A near-perfect outing in Spain for Neuville and Evans’ outstanding consistency means the 2021 WRC title fight will go right down to the wire!
Hyundai’s Thierry Neuville claimed his second FIA World Rally Championship victory of the season with a commanding display at RallyRACC – Rally de España. The Belgian stormed through a majority of the speed tests in his i20 across the middle of the three-day asphalt rally to secure back-to-back RallyRACC titles – his previous victory in Spain was back in 2019, as the event was cancelled in 2020.
After demoting Toyota’s Elfyn Evans to gain the overnight lead by the end of Day 1, it was a relatively calm and serene outing for Neuville as his lead was never challenged throughout the rally. However, a big scare ahead of the closing Wolf Power Stage did rattle the Belgian – a starter motor problem forced his co-driver Martin Wydaeghe to push their i20 into the regroup before the stage. But the crew managed to restart the car in time.
As far as the championship is concerned, here’s when it becomes a proper nail-biter. Neuville’s thumping victory and a second-place finish by Evans has ensured that the WRC title fight, both for the drivers as well as manufacturers, will culminate at the final round – Rally Monza.
Despite a fourth-place finish in Spain by championship leader Sébastien Ogier, he remains on top of the leaderboard with 204 points. Thanks to stellar consistency, his teammate Evans is now only 17 points behind him and with 159 points, Neuville continues to be in contention for the title, currently third in the championship.
In the manufacturers’ title fight, Toyota leads with 474 points while defending champions Hyundai are only 47 points astray from the top spot.