The hybrid WRCs, the biggest attraction of the RallyRACC

The 57th RallyRACC Catalunya Costa Daurada, which starts today with Salou as the epicenter, is packed with novelties both in sporting and mechanical terms, and is also the stage where the new hybrid units will meet for the first time in our country.

On its 50th anniversary, the World Rally Championship is experiencing a revolution throughout this campaign after the introduction of the new hybrid Rally1s, responsible for retiring the already extinct WRCs of the 2017 generation.

Although the new cars are not as sophisticated from a mechanical and aerodynamic point of view, they do have an electrical system that joins the 1.6 turbo engines used by the teams since 2017. It is an engine that provides 380hp of power to the to add the 135hp of the recently added electric motor and a 3.9kWh capacity battery.

All in all, the pilots have more than 500hp of power at certain times while the electric motor is used in the liaison areas or to reduce carbon emissions.

Rovanperä arrives in Coronado

In sporting terms, the Drivers' World Championship arrives in Salou sentenced after the Finnish Toyota duo formed by Kalle Rovanperä and Jonne Halttunen mathematically secured the title in New Zealand at the beginning of the month.

Rovanperä thus signed his first crown in the top flight after a brilliant season with six wins in his locker and a second place in his native Finland as best results. The one from Toyota will land in Salou without the pressure of fighting for a World Cup that, for a few weeks, has already been dancing to the tune of the young promise Suomi.

On the other hand, the constructors' title is still in full swing and the RallyRACC could be the stage in which he decides to side with Toyota which, at the start of the test, leads Hyundai Motorsport by 81 points, captained since this season by Julien Moncet.

The runner-up, at stake

The fight for the runner-up position between Hyundai drivers Ott Tänak -who achieved his only WRC title at the 2019 RallyRACC- and the winner of the last two editions of the RallyRACC, Thierry Neuville, both separated by 27 points, also continues. In fourth place overall and with few options, British rider Elfyn Evans (Toyota) is 57 points behind second place with 60 at stake.

Dani Sordo, the only Spanish flag bearer in the WRC, is still immersed in a partial program with the Hyundai team. Sordo has contested three rallies so far this season, all of them on gravel and, therefore, the RallyRACC will be the stage in which the Spaniard makes his debut on asphalt with the new Hyundai i20 N Rally1.

At 39 years old, Sordo is experiencing a second youth and, since he obtained third position in Salou last season, he has chained a total of five podiums, finishing third in all the rallies he has contested since then. Sordo should not be excluded from the equation of the fight for the victory of the Rally of Spain, especially after the performance shown in 2021 when he won the last four stages held on Sunday, thus beating a whole Sébastien Ogier in his particular contention for the podium .

Given that the continuity of the RallyRACC in the 2023 WRC calendar seems unrealistic, Sordo could be facing his last chance to finally win a Catalunya.

The test starts today, Thursday at 9:00 a.m. with the Shakedown, which for the second consecutive year will be located at Coll de la Teixeta. Then, in the afternoon, the official start ceremony will be held at 7:00 p.m. from the podium installed on Passeig Jaume I in Salou, an outstanding epicenter since this urban area and close to the sea will also see the celebration of the last special test timed for the day on Saturday.

The work park and the sports center will be based, as usual and throughout the rally, in PortAventura. The planned route has a total itinerary of 1,330.91 km, of which 293.77 km are speed divided into 19 timed sections on asphalt.

In addition to scoring for all the World Championships, this year the 57 RallyRACC will also score for four promotion championships: two are held in rallies distributed throughout the Iberian Peninsula (Peugeot and Toyota), another in Spanish territory (Suzuki) and one strictly in Catalan tests (Volant RACC-Trofeu Mavisa).

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