Turkish Delight for Toyota & Evans!

Elfyn Evans secured a good win on Rally Turkey to climb back on top of the World Rally Championship drivers' standings after high drama in the hillsides around Marmaris. After taking a cautious approach throughout the most attritional event on the WRC calendar, the Welshman reaped his reward and a third career WRC victory and his first season driving for Toyota.

To reach the top step of the podium Evans first saw off Hyundai's Thierry Neuville and Toyota's Sebastien Ogier after a furious battle at the top of the order but both men picked up punctures on the first stage of the last day, as did the third-place man overnight, Hyundai's Sebastien Loeb.

But Evans' was patient and he emerged with a mighty 47 second advantage over the erstwhile leaders. Neuville overhauled Ogier into second and attempted to close the gap to Evans, then Ogier's Yaris WRC began emitting smoke and the six-time champion was out which elevated nine-time world champion Loeb back into the podium places in the second Hyundai.

In a display of gamesmanship, Ott Tanak restarted out of the points battle after steering failure on Saturday and the Estonian took a road penalty to push Ogier in front of him and then slotted into place in front of his two team-mates on the penultimate stage. After launching off the start with purpose, Tanak then parked and allowed both Neuville and Loeb through in front of him to minimize the number of rocks thrown in their path before gently motoring through to the end.

Tanak's focus was on the five bonus points available for winning the final Power Stage. Thus, equipped with just one spare tyre and running the softest rubber that he dared, Tanak set a blistering time of 4m20.8s to claim the five bonus points that might help to retain his 2019 drivers' crown.

Evans now holds an 18-point lead over Ogier with two rounds remaining on the Covid-affected calendar. Tanak's Power Stage points keep him level with Rovanpera in third, while Neuville's 23-point Turkish haul brings him back into contention a further five points adrift. Toyota remains at the top of the manufacturers' standings by nine points.

Rally Turkey Results

1. Elfyn Evans/Scott Martin Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT 2h 43m 02.7
2. Thierry Neuville/N.Gilsoul Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT Hyundai + 35.2
3. Sebastien Loeb/D.Elena Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT Hyundai + 59.4
4. Kalle Roveanpera/J.Halttunen Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT + 2m35.9
5. Gus Greensmith/E.Edmondson M-Sport Ford WRT Fiesta + 4m08.3
6. Escapekka Lappi/J.Ferm M-Sport Ford WRT Fiesta +5m.36.2

22nd September, 2020

Local Hero Tanak wins Rally Estonia

Perhaps Rally Estonia should now be a regular fixture on the WRC calendar following a successful debut last weekend for the Tartu-based rally which in 1029 ran as an official WRC promotional rally, pitched to the FIA for a date in the calendar. But the cancellation of multiple events this year; including Rally Portugal, Rally Finland, Rally New Zealand, the Safari Rally and Wales Rally GB meant that the long-term project materialized five years early. In fact, since last weekend, Rally Estonia has now become a barometer against by which all rounds of the WRC must now compare themselves.

In just 20 weeks the rally organisers and local authorities managed to deliver an incredible event, which was extremely impressive especially given the current circumstances and restrictions, with only the fans missing and Estonians are particularly passionate about their rallying, especially as fellow countryman Ott Tanak is reigning world rally champion!

Appropriately, it was Tanak who took first WRC victory in Estonia, with Hyundai team mate Craig Breen in a good second place just twenty two seconds behind and six-time WRC champion Ogier's Toyota Yaris third with a deficit of 27 seconds, on the championship's first rally since Rally Mexico back in March.

Tanak's victory means that Ogier's lead in the standings over the Estomian's third place is down to 13 points with three rallies left this year in Turkey, Italy, and Belgium. Elfyn Evans lies between the pair, nine points behind Ogier.

Evans had finished Estonia in fourth place, Rovanpera fifth, Suninen sixth, followed by Lappi, Greensmith, Solberg and Ostberg closing out the championship scorers. The power stage was topped by Toyota's Kalle Rovanpera. Title aspirant Thierry Neuville was holding third place until he retired with damaged rear suspension then, his efforts to score power stage points were thwarted by mechanical problems.

Looking ahead, the next WRC event is this weekend in Turkey, a rally that is well-known for being very rough - let battle recommence!

11th September, 2020

Martin Holmes 1940 - 2020

Remarkably, the evergreen Martin Holmes, who died in June at the age of 80 following a long battle with cancer, had been an integral part of the sport in many front-line roles since the 1950s. First and foremost, as a navigator and co-driver, but also as a meticulously accurate Journalist, and Photographer, racking-up his amazing attendance at 500 World Rally Championship events during his successful career.

Starting in the sport as a university student, Holmes became a leading light at the Sutton and Cheam motor club as its newsletter editor and also began sending rally reports to Motoring News and Autosport during the Sixties. As a co-driver, he reached the WRC alongside Andy Dawson, Pentti Airikkala, Ove Andersson and Jean Ragnotti, as part of several front-running works teams.

Holmes published the first of his many books in 1975 and his prodigious literary output was one of his greatest legacies with the Holmes-anchored annual World Rallying yearbooks covering every international and domestic series worldwide in minute depth and detail. This element relied upon his unique network of journalists, event organisers and team members to ensure accuracy.
Martin was a member of the Guild of Motoring Writers, winning several prestigious awards for his work and also a longtime member and supporter of the International Rally Drivers Club.

As the numbers at his funeral were severely restricted due to the Coronavirus pandemic, friends were invited to get into their vehicles at 1.00 pm on the 1st of July (the time of his funeral) and rev the engine in his memory. There will be a memorial service when the current crisis controls are relaxed. We send our sincerest condolences to his family and many friends throughout the sport.

27th July, 2020

Wales Rally GB 2020 - and BRC Cancelled

Rally fans, particularly British, have recently had two devastating announcements to cope with!
Following the first which was the cancellation of Wales Rally GB - due to host two rounds of the 2020 British Rally Championship and pull the series back from the brink - Motorsport UK decided on Tuesday 9 June to announce that it will not continue the 2020 BRC season due to the uncertainty created by the global COVID-19 pandemic.

Britain's premier rallying series got underway in February with the best drivers in the country representing M-Sport Ford, Hyundai and Proton on the Visit Conwy Cambrian Rally.

To date, the Cambrian Rally is the only round to take place this season as the Clonakility Park Hotel West Cork Rally, Corbeau Seats Rally Tendring & Clacton and Today's Ulster Rally have all postponed their events until 2021 due to the virus. We now await the plans for the series going forward into 2021 season.

22nd June, 2020

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