Hey, remember WRC? That thing we used to talk about? What’s it been, like five years?
Actually it’s been seven weeks, but damn does it feel like a long time. Also, before we go any further, I should mention that this is going to be an express preview because I’m currently on a plane. I thought I’d be able to bang this out yesterday along with my packing. Turns out I’m an idiot and I only had time for one of those things. D’oh!
Rally Deutschland was another tough fantasy round as Hyundai’s two tarmac specialists both hit trouble and failed to score points. With Neuville on 96% of the fantasy rosters and Sordo on 74% this was bad news for almost everyone. For the three players who picked surprise winner Ott Tanak it was less of a disaster, as Jonathan Landry and Lumpy44 were able to ride that wave up the standings, moving up six positions and four positions in the championship respectively. Shane Hutton, who also picked Tanak and finished the week in third, actually dropped back a spot, handing the lead back to Marric due to the lowest scores being dropped, but the good haul in Germany means it’s still tight, with only four points between the two players.
Now, moving on to the next round, and we need to start by addressing the elephant in the room. As many of you know, the Spanish round of the WRC takes place in Catalunya (or Catalonia if you prefer). As many of you also know, they just had a vote on separating from Spain and becoming their own nation. While details differ on what the results of the vote was, and whether the Spanish national police on hand attacked voters/protester or vice versa, it is known that the region is in turmoil and many have been injured. I don’t know enough to speak out one way or the other on the issue, but my heart goes out to all affected by the violence and I hope the situation is resolved fairly and without any more bloodshed. We will see if the situation has any effect on the rally.
Rally de Catalunya is the championship’s only mixed surface round (unless you count Monte Carlo), and the two surfaces couldn’t possibly be any different. The first day is the gravel day, with conditions usually being dry, rough, and dusty. The second and third days take place on some of the best tarmac in the world, with the Catalunyan roads being legendarily smooth to a degree that can rival many race tracks. This is a challenging round as drivers need to excel on both surfaces to find success here. Over the last few years it’s been the land of Ogier, with Seb winning three of the last four years, and only losing the fourth due to a crash while leading on the last stage. But previous years don’t count for squat this season, so who knows what will happen. Maybe Gorban and his Mini will win the whole damn thing.
If you haven’t seen them yet, be sure to read the updated rules (in case you haven’t heard, you can now pick up to two drivers per team!). Here’s the official Entry List, and the current fantasy points spreadsheet. And while you’re at it, you can also look at the driver’s data and statistics here.
M-SPORT WORLD RALLY TEAM - FORD FIESTA RS WRC
Sebastien Ogier (FRA) - Avg last 10 rounds: 15.3 - Avg Spain: 12.3
Ott Tanak (EST) - Avg last 10 rounds: 12.8 - Avg Spain: 2.7
Elfyn Evans (GBR) - Avg last 10 rounds: 7.4 - Avg Spain: 0.0
HYUNDAI MOTORSPORT - HYUNDAI i20 COUPE WRC
Andreas Mikkelsen (NOR) - Avg last 10 rounds: 10.7 - Avg Spain: 7.8
Theirry Neuville (BEL) - Avg last 10 rounds: 13.1 - Avg Spain: 7.8
Dani Sordo (ESP) - Avg last 10 rounds: 7.6 - Avg Spain: 13.1
CITROEN TOTAL ABU DHABI WORLD RALLY TEAM - CITROEN C3 WRC
Kris Meeke (GBR) - Avg last 10 rounds: 3.9 - Avg Spain: 5.0
Khalid Al Qassimi (UAE) - Avg last 10 rounds: 0.1 - Avg Spain: 0.7
Stephane Lefebvre (FRA) - Avg last 10 rounds: 2.0 - Avg Spain: 0.0
TOYOTA GAZOO RACING WRC - TOYOTA YARIS WRC
Jari Matti Latvala (FIN) - Avg last 10 rounds: 9.9 - Avg Spain: 11.0
Juho Hanninen (FIN) - Avg last 10 rounds: 5.4 - Avg Spain: N/A
Esapekka Lappi (FIN) - Avg last 5 rounds: 7.6 - Avg Spain: N/A
SINGLE CAR TEAMS AND INDEPENDENTS:
Mads Ostberg (NOR) - FORD - Avg last 10 rounds: 4.3 - Avg Spain: 8.3
Valeriy Gorban (UKR) - MINI - Avg last 10 rounds: 00 - Avg Spain: 0.0
*Jourdan Serderidis* (ARG) - CITROEN - Avg last 3 rounds: 0.0 - Avg Spain: N/A
*Jean-Michel Raoux* (FRA) - CITROEN - Avg last 5 rounds: 0.0 - Avg Spain: N/A