By M. C. – photo: wrc.com | As the WRC teams ultimate preparations for their forthcoming tarmac, dirt and snow races of 2018, it is time for a highlights’ recap of the season that has just finished.
The 45th edition of the World Rally Championship validated all predictions right from the start: The current champion Sebastien Ogier would claim the victory at Rally Monte Carlo. The French driver was competing for M-Sport World Rally Team and for the first time on board his Ford Fiesta, following Volkswagen’s withdrawal from WRC.
Despite his poor performance in the first two races, Belgian driver Thierry Neuville, behind the wheel of his Hyundai i20 Coupe, was again Ogier’s most dangerous rival. The competitive level was this time also higher than in 2016 with Neuville winning four of the 13 races. Ogier on the other hand only managed to rise to victory on the first rally, at Monaco and in Portugal.
Tänak, Driver of the Year
There were other challenging rivals besides the two main competitors but none like the Estonian Ott Tänak, Ogier’s team-mate at M-Sport, whom ended up grabbing all the attention and nearly claimed the silver medal. There is little doubt that Tänak, as acknowledged at the WRC Gala Awards 2017, has been the ‘driver of the year’ again this season. It has been thanks to him, and to his British team-mate Elfyn Evans, that M-Sport World Rally has won the FIA constructors title this season.
At the beginning of November a rumour started spreading about the possible retirement of the champion Ogier. But the uncertainty was short lived as days after the last rally of the year in Australia on the 29th of November, he announced his renewal with M-Sport.
- Rally Monte Carlo: Sébastien Ogier
- Rally Sweden: Jari-Matti Latvala
- Rally Mexico: Kris Meeke
- Rally France: Thierry Neuville
- Rally Argentina: Thierry Neuville
- Rally Portugal: Sébastien Ogier
- Rally Italy: Ott Tänak
- Rally Poland: Thierry Neuville
- Rally Finland: Esapekka Lappi
- Rally Germany: Ott Tänak
- Rally Spain: Kris Meeke
- Rally de GB: Elfyn Evans
- Rally Australia: Thierry Neuville
1st Sébastien Ogier (M-Sport World Rally Team) – 232 points
2nd Thierry Neuville (Hyundai World Rally Team) – 208 points
3rd Ott Tänak (M-Sport World Rally Team) – 191 points
What will certainly remain in the WRC fans’ memories is the spectacular jumps, some of which have been truly breathtaking. Here are some of the most remarkable of this 2017.