A massive shake up in the technical regulations have changed the face of the WRC heading into the 2017 season.
The cars have been transformed from understated hatchbacks with a lot of attitude into full blown, aerodynamic missiles. The speeds have never been faster, and with the sudden shock withdrawal of reigning champions Volkswagen, the competition is wide open.
Anybody who has (or in many cases, had) an interest in the championship would say the same thing if questioned about the state of the sport in recent years:
“Its lost it’s magic.”
“Bring back Group B cars!”
“The drivers are no longer superheroes.”
And they would be right, the WRC has definitely been somewhat out of character since the glory days of the 20th century. But now, I feel it’s back.
The jaw dropping pace and ultra aggressive styling of the new cars allow fans to get excited about the sport once again. Arguably, the driving levels are back to their best with the flawless multiple champion Sebastian Ogier leading a field that includes young talent Hayden Paddon, Northern Irishman Kris Meeke- who reminds many of rally legend Colin McRae– and other stars such as Jari-Matti Latvala and Thierry Neuville.
As you can see from this video of Mads Ostberg, these drivers have no fear.
(video uploaded to Youtube by ‘/DRIVE’)
It creates an effective formula:
lots of talent + lots of character = lots of excitement.
And then, to add the cherry on top of the 2017 cake. The return of two legends working hand in hand, Toyota under the leadership of four time world champion Tommi Makinen.
The Japanese manufacturer was one of the stalwarts during the golden era of rallying, and their return almost symbolises the dawn of a new, muddy day.
The passion, the drama, the character, the superheroes, the beauty…. It’s all back and hopefully, it’s here to stay.