Ott Tänak has called on the FIA to take action after multiple hybrid unit failures occurred on Rally Sweden, including on his own Hyundai i20 N Rally1 that forced him to retire from second place.
The 2019 World Rally champion was the only driver to receive a red light warning on his car, which requires a competing crew to retire immediately due to the electric kit being potentially hazardous. But other drivers also suffered similar issues.
Both Kalle Rovanperä and Elfyn Evans had no functioning hybrid boost aboard their respective Toyota GR Yaris Rally1s on the final morning of the rally. In Evans’ case, when he restarted his car after fixing a radiator leak – caused by a crash into a snowbank – no hybrid light would illuminate at all, which also required him to retire as per the sporting regulations.
Now Tänak is hoping action will be taken in wake of the failures, suggesting it had made the WRC look unprofessional.
“I hope the FIA will react and we will have some discussions. But obviously what happened is not really what sport needs and what sport should be. Let’s see what comes up,” Tänak told DirtFish.
“I really hope that something comes up after the rally and we will start to have some discussions. It’s been quite strange and for sure it’s not leaving a professional feeling to the sport you know.”
While he was hoping talks between key stakeholders including the FIA would take place, Tänak was uncertain what exactly needed to be done – but remained unhappy that a part his team did not manufacture was to blame for his early Sweden exit.
“I don’t know about the regulations, I mean generally what’s been happening it’s not rallying,” he said.
“If somebody’s just telling you to stop and you do retire and then do Rally 2 [super rally] it makes no sense when everything is like it is.
“It’s a third party which we can’t change, the manufacturer or myself, so yeah. It is like it is, I hope there will be some discussions after the rally.”
Julien Moncet, Hyundai’s deputy team principal, has indicated that his team is likely to pursue the matter with the FIA in conjunction with the other Rally1 manufacturers.
“So Ott is clearly frustrated. We are clearly frustrated,” said Moncet.
“It’s a shame because he was clearly doing very well, fighting for the win, and we had to let him down. He had a red light on the e-kit which is safety concerned, so the regulation is clear, we have to retire the car.
“[It is] maybe something we have to tackle in the very near future with the FIA, maybe the other manufacturers, to try to avoid that in the future.”
Compact Dynamics has taken the electric kit that failed on Tänak’s car back to its factory in Munich for further assessment and diagnosis.