THE WRC’S THREE MOST RECENT WORLD CHAMPIONS, DATING BACK TO 2003, WILL LINE UP FOR THIS MONTH’S PENULTIMATE ROUND IN SPAIN. The entry list for RallyRACC Catalunya – Rally de España (25 – 28 October) was released on Wednesday and nine-champion Sébastien Loeb, fellow Frenchman Sébastien Ogier, who is chasing a sixth straight title, and Petter Solberg are all confirmed starters.
Loeb, who dominated the championship from 2004 to 2012 with Citroën, completes his three-rally programme with the French manufacturer as team-mate to Craig Breen and Khalid Al Qassimi in a C3 World Rally Car.
Ogier is embroiled in a thrilling title fight with Thierry Neuville and Ott Tänak and drives his regular Ford Fiesta alongside Elfyn Evans and Teemu Suninen in the M-Sport Ford squad.
Norwegian Solberg, who lifted the crown in 2003, returns to the WRC for the first time since 2012. He debuts Volkswagen’s Polo GTI R5 in the WRC 2 support category while Eric Camilli pilots a second car for the German manufacturer.
Also confirmed is the flamboyant Ken Block, who drives a Fiesta WRC for his Hoonigan Racing team. It is the United States’ driver’s first WRC outing since the corresponding rally in 2014.
All four manufacturer teams field three cars. Hyundai Shell Mobis has local hero Dani Sordo alongside Neuville and Andreas Mikkelsen, while Toyota Gazoo Racing’s regular trio of Tänak, Jari-Matti Latvala and Esapekka Lappi take the start.
WRC 2 has a stellar entry in both quantity and quality. The 21-car field includes championship leader Jan Kopecký, who could secure the title, and Skoda Motorsport team-mate Kalle Rovanperä, who was hugely impressive when winning in Britain last weekend.
Other top runners include Lukasz Pieniazek, Fabio Andolfi, Jari Huttunen, Ole Christian Veiby, Stéphane Lefebvre and the popular Henning Solberg.
Taisko Lario and fellow front-runner Enrico Brazzoli resume their battle in WRC 3.