The electrifying battle royal for this year’s FIA World Rally Championship has intensified as the title race now arrives in the UK for what promises to be a thrilling Dayinsure Wales Rally GB (4-7 October).
The result of last weekend’s drama-laden Rally Turkey has further tightened the tussle for top honours with the three leading contenders – Thierry Neuville, Ott Tänak and Sébastien Ogier – now locked in even fiercer combat with three pivotal rounds remaining on the calendar. The first of these title deciders comes next month in Wales, followed by two equally critical encounters in Spain and Australia.
Swashbuckling Neuville remains as the front-runner but he saw his points lead slashed after his Hyundai suffered a rare mechanical breakage on the rough Turkish tracks in the hills around Marmaris.
The Belgian’s misfortune appeared to hand the advantage to his closest rival Ogier but the reigning champion’s Ford Fiesta WRC also fell by the rock-strewn wayside thus handing a third consecutive victory to a somewhat surprised and delighted Tänak.
Taking full advantage of his adversaries’ troubles, the fast-finishing Toyota ace now has leapfrogged the Frenchman in the standings. As the series reaches its climax, the Estonian hard-charger now trails Neuville by just 13 points with Ogier a further 11 points adrift in third having lost second place.
However, 90 points are still on offer, so both chasers are still right in the hunt and have vowed to be on crowd-pleasing maximum attack in Wales.
“We are in the fight now,” enthused an excited Tänak. “The championship is becoming interesting; we have to keep on pushing.”
Targeting a sixth successive WRC title, Ogier is in equally determined mood as he sets his sights on a fifth win in Wales. “It’s definitely a three-way fight for the title now, and it’s still all to play for,” he pledged. “With three rallies to race, anything can happen.”
Adding a further exhilarating dimension to the season’s rousing crescendo, the three protagonists represent three different teams all locked in a similarly exciting battle for manufacturers’ honours: Neuville spearheads Hyundai’s attack; Ogier leads the M-Sport Ford squad while Tänak is Toyota’s trailblazer.
“We are witnessing the most incredible World Rally Championship for many, many years and now the action is heading right here to Wales – that’s a mouth-watering spectacle no one will want to miss,” enthused Ben Taylor, managing director of Dayinsure Wales Rally GB. “The latest generation of turbocharged and four-wheel-drive cars are the most exciting cars ever seen in our forests and now fans have the added thrills of a title race. It’s going to be blockbuster!”
As well as the promise of an unmissable title fight, tickets for the 2018 Dayinsure Wales Rally GB – an event memorably won last year by local hero Elfyn Evans – also offer great value for money. When purchased in advance, adult admission starts at just £15 for the Thursday evening curtain-raiser at Tir Prince Raceway with the premium four-day event pass remaining at £99 for the ninth successive year.
For those buying now online, Day Passes for Friday and Saturday cost £28.00 with Sunday’s Day Pass priced even more attractively at £23.00. These passes not only give access to all speed tests on that day but also include all booking fees, a copy of the Official Programme (cover price £9) plus car parking on a ‘first come, first-served’ basis.