I suppose that what happens in 1m36s before or on a WRC rally does not say much, but the message was clear when Khris Meeke posted the fastest time on his third run, beating Dani Sordo by 0.3s and Jari-Matti Latvala by 0.7s. Ott Tanak is not world champion yet!
If you are a betting man, you will know that Tänak is by far (11-8) the favourite to clinch the world title by winning in Spain.
Be the Betting feeling as it may – the only guys who will have a bit of sympathy with him, will be his team mates, Meeke and Latvala – and that will not be by choice.
Sebastien Loeb will want to prove his super talent by winning the RallyRacc Catalunya – Rally De Espana for the tenth time – IN SUCCESSION!
My feeling – the tenth time in succession is not going to happen. If it does, my opinion or theory that the top three or four WRC drivers moved into a new bracket – a superhuman bracket, will not be that strong anymore.
They are super people with super reflexes and counter reflexes with the ability to remember, recall and apply pace notes, perfectly all the time.
Loëb is great – he was the greatest for many years, but I think he is one step below the current best.
Dani Sordo – the local driver who did not compete in all the rounds of the championship this year, will also be fighting for his almost booked place on the podium.
If you were the Toyota Gazoo team’s manager, what would your strategy for the rally be, especially after Tának posted 6th fastest time, 1,8s slower over the 2km stage than Meeke?
Signs are there that he is going to take it “easy” and get as many points as possible, going into Rally Australia.
Meeke and Latvalla will have the task to keep Ogier and Neuville behind them in Spain and again in Australia. Tall order, but doable.
If Meeke and Latvalla do not do what they should, the pressure will fall back on Tänak so hard, he will need to readjust his own shocks.
By the way – the 2km shakedown stage was made up of gravel and smooth tarmac – just as the rally will be.
So – the table is set – lets sit down – pray and enjoy a rally that promises to bring a lot of joy to the real enthusiast.