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Stellantis motorsport chief gives verdict on WRC future vision

The proposed changes to World Rally Championship Rally1 regulations for 2025 and 2026 doesn’t interest the Stellantis Group, but the car maker is keeping a watching brief on 2027 rules.

Yohan Rossel, Arnaud Dunand, DG Sport Competition Citroen C3 Rally2

The FIA released its roadmap for the future of the WRC in February, which it hopes will attract new manufacturers to the championship.

Included in a raft of proposals are technical changes to both Rally1 and Rally2 classes. The tweaks to the rules for 2025 and 2026 include the removal of hybrid power, a reduction in the aero, achieved by a modified rear wing, and a smaller air restrictor, to bring the Rally1 cars closer to Rally2 vehicle performance. The proposal also includes a plan to introduce an upgrade kit to Rally2 cars.

The FIA has also released guidelines for 2027 which take the form of Rally1 cars being capped at 400,000 euros and based around the current Rally1 concept.

The cars will feature a larger spaceframe chassis utilising a common safety cell to reduce costs and allow both manufacturers and tuners to develop cars. The chassis will be able to accommodate bodywork based on cars in the B class, C class, compact, SUV and concept car segments and will produce approximately 330 horsepower.

The Stellantis Group, which owns many brands including Alfa Romeo, Citroen, Fiat, Lancia, Opel and Peugeot, is currently represented in the WRC at WRC2 level through Citroen. From Stellantis’ vast portfolio of brands, Citroen most recently competed at the top of the WRC before exiting at the end of 2019.

When asked if the proposals regarding Rally1’s future direction interest Stellantis, its customer racing manager Didier Clement told Autosport: “We don’t know. We take part in the discussion with the FIA regarding the regulations.

"We have no interest at all for the 2025 and 2026 regulations in regards to the current Rally1, but for 2027 we will work with all the manufacturers and the FIA. How do we see the future right now? You never know.”

Pressed specifically on the changes for 2027, he added: “The FIA has done a good job. The technical department do a really good job. In terms of promotion, we have to increase it a bit like everyone said but everybody is in the same line and want the same thing. We want to keep the WRC at a good level.”

One of the group’s brands, Lancia, has gone on record to state that it is “working” on a rally return in recent months, but Clement says this “dream” can only be discussed once regulations are in place. It is understood, as it stands, Rally4 offers the most feasible option for a Lancia return.     

“Firstly, it is a dream for everybody because Lancia has history and memories but right now before we think about a Lancia return you have to discuss the regulations. We base our strategy on regulations, and it is not fixed right now so it is definitely too soon,” he added.

It also seems likely that Stellantis, through its Citroen arm, doesn’t have any desire to produce an upgrade kit for its C3 Rally2 car to create a Rally2 Plus option for competitors. 

“We do not think that WRC2 Plus should be helpful for WRC Rally1,” added Clement. “As soon as you consider that WRC2 Plus will be slower than the Rally1 and when you consider that WRC2 Plus will have no chance to win any rallies overall, it doesn’t help.” 

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