Crunch time in 2022 WRC engine rules deadlock

Keep the current engines or base new rules on R5?

M-Sport Ford

World Rally Championship stakeholders will meet in Geneva this week in an effort to finalise the engine specification for the next generation World Rally Cars.

The 2022 cars had been expected to run with precisely the same engines used in the current cars, but there’s now the desire and support from Hyundai and M-Sport Ford to run a most cost-effective motor based around the R5 philosophy.

Toyota remains keen to work with the current Global Race Engine.

FIA rally director Yves Matton will try to broker a compromise this week. The feeling is that embracing R5 engines – or Rally2 as the FIA now knows them – would save 10% of the cost of a 2022 car.

Matton confirmed the target cost for the new car is €500,000 – which represent a saving of between 35-40% on the average cost of a current World Rally Car.

Matton told DirtFish: “We will have to find a compromise for the engine. This week we will meet to look at the compromise between these two extremes which are Rally2 and Global.

“This compromise is the reason we will make 35%t and not achieve the 40% cost reduction we were looking for at the beginning.”

A Global Race Engine costs close to €150,000, while a Rally2 version is €30,000. Similar performance to the GRE could be achieved by spending an extra €10,000 on the R5. There are, however, some concerns about the durability of the R5-based unit.

Achieving compromise this week is not going to be the most straightforward, with the two sides reasonably entrenched in their views.

Manufacturers had been expected to commit to the new rules by April, but Matton has admitted that could move back to a date shortly before June’s meeting of the World Motor Sport Council.

Crucially, Matton said his personal view was that regulations could move forward with just two of the three manufacturers committed. If Toyota did decide it couldn’t concede on the engine specification, an R5-based 2022 World Rally Car could still go ahead with Hyundai and M-Sport Ford.

The hybrid element of the cars will take a step forward on Thursday this week when the tendering process for supply of the hybrid kit closes. The decision on the supplier will be made one month on from that date.

Words:David Evans

Photography:André Lavadinho