The difficulties of developing a new rally car in lockdown

Hyundai's latest Rally2 machine could debut next summer - if it can get out on the roads enough during the pandemic


Current coronavirus restrictions are frustrating on so many levels. Trying, for example, to develop an all-new Rally2 car in Germany right now is an exasperating process.

Hyundai Motorsport director Andrea Adamo was convincing me of the virtues of the i20 N Rally2 which is set for homologation next summer. July 1 is the latest rumor. But he’s heard his own voice.

“The car is coming well,” said Adamo. “And it’s better than the previous car… Hey, I sound like the guys giving you the PR and you can believe it or not, but it’s true.”

Show me.

“I want to show you,” he said. “I wanted to bring you to the test in November in Sardinia, but the thing is just so complicated now.”

At the time of speaking earlier this month, Jari Huttunen (pictured below in the Polish Rally Championship) was driving the development Rally2 car in Germany. For a non-German, just getting to the test was an achievement for the Finn.


“Testing a car is so complicated these days,” said Adamo. “We can do nothing at all in public now, we cannot go on any open roads, we can’t go through towns or here or there for reasons of security.

“Trust me, it’s not easy to develop a new car now. It’s difficult because we can only go in these places for work, tourists are not allowed and you have to show that you have a German certificate of residency if you don’t have a German passport.

“When we are sending the guys to these hotels and places, it’s a nightmare of bureaucracy.”

The i20 N Rally2 is, however, proceeding well with its early running.

While insiders remain tight-lipped for fear of incurring the wrath of Adamo, DirtFish has discovered independently that he’s right. The new car is a significant step on from the heavily evolved one that first turned a wheel at the launch of Hyundai’s Customer Racing department five years ago.

The new i20 rally car is based around the third-generation road car that arrived early in 2020. The only carry-over part from the previous i20 R5 is expected to be the five-speed gearbox.

Words:David Evans

Photos:Hyundai Motorsport