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World Rally Championship Moves Into Hybrid Electric Era, Refreshed Production for 2022

22/11/2021

World Rally Championship moves into hybrid electric era and refreshed production for 2022 By Heather McLean, Editor

Thursday, November 18, 2021 - 11:33

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World Rally Championship at Rally Spain 2021 gave fans the drivers-eye view with upgraded onboard cameras from NEP Finland

FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) is moving into a new hybrid era for the 2022 season, which is set to bring fans a new-look production and added excitement to the sport's 50th anniversary year.

Rally Monza, taking place this weekend (19 to 21 November,) marks not only the end of the 2021 season but the end of the Championship's 100% petrol-based vehicles.

WRC is going hybrid for the 2022 season as part of governing body FIA's overall plan for all its motorsports. The reason WRC is going hybrid rather than purely electric like World Rallycross (World RX) is the distances involved in WRC, which make it impossible at this point in the development of electric cars to go 100% electric.

This [hybrid era] is going to be really exciting because on the one side the cars will have a different performance and more power, but also for the drivers, they will have more power on certain parts of the stages, and to really see and make this visible for the fans are our new TV graphics, which are the essential part for this

The competitive distances as well as the liaison distances are vast in WRC; a rally may cover around 330 kilometres competitively, plus the liaison distances to and from the service park to the stages, and stage to stage, add around another 1,000 kilometres. All those distances on just electric, with the charging times and so on, would not be doable. So for the FIA and for the manufacturers, the plug-in hybrids, what we're working with, is the way to go, states Florian Ruth, WRC Promoter's senior director for content and communication.

New look and feel

For the new era of WRC as the rally goes hybrid, the entire broadcast is getting a new look and feel to reflect the change, and also to give viewers new data and information that these hybrid vehicles bring to the storytelling of each race.

Speaking to SVG Europe, Ruth explains: One of the big things we're rolling out [for next season] is a new look and feel. We're rolling out a new graphic package, which will change the complete design, and also the functionality as we're moving to a new era of the WRC. We're moving towards the hybrid era of the WRC and in the broadcast it's very important to show this technology and to make it touchable and feasible for the audience.

We are designing and inventing complete new graphics to really make this hybrid kit completely touchable for the audience how much battery power the cars have, how much power they use, how much they regenerate all this we will make visible next year for the fans to really understand the new technology and the additional power the cars have.

Ruth continues: This is going to be really exciting because on the one side the cars will have a different performance and more power, but also for the drivers, they will have more power on certain parts of the stages, and to really see and make this visible for the fans are our new TV graphics, which are the essential part for this. This is a completely additional way of storytelling in the new hybrid era.

Ruth continues: This year we have tried to prepare our broadcast system for the new hybrid era next year. We've launched a new, smaller, more agile line cut trucks, where we really can capture a stage, and relocate within couple of hours to another stage, and do a live broadcast. [This means] we can use a variety of trucks at different stages on a single day.

2022 will see WRC entering a new hybrid era of the sport, which will also bring in a new look and feel for the entire production

Normally we would have the big trucks and a lot of cables to be pulled, but now we have very small trucks with a very efficient technical fibre which we can roll out in the absolute minimum time. So our cameras broadcast the stage and after the stage we pack up, go to the next stage, and broadcast live again. Our whole broadcast benefits from this system, Ruth says.

While all the stages in a rally are broadcast, some are only on air with the over the top (OTT) platform, WRC+ All Live. Up until now, those All Live stages have not been produced up to the same quality as those intended for television, but during 2021 WRC Promoter has run trials and bought those up to the same format level.

Says Ruth, that was a very positive test this year; we had big successes [with it] and that's the direction we want to continue in the future .

Crowds and camera angles

On new directions, upgraded onboard cameras are already adding to the viewers enjoyment of WRC, says Ruth. He comments: We've just come back from Rally Spain where it could've been possible that Sebastian OJ claimed the title, but he didn't, so it was really exciting and a really thrilling race.

The Spain rally was the first this season where fans have been able to attend WRC en masse, without any restrictions. Adds Ruth: It was so good to see packed stages again, to see the fans coming back. So after a year and a half more or less of fan absence, this is all is going in a good direction.

Having the fans back at WRC stages makes a significant difference to the broadcast, says Ruth. In Spain, one roundabout has given viewers amazing footage thanks to the new onboard cameras developed by NEP Finland. The new cameras are called Orat II.

Especially at Rally Spain, there are some absolutely remarkable places at the stages, states Ruth. There's one roundabout with some steep hills on the side, which were completely packed with people, and the drivers had to do a donut there and obviously, at those moments, we g
LINK: https://www.svgeurope.org/blog/headlines/world-rally-championship-move...
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