We’ve seen an amazing start to the 2021 season of WRC, following the 2020 season being decimated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Two rounds so far have left the drivers and manufacturers in a tantalising position. Crowds are eagerly anticipating the brand new Croatia third round, following the second round being taken out of Sweden and taking place in Finland due to increased COVID rates and fears. Two new locations and only on Round Three!
The incredible Arctic event did not disappoint - Finland saw fresh snowfall and high snowbanks. Some drivers managed to use them and avoid disaster - while others went well and truly off-piste and were noticeably piste-off. Oliver Solberg is a household name in World Championship Rallying, and he made his debut in the snow and ice alongside last minute stand-in co-driver, Sebastian Marshall.
Solberg drove with accuracy and flair, and came very close to winning some stages. With an early sunset this far North, fans were treated to the events being lit by the powerful rally light pods and the Aurora Borealis! Thierry Neuville demonstrated one of the most impressive and cleanest drives of the entire weekend, and finished 12 seconds ahead of next best Ott Tänak.
Kalle Rovanperä (Toyota) leads the championship so far with 39 points - and is the youngest ever leader of the Drivers’ Championship. Followed by Thierry Neuville (35pts) for Hyundai and then by Toyota teammate Sébastien Ogier with 31 points after a difficult start this season. Ogier is determined to put Monte-Carlo and his Lapland outing behind him to focus on the future, and change things around in Croatia. Only 12 points separate the top 5 drivers - and Toyota Gazoo are in the lead by 11 points in the Manufacturer Championship.
Zagreb in Croatia is the setting of the rally third round - and even more exciting - part of the rally itinerary will be indoors, which is a rare occurrence and often creates an incredible atmosphere. This also marks the first full tarmac rally since Germany 2019 - we’ve seen a lot of gravel, ice and snow so far! The WRC have said that the Croatia track is generally fast roads, but very narrow in parts - we cannot wait.
The Croatia Rally has also launched an international campaign to rebuild a hospital in Sisak, which was destroyed following a 6.4 magnitude earthquake in 2020. Thierry Neuville - currently second in the championship - has pledged up to €10,000 in support of the cause as part of his rally-by-rally charity drive. Speaking regarding the pledge, he said:
“In these times of the pandemic, it’s more important than ever to make sure that all the health infrastructures are optimally working and people can get the care they need. In continuity of the association operation I organise on each WRC event, it makes a lot of sense for me to support this initiative and I hope that many people will donate as well. Even a small donation can make a difference and I’m sure the WRC community will give a big push to help this great cause.”
In WRC eSports, teen sensation Sami Joe is seemingly unstoppable in the 2021 Championship presented by Toyota Gazoo Racing. The best efforts of two time WRC eSports champion Nexl put him 5 seconds behind Sami Joe - who has now won 5 events in a row in 2021 and takes his championship lead to 38 points.
Remember that WRC 10 launches in September 2021 building on the massive success of WRC 9 - and this next chapter in the game series is particularly special because it will be celebrating the upcoming 50th WRC 2022 Season by allowing players to relive 19 events that have shaped the history of the WRC.
Known for its ultra-realistic experiences and physics - drivers will be able to put themselves into the historic Acropolis Rally and Rallye Sanremo using vehicles such as the infamous Alpine Renault A110; the Audis and Lancias of the Group B era; the Subarus, Toyotas and Mitsubishis of the nineties; right up to the current generation Hyundai, Toyota and Ford.
So with an exciting start to WRC 2021 and WRC eSports - why not put yourself right in the driving seat with a real life rally experience. Get behind the wheel of legendary rally icons like the 350 BHP Subaru WRX STI for as little as £25 with DrivingExperience.com - or head to our dedicated Rally Experiences section!