WRC Rally New Zealand: Everything you need to know

by Keven S. Reinhart
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This weekend marks New Zealand’s long-awaited return to the WRC Rally New Zealand. With Kalle Rovanpera so close to winning the title, a historic achievement may be in the cards.

WRC Rally New Zealand

The 21-year-old championship leader Rovanpera only needs to increase his 53-point title lead by eight points to become the youngest ever world rally champion; therefore, all eyes will be on the battle for the WRC crown, which may be sewn up Down Under.

Despite this, Rovanpera is not in peak condition as he heads to New Zealand following two out-of-character crashes in Belgium and the Acropolis Rally. The odds have never been better for the Finn to become the youngest ever world champion than they are right now. Colin McRae set the record in 1995 at the age of 27.

After a slow start to the season, Hyundai has exploded in the second half, winning the past three events thanks to triumphs by Tanak in Finland and Belgium and Neuville at the head of a historic Hyundai 1-2-3 in Greece. This means that Hyundai will present a formidable challenge to Rovanpera.

On the other hand, Toyota should have a stronger showing in New Zealand, where the GR Yaris should be at home on the roads. To be sure, Elfyn Evans and the eight-time world champion Ogier will be among those vying for the top spots on the leaderboard.

After losing Adrien Fourmaux, M-Sport will field a three-car team. Craig Breen, who had the impressive speed to finish fifth in Greece, and Gus Greensmith, a seasoned veteran, will be in charge of the trio. The team also has a privateer entry for Italian Lorenzo Bertelli, who last competed in a WRC event in the Safari Rally Kenya in 2018.

How to watch WRC Rally New Zealand?

You can expect news, commentary, and analysis from Autosport. Highlights from each 2022 WRC round will be featured on Motorsport. Tv regularly, both during and after the event. Invoiced TV, Every rally round will be broadcast live on WRC Plus All Live. BT Sport will broadcast every game live, and air daily highlight shows this season. U.K. broadcasting that is available to the public without a. You can also watch it on FuboTV

What is World Rally Championship?

Since its addition to the WRC calendar in 1977, WRC Rally New Zealand has consistently been a fan favorite among drivers thanks to its reputation for having some of the greatest fast and flowing gravel stages in the world. The roads are so well-respected among the competing teams that the event was named “Rally of the Year” in 2001.

First held in Taupo in 1969, the event moved to the North Island in 1971. After calling Hamilton home from 2006 to 2008, the event is again making its home in Auckland.

In 2020 and 2021, New Zealand was scheduled to host another WRC event after not hosting one since 2012. However, the event was postponed because of the COVID-19 epidemic. The rally’s headquarters will once again be in Auckland, and the course will include fast, flowing gravel roads with cambered curves that weave through woods and along New Zealand’s picture-perfect coastline.

The second closest finish in World Rally Championship history occurred at the WRC Rally New Zealand. At the end of the 2007 race, which covered more than 350 kilometers, Marcus Gronholm beat Sebastien Loeb by 0.3 seconds. Rally Jordan in 2011 was the closest race, with Ogier edging Jari-Matti Latvala by only two-tenths of a second.

Related: FIA World Rallycross Championship 2022 Montalegre, Portugal

First place finishers in the WRC rally in New Zealand 

Since the first World Rally Championship event in WRC Rally Zealand in 1977, 20 drivers have taken home the gold. Marcus Gronholm, the two-time world champion and current WRC Rally New Zealand championship leader, continues to dominate the sport.

Having not lost in eight years and racking up five victories. He won his first in 2000 while driving for Peugeot and his last in 2007 while behind the wheel of an M-Sport Ford.

Besides Gronholm’s four wins, Colin McRae’s three-peat for Subaru from 1993 to 1995 puts him in second place after Carlos Sainz, who has won three times.

Like New Zealander and former Hyundai WRC factory driver Hayden Paddon, Sebastien Loeb is a three-time winner. However, his victories have come in editions featured outside the WRC. Loeb won in 2012 when New Zealand was last a part of the WRC. With six victories, Subaru has more than any other brand in the competition.

