Record fans expected in Poland
Organisers anticipating big crowds for WRC return
Lorenzo Bertelli, Yuriy Protasov and Nasser Al-Attiyah omitted Poland from their seven nominated events. However, Bertelli, who won in Italy earlier this month, has a sufficient points advantage to retain his series lead.
So who can we expect to see closing in?
Karl Kruuda is fourth, the Estonian hoping to add a second win after victory in Sweden. He salvaged fourth in Italy after leading in Peugeot’s new 208 T16 R5 before mechanical issues pushed him down the order.
“I’m still learning the car because the learning never ends. If I didn’t need to learn then I would be in a World Rally Car factory seat,” said Kruuda.
Jari Ketomaa has second place finishes in Sweden and Portugal to his name and victory in his Ford Fiesta R5 would lift the Finn into the mix. Drive DMACK team-mate Ott Tänak desperately needs a strong result in a similar car after a troubled season.
“The fast stages could be a little similar to some stages in Finland and Latvia where we have had wins before,” said Ketomaa.
Sixth in the points is Peru’s Nicolas Fuchs and he will be aiming to forget Italy when engine problems sidelined his Fiesta R5 300 metres after leaving service on Friday’s opening leg.
Yazeed Al Rajhi can be relied upon to be a frontrunner. The Saudi Arabian driver rolled out of the lead in Italy and is another with ground to make up in his Fiesta RRC.
Bernardo Sousa showed strong pace in Portugal and Italy, although third place in the latter became fifth after receiving a five-minute penalty for using more tyres than permitted.
Perhaps the strongest challenge could come from reigning WRC 3 champion Sébastien Chardonnet. The Frenchman is 11th in the points but has only tackled one event. That was in Italy and he delivered a fine second place in Citroen’s new DS3 R5.
In the Production Cup category within WRC 2, Italy’s Max Rendina will bid for a fourth win in a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X. His closest rival here is Juan Carlos Alonso, the Argentine 29 points behind.