The first day of Hyundai’s rally simulation test with its i20 N Rally1 has been completed, with 2019 World Rally Champion Ott Tänak at the wheel.
Initially lagging behind rivals Toyota and particularly M-Sport in testing its challenger for the 2022 World Rally Championship season – which will be the first to feature cars that incorporate a hybrid unit – Hyundai has since stepped up its testing program.
The rally simulation test is a novel concept as, instead of just running the car up and down the same test road for the day, Hyundai has in effect created its own rally to test the capabilities of its 2022 challenger.
In the Piedmont region of northern Italy, the team has based itself in La Morra and has closed several roads in the region over a three-day period (October 27-29), creating a detailed and specific itinerary for the car to follow as it would in competition.
This included specific stage-start times, visiting tire-fitting zones, and preparing for new-for-2022 EV zones where the cars are mandated to run in electric-only mode on road sections.
This is the future – first video of the Hyundai i20N Rally1 in full electric mode on a road section in Italy this morning pic.twitter.com/WRXZ3qptAG
— dirtfishrally (@DirtFishRally) October 27, 2021
Both Tänak and Thierry Neuville were present at the test on Wednesday but only Tänak drove the car. On Thursday it will be Neuville’s turn.
There was a slight issue in the morning, but Tänak completed solid running on the mountain stages that are frequently used on Rally di Alba – an event Hyundai has heavily supported in recent years as it’s based out of team principal Andrea Adamo’s home town of Cuneo.
Running in a more intense format also allowed Hyundai to uncover some new issues, such as the rising cockpit temperatures caused by heat from the exhaust of the Rally1-specification cars.
Hyundai also arranged a tour for invited media to watch the i20 N Rally1 in action, and transported journalists – including DirtFish’s Colin Clark – to the service park to speak to Adamo and the drivers.
DirtFish will remain in Italy on Thursday to observe Neuville’s running, and we’ll be bringing you plenty of more content over the coming days.