Five Things we learned from Rally Sweden
Rally Sweden provided a surprise winner, produced an interesting Twitter poll result, was run as a gravel rally and included a distasteful stage name.
Peter Whitten looks at five things we learnt in Sweden …..
1. With a Toyota Yaris under him, Elfyn Evans is the real deal. Finally.
He’d won before at Wales Rally GB on tyres that suited the conditions, and that nobody else was using, but Evans’ second win can never be disputed. He was fast from the outset and, like in Monte Carlo, was more than a match for his team-mates Ogier and Rovanpera.
Can the Welshman maintain the speed and challenge for the WRC title in 2020? Hell yeah! Third and first on two of the most difficult events in the championship proves that.
Now the pressure’s on Seb Ogier to see if he can up his game.
2. An RSM Twitter poll revealed that only 15% of fans believe Ott Tanak’s move to Hyundai was a better one than Evans to Toyota.
A month ago you’d have laughed off such a suggestion, but now we’d have to agree.
Tanak was fast at M-Sport. He was lightning quick at Toyota. The same looks to be true for Evans.
Both have the car under them and the money around them to excel. At the moment it’s advantage Evans.
3. No snow means no show ….. nearly.
Climate change advocates have been banging on about it for years, and this year’s mild Scandinavian weather proved that without a good dumping of the white stuff, Rally Sweden is just a gravel rally like any other.
The organisers did their best to make the most of what they could, but the WRC Promoter now has a job on their hands to ensure this doesn’t happen again.
Sweden’s problem is that any location further north (where it is more likely to have snow) doesn’t have the infrastructure required to host a WRC round, and that’s a real concern.
Snow events in Canada and Russia have been mentioned, but Sweden still has a long-term contract in the WRC. Hopefully this year was just a one-off.
4. WRC teams spoil the show for paying fans
Toyota, Hyundai and M-Sport all had extensive (and expensive) servicing facilities in Sweden. It looked impressive, but the fans were left feeling a little left out.
Because of the expected cold conditions, the service areas were in enclosed to keep the heat in, but that meant fans either had to look through glass or plastic screens, or view from a platform at one end of the service area.
With only one car being serviced at each time in each team, this made it particularly difficult to get a good view. Fans to warmer WRC rounds clearly have much better access.
5. The Swedes don’t seem to think it’s strange to have a stage called “Likenas” …
Okay, so it’s a bit of a play on words, but still …..