Fri 26 May 2023

Five memorable Wolf Power Stage moments

As we approach the momentous 50th Wolf Power Stage at Rally Italia Sardegna, let's look back at some of the extraordinary moments that have defined the thrilling final stage of each round of the FIA World Rally Championship.

From heart-stopping mishaps to fierce battles and history-making achievements, the Wolf Power Stage has never failed to deliver jaw-dropping excitement. Join us as we dive into five unforgettable moments that have left an indelible mark on the WRC's legacy.

Ott Tänak - Rally Italia Sardegna 2019
Victory seemed all but guaranteed for Tänak as he carried a commanding 26.7-second lead over Hyundai's Dani Sordo into the Wolf Power Stage. But in rallying, nothing is ever guaranteed.

Disaster struck during the finale when the power steering on Tänak's Toyota failed, forcing him to manhandle the car through the remaining kilometres of the Sassari - Argentiera test. Precious time slipped through his fingers as he plummeted from first to fifth overall, dropping more than two minutes in total.

Tänak, understandably, was heartbroken, particularly as the disappointment threatened to derail his title bid. However, he did go on to secure the championship crown in Spain later that year.

Evans vs Ogier - Croatia Rally 2021
The inaugural Croatia Rally served up an intense showdown between Toyota team-mates Elfyn Evans and Sébastien Ogier. Locked in a fierce battle for nearly two days, the duo entered the Wolf Power Stage separated by a mere 3.9 seconds, with Evans holding the slender advantage.

Evans was down on the splits but still on course to maintain his position. That was until the final corner, where he ran slightly wide onto some grass, ultimately losing crucial momentum.

And that tiny error was all it took for Ogier to steal the win, emerging victorious by a mere six-tenths of a second in what was the third-closest WRC finish in history.

Loeb vs Ogier - Rallye Monte-Carlo 2022
Rallye Monte-Carlo is the jewel in the WRC’s crown, and its 2022 edition certainly did not disappoint. The event not only marked the debut of the WRC's hybrid era but also featured a fierce showdown between WRC legends Sébastien Ogier and Sébastien Loeb.

Ogier had built a convincing lead going into the rally’s final day but encountered trouble in the penultimate test, picking up a puncture that promoted Loeb to the forefront.

There were huge celebrations at the Wolf Power Stage finish as the then 47-year-old Loeb, co-driven by mathematics teacher Isabelle Galmiche, kept his old foe at bay to triumph by 10.5 seconds aboard an M-Sport Ford Puma.

Esapekka Lappi - Secto Rally Finland 2022
Esapekka Lappi’s Wolf Power Stage run at Secto Rally Finland 2022 captured the hearts of rally fans worldwide.

Despite rolling their Toyota GR Yaris in the penultimate stage, Lappi and co-driver Janne Ferm refused to give up on their quest to secure third overall. The pair collected water from surrounding lakes to refill the car’s damaged radiator before donning a pair of ski goggles and setting off into the finale.

With the car now windshield-less and missing several body panels, it was a chilly ride. Amazingly, though, the Finns completed the stage without losing much time, securing a remarkable podium against all odds.

Esapekka Lappi: Secto Rally Finland 2022

Kalle Rovanperä - Repco Rally New Zealand 2022
The Jacks Ridge Wolf Power Stage at Repco Rally New Zealand bore witness to a historic WRC moment as Kalle Rovanperä, co-driven by Jonne Halttunen, secured his maiden drivers’ championship crown.

The pair ultimately sealed the deal by claiming the rally-ending Wolf Power Stage in style - flying high over the final jump to set the benchmark time, putting the title out of reach for Ott Tänak with two rounds remaining.

The success meant Rovanperä, at 22 years and one day old, took over the mantle of youngest WRC champion from the late Colin McRae, who won the title in 1995, then aged 27. He also ended Finland’s 20-year wait for a world champion since Marcus Grönholm's second world title in 2002.

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