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Monday, May 27, 2024

Neuville sheds gentle on WRC future plans, reveals format tweak proposal

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The manufacturing facility Hyundai driver is essentially the most skilled full-time driver within the championship, having racked up 149 WRC begins courting again to 2009 and received 18 rallies, whereas ending runner-up within the standings on 5 events (2013, 2016-2019).

Neuville is at the moment the one Rally1 driver contracted for subsequent season. Though the Belgian’s take care of Hyundai is about to run out on the finish of 2024, he’s already fascinated with his long run future.

“My goal I’ve stated is that I’ll do subsequent yr clearly and after I want to perhaps re-sign for 2 extra years,” stated Neuville.

“It will be good in these three years that the WRC can be again to the place it belongs.

“Then after that no one is aware of. I could possibly be the [Fernando] Alonso of the WRC.”

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Hyundai is evaluating its line-up for subsequent season after crew principal Cyril Abiteboul revealed the team is considering an expansion from three to four cars next year.

The previous Renault Components 1 boss additionally advised that contract extension talks are anticipated to be held with the crew’s different full-time driver Esapekka Lappi. Hyundai has additionally recently re-launched its young driver development programme that includes Teemu Suninen, who will pilot the third i20N at Estonia this weekend, and reigning WRC2 champion Emil Lindholm.

Neuville’s admission relating to his WRC future comes at time when the championship has come beneath criticism from drivers and groups.

Thierry Neuville, Hyundai World Rally Group

Picture by: Fabien Dufour / Hyundai Motorsport

Neuville himself led calls at Rally Portugal for the WRC to re-evaluate and improve its appeal for drivers, producers and the fanbase. This led to meetings last month between drivers, groups, the FIA and the WRC Promoter to brainstorm concepts.

Perception: The important WRC discussion triggered by Neuville’s outburst

The 35-year-old has now shared a few of his personal concepts to enhance the WRC, which centre on a format change that will see the normal rally end on Saturday, forward of a brand new mixture time Energy Stage format on Sunday.

Neuville additionally believes the WRC ought to encourage extra radio communication between groups and drivers, following within the footsteps of F1.

“Radio communication could possibly be attention-grabbing once more, however it’s arduous to know learn how to implement it to be trustworthy,” stated Neuville when requested about methods to enhance the spectacle for followers.

“In my proposal, it was primarily to have radio communication on the Sunday Energy Stage.

“Principally the rally would finish on Saturday after which the Sunday is a stage the place we do two passes after which the occasions could be added collectively and that will be the Energy Stage.

“It will give extra factors as nicely. In that stage there could possibly be communication, or fan increase as nicely for extra energy, I don’t know.

“We might have the fundamental rally which is shorter, from Friday to Saturday, however then make the Sunday extra of a TV programme. We are able to present the resume of the rally at first after which have a dwell two passes of the stage.

“We’d have extra tyres out there and extra tyre technique, I don’t know, and perhaps on the hybrid we will discover one thing extra attention-grabbing to get extra energy out of it and extra freedom on the mapping for these phases for the engineers.

Thierry Neuville, Martijn Wydaeghe, Hyundai World Rally Team Hyundai i20 N Rally1

Thierry Neuville, Martijn Wydaeghe, Hyundai World Rally Group Hyundai i20 N Rally1

Picture by: Crimson Bull Content material Pool

“Perhaps we might have the groups near the stage, like they do in Excessive E with the tents, and having some communication like that.”

FIA Highway Sport Director Andrew Wheatley said in final week’s FIA Rally publication that “all these concepts and suggestions can be collated along with the intention to offer a blueprint, or roadmap, of how the game will evolve within the subsequent few years”.

WRC occasion director Simon Larkin confirmed final month that a number of features of the WRC are being mentioned.

“If something adjustments it will likely be for subsequent yr,” Larkin informed Autosport.

“We’re discussing format, we’re discussing technical rules and there may be ongoing dialogue on a regular basis with the FIA. The FIA make the rules and we want to verify it’s a product we will promote.”

This weekend will see a few minor tweaks to the WRC rules debuted at Rally Estonia. 

To enhance the fan expertise within the service park, WRC groups can now not intentionally impede the view of their rally vehicles whereas they’re parked of their service bay throughout official service intervals or when they’re ready to be serviced.

A brand new media zone situated inside the service park to permit followers extra alternative to see the WRC stars in between stage loops. 

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