The 2019 Wales Rally GB – Round 12 of the FIA World Rally Championship – was won by Toyota/Michelin’s Ott Tänak, ahead of Thierry Neuville (Hyundai/Michelin) and Sébastien Ogier (Citroën/Michelin). The all-new Michelin Latitude Cross S70 helped Kalle Rovanperä to claim the WRC2 Pro spoils and clinch the class’s title.
After failing to reap the rewards of an assertive performance in Wales this time last year, Tänak fought off more pressing opposition this time around to appear in front after Day 1, before extending his lead on Day 2 and ultimately pocketing his maiden Wales Rally GB success on Sunday afternoon.
The Estonian’s sixth win of the year and the five bonus points he earned for topping the Power Stage have taken him a step closer to securing his first ever Drivers’ crown thanks to cushions of 28 and 41 points respectively over Neuville and Ogier, with 60 points up for grabs at the season’s last two fixtures in Catalonia and Australia.
True to tradition, the field was greeted by torrential rain in the North Wales forests. Despite the treacherously conditions, however, Michelin’s soft- and medium-compound Michelin LTX Force and Latitude Cross tyres provided competitors with valuable grip, and the all-new Latitude Cross S70 (soft) clocked the fastest time on 17 of the week’s 21 stages in the RC2 class (WRC2 Pro + WRC2).
Ulsterman Kris Meeke (Toyota/Michelin) appeared in front on Day 1 but slipped back to fourth in the final standings, while local hero Elfyn Evans won four stages to pip Andreas Mikkelsen (6
Unsurprisingly, the fast stages and challenging conditions caught out several front-runners, including Jari-Matti Latvala (Toyota/Michelin), Teemu Suninen (Ford/Michelin), Esapekka Lappi (Citroën/Michelin) and Craig Breen (Hyundai/Michelin).
Finland’s Kalle Rovanperä (Skoda/Michelin) outclassed his opponents to pocket his fifth WRC2 Pro victory of the campaign and claim the class’s world title, just two years after his making his first world-class appearance.
The 2003 world champion Petter Solberg (Volkswagen) celebrated his 191
The next round of the 2019 FIA WRC will take teams to Spain on October 24-27 for RallyRACC-Catalunya – the season’s only mixed-surface (dirt/asphalt) event.
2019 Wales Rally GB – final positions:
1. Tänak/Järvoeja (Toyota Yaris WRC), 3h0m58.0s
2. Neuville/Gilsoul (Hyundai i20 Coupé WRC), +10.9s
3. Ogier/Ingrassia (Citroën C3 WRC), +23.8s
4. Meeke/Marshall (Toyota Yaris WRC), +35.6s
5. Evans/Martin (Ford Fiesta RS WRC), +48.6s
6. Mikkelsen/Jaeger (Hyundai i20 Coupé WRC), +58.2s
7. Tidemand/Floene (Ford Fiesta RS WRC), +5m23.8s
8. Breen/Nagle (Hyundai i20 Coupé WRC), +9m25.0s
9. Rovanperä/Halttunen (Skoda Fabia R5) (1
10. Solberg/Mills (Volkswagen Polo GTi), 11m36.1s