Rally RACC-Spain: Sebastien Ogier to fight for his eight WRC title

The Rally RACC-Spain returns to action this weekend (October 15-17) after the rotations in the World Championship calendar and the coronavirus pandemic forced its absence in 2020.

Unlike previous editions, the 56th round of the rally will be held entirely on asphalt, leaving behind the mixed-conditions rule imposed in 2009. 

Toyota could potentially claim both the driver and team titles this weekend at the penultimate round of the WRC. This is why we shall see an intense civil war develop between the team-mates and title contenders of the Japanese, Sebastien Ogier and Elfyn Evans in Catalonia. In simple terms, the Frenchman would only need to take seven more points than the Welshman in order to revalidate his crown

But Hyundai will try to repeat the triumph achieved in this territory in 2019 with Thierry Neuville. Together with the Belgian and Ott Tának, the local hero, Dani Sordo, will try to claim victory for his team ahead of his compatriots.

Ahead of them, there are 17 stages and 280.46 timed km of an extremely challenging course, reminiscent of the sections of a circuit. 

Inside war for the Driver’s crown in Toyota 

Sebastien Ogier, the dominant leader of the standings, has everything going for him to claim an eighth title. His 26-point lead in the Standings means he has every chance to succeed.

The most straightforward of them would be to repeat his triumphs of 2013, 2014 and 2016 at the Costa Dorada round. The Frenchman is, in any case, the absolute favourite and the enemy to beat. 

Trying to stop him will be his teammate Elfyn Evans. The Welshman will attempt to keep his title bid alive until the final event in Monza.

In order to do this, his main option is to take his third win of the year after Portugal and Finland. Despite the pressure, the Briton arrives in Spain with a renewed motivation following his recent Scandinavian success. 

Kalle Rovanperä will seat behind the wheel of the third official Toyota at the Rally RACC-Spain. Almost fully recovered, both physically and emotionally, from the fiasco in his home round in Finland, the young Scandinavian would want to put out a good performance in the Iberian Peninsula. 

All of the members from the Jyväskylä-based works will do their best to take the Manufacturers´ title, now so close. Toyota currently dominates the classification with 439 points, 61 more than Hyundai. 

 

Hyundai: To delay Toyota’s coronation 

The team led by Jari-Matti Latvala will have to sweat its ninth victory (Montecarlo, Portugal, Croatia, Sardegna, Kenya, Estonia, Greece & Finland) at this, the eleventh round of the season at the Rally RACC-Spain. In desperate need of a victory, Hyundai will do everything in its power to stop it. 

The team from Alzenau has not had a very good season, with plenty of breakdowns, accidents and only two wins (Arctic and Ypres). 

Since the Drivers’ title is pretty much out of reach at this point, they will try and prevent Toyota from claiming the Constructors’ title at the Rally RACC-Spain. 

With their first-class line-up, they will aim to recreate their 2019 victory here in Catalonia. Alongside full-time drivers, Ott Tänak and Thierry Neuville will ride local hero Dani Sordo occupying the third i20 Coupé WRC in replacement of Craig Breen.

In addition, the local Nil Solans, in his WRC debut, and the Swede Oliver Solberg will compete in two satellite vehicles. 

In principle, the South Korean team has everything it needs in order to shine at the Rally RACC-Spain. In 2019, in fact, they took all the podium positions with Neuville at the top ahead of Tänak – then at Toyota – and Sordo.  

A good opportunity for M-Sport 

Finally, M-Sport will face its penultimate challenge with the Fiesta WRC at the Iberian Peninsula, before finally retiring it at Monza. This Ford model, actually, tends to performs very well on asphalt, so the Cumbrian team has reasons to be optimistic. 

Gus Greensmith arrives at the Rally RACC-Spain after some excellent fifth and sixth places in Greece and Finland, respectively. On top of that, he managed to beat the other British car, driven by Frenchman Adrien Fourmaux, on both occasions. 

Images of Rally RACC-Spain: Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT.

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