If you’re a World Rally Championship fan, you should be more than excited for this weekend’s Dayinsure Wales Rally GB. One of a number events on the calendar that dates back to the first proper WRC season in 1973, this year’s event features new, more challenging stages, 60 cars, and plenty of championship drama to be had before the season-ending rounds in Spain and Australia.
Hyundai Shell Mobis World Rally Team’s Thierry Neuville and Nicolas Gilsoul remain the championship leaders, but truth be told, there are a few squads with more wild card potential than the steady and consistent Belgian duo right now. Today, we take a look at three of them:
#2 Elfyn Evans/Daniel Barritt :: M-Sport Ford WRT :: Ford Fiesta WRC
Last year’s event winners, Evans and Barritt have had an up-and-down 2018 season, cracking the podium once again in Portugal but only taking five points finishes so far this year. A strongly revised route from last year’s event may change things around, but another home victory would go a long way for the young Welsh driver: currently ninth in the WRC standings, he’s a bit of a ways off from his career-best fifth place performance in 2017.
#8 Ott Tanak/Martin Jarveoja :: Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT :: Toyota Yaris WRC
He’s not leading the championship yet, but Tanak does have all the momentum coming into Wales. Winner of the past three rounds, and four in total, he only trails Neuville by 13 points coming into the event. The runner-up in Wales two years ago while competing for the DMACK squad, Tanak is tied for the championship lead with six podiums so far this year, has scored Power Stage points in all but two events, and has helped Toyota wrest the manufacturer’s championship lead from Hyundai.
#1 Sebastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia :: M-Sport Ford WRT :: Ford Fiesta WRC
Now that he’s a lame duck at M-Sport, it’ll be interesting to see if Ogier’s bid for a sixth straight WRC title suffers any further. He’s missed the podium in each of the past three events, widening the gap to points leader Neuville to 23, and now his former teammate Tanak has managed to split the gap between them. Considering that Ogier’s four Welsh victories all came with Volkswagen Motorsport, and he’s only cracked the podium here once outside of a Polo, it might take a lot of luck