January 2022 Preview

With a new year comes a new season of racing action, and some series will be starting their 2022 campaign’s this month.

World Rally Championship (WRC)

The WRC is set to begin its 2022 season with Rally Monte Carlo between 20-23 January. It is, at the time of writing, one of 13 rounds schedule for the series this year.

This season will also see the competitive introduction of the Rally1 era of cars that Toyota, Hyundai and M-Sport Ford have been busy testing over the last year. This new era will usher in hybrid drivetrains into the WRC.

The 2021 champion Sebastien Ogier is due to contest this month’s rally, although it will be one of a select few rallies the Frenchman will contest this season as he reduces his full-time participation in the WRC to part-time. With the retirement of long time co-driver Julien Ingrassia, Ogier will be partnered with Benjamin Veillas at Monte Carlo.

Image” by Nico Quatrevingtsix is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Also due to return to the WRC this month is Sebastien Loeb who has agreed a deal to drive one of M-Sport Ford’s Pumas in this month’s rally. It is, at the time of writing, uncertain as to how many more rallies Loeb will contest in the WRC during 2022.

Last season the Rally Monte Carlo event was won by Sebastien Ogier ahead of Toyota teammate Elfyn Evans with the top three being completed by the Hyundai of Thierry Neuville.

Formula E

The other racing series set to get underway this month is Formula E with a double header of races in Diriyah, Saudi Arabia, between 28-29 January. This month’s pair of races are currently expected to form a 16 round calendar.

This season is the last of the Gen2 cars and is also set to be the final season for the defending teams’ champion, Mercedes, who will leave the series at the end of 2022.

Embed from Getty Images

Despite plenty of rumours surrounding a potential switch to Formula 1, reigning drivers’ champion Nyck de Vries will be defending his title. Once again driving one of the Mercedes cars, alongside Stoffel Vandoorne.

The Audi entry has disappeared off the grid, with Abt having been unable to takeover the entry in time for registration for this season. It therefore means that Rene Rast has left the series while Lucas di Grassi has moved over to Venturi Racing for this season, taking over the seat previously occupied by Norman Nato.

Embed from Getty Images

The other manufacturer to have withdrawn last season was BMW who had linked up with the Andretti Formula E Team. The American outfit have remained in the series for this season and have retained Jake Dennis and brought in Oliver Askew to replace Maximilian Gunther.

This season will also see Formula E use a different qualifying format, ditching the ever growing unpopular group qualifying format which saw drivers go out in reverse championship order. Therefore expect there to potentially be more repeat race winners and for only a few drivers to still be in contention to win the title come the final race of the season.

Diriyah held a double header last season, the first being won by Nyck de Vries ahead of Edoardo Mortara and Mitch Evans. The second race saw Sam Bird take victory ahead of Robin Frijns and Antonio Felix da Costa.

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