Safer WRC Rally1 chassis “probably saved us” in the test crash


Neuville has paid further praise to the new stronger and safer 2022 WRC chassis after he and his co-driver Martijn Wydaeghe got away relatively unscathed after falling into a ravine.

Speaking to Autosport, Neuville stated that the couple had been caught driving in difficult weather conditions and went off the road after braking.

Unfortunately, behind the road it went steeply into a valley, which resulted in a severe impact that significantly damaged the car.

While Neuville climbed out of the wreck unharmed, Wydaeghe suffered a shoulder injury that had to be treated by paramedics and operated on in the hospital. Wydaeghe announced this week that he expects to be fit for the Rally Monte Carlo season opener in January.

Neuville has already been impressed with the FIA’s new stronger and safer Rally1 chassis and believes it did not suffer any serious injuries in the crash.

“Basically we had very challenging conditions and we tested a few new things on the car,” said Neuville.

“We were simply surprised and braked straight ahead. We couldn’t do anything and right behind the bend there was a depth of 30 meters. We basically fell into this drop.

“There was no reason for me to be scared. But it was a big impact, definitely the crash was small, but the drop was very big.

“We left, but Martijn hurt his collarbone a bit, but nothing else.

“As for safety, we mentioned earlier that the FIA ​​seems to have done an amazing job again and continues to push for more safety.

“The structure of the new cars is completely different.

“From that point of view, it’s another big step forward and has probably saved us too. The fall was pretty deep and the security cage did its job. “

Ott Tanak, Hyundai i20 N Rally1

Photo by: Hervé Tusoli

Neuville is expected to resume its test program of Hyundai’s redesigned i20 Rally1 Hybrid next week on the team’s test base in Germany.

After having had limited trips in the car before the accident, the 33-year-old confirmed that the new i20 is “completely different” and better in several areas than Hyundai’s Rally1 prototype, which did most of the testing in 2022 .

“The car is the version we’re going to be using, is for sure a completely different car,” he added. “Everything is new again, so I can’t say much more. Everything is better and I can’t say more.”

Hyundai is about to introduce the new Rally1 hybrid regulations by the WRC without its charismatic team boss Andrea Adamo, who has left the team with immediate effect for personal reasons.

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