ONEBET PREVIEW: DAYINSURE WALES RALLY GB, WRC
Wales Rally GB is legendary for many reasons. Many moons ago it was a rally with an incredible amount of stages, runs day and night, throughout large parts of the United Kingdom. And the rally has been the scene for many spectacular events.
Home hero Tony Pond crashing his Rover on the opening park stage, Walter Rörhl not driving in his 1982-championship year because he didn’t want to celebrate victory with tobacco producer Rothmans, Sainz loosing his Championship, Petter Solberg winning his, and the legendary duels between Richard Burns and Colin McRae. And no matter how the 2017-edition turns out, the result will be legendary.
M-Sport can clinch the manufacturers title, and Sebastien Ogier can claim the drivers title, and that in it self will be an exclamation mark behind a very special WRC-season. (Yes, we know its the penultimate event.)
When it comes to drivers, and driving, the event will be a thriller. And the weather forecast will without a doubt be one of the deciders.
If it rains, the early starters will have a huge advantage. If it’s dry, the advantage will go to the drivers starting further behind. So lets go through it driver by driver:
Fighting for victory:
Latvala – Toyota
The flying fin was close to winning his home event, and has been a force to reckon with all season long.
His Toyota’s balance and diffs will be a huge help, especially in longer corners, and this could be a very strong Toyota event. We believe Latvala will fight for victory.
Neuville – Hyundai
Says he’ll go all out, but the Hyundai is very picky on conditions and road character. It can be that the car will understeer to much for his liking, but if the car plays its part, he will be within a shot at the victory.
Ogier – M-Sport Ford
Him in the Volkswagen Polo was a perfect match for Rally GB. His soft style, where he goes very early on the diffs, made the muddy Welsh roads a perfect canvas for him to paint his masterpiece.
He hasn’t been able to get the same set up and balance in the Ford, so he will struggle a bit more, especially if it’s wet, so he will have to make the most of his starting position.
Tänak – M-Sport Ford
Our biggest favourite for victory is maybe Ott Tänak, but it will not come easy.
Ott seems to fit in the Ford like a glove, and the Welsh roads will suit him well.
Road position and weather will have a lot to say, and his aggressive style can be a bit much if its very muddy.
Fighting for podium:
Mikkelsen – Hyundai
Andreas was very strong on the gravel on the first day of Rally Catalunya, fighting for the lead with fellow Norwegian Mads Østberg. He will be strong in GB too, knowing the car even better.
Lappi – Toyota
The Toyota can be a real threat in GB, and Esapekka Lappi can be equally strong. He has had a fantastic opening season in the WRC, including a win on home soil. We think he will be fighting for a podium, and if his starting position turns out to be good, maybe he will even push for the victory.
Meeke – Citroën
The Citroën still has some unanswered questions when it comes to gravel performance, but Kris was very fast on the gravel in Spain. The muddy Welsh roads, maybe with bigger grip differences, can prove to be challenging. But he wants this home win, so he will give everything.
Østberg – Adapta Ford
Mads fought for the lead on the gravel of the first day in Spain, even with a car full of dust seeping in from a small hole in the chassis. The weather, and therefore the starting position, will be the key for Mads. If favourable, he is in with a chance for a podium finish.
Paddon – Hyundai
The Kiwi was benched in Spain in favour of Andreas Mikkelsen, so he is back with a lot to prove. He drove very well in the wet Polish stages, and has been the fastest man on gravel for much of the year, though technical mishaps and offs have hindered his results. But worth to keep an eye on.
Evans – Dmack Ford
Tires will again be everything for the Dmack driver. Elfyn had a clever smile after the last stage of Rally Spain, so maybe Dmack has something up their sleeve. If they hit their target with the same precision as in Argentina, beeing home in native Wales, he could very well run of with it all.
Sordo – Hyundai
A steady performer, you would be hard pressed to expect Dani Sordo to finish outside the Top 5. But this edition of Wales Rally GB will have uniquely strong competition, and we think he will struggle to be at the very top.
Hänninen – Toyota
This is the man you want to stake your bets on if you like the chance of a high odds win. Hänninen on form is super quick, though a bit risky. As a Finn should be. A man for stage wins, and maybe even a high odds overall?
Breen – Citroën
Has been in and out of the Citroën C3 WRC this season, all according to the Citroën master plan. Has had the most stable speed out of the Citroën boys, but will want to kick it up a notch for his home event.
A man to watch, and a man to score high odds stage positions on.
A little further behind:
Solberg – M-Sport Ford
Henning Solberg will do a much welcomed surprise return to the WRC. He is entered with a M-Sport Ford Fiesta 2017 car, and this will be his very first outing in the new generation rally cars. He’ll be fighting to find the pace right from the start, but Top 10 and even Top 5 stage positions is doable during the weekend.
Al Qassimi – Citroën
The Sheik will continue his learning curve in the new sec 2017 WRC cars, and will struggle with the pace of those in front. A good result for Al Qassimi will be to keep the super fast guys of the WRC2 behind.