5 Things We Learnt From WRC Sweden

30w ago


1) No stopping Tanak

It is quite fair to say that the 2019 Rally of Sweden was dominated by the extremely fast Estonian, his overall lead by the end of the rally was almost a whole minute winning 6 stages. Not to mention blowing everybody away in the power-stage by three and a half seconds taking all 30 points available and jumping straight to the top of the championship standings. In a way this was a much needed win because ,despite the best pace out of anybody, there was always the slightest doubt about reliability as any wins he was close to were always snatched away by something beyond his control. This is bad news to the rest of the field because with a reliable car which the Toyota has now proven to be he is simply unbeatable.

2) Loeb's Honeymoon Period Seems Over

After an impressive performance in Monte-Carlo Sebastien Loeb comes back down to earth as he really struggled to find any pace finishing a pretty poor seventh overall, this was especially disappointing considering his two teammates Thierry Neuville and Andreas Mikkelsen finishing in third and fourth respectively. Overall Hyundai has the right to be disappointed with there results because despite gaining a lot of points you still felt they had much more to give and finish higher. Loeb will be replaced by Dani Sordo for the next round in Mexico and we don't yet know when we will see him next but it will more than likely be at the Tour De Course. And personally, I can't wait.

3) Happy Lappi

Another driver who's fortunes certainly changed for the better was Esapekka Lappi who finished in a strong second place with a strong enough margin over Neuville, and who knows if Friday hadn't been so incident-packed he may have even been battling Tanak for the win. This kind of result was much needed after the heavy disappointment of Monte-Carlo where he retired after a moment early on in the Rally. In stark contrast however reigning Champion Sebastien Ogier truly had a Rally to forget with many mistakes leading to costly time losses and only gaining three championship points thanks to a fourth-place finish in the power-stage, after this poor result he drops to third in the championship, however, you can never count out the great man.

4) M-Sport Finally Show Promise

Coming into this season M-Sport are in a tricky situation as they have an obvious lack of a number on driver due to Sebastien Ogier's surprise move at the end of last season. After an extremely disappointing Mote-Carlo Rally they were in severe need to bounce back and even though there was no silverware there was a remarkable jump in performance and results particularly with young Finn Teemu Suninen, who on Friday was quicker than anybody and went over-night in the lead of the Rally, ultimately it was inexperience that cost him in a couple of small mistakes early on Saturday that cost him a high scoring position. Elfyn Evans was also in much better form as he seemed pretty consistent over the weekend winning a couple of stages and even being in contention for a podium, however when it came down to it the pace wasn't quite there. Along with youngster Pontus Tiedmund the future of M-Sport seems promising and they are far from a walkover, despite this don't be expecting them to challenge for any championships.

5) Gronholm's Homecoming

The two time World Rally Champion Marcus Gronholm made an inspiring comeback to the WRC for a one off event and there were certainly moments when we saw him roll back the years particularly in the opening stage in the head to head beating Loeb, which definitely brought the nostalgia factor transporting us back fifteen years. The Rally didn't go as he would have hoped especially with a very challenging Friday, but that wasn't the point he didn't expect to battle for the top places it was only a bit of fun for him to show his amazing loyal fans he is still as in love with Rallying and with Sweden as he's ever been.

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