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Hybrid cars enter the WRC championship at the Monte Carlo Rally

Thierry Neuville tests Hyundai hybrid. ©  Hyundai Motorsport / Romain Thuillier

With the Monte Carlo Rally (20-23 January), rallying enters a new era. At least as far as the top teams Toyota, Hyundai and M-Sport are concerned. From now on they will start hybrid cars that are no longer considered WRC, but Rally1.

BelgianSource: BELGIAN

Just as hybrid cars are on the rise in everyday life, the three brands are now also focusing on hybrid cars in the World Rally Championship. Hyundai, Toyota and Ford are launching a car equipped with a 100 kW electric motor powered by the same 1.6-litre turbo petrol engine that has been powering the cars since 2017. The batteries are charged overnight. In the morning the electric motor is activated and the drivers silently leave the assistance zone. On the way to a classification stage, partly on electricity, partly on petrol. The electric motor is switched on in village and city centers. In all-electric mode, the Rally1 cars have up to 10 km of all-electric range. Power is limited to 50 percent to extend battery life. When a town or city is abandoned, the petrol engine comes back to life. Every time the driver brakes or lets the car roll out, the battery pack is charged and the hybrid system recovers energy.

When the lights turn green at the start, the driver can use the 100 kW electric motor of 134 hp and the 380 hp of the turbo engine. This Stage Start Mode is available for a maximum of 10 seconds or until the driver releases the accelerator pedal or applies the brake pedal for the first time. During the classification stage, it is up to the rider to use the electrical energy stored in the battery as efficiently as possible. In Stage Mode, energy is used when accelerating and recovered when braking. In order to use the hybrid boost again, the rider must develop sufficient regeneration energy by braking. Braking recovery is limited to 30 kW, regardless of how hard the brakes are applied. The power available at acceleration is 100kW. So over the length of a stage, the battery will run out. When a car finishes and comes to a stop, the whole process starts all over again. In addition to recovering energy on the road, the battery can be charged by a plug-in power supply in the service park. Charging from 20 to 80 percent takes about 20 minutes.

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