Was Wales Rally GB a defining weekend in the battle for the FIA World Rally Championship titles? We reflect on the talking points in the first of our two-part analysis.
Driver of the Rally
Yes, we know Ott Tänak won and took a huge step in his quest for a maiden driver’s title. But who can deny Petter Solberg this honour in a quite remarkable drive that brought down the curtain on his WRC career?
The 2003 world champion was back at the sport’s top level for the first time in a year and the fans who packed into the Welsh forests were rewarded with a top-drawer drive by Hollywood and co-driver Phil Mills to win WRC 2 in their Volkswagen Polo.
They also banked a top 10 finish – and there were more than a few people who were, erm, let’s say wiping away specks of dust from their eyes, as Petter bid farewell on the Llandudno podium.
You’ll Never Believe It
Even Craig Breen admitted that after his Hyundai i20 stopped rolling over in a Myherin bog, he thought he would need a dustpan and brush to collect the pieces.
Remarkably the Irishman was able to drive the car back onto the road and get through the rest of the day, despite a cracked windscreen which made visibility tricky in the sunshine and mud.
Take a look in the video below.
Aberhirnant is smooth, the roads flow and if a driver is totally confident with the pace notes, it’s a stage where time can be made up – especially at night.
With auxiliary lights bolted to the front of his Toyota Yaris to combat the darkness, Tänak saw his chance in Friday’s second pass. He was fastest by 2.2sec and distanced leader and team-mate Kris Meeke by 4.2sec to move into an overnight lead. He never looked back.
Save of the Rally
Elfyn Evans’ hopes of repeating his 2017 victory effectively ended when he slid wide on a fast right corner in Penmachno on Friday morning. The Welshman did a magnificent job in keeping his Ford Fiesta on the road, but the impact with a bank damaged the suspension and he dropped almost 45sec.
He recovered to salvage fifth – 48.6sec behind winner Tänak…….