the five-year homologation cycle, projected to conclude by the end of 2026. This commitment underscores Hyundai’s substantial investments in the development of its i20 N Rally1 over the ensuing two years.

Cyril Abiteboul, reflecting on Hyundai’s triumph over Toyota at the season opener in Monte Carlo, underscores the positive facets of the prevailing regulations. He articulates Hyundai’s clear vision and strategic roadmap, emphasizing the importance of regulatory clarity to actualize their development plans effectively.

However, Abiteboul also underscores the necessity for stability within the sport, highlighting the thrill and competitiveness witnessed during events such as the Monte Carlo rally. He advocates for a balanced approach that prioritizes both quantity and quality, urging the FIA to tread cautiously regarding any radical alterations to the existing formula.

While the WRC promoter maintains a pivotal role, particularly in enhancing the sport’s appeal, the focus remains on the FIA’s responsibility in crafting clear and compelling regulations. Peter Thul, the WRC’s Senior Sports Director, stresses the importance of regulations that not only resonate with manufacturers but also invigorate the sporting ethos, thereby fostering greater participation and engagement.

In conclusion, the ongoing deliberations surrounding the future of the WRC underscore the intricate balance between tradition and innovation, stability and progress. As stakeholders navigate these discussions, the ultimate goal remains the preservation and enhancement of the WRC’s global appeal while ensuring a competitive and captivating spectacle for enthusiasts worldwide.