Last month, the world motorsport governing body released a raft of proposals designed to improve top-level rallying that included widespread changes to technical and sporting regulations.

The proposals, which the FIA ​​wishes to ratify in June, include changes to the Rally1 class that will be implemented next year, two years before the end of the agreed homologation cycle. Hybrid power is set to be removed from the cars, which will also undergo a reduction in performance and aerodynamics to bring them closer into line with Rally2 cars.

In addition to this, an upgrade kit, priced at around €5,000, will be made available to Rally2 cars to create a “Rally2 Plus” car capable of competing with the top class. This will form part of a transitional period until new Rally1 regulations – based on the current car but capped at €400,000 – are introduced in 2026, forming the basis of the top class for 2027 onwards.

The technical changes for next year have so far been met negatively by WRC teams while Hyundai’s Thierry Neuville you have strongly opposed the call.

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Speaking to media about the changes for the first time at Safari Rally Kenya, two-time world champion Kalle Rovanpera said the changes to the cars for 2025 made “no sense”.

“For sure, it [the cars] will be less [pleasure to drive] than now. There are some good things about the new ideas, but there is also the car thing [changes] which makes no sense for me, to make a big hassle for two years and use more money to make two classes that will never be fully equal or connected.

“Yes, I understand them [the FIA] want more cars on the same main class on the start list but that is it. “They should focus now to make the new rules for 2027 and then maybe hopefully we will see new teams coming.”

Kalle Rovanperä, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT

Kalle Rovanperä, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT

Photo by: Toyota Racing

Asked if stability in the regulations was needed, he added: “Exactly, that [stability] has been the issue. So far there has been no real plan for the future, so no new teams come. If you reduce the costs and make the cars whatever you want, but make it for two years later – but this transition phase I don’t really understand.”

It appears the majority of the Rally1 drivers share the same view. Rovanpera’s Toyota team-mate Elfyn Evans also believes the focus should be on 2027.

“Personally, I think we should stay as we are and focus on doing a proper job for 2027,” he said. “I think there is a big job to do to fix this and I think, ultimately there is a commitment for the next years anyway, we should forget about what is happening in the next two years and make a proper plan for 2027.”

Hyundai’s Ott Tanak suggested that the decision to make changes for next year was “working against” manufacturers.

“It doesn’t matter what the drivers say, it is more about keeping the manufacturers happy,” he said.

“We have only limited manufacturers at the moment and even with the situation of where we are at the moment, we are working against the manufacturers that are sticking to the sport, which is a bit strange behavior.”

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