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How Monza's lottery winner matched a 27-year-old record
The 2020 World Rally Championship ended in heartbreak for Britain's Elfyn Evans as his 14-point advantage in the drivers' title race was whisked out from beneath him by a patch of Italian snow. Thus Sebastien Ogier claimed his seventh WRC title as Rally Monza joined the calendar for the first time.
Tensions were high when the trucks unloaded in the historic royal park and there were suggestions that some teams were rather less willing to be there than others. Event organisers had insisted that the itinerary would be fully compliant with the COVID-19 legislation in place at the time, but it was sobering to know that Italy had suffered its most grievous toll of the pandemic so far on the opening day of the rally, with 993 lives lost.
Eight long weeks had passed since the previous round in Sardinia, throughout which time the expectations of British rally fans had hung over Evans like the Sword of Damocles. The nation had meanwhile saluted the 25th anniversary of Colin McRae's euphoric WRC title and paid fulsome tribute to Richard Burns 15 years after his tragic loss to cancer, which would have served only to remind Evans of exactly whose boots he was expected to fill. Sure enough, he managed to uncharacteristically reverse his Toyota Yaris into the barriers during shakedown.
Finland may have a small population, but it has long enjoyed rallying success. Now that the nation has a new star to cheer in the form of Kalle Rovanpera, interest in the discipline is surging once again.
Kalle Rovanpera and Toyota went into Rally Finland as overwhelming favourites but came away as runners-up to a resurgent Ott Tanak and Hyundai. While it may have dampened the homecoming party, it still moved the Finn closer to the ultimate World Rally Championship prize
Hyundai is one of the World Rally Championship's big three, and has a brand-new travelling facility befitting of that status. The team invited Motorsport.com for a behind-the-scenes look at its state-of-the-art HQ, which comes complete with all the bells and whistles you'd expect of a top Formula 1 outfit.
After trailing Toyota teammate Elfyn Evans for much of Rally Estonia's opening day, WRC points leader Kalle Rovanpera took advantage of a change in the weather and never looked back afterwards. Winning for a fifth time this year at the scene of his 2021 breakthrough, and with a breathtaking powerstage bonus for good measure, his advantage is already looking difficult to topple.
Whether it’s the mountains of Monte Carlo, the snow of Sweden or the Kenya Savannah, the World Rally Championship is able to beam some of motorsport’s most spectacular footage to television screens while operating in the harshest of environments. Motorsport.com went behind the scenes to unearth the secrets that make this logistical challenge possible
OPINION: A source of national pride in Kenya, the Safari Rally is also a sporting, cultural and economic phenomenon. And as last weekend's World Rally Championship round reminded us, it's a key driver in establishing Africa’s place in world motorsport.
The Safari Rally acted as a brutal test of driver and car resolve as multiple retirements opened the path for a historic Toyota 1-2-3-4 triumph, headed by star Kalle Rovanpera. But keeping things clean was only half of the challenge, as a well-timed charge when conditions worsened allowed the Finn to take control
The 2019 champion has been a bit-part player recently, but Ott Tanak ended a 15-month drought in fine style with a dominant win in Sardinia. On a weekend when championship leader Kalle Rovanpera struggled with cleaning the road, his Hyundai rival has made his belated arrival into the title race and given cause for those predicting a walkover from the Toyota star to pause
Monza WRC: Ogier wins to claim seventh title
Ogier admits Evans crash took away from title enjoyment