OneBet WRC Recap: Dayinsure Rally Wales
A lot of questions was raised before the Wales Rally GB. How would the weather and running order affect the runnings, which car would suit the surface best, which driver would be able to handle the conditions, would the two championships be decided, and what about the Dmack tyres?
Elfyn Evans – Dmack.
Well… To take the last thing first, the Dmack tires performed remarkably well, and Elfyn Evans took advantage of that. This was to be a rally about Evans and Dmack, and that was clear all the way from his fastest time on the Shakedown.
Evans was fifth on the first stage, but won SS2 with 6.0 in odds – and betters were happy.
Evans also won SS4, SS5 on the first day, and SS8, SS9, SS10, SS11, SS12 and SS16 the second day.
That was an incredible run.
Off course the tires was essential to the performance, but you need to have what it takes to take full advantage.
Evans went on to win the rally, and our observation of his clever smile at the end of the last stage in Spain proved to be a sign of things to come.
Toyota – under performed
Because of aerodynamics and diffs we thought the Toyotas would be very fast in Wales. But we were wrong. It seems that the grip was too low for the Toyotas, and except for a brilliant drive by Jari-Matti Latvala on the foggy and dark SS15, they didn’t win a single stage.
Citroën – improves on gravel
The French team has struggled big time on loose surfaces this year. In Spain we saw positive developments, and they continued in Wales. Kris Meeke was second on SS2, third on SS19 and second on the Power Stage, finishing in seventh. Maybe a little less then Citroën hoped for, but a positive result non the less. Craig Breen struggled more, and was never in top contention.
Ogier – The Champion
Sebastien Ogier and M-Sport could decide both the Drivers and the Constructors Championship, and they did. But it came after hard work, because Ogier had to fight for every tenth. Ogier only won two Special Stages, but a steady drive saw him finish third, and that was enough to claim the title.
Ott Tänak started off well, but lost over 30 seconds in the foggy and dark SS15, disclosing that he still can improve both pacenotes and preparations. Or favourite ended up in sixth.
But a big congratulation to Malcolm Wilson and his private M-Sport team for clinching both titles.
Hyundai – Neuvilles last chance
It was not to be in either Championship for Hyundai. Thierry Neuville had a mathematical possibility to be a champion, but he needed to win this one. The Hyundai has a bit longer wheel base than the other WRC cars, and that can be the cause for a lower threshold for understeer. The Hyundai drivers struggled a bit, but Neuville was very fast on Saturday, except loosing way to much time on the dark and foggy SS15 – again showing a possible weakness in pace notes. But Neuville is ultra fast, and finished second even with big challenges and a time penalty.
Andreas Mikkelsen did a really good event in his second Hyundai drive. Hayden Paddon struggled more, but showed his potential in the foggy and dark SS15.
Again we saw that the “new” WRC is incredibly difficult to predict, which opens the doors for some high odds winnings. This time around it was especially Elfyn Evans and Andreas Mikkelsen that stood for the big payouts, especially on stage results and Head To Heads (H2H.)