FIA introduces rule to make WRC Rally1 cars louder in EV mode

Following a a discussion during last week’s World Motor Sport Council in Bahrain, the world motorsport governing body has ratified a new rule which will be enforced from 1 May.

The new regulation will require WRC teams Toyota, Hyundai and M-Sport-Ford to fit a sound module to their respective cars, which must produce a minimum of 80dB of sound in an open area at two metres from the front and from the rear of the vehicle, and at a one metre height from ground level.

The sound module will activate when EV mode is engaged and will shut down when the vehicle speed is higher than 30km/h.

The WRC introduced its new Rally1 hybrid cars, powered by 100% sustainable fuel, last year as the championship made its first step towards a more sustainable and environmentally friendly future.

As part of the regulations, the cars, each fitted with a 100kW electric motor, designed by Compact Dynamics, are required to run using only EV mode in and around the service park.

Drivers are also forced to run in electric mode during designated HEV zones in rallies located on road sections, a move designed to cut noise pollution and reduce the disruption when cars pass through towns and villages on their way to stages.

It is understood the change to the regulations has been made for safety reasons. Following the relaxation of Covid-19 protocols, service parks now feature more people walking in and around the cars. The matter of car noise when EV mode is engaged was however raised in a media briefing at the Monte Carlo Rally in January.

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

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

Photo by: Red Bull Content Pool

Rally Portugal (11-14 May) will be the first round where the new rule will be enforced.

The World Rally Championship heads to Mexico next week for its first gravel round of the season, before returning to Europe in April for Rally Croatia ahead of the visit to Portugal.

Ott Tanak currently leads the standings ahead of 2022 champion Kalle Rovanpera, with Thierry Neuville in third.

Tanak won last time out in Sweden, with Sebastian Ogier having claimed victory at the season-opening Rally Monte Carlo.

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