WRC Ypres Rally 2021 Preview: Neuville, favorite at home race
One month has passed since the Estonian Rally and the World Rally Championship is back in action this weekend with the eight appointment of the calendar in Belgium. The Ypres Rally 2021 will make its WRC debut after the coronavirus pandemic forced its cancelation in 2020.
The country’s huge fan base, which is expected to flock to every corner of the magnificent route, such as the legendary Circuit of Spa-Francorchamps, will make for an unforgettable experience.
All eyes are expected to be on local hero Neuville throughout the 20 stages and the 295,78 km of the route. Cheered on by his compatriots, he will seek his first victory of the season.
As Hyundai’s best classified in the standings (3rd), Theirry Neuville is the top favourite to take the glory in Flandes. Also in his favour is the tremendous consistency he has displayed through the first half of 2021 (five podiums out of seven possible) as well as his deep knowledge of a race that he has already won in its national edition.
Hyundai’s other full time driver, Ott Tanak, as well as the Irish Craig Breen, who is back after taking a third place in Estonia, will complete the line-up of the Alzenau team at the WRC Ypres Rally 2021.
Hyundai’s primary goal would be to break its five-consecutive (six overall) winning drought of 2021. They have only taken the gold in Finland so far and they desperately need to cut back on the 59-point disadvantage over the leader Toyota at the Constructors’ standings.

Toyota: To hold on to its double lead

In a radically different position from that of Hyundai, Toyota faces the Ypres Rally 2021 from the comfort of its generous lead of both the standings. Toyota is easily dominating the competition after winning six of the seven races so far (Monte Carlo, Portugal, Croatia, Sardegna, Kenya & Estonia).
Thanks to the clear superiority of their Yaris WRC, Sébastien Ogier, Elfyn Evans, Kalle Rovanpera and Takamoto Katsuta, are not giving up an inch to their rivals from Alzenau.
As a result of their far superior performance, Ogier and Evans currently hold the first and second places of the Driver’s standings. In a breathtaking show of strength (four triumphs and two podiums), the seven times champion from Gap heads the classification with 37 points over Evans.
The Welshman is very keen to start cutting down that distance and the Ypres Rally 2021 might just be the perfect place to do so. New to both drivers, the outcome is impossible to predict.
Rovanpera for his part, arrives at the Flemish appointment full of confidence. Not in vain the Finn has just become the youngest driver to ever win a WRC race in Estonia.

M-Sport: To keep up its good performance on asphalt

As for the third squad in the competition, M-Sport, they will be aiming for another good performance in Flandes. Lead driver Gus Greensmith, shined on his Ford Fiesta WRC debut on the Croatian tarmac, where he took a seventh place.
Frenchman Adrien Fourmaux left even better sensations than his teammate with a fifth place on his WRC debut on board a Ford Fiesta.
Images of Ypres Rally 2021: Hyundai Motorsport.

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