M Sport’s Ford Fiesta Ott Tanak.
November is fast approaching and that can mean only one thing, the world’s best drivers will again descend on Australia, namely Coffs Harbor on the northern NSW Coast for three days of racing against the clock and each other in the final round of the World Rally Championship. In what has been the most enthralling contest in years where the eventual champion may not be decided until the last round of the World Championship?
Currently French driver Sebastien Ogier piloting M sport’s Ford Fiesta is leading Hyundai i20 driver Thierry Neuville by a mere 17 points.
The French have enjoyed a monopoly with the championship over the last 13 years since 2004 with the two Sebastien’s dominating the sport.
Sebastien Loeb the winner of 9 titles and now Sebastien Ogier winner of the last 4.
Above – Eric Camilli – M Sports gets air during Shakedown in last year’s rally.
Above – Andreas Mikkelsen – at the Rally opening and competing on Friday.
Norwegian Driver Andreas Mickkelsen has experienced an interesting year to date in 2017 considering he won the WRC Kennard’s Rally Australia last year just to find no seat available in 2017 after Volkswagen decided not to participate further in the WRC Rally championship. Firstly he found himself driving a Skoda in WRC2 then Citroen Racing rested Kris Meeke for inconsistent results and replaced him with Andreas for Rally Poland and then Rally Germany where Andreas came second to M Sport’s Ott Tanak. He now finds himself driving the Hyundai i20 for the three remaining rallies for 2017 – Spain, Great Britain and finally Australia in November.
Hyundai i20 – Thierry Neuville.
The return of Toyota Gazoo Racing after an absence of 17 years to Rallying has been a welcome addition with drivers Jari -Matti Latvala , Juho Hanninen and Esapekka Lappi piloting the Yaris.
Other changes to WRC to make it more spectacular for spectators in the 2017 season are new aerodynamics – a larger Rear wing, wider cars and more powerful engines in combination with a closer Championship race, should add up to an exciting three days in November.
Skoda Testing on Monday for WRC 2 – Rally Australia 2016, Finnish driver Esapekka Lappi.