Just three rounds left in this incredible season, and the title fight is still red hot. Last year Turkey shook things up, with Ogier and Neuville being forced to super rally and then third-place Tanak winning the event to put himself back in the fight. This year the roles were reversed. Tanak, with a sizable lead coming in, was sidelined yet again by a random mechanical issue with the Toyota, forcing him to super rally. Ogier, coming into the event third in points and a massive 40 points behind Tanak, put in one of his best drives of the year, winning the rally in traditional Ogier fashion and moving himself up to second in the championship, now 17 points back. Neuville, finishing eighth, also managed to take a few points off Tanak, bringing the gap between those two down to 30, which means any of the three drivers could be leading after Wales.
In the fantasy championship Tanak’s struggle and the success of some less common names threw many players for a loop. Lappi, who didn’t appear on a single roster, finished second in Turkey, followed by a similarly ignored Mikkelsen (5 rosters), Suninen (7 rosters), and Sordo (6 rosters). Tell a Finn managed to take the round win, thanks to having both Mikkelsen and Suninen. Championship leader FreddsterExprs came in a close second, only differing on the power stage pick, which allowed him to essentially double his championship lead to 13 points over RubyLocks. However, now that we’re into the score drop portion of the season the title isn’t determined by any means.
Wales. We all know it, we all love it. Rally GB is wet, slippery, foggy, twisty, and yet surprisingly quick. In recent years the event has become the playground of Seb Ogier, winning five of the last six years, but Evans and Latvala have both stood on top of the box here (Latvala twice), and last year Tanak was dominating until an impact to the sump took him out of the race. Speaking of Evans, the elf is finally back after missing the last three rounds due to a back injury. M-Sport will be running three cars as Pontus Tidemand will be back as well. Also making a return is Craig Breen in the third Hyundai.
M-SPORT FORD WRT - FORD FIESTA RS WRC
Elfyn Evans (GBR) - Avg last 10 rounds: 9.7 - Avg Wales: 10.8
Pontus Tidemand (SWE) - Avg last 5 rounds: 2.0 - Avg Wales: N/A
Teemu Suninen (FIN) - Avg last 10 rounds: 7.2 - Avg Wales: 0.0
HYUNDAI SHELL MOBIS WRT - HYUNDAI I20 COUPE WRC
Craig Breen (IRL) - Avg last 10 rounds: 5.0 - Avg Wales: 4.0
Thierry Neuville (BEL) - Avg last 10 rounds: 12.7 - Avg Wales: 10.9
Andreas Mikkelsen (NOR) - Avg last 10 rounds: 8.6 - Avg Wales: 7.5
TOYOTA GAZOO RACING WRT - TOYOTA YARIS WRC
Jari-Matti Latvala (FIN) - Avg last 10 rounds: 5.9 - Avg Wales: 12.7
Ott Tänak (EST) - Avg last 10 rounds: 16.5 - Avg Wales: 5.3
Kris Meeke (GBR) - Avg last 10 rounds: 6.1 - Avg Wales: 10.8
CITROËN TOTAL ABU DHABI WRT - CITROËN C3 WRC
Sebastien Ogier (FRA) - Avg last 10 rounds: 13.2 - Avg Wales: 15.6
Esapekka Lappi (FIN) - Avg last 10 rounds: 7.8 - Avg Wales: 8.5