WRC Spain 2022: Rovanperä’s first race as season champion 
The World Rally Championship is back in Europe this weekend (October 20-23) for the penultimate, asphalt round of the season. The Rally of Spain 2022 in Catalonia is ready to welcome the youngest champion in WRC history. 
The bright new star of the speciality, Kalle Rovanperä (Toyota), wrapped up his maiden crown in the last round in New Zealand. The ‘Flying Finn’ arrives in Salou in search of his seventh victory of the season after Sweden, Croatia, Portugal, Kenya, Estonia & New Zealand and with the objective of earning his team its second consecutive manufacturers’ title, a prize that is now well within reach.
Elfyn Evans and Sébastien Ogier will compete alongside the young Scandinavian to make up Toyota’s line-up in Spain and Japan’s Takamoto Katsuta will sit behind the wheel of a fourth Yaris Rally1, with factory support. 


Hyundai: Hoping to delay Toyota’s coronation 

The team from Jyväskylä, however, will have to face a very tough opponent in Catalonia. Hyundai arrives at Rally Spain 2022 with every intention of spoiling their party. They are the only team that can delay Toyota’s coronation. They might be 81 points down from their rivals in the table, but the South Korean squad is not about to go down without a fight. 

Thierry Neuville will be the spearhead of the Alzenau line-up on the hilly roads of the Costa Dorada. Following his two victories in previous editions of Spaniard Rally , the Belgian driver could well be the enemy to beat this weekend. 

Ott Tänak and Dani Sordo will sit behind the wheel of the other two Hyundai i20 N Rally1, the latter replacing the deposed Oliver Solberg again. 

All eyes will be set on the local hero this weekend, who always seems to grow when he races at home as in 2021 when he gave an extraordinary performance on race day to take third place. 

On top of that extra motivation, the Spaniard is going through a fantastic moment. Sordo has managed to claim six consecutive podiums, the last three in Portugal, Sardinia and Greece this season. 

Also, Sordo and his two teammates can rely on a vehicle that has demonstrated to perform fantastically on asphalt, as it did in Belgium race won by Tänak. 


M-Sport: An extensive line-up to turn things around  

The Cumbrian team will have the greatest representation at the Spanish Rally with five Ford Puma Rally 1s. Craig Breen, their fallen star, will be hoping to bid a grand farewell to his co-driver Paul Nagle, who is retiring from the WRC at Rally Spain 2022.  

The inconsistent Irish driver, who has had four blank races in the last five, dreams of redirecting the situation. Gus Greensmith, Adrien Fourmaux and Pierre-Louis Loubet will drive a further three M-Sport Missiles. The fifth car will be piloted by Greek privateer Jourdan Serderidis. After their debacle in New Zealand, the British team will hopefully face this weekend’s challenge with renewed enthusiasm. 


The challenges of a treacherous asphalt

Everything is ready for the start of Rally Spain 2022. The opening ceremony is taking place this very Thursday in Salou but the real fire will commence further north of the city on Friday. The route is 293.77 km long, divided into 19 extremely challenging stages. 

The fast and fluid asphalt of the Catalan hills as they wind down towards the Barcelona coastline will ask for an offensive driving style. This is the only way for contenders to gain a few decisive milliseconds with their rivals, but this aggressive strategy must be coupled with maximum precision or it all could end up in a disastrous puncture. Crews will have to pay really close attention to the ditch areas near curves in order to avoid any such incident. Also, as cars go by cutting the track, they will drag gravel and mud onto the asphalt, making those sections even more treacherous. 

Images Rally Spain 2022: Toyota GAZOO Racing.


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