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The new AP4 rally car category introduced recently was designed to provide a common set of regulations between Australia and New Zealand, however, already there are differences that are providing some angst amongst competitors and car builders.

Hayden Paddon's new Hyundai i20, seen here in testing this week, is fitted with a 1.8 litre Sonata engine.

The AP4 regulations, adopted jointly by CAMS and Motorsport NZ, covers the introduction of the ‘Maxi’-type cars.  These cars, originally developed by Baratec in Argentina, consist of a modified bodyshell with controlled dimensions for parity and a standard ‘kit’ of parts specifically designed to reduce build and ongoing running costs for competitors.

Mark Pedder’s Peugeot 208 ‘Maxi’ car, imported and built by RaceTorque in WA, is an example of the type of car permitted under the AP4 regulations.

But cars running under the “AP4” banner in this year’s New Zealand Rally Championship have been allowed greater freedoms, with cars able to run 1.8 litre engines instead of the regulated 1.6 litre motors.

The AP4 regulations allow each country to determine the engine capacity for cars competing in the respective National Championships. Motorsport NZ has allowed the larger capacity engines as an interim step to ensure that new cars built to the AP4 platform are competitive with the existing cars competing in the NZRC.

Hayden Paddon’s new Hyundai New Zealand i20 will run a 1.8 litre Sonata engine, a six-speed Sadev transmission and body panels from a 2015 Hyundai i20 World Rally Car.

Other cars running in the AP4 class at the Otago Rally, the opening round of the New Zealand Rally Championship, are Andrew Hawkeswood’s Mazda 2, Emma Gilmour’s Suzuki Swift, and Glenn Inkster’s Skoda Fabia.

UPDATE: Hyundai to develop 1.6 litre engine for i20 AP4.

- Peter Whitten

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