Excitement and Thrills at the Rally GB
Wales Rally GB provided followers with four days of thrilling racing over the course of the weekend before a champion was crowned. The action got underway at Llandudno on Thursday 3 October and came to a conclusion on Sunday 6 October. What went on between those dates was as exciting as fans hoped it would be.
Fans of the stats know this was the 75th renewal of the Wales GB rally and there haven’t been too many better over the years. 22 special stages were set up and that resulted in a total of 194 competitive miles. Plenty for those in attendance to cheer as Wales was battered by rain and wind. Those preferring to avoid the autumn storms could keep pace with the racing thanks to live coverage offered by several television stations, websites and mobile apps.
Ott Tanak Takes Gold
As the final results came in we learned that Ott Tanak and his co-driver Martin Jarveojo had come out on top and that wasn’t a massive shock to those who had kept an eye on the racing over the course of the four days. The Estonian speedster hit the top of the leader board on Friday afternoon and once in front he simply wasn’t for catching, holding firm to see off all comers. He was a deserved champion and all his rivals could do at the finish line was offer their congratulations, knowing they had lost to a better driver at the event.
Tanak was made to work for his prize, however, winning the final stage by just shy of a second to drive himself to the trophy. His overall time read 3 hours and 58 seconds. Is he now on course to collect what would be his first FIA World Rally Championship? It certainly appears that way.
Brits Finish Fourth and Fifth
The major places were completed by Thierry Neuville and Nicolas Gilsoul of Belgium who ended in second place, with France’s Sebastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia took the bronze medal position when crossing the line back in third. There wasn’t too much for supporters of the local drivers to cheer about, however.
Great Britain’s Kris Meeke and Sebastian Marshall were fourth at the conclusion of racing on Sunday. A decent effort but they failed to land a glove on the eventual champions who more than deserved their prize. Elfyn Evans and Scott Martin came back in fifth to reward Welsh fans who had offered their support in the build-up.
With the effects of a storm that was raging across the Atlantic being felt in the UK, the weekend didn’t pass without incident. The opener took place at Oulton Park near Chester under the floodlights and we saw the Great Orme stage hooked just a few minutes into racing as it became obvious any action would have posed an unnecessary risk to both drivers and spectators.
Weather Forces Cancellations
Wales Rally GB was pushed into making a statement to explain the cancellation and they blamed rough seas conditions which meant they were unable to ensure the safety of their drivers. It was disappointing, of course, but there had been plenty of warning from the weather channels in the lead up to the race week, so many spectators have expected the delay and even planned for it.
The drivers are aware by now such cancellations are common when driving in this part of the world at this time of year. The more experienced men have learned to take it in their stride and not lose any sleep over things that cannot change.
Elfyn Evans was the pick of most fans to win this weekend but he was forced to admit he came up short against better drivers and will return to the drawing board before his next outing. The popular 30-year-old pilot had chances and put in a decent round of driving but was honest enough to say in his post-race press conference there is no room for what if’s in this sport.