Hyundai granted joker dispensation for 2025

Rival manufactuers agree to let Alzenau-based squad use two years' worth of homologation jokers to upgrade i20 N Rally1

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Hyundai will have the opportunity to deliver 50% of its new-for-2025 car after a deal was struck with rival manufacturers allowing the Korean manufacturer to use two years’ worth of homologation jokers next season.

Once its new car was canned, DirtFish understands Hyundai requested permission from Toyota and M-Sport to use all of its remaining jokers to improve the current machine for 2025.

Team principal Cyril Abiteboul wasn’t keen to discuss the precise nature of the inter-team agreement. He told DirtFish: “Before anything, we have to wait until June to see what the concept will be from World Motor Sport Council.

“I think the biggest weakness we have and we wanted to sort out is actually on reliability and on the setup of the car. I don’t want to go too much into the detail, but reliability is still [a question] here and it can hit at any point – as we saw in Kenya. It can happen again. Unfortunately, we have not brought any fix to that. So that’s something that hopefully will be fixed and the setup of the car is something that will be partly fixed with the joker system.


Esapekka Lappi's i20 N has been hit by mechanical woe on past two editions of Safari Rally

“I’d say we’ll be able to probably do, what… 50% of what we wanted to do with the new car.”

Abiteboul was also quick to point out this new agreement would potentially benefit the other manufacturers.

“That will be a way for everyone, not just us,” he added. “We all have ideas and we are stuck in not being able to implement [without using jokers]. So, yes, we will be able to do some of the things that we’d like to do. It’s not the complete set of measures that we wanted to do  –we had a different project of a new car and that’s no comparison to what we will be able to do with those jokers.”

Neuville Monte

Thierry Neuville has led this year's drivers' championship from the start, following his season-opening win in Monte Carlo

Rival team principal Richard Millener admitted the decision to give Hyundai the opportunity to make a faster and more reliable car hadn’t been taken lightly behind the Dovenby Hall doors.

“There will always,” he said, “be difficult conversations because everybody within the team will have a different viewpoint: if you go to an engineer and say we want to do this and give them the opportunity to bring jokers forward… I’m sure it’s the same in every other team, the reaction would be, no chance.

“From the [engineers’] viewpoint their goal is only performance and if we have a performance advantage from doing a better job, why should we allow anyone else to do something different?

“I totally understand that perspective, but at the same time if we actively push back on everything and force a manufacturer to leave [WRC] because they don’t feel like they’ve got a chance, then what’s better?

“There’s always discussions about what we can do to make it fair for everybody and what’s the best for the sport at that time, so I think that’s more where we’ve looked at this time.

“If it was a new set of regulations and it was 2022 and we were three rallies in and they had the problem, it would be a different strategy. When we’re three years into what was the five-year proposed cycle and there is difficulties for teams to continue because of various reasons – one of them feeling that they weren’t able to do a new car and then also not able to look at fixing a reliability issue – then it’s sensible for the sport to try and find a compromise that’s going to mean we get more cars, more close battles, more stories, more entertainment, more fans, more coverage, hopefully more manufacturers. So, it kind of all links together.”