The WRC 2 heavyweights come together for the first time this season in Poland this weekend in an entry boasting both quality and quantity.
The top seven drivers in the points for the WRC’s principal support category will line-up to battle over the sandy stages at PZM 73rd Rally Poland, with a massive 25-strong entry taking on one of the fastest rounds of the year.
Elfyn Evans (Ford Fiesta R5) has led since the season-opening Rallye Monte-Carlo but the Welshman’s lead has dwindled in recent events. He has a seven-point advantage over Peru’s Nicolas Fuchs (Skoda Fabia R5), [above] who wasted a chance to move ahead after rolling out of third in Italy earlier this month.
“The competition looks strong in Poland but if everything goes to plan I see no reason why we can’t rack up our third WRC 2 win of the year – that’s certainly the target,” said Evans.
Teemu Suninen (Fabia R5) has won twice in his three outings so far, victory in Italy moving him to third and 12 points off the lead. Skoda’s Pontus Tidemand (Fabia R5) will also be a strong threat, the Swede fourth in the points after victory in Portugal and second in Sweden.
Hubert Ptaszek (Fabia R5) returns after missing Italy due to an injury to co-driver Maciej Szczepaniak, while Armin Kremer (Fabia R5) and Marius Aasen (Fiesta R5) complete ‘The Magnificent Seven’.
However, other contenders further down the standings have the pace to feature at the top.
Scott Pedder (Fabia R5) narrowly missed a podium in Portugal while Esapekka Lappi (Fabia R5), many people’s pre-season title favourite, badly needs a strong result to climb from 10th and close the 45-point gap to Evans.
Quentin Gilbert (DS 3 R5) was on the podium in Monte-Carlo while reigning European champion Kajetan Kajetanowicz (Fiesta R5) and European junior champion Emil Bergkvist (DS 3 R5) have the opportunity to make their mark at a higher level.