The WRC’s three most specialised rallies in Monte-Carlo, Sweden and Mexico are complete and the championship is starting to take shape. In the first of a two-part analysis, WRC+ All Live presenter Julian Porter examines what we have learned so far.
On sensational form. Is it any coincidence Citroën has enjoyed two wins from three starts since Seb and Julien Ingrassia rejoined the team? Previously the French manufacturer scored just three wins in two years.
Their effect is clear. When they joined M-Sport two years ago, they rejuvenated the team and made the squad believe in itself. Oh, and don’t forget the statistic that every time the same driver wins Monte-Carlo and Mexico, they go on to win the championship….the others have their work cut out.
The Estonian has won just once, but it could well have been twice. Monte-Carlo was great until a puncture intervened. He was sublime in Sweden and impressive in Mexico from first on the road in Friday’s opening leg.
No moaning about cleaning the road, he got his head down to minimise the time loss and showed the world how good he is on Saturday and Sunday. We saw it last year, but now there really is a new mature and further improved Ott Tänak.
Had it not been for a missed junction in Rallye Monte-Carlo’s sixth stage, it could have been a win each for our top three - but these are the margins we’re dealing with in the WRC now.
Two podiums is a good count, but his Mexico struggles must be a worry. Hyundai’s developments need to come soon, or it could slip away from them.
We won’t know how important his stunning Saturday save in Sweden’s Vargåsen could be until the year end. He lost only a few seconds after a 360° spin when many lost minutes with their problems.
Is this a new and improved Kris Meeke? He delivered strong performances over the first three rallies. Sixth in Monte-Carlo and Sweden represented a solid start and good Wolf Power Stage points in the former indicate Kris is driving with his head as well as his right foot.
The new partnership with co-driver Seb Marshall seems to work well. Marshall brings a calming influence inside the car and the long-term benefits could be substantial.
Tomorrow: Best of the rest and the manufacturer teams.