2017 WRC: Four from four in exciting new-era World Rally Championship

WRC News / WRC Rally News 2010
Date: Apr 28, 2017 - 06:24 PM
2017 WRC: Four from four in exciting new-era World Rally Championship

Dynamic new-look rally cars have provided the most gripping and unpredictable opening to the FIA World Rally Championship for more than 30 years.

The introduction of more powerful and aggressive World Rally Cars for 2017 has been rewarded with four thrilling opening encounters which have provided drama and excitement aplenty.

Four different drivers representing four manufacturers and four nationalities claimed the winner’s laurels in those opening four fixtures.

It was 1986 when the WRC enjoyed a similarly unpredictable start to a season and sets up one of the most open title fights for many years.

The four winners gathered in Villa Carlos Paz on Wednesday afternoon to celebrate the landmark ahead of YPF Rally Argentina, round five of 13, which starts in the resort town on Thursday evening.

WRC Promoter managing director Oliver Ciesla said the new cars, developed to upgraded regulations from a blank sheet of paper, had made a huge impact in a short space of time.

“We knew these cars would be exciting. Their macho appearance and increased performance are bringing smiles to fans’ faces, whether they’re watching stage side or on television,” he said.

“Pre-season there was a great feeling of unpredictability because nobody knew which teams, cars or drivers would set the pace.

“What we have witnessed so far has been exceptional with drama seemingly awaiting around every turn. The only thing I can advise fans for the rest of the season is to expect the unexpected!” he added.

Here is the story of the 2017 WRC heading into YPF Rally Argentina:

Rallye Monte-Carlo (19 - 22 January)
World champion Sébastien Ogier began the defence of his crown with a fourth consecutive Monte-Carlo success in a Ford Fiesta WRC. It was a dream debut for the Frenchman who signed for M-Sport World Rally Team just five weeks previously. M-Sport celebrated its first win since September 2012 after rallylong leader Thierry Neuville’s dreams were shattered when he crashed late in the penultimate day.

Rally Sweden (9 - 12 February)
Jari-Matti Latvala won his fourth Swedish crown to provide Toyota Gazoo Racing with victory on only its second rally back in the WRC after a 17-year absence. It was an emotional win for the Finn, driving a Yaris WRC, who faced a season on the sidelines before joining the Japanese manufacturer in a late deal. There was more heartbreak for Neuville who crashed out of the lead for the second consecutive round.

Rally Guanajuato Mexico (9 - 12 March)
Kris Meeke ended a miserable start to his season with victory – despite almost throwing it away when he crashed into a spectator car park 750 metres from the finish. His Citroën C3 plunged through a hedge, leaving the disoriented Briton driving around parked vehicles as he urgently searched for a way back onto the road. He eventually regained the track and limped to the finish with a puncture. Meeke’s near-40sec lead was slashed to just 13.8sec but his Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team breathed a huge sigh of relief.

Che Guevara Energy Drink Tour de Corse (6 - 9 April)
Thierry Neuville finally stood on the top step of the podium to end his victory curse after mastering Corsica’s mountain asphalt roads. The Belgian brought relief to his Hyundai Motorsport squad with a 54.7sec winning margin in a Hyundai i20 Coupe. He snatched the initiative after Meeke retired from the lead with a mechanical gremlin in his engine.

In 1986, Henri Toivonen won the season-opener in Monte Carlo for Lancia before Juha Kankkunen claimed victory in Sweden for Peugeot. Joaquim Moutinho won in Portugal in a Renault 5 Turbo and then Björn Waldegård won Kenya’s Safari Rally for Toyota.

This article comes from PaddockTalk

The URL for this story is: