Stuart Loudon-clear guide to Dayinsure Wales Rally GB

Stuart Loudon-clear guide to Dayinsure Wales Rally GB

27.10.2016: Two Wales Rally GBs in a year. Brilliant. But only just. This weekís event is a fortnight

Two Wales Rally GBs in a year. Brilliant. But only just. This week’s event is a fortnight earlier than last season, which means only a 50 rather than 52-week wait for one of the best rallies on the calendar.
 




I know I’m biased, being British, but don’t take my word for it. Listen to the best drivers in the world, they all say the same thing: these are some of the finest roads of the season.
 


And they should be in great condition, given a fairly dry run-in to the rally, unlike last season when it only stopped raining long enough to start raining harder.
 

A few folk are looking at this one as a bit of a dead rubber (technically speaking, it is…), but for me Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia clinching the drivers’ and co-drivers’ titles only brings clarity to this rally.



 OK, Volkswagen still has to sort itself out with a fourth straight makes’ crown, but this week’s a straight race for the crews. No maths, no computations, just the desire to win big on a very big rally.
 


Actually, there is the scrap for silver to be considered. And that’s a belter, with Andreas Mikkelsen/Anders Jæger and Thierry Neuville/Nicolas Gilsoul level on points. Famously big Monegasque buddies Mikkelsen and Neuville will square up in Wales this week for the ultimate opportunity for rallying one-upmanship.
 

But, being a Brit in Britain, predictably, I’m backing the Brits and the Irish. Kris Meeke/Paul Nagle and Craig Breen/Scott Martin have a real opportunity to make us proud this week.
 


Go well boys.


And don’t forget, just because we’re in Britain this week… we’re not done yet. You’ve got one more Loudon-clear guide coming your way this season: Rally Australia.
 
After that, there’s a December treat for you with the Loudon-clear guide to 2017 and the brave new world (Rally Championship).
 



Last year…


Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia clinched their third successive Wales Rally GB victory, but found little to celebrate in a hat-trick which came a day after the terrorist attacks in Paris. The event had been hard-fought and well won by the Volkswagen crew, who made the best job of dealing with some appallingly wet conditions.


Kris Meeke and Paul Nagle were never far away in their DS 3 WRC, but just couldn’t get close enough to apply the ultimate pressure to the leaders. Andreas Mikkelsen and Ola Fløene ensured there would be two Polo R WRCs on the understandably subdued podium – the final Volkswagen of Jari-Matti Latvala ended its tilt for the top in a Sweet Lamb ditch after what had to be one of the softest shunts of the Finn’s career.


Result: 1 Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (Volkswagen Polo R WRC) 3h03m02.0s; 2 Kris Meeke/Paul Nagle (DS 3 WRC) +26.0s; 3 Andreas Mikkelsen/Ola Fløene (Volkswagen Polo R WRC) +36.2s.
 



Top 10 running order



1 Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (Volkswagen Polo R WRC)
2 Andreas Mikkelsen/Anders Jaeger (Volkswagen Polo R WRC)
3 Thierry Neuville/Nicolas Gilsoul (Hyundai i20 WRC)
4 Hayden Paddon/John Kennard (Hyundai i20 WRC)
5 Dani Sordo/Marc Marti (Hyundai i20 WRC)
6 Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila (Volkswagen Polo R WRC)
7 Mads Østberg/Ola Fløene (Ford Fiesta RS WRC)
8 Ott Tänak/Raigo Mõlder (Ford Fiesta RS WRC)
9 Kris Meeke/Paul Nagle (Citröen DS3 WRC)
10 Craig Breen/Scott Martin (Citröen DS3 WRC)
 


Leading WRC2 runners:


32 Teemu Suninen/Mikko Markkula (Škoda Fabia R5)
33 Esapekka Lappi/Janne Ferm (Škoda Fabia R5)
34 Nicolas Fuchs/Fernando Mussano (Škoda Fabia R5)
35 Pontus Tidemand/Jonas Andersson (Škoda Fabia R5)
36 Jan Kopecky/Pavel Dresler (Škoda Fabia R5)
38 Marius Aasen/Veronica Engan (Ford Fiesta R5)
40 Abdulaziz Al-Kuwari/Killian Duffy (Škoda Fabia R5)
 


Leading WRC3/JWRC runners:


61 Simone Tempestini/Giovanni Bernacchini (Citröen DS3 R3T)
62 Michel Fabre/Maxime Vilmot (Citröen DS3 R3T) 
64 Martin Koci/Lukáš Kostka (Citröen DS3 R3T)
65 Terry Folb/Franck Le Floch (Citröen DS3 R3T)
66 Vincent Dubert/Alexandre Coria (Citröen DS3 R3T)
67 Michael Burri/Anderson Levratti (Renault Clio RSR3T)
 





Stuart Loudon’s key stage: SS1 Myherin 1 31.82km (19.77 miles)



This is definitely not a place to ease your way into this event… Myherin is a fantastic stage, but the boys will all remember running it in the opposite direction.



It has been this way around, but nobody will have done it – certainly not with the inclusion of the super-quick road up close to the wind farm. Everybody will be on new notes, which is always a great leveler, but the road itself will be familiar.



Much was made of how tricky this would be in Finland this year with the Ouninpohja stage, but Kris Meeke seemed to manage that one OK…


The finish of Myherin will be really interesting as well, with a series of hairpins approached at high-speed. Known locally as Pikes Peak, because they’re usually made in the ascent – this time the cars are coming down the hill!
 





Stuart will be watching… #8 Ott Tänak/Raigo Mõlder (Ford Fiesta RS WRC).



I’ve watched these boys with interest in Wales for the last few years and they’ve definitely shown more than a glimpse of the sort of speed which almost won them Poland this year.



 Their softer compound DMACKs should work beautifully in Wales this week; those boots on that car with Ott at the wheel and Raigo telling him where to go could be the key to unlock that first world championship win.  


 
Weather with you:



Wales Rally GB used up its quota of rain last year, so it’s not going to rain this year. Seriously, we’re looking at a bit of cloud (of the non-delivering kind) on Friday and wall-to-wall sunshine on Saturday.



 Sunday’s going to be a bit of both. Temperatures will range from eight to a fabulous 16 Degrees.





 Sandra Evans - also photo

Permanent-URL: http://www.automobilsport.com/stuart-loudon-guide-wales-gb-rally-dayinsure---157105.html

27.10.2016 / MaP

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