Time table for the WRC Rally New Zealand

There will be 17 stages totaling 276.44km spread out across four days of competition in this year’s event.

Thursday, September 29:

Starting at 0900 hours local time: shakedown

Phase 1: Begins at 06:08 BST/18:08 GMT; Local Time Starts at

Friday, September 30: (6 stages – 157.98km)

Time: 20:33 (British Summer Time; 8:33 a.m. in the Americas)

Saturday, October 1:(6 steps – 88.12km)

2008 BST (or 0808 local) is the start of Stage 8 (Stage 13).

Sunday, October 2: (4 stages – 30.34km)

Beginning at 03:18 BST (15:18 local), Stages 14–17–the Final Stage–begin.

Road order for the Rally New Zealand Entry List (Rally1)

There will be 28 cars competing in the WRC Rally New Zealand, with 10 being Rally1 competitors.

#69 Kalle Rovanpera/Jonne Halttunen – Toyota Gazoo Racing – GR Yaris Rally1

#8 Ott Tanak/Martin Jarveoja – Hyundai Motorsport – i20 N Rally1

#11 Thierry Neuville/Martijn Wydaeghe – Hyundai Motorsport – i20 N Rally1

#33 Elfyn Evans/Scott Martin – Toyota Gazoo Racing – GR Yaris Rally1

#18 Takamoto Katsuta/Aaron Johnston – Toyota Gazoo Racing – GR Yaris Rally1

#42 Craig Breen/Paul Nagle – M-Sport Ford World Rally Team – Puma

#44 Gus Greensmith/Jonas Andersson – M-Sport Ford World Rally Team – Puma Rally1

#1 Sebastien Ogier/Benjamin Veillas – Toyota Gazoo Racing – GR Yaris Rally1

#2 Oliver Solberg/ Elliott Edmondson – Hyundai Motorsport – i20 N Rally1

#37 Lorenzo Bertelli/Simone Scattolin- M-Sport Ford World Rally Team – Puma Rally1

What’s new for WRC in 2022?

New Rally1 regulations were implemented this year to make the WRC more environmentally friendly and appealing to more car companies. As a direct result, Hyundai, Toyota, and M-Sport Ford have all developed brand-new vehicles based on a safer, steel spaceframe chassis.

The 1.6-liter turbocharged internal combustion engine is the sole major component left over from the previous generation of automobiles. Still, it has been paired with a required 100kW hybrid unit, the biggest modification to the cars. Together, these improvements will enable the powertrain to produce 500 horsepower, which may be deployed in quick bursts at any given phase.

Adding a hybrid system to a car will make it up to 70 kilograms heavier than its predecessor. Vehicles in Rally1 will average about 1260 kilograms (kg) in mass.

Outside of the front splitter and the rear wing, the use of other aerodynamic devices such as wings and flicks has been practically banned due to the new regulations. About 15 percent less downforce is generated and applied to the car than in the previous generation.

The usage of complex center differentials, which were previously utilized to fine-tune handling, has been outlawed in favor of standard front and rear mechanical limited-slip differentials that distribute a constant 50:50 toque split between the wheels. Only 270 millimeters of suspension travel are now allowed.

Exactly how does the Rally1 hybrid system function?

Hybrid power will be available to drivers at all times, with acceleration increases available via the accelerator pedal and additional increases unlocked via energy regeneration while braking.

The next time a pilot presses the gas pedal, they will have to wait until 30 kilojoules have restored their energy levels before being given another boost.

The additional 130 hp is supplied via one of three unique homologated engine maps that the teams can choose from depending on the nature of the stage and the weather. The FIA and event organizers have decided that drivers must travel specific stretches of road and areas around event service parks in full electric mode.

The car can travel 20 kilometers on electric power alone, and its 3.9KWH battery, which can handle up to 750 volts, can be recharged in 30 minutes at the service park. The hybrid system has a high impact tolerance and withstanding forces of 70G.

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