Lots of snow, lots of studs and many many rear bumpers stuck in snow bunks…Rally Of Sweden was quite a show!
After watching every stage, here are our 1 to 10 votes to the 11 drivers, with decimals, just for the fun of it, in our own words.
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Craig Breen - 5.3 out of 10 - Not his rally.
Days before the rally, Craig expressed a thought of him not going to be leading the M-Sporters during the rally, and he was right. He was off the pace from day one and went off the road almost immediately, which is something that at this level is quite costly for manufacturers. His rally became a fast recce after day 1 with a glimpse of speed at the Power stage. One championship point for him. Forget snow, and think of Asphalt, Craig!
Adrien Fourmaux - 6.1 out of 10 - On the way to redemption.
This is the first rally Adrien does in the top class. After his spectacular and disastrous exit at SS3 Montecarlo, he helped the team build the car for the event and drove at his best to keep the car on the road with no drama. This time the car failed on him twice during the event, ending his event on sunday. He now has 60 days to feel less sorry for the team and regain some confidence and test miles before his rally in Croatia starts. Go Adrien!
Ott Tanak - 6.3 out of 10 - Invisible until Power Stage.
This marriage between the 2019 World Champ and Hyundai is facing some hard times. Ott was fast in the early stages until the hybrid system caused an early stop. From day 2, his only vision was the 5 power stage points, which he got with a flying stage time. We don’t get the problem or if there is one at this stage.
Oliver Solberg - 7.2 out of 10 - Too cautious or too impatient?
First ever home event for Oliver in a WRC car. He is fast but very critical of himself. He finished the rally in 6th position but most of all, he finished it, which is not an easy task. For sure, there is much to work on but his fatherPetter was very proud ;)
Elfyn Evans - 4.1 out of 10 - Fast but Clumsy 2.0
2.0 because this happened in Montecarlo too. Elfyn was landing second place but he clearly was going for a win. After a spectacular photo finish exit with no damage, he spun on day 3, only this time he was not able to get going again. Game over for him as he served second place to Neuville on a silver platter and ended with no points. Gutted!
Takamoto Katsuta - 7.4 out of 10 - Best of the rest
TAKA showed impressive maturity and clean run throughout the event, landing a 4th place overall! Apart from the podium guys, who were racing on an alien level, Taka performed better than the rest of the field! Keep going Taka!
Thierry Neuville - 8.6 out of 10 - Beat Evans and avoided a 1.2.3 Toyota result
Without Sebastiens in the way, he may have thought of being the rally’s favourite to win. Thierry had a terrible stage on day 1, which was (luckily for him) cancelled. He kept pedal to the metal, gaining second place overall, breaking a dominance chain of Toyota! He is the team leading driver at the moment.
Gus Greensmith - 7.1 out of 10 - No GUS’ Land!
After a very promising debut in Monte, GUS faced his Achilles heel, being Sweden. He wasn’t able to extract maximum performance from the PUMA, which seemed to be the weakest car this week. However, he kept his head down, made no mistakes and brought precious points to the team.
Esapekka Lappi - 9.3 out of 10 - The Finn Ghost!
EP is back in the game! He started as the least experienced driver of the group and ended by winning rally stages and with a podium. 3rd Overall, EP showed his speed reserve to the field, yet being cautious, by driving 90% of his capacity, due to the level of knowledge of the new Rally1 cars, which he described “too fast, too crazy at the corner exits”. We want to see more EP please!
Kalle Rovanpera - 10.5 out of 10 - Toyota’s Frontman
A performance World Champions do! he drove at 105%, winning 6 stages, despite starting first on the road on day 1. He won the rally and, on top of that, he went for the power stage win, gaining 4 extra points! He drove like a champ and he celebrated like a gentleman, as he decided not to celebrate, as a sign of respect to the current conflict going on in Ukraine these days.
M-Sport - 6 out of 10 - Slow PUMA
A rally to reflect upon. The car lacked speed especially in the long Swedish endless straights 10 km/h slower than the Hyunday, which was the fastest car.
Car Reliability issues, which stopped both Fourmaux and Breen on Stage
Toyota GR - 9.8 out of 10 - Dominance!
No reliability issues, balanced cars, mega budget on rear bumpers. That is a weekend to remember for Toyota, which had his 4 cars in the first 5 places for 90% of the rally. They lead the game now.
Hyundai - 7.2 out of 10 - Work has been done. More to do.
Hyundai gave signs of improvements but clearly there is still major work to do. Tanak’s hybrid system failed on day 1 and some issues where reported on Oliver’s car too. They had the highest top speed, which is a good starting point for the team work until the next rally.
Elfyn Evans was flying at the Stage Umea 2; he was going for a stage win and he went off the road at the last corner, heading straight for the time sensor and the lighting post, causing a temporary blackout at stage end. He lost some time but his time was still the fastest at that time!