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WRC 2023 Season Check In - News

We are up to stage nine of the World Rally Championships, and with five more stages to go, we felt it was the right time to check in on how the season has shaped up so far as well as looking back at our pre-season predictions. Grab your crash helmets and buckle in – it's going to be a relentless ride from here on in!

  • Are WRC fans about to enter an era dominated by the latest flying Finn?

With nine stages down, Kalle Rovanperä sits on top of the WRC standings with a healthy 55 point lead, so it seems his victory last year was not a flash in the pan – and to be honest, we were merely playing devil's advocate by suggesting it was.

Our new question though, do we think anyone in the WRC championship is in a position to stop him dominating for a long time to come? Following his latest win in Estonia, his team principal compared him to nine-time champion Sébastien Loeb, so he clearly believes a new era of dominance is falling upon the WRC.

Ever since the age of 14, Rovanperä has been winning various national championships, embedding that winning mentality which the greats have within them. He eventually became the youngest driver ever to win a national open class rally championship in any country when he was just 16 years old, so it is not surprising to many in the know that he could reign for a long time in the rally world.

Like his Formula One counterpart, Max Verstappen, his style features unfiltered speed and fearless aggression, a style which has seen him grab five podium spots this season, including another stage victory in Portugal on top of the most recent one in Estonia.

The other races? Just off the podium in fourth place for all of them. It's this consistency which has enabled Rovanperä to sit so comfortably at the top. As the next championship's stage is in his home country, Finland, you would be hard-pressed to find a gambling man not willing to put a stake on Rovanperä grabbing further stage victories to cement his stranglehold on the cup.

  • Can Evans break out of the shadows?

Welshman, Elfyn Evans, finally managed to get a stage victory this season, ending the 18-race winless drought, with a win back in Croatia. Like his team-mate, Rovanperä, this season has also been one of consistency for Evans, and it could be argued that if it wasn't for the retirement in Portugal the standings table would look a lot closer than it currently does. Currently though, he sits in second – a position he is becoming too familiar with.

Evans has never won the WRC Championship, despite coming second on two previous occasions, and we are sure that he would love to shrug the monkey off his back and get a well-deserved Championship win in his trophy cabinet.

He can do it. All it takes is for Rovanperä to slip up a couple of times and Evans has enough experience about him to claw back the gap. The only issue is that Rovanperä, and his car, have shown no chinks in their armour this season to let the Welsh dragon in. We're watching this one closely.

  • Where have the Hyundais gone?

At the end of the 2022 season, Hyundai's i20 Hybrid looked like it was in imperious form and was all set to make 2023 its season. It seems they have flattered to deceive with Thierry Neuville the only Hyundai driver in the top five, six points off second place.

The South Korean manufacturer may have gone to lengths to tell us how to pronounce its name properly throughout the past six months, and we hope that they can mirror the 2022 season, when it all turned in their favour from the Estonian stage until the end, so that their name can be on the lips of all rally fans for the manufacturer's championship trophy.

  • What race is up next?

As mentioned earlier, the ninth WRC race is in Finland. The stages feature blisteringly quick gravel roads, all nestled in the Finnish forests. Historically known as the fastest rally in the championship. Rovanperä should feel right at home. We're not betting against him this year.

Visit our Rally Driving Experiences page today on the TrackDays website to browse and book from available experience dates on our Rally Experiences Calendar, or purchase for the rally driving experience of your choice through purchase of our open Gift Vouchers.

WRC 2023 Season Check In
04 August 2023
Trackdays

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