Saturday | 18 May 2019

Who’s smiling after South America?

The dust has settled on the WRC’s first south American double-header and crunches the numbers to examine who was handing out high fives on the plane following Xion Rally Argentina and Copec Rally Chile.

Two rallies in three weeks meant 14 per cent of the season’s points were allocated either side of the Andes as April moved into May.

A double-double (two wins and two Power Stage wins) would have netted 60 drivers’ points and Citroën Racing star Sébastien Ogier came closest to that, heading back to Europe with 42 points to help him back into the championship lead.

Ott Tänak scored 35, 30 of which came from the Toyota Gazoo Racing driver’s domination in Chile.

Top of the table heading across the Atlantic, Hyundai’s Thierry Neuville made a superb start, taking 28 points west through the mountains from Villa Carlos Paz to Concepción. But that was as good as it would get for the Belgian, after he crashed in Chile.

Hyundai scored most points in the manufacturers’ championship. A one-two for Neuville and Andreas Mikkelsen was the best possible start in Argentina and Sébastien Loeb’s Chile podium strengthened that score to 64 from a possible 84 points.

In terms of stage wins, the Argentine-Chile combo mirrored a common theme across the last 18 months. That theme is focused on one man: Tänak. Thirty-three of the planned 34 stages ran (SS3, Amboy-Yacanto was cancelled for safety reasons in Argentina) and the Yaris driver won 11 of them – one in three.

Neuville was next best with six wins, that score coming despite him only completing 24 stages. Ogier won five with Kris Meeke and Loeb next up on four each.

Loeb only competed in Chile so his stage win percentage is second only to Tänak. On his way to a maiden Hyundai podium, the nine-time champion scored four stages wins, equating to 25 per cent, compared with Tänak’s winning figure of 33.

Toyota was the most successful team, winning 48 per cent of the stages, or 16 out of 33.



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