Unprecedented agreement in the WRC – Hyundai pulls strong moves in negotiations

Hyundai is set to significantly revamp its car for the 2025 World Rally Championship season.
Dani Sordo
Dani Sordo. Photo by: Vincent Thuillier/Hyundai Motorsport GmbH
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According to DirtFish, the main class manufacturers in the championship have reached an unprecedented agreement at Hyundai’s request. Reportedly, Hyundai asked Toyota and M-Sport Ford for permission to use all its remaining homologation jokers to improve its Rally1 car next year.

In practice, this means that Hyundai will have two years’ worth of homologation jokers at its disposal next season to update its car.

Hyundai’s team principal, Cyril Abiteboul, did not elaborate on the specific details or conditions of the agreement.

“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 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,” Abiteboul told DirtFish.

Hyundai’s original plan was to introduce an entirely new car for the 2025 season. However, the project was eventually put on ice when proposals for amendments to the championship regulations were submitted in February.

Abiteboul explained that the agreement with the other manufacturers allows the team to implement about half of the upgrades planned for the car it will compete with in the 2025 season.

Abiteboul emphasised that the agreement benefits all teams.

“That will be a way for everyone, not just us. 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,” he said.

M-Sport Ford’s team principal, Richard Millener, indicated that Hyundai’s request was not taken lightly, and his comments suggest that Hyundai employed strong tactics.

“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?” Millener questioned.

The rules for next season’s cars in the WRC are set to be finalised in June. At the same time, the agreement between the manufacturers regarding the use of homologation jokers is expected to be confirmed.

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