If you want to stir the pot a little bit, talk off the record with drivers about the nine entries Hyundai Motorsport has made on national rallies outside of this year’s World Rally Championship.
Officially, Toyota has no immediate plans to do that; M-Sport Ford would be up for it if they had the budget. Andrea Adamo has no plans to change. In fact, there are more entries coming shortly with Ott Tänak and Oliver Solberg competing at Rally di Alba directly after Sardinia. And with Ypres and Estonia coming up, it’s not hard to imagine that there’s going to be more national-level action with a mix of i20 Coupe WRCs and R5s.
So what’s the problem? The issue is that some members of some teams feel this is Hyundai not really playing by the rules. Each team has a restricted number of days testing – one day each for every factory driver on every European WRC round – and here’s the Alzenau bagging considerably more competitive and entirely relevant mileage.
Having heard both sides, DirtFish decided to go route one and get the boss’s word. We spoke to FIA rally director Yves Matton.
It’s fair to say, contrary to what some would like, from the Belgian’s comments, there’s no regulation change in the pipeline on this one.
“I want to thank Hyundai for promoting the WRC around the world,” said Matton.
“I’m in favour of this. I can say that it’s only positive for the World Rally Championship to have these top level cars and drivers competing on these smaller events around the world and showing what is the WRC.”
Asked if he could see the view that this was Hyundai taking an advantage, Matton replied: “I believe other teams, if they have the motivation to do it and if their drivers have the same motivation as the Hyundai drivers then they are able to do it – for sure it’s not something we will restrict or change.”