This rally in Finland had a dramatic Friday (in the Anglo-Saxon sense) with some outings. The first to fall was Tänak who had a technical problem with his Ford Puma. Obviously a stone hit the engine and broke elements such as the casing. Heat engine out, impossible to go further. For M-Sport, Friday continued badly with Pierre-Louis Loubet going out slightly too wide and hitting a tree from behind.
The slippery terrain also played tricks on Esapekka Lappi (Hyundai) who also hit a tree and had to retire. Finally, on Friday afternoon, it is the reigning world champion, Rovanperä, who rolls off. The crew comes out unscathed but the rally is lost.
Evans for his part, found the rhythm with his Toyota and won ahead of Neuville who signed a second place in a row after Estonia. Evans even won the Power Stage and the bonus points that go with it. He therefore scored 30 points while Rovanperä scored 0. This rally in Finland was also special for Toyota since the boss, Latvala, took over the wheel (outside the manufacturer’s championship). He still has something in his hands as he finished 5th behind Suninen 4th. The 3rd is Katsuta who was eligible builder. All good for Toyota.
On the other hand, 5 WRC cars at the finish is still just as little. Oliver Solberg, in a Fabia WRC2, won the category with an overall 6th place. Pajari, Fourmaux (Fiesta WRC2), Gryazin and Mikkelsen follow.
POSDRIVERCO-DRIVERTEAM / CAR1 E. EVANS S. MARTIN GR Yaris Rally1 HYBRID2 T. NEUVILLE M. WYDAEGHE i20 N Rally1 HYBRID3 T. KATSUTA A. JOHNSTON GR Yaris Rally1 HYBRID4 T. SUNINEN M. MARKKULA i20 N Rally1 HYBRID5 J. LATVALA J. HÄNNINEN GR Yaris Rally1 HYBRID6 O. SOLBERG E. EDMONDSON Fabia RS7 S. PAJARI E. MÄLKÖNEN Fabia RS8 A. FOURMAUX A. CORIA Fiesta Mk II9 N. GRYAZIN K. ALEKSANDROV Fabia RS10 A. MIKKELSEN T. ERIKSEN Fabia RS
Ranking of the 2023 driver’s world championship
Rovanperä still has a 35-point lead, but has blown one of its jokers. There are still 4 rallies left and on the next misstep it could be joined. Obviously, Evans does not want to claim victory because he knows that anything can happen in the last rally. Neuville widens the gap on Tänak. No one has yet mathematically lost the championship until Katsuta. But we should have a three-way match if Rovanperä is feverish.
POSDRIVERTOTAL1K. ROVANPERÄ1702E. EVANS1453T. NEUVILLE1344O. TANAK1045S. OGIER986E. LAPPI877T. KATSUTA588D. SORDO469T. SUNINEN3410P. LOUBET28
Ranking of the 2023 team world championship
Toyota was able to count on Katsuta to score the points for 3rd place in the absence of Rovanperä at the finish. The Japanese manufacturer scores 10 points more than Hyundai and has a 67 lead. It will be difficult (if not impossible) for Hyundai to claim the title. But it is still mathematically possible.
POSMANUFACTURETOTAL1TOYOTA GAZOO RACING WRT3782HYUNDAI SHELL MOBIS WORLD RALLY TEAM3113M-SPORT FORD WORLD RALLY TEAM205