The World Rally Championship heads to the Rallye Monte Carlo later this month, and good news! The 2018 cars are already out testing. Here’s a sampling of the world’s angriest little hatchbacks that will compete for total rally domination this year.
To say that we’re in love with these cars doesn’t quite feel adequate. They have big flares, ridiculous wings and canards, loud anti-lag systems and suspension built for mad jumps. We’re in...what’s something beyond love? That. Here’s a car-by-car breakdown of some of this year’s best testing videos.
Not much is changing for this year in terms of how all of these cars are spec’d. The entire top class of cars, this Yaris included, still run 1.6-liter turbocharged inline four-cylinder engines that make somewhere around 380 horsepower.
As for Toyota specifically, once again, Jari-Matti Latvala shows off the Yaris we really want. Like all rally cars, this Yaris is based off Toyota’s humble road-going economy car, only now it’s a rally peanut rocketing off the line.
But the best Toyota test video I’ve seen yet wasn’t around Monte Carlo—it was an earlier test in Finland, where the team went to do some winter testing in heavier snow. Of note: Latvala’s sideways jump in this is beyond rad.
Here’s some more beautiful Yaris WRC footage from Monte Carlo, though—just for good measure.
Citroën had a rather meh 2017 with only two wins earned by driver Kris Meeke, who had a hard time not crashing, breaking down, or retiring early from rallies. At times, it felt like their cars had musical chairs for drivers’ seats, constantly searching for someone who could drive the car well. They had hoped to woo five-time WRC winner Sébastien Ogier away from M-Sport in hopes of fixing this team, but couldn’t.
But man, listen to it. It’s hard not to fall in love with that low off-throttle grumble. Every time Kris Meeke lets off the gas, it sounds like he’s gargling with boulders.
Get it together, Citroën! Your car sounds too good to be meh.
The British M-Sport won everything in 2017: WRC manufacturers’, drivers’ and codrivers’ titles. They won the additional backing from Ford that convinced the championship-winning driver and codriver duo of Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia to stay with the team.
M-Sport has been the lone team acting as a manufacturer in the WRC despite not having the full factory backing of the likes of Toyota, Citroën or Hyundai. If this Fiesta isn’t a total beast next year, it will be the letdown of the century.
Now that Ford is officially back even as part of M-Sport’s team name, this car has to deliver. They’re better funded, they kept Ogier and most of all, the car looks delightfully, ludicrously quick.
Last, but not least, is the car that I can definitely say—without any shred of a doubt—is the greatest Hyundai ever made: the i20 WRC. Holy crap, this car is quick.
Andreas Mikkelsen was the last person to win for the now-defunct Volkswagen WRC team, and he looked like he was steadily advancing towards a championship of his own there. Dieselgate quashed that career path.
The Norwegian found himself in the same boat as Ogier, but without the four championships to his name, he spent much of his 2017 season outside of a rally car. But now he’s landed at Hyundai after an impressive showing in one-off races last season.
As a team, Hyundai and its drivers aren’t any slouch, either. Hyundai came in second last year in the manufacturers’ standings.