The WRC is off to South America, and for the first time ever the trip is a double feature.
Corsica provided a few surprises, starting with all three Toyota drivers somehow managing to lose tires to pointy rocks at a tarmac rally and ending with Evans almost winning the whole thing just to lose it to Neuville on the final stage in a heartbreaker (why does that sound familiar).
A lack of Evans on almost every roster and a heavy presence of Toyota drivers means while everyone scored decent points (every pick finished in the top ten) no one had a real runaway. TurboThomi’s 72 points was the lowest winning score so far and the top 7 all scored within five points of him. Also, I finally replaced my computer, which means I can do this:
Now we move on to Argentina, the first of two South American rounds this year (welcome to the WRC, Chile). Argentina is a high altitude challenge filled with rocky (sorry, Toyota), twisty stages. Once the playground of Loeb the event has seen five different winners in the five years since the eldger Sebsman retired. Shockingly while four of those five are competing this year Ogier isn’t on that list. Seb Jr, despite finishing on the podium four times, has never won in Argentina. Who has? Latvala (2014), Meeke (2015), Neuville (2017), Tanak (2018), and Sir Not-Appearing-In-This-Feature (Hayden Paddon) in 2016. With three of those four past winners now driving Toyotas you’ll be forced to leave at least one of these winners off your roster. Best of luck choosing which one. While never winning here, Evans, Mikkelsen, and Sordo have all found the podium in Argentina before. In fact the only entrants who haven’t are the two Finns, Suninen and Lappi, who only had their first ever taste of Argentine gravel last year. Also of note, there are only ten WRC cars entered in this event, and this rally always kills cars. There will be WRC2 cars finishing in the top 10. Is this the time to roll the dice and pick a few?
M-SPORT FORD WRT - FORD FIESTA RS WRC
Elfyn Evans (GBR) - Avg last 10 rounds: 6.9 - Avg Argentina: 11.8
Teemu Suninen (FIN) - Avg last 10 rounds: 4.0 - Avg Argentina: 2.0
HYUNDAI SHELL MOBIS WRT - HYUNDAI I20 COUPE WRC
Andreas Mikkelsen (NOR) - Avg last 10 rounds: 4.0 - Avg Argentina: 8.2
Thierry Neuville (BEL) - Avg last 10 rounds: 11.2 - Avg Argentina: 11.6
Dani Sordo (ESP) - Avg last 10 rounds: 8.2 - Avg Argentina: 7.6
TOYOTA GAZOO RACING WRT - TOYOTA YARIS WRC
Jari-Matti Latvala (FIN) - Avg last 10 rounds: 9.5 - Avg Argentina: 8.0
Ott Tänak (EST) - Avg last 10 rounds: 14.9 - Avg Argentina: 6.8
Kris Meeke (GBR) - Avg last 10 rounds: 6.3 - Avg Argentina: 11.5
CITROËN TOTAL ABU DHABI WRT - CITROËN C3 WRC
Sebastien Ogier (FRA) - Avg last 10 rounds: 14.4 - Avg Argentina: 12.4
Esapekka Lappi (FIN) - Avg last 10 rounds: 7.2 - Avg Argentina: 4.0