This 2017 season has already felt the wind of change. Exile drivers scrambling for seats, new teams returning. These are why you should watch the WRC in 2017.
Even playing field
When the German car manufacturer Volkswagen dropped out of the WRC at the end of last season, many criticized that the sport lost its leading star. VW’s drop out might still have done more good than bad to the WRC. Whole December the media speculated about where the three ex-Volkswagen driver would end up. This vast media coverage has brought rallying to the knowledge of people ignorant of it. But the effect of the Volkswexit stretches to the beginning 2017 season.
As the team that has dominated the sport for years has left, everything is up for grabs. There is no saying how tight this season will be. Maybe the drivers’ and the teams’ championship will be decided in the last special stage of the last rally. This season will definitely be one to watch, as the momentum may shift multiple times during the season with new drivers to teams and two returning factory teams.
Citroen returns as a factory team after a brief period as a supplier. The French team is building itself around the experienced rally winner Kris Meeke and the young French talent Stéphane Lefebvre. It could be that the first rallies of the season catch Citroen off guard, but the longer the season goes, the more competitive Citroen will no doubt become.
Toyota is returning to the WRC with a strong Finnish combination, team boss Tommi Mäkinen and three Finnish drivers Jari-Matti Latvala, Juho Hänninen and Esapekka Lappi. The WRC2 champion Lappi won’t however race in the first rallies of the season, as Toyota only have two cars ready. These teams are influential additions to the WRC team line-up and they will bring unexpectedness to each and every stage of this season.