The 2020 World Rally Championship started with rounds in Monte Carlo, Sweden and then Mexico where the effects of Covid 19 resulted in the cancellation of the final day.
All further events were cancelled until the Estonian Rally in early September. Since then teams have visited Turkey, Sardinia and last weekend Italy once again for the Monza Rally, the scheduled rally in Belgium sadly cancelled due to the pandemic, leaving Monza as the final rally and championship decider for 2020.
Based at the Autodromo Nazionale de Monza, the 95 entries tackled 241.14 km over 16 special stages of the 502.66 km rally total. The four day rally used special stages in and around the circuit then moving to the mountains of Lombardy before returning to the Monza facility for the final stages. The weather was unpredictable with, fog, heavy rain, ice and snow making roads treacherous to the cost of many of the crews.
The battle for the Drivers and Manufacturers championships was still open with current champions Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT heading the manufacturers table just seven points ahead of Toyota Gazoo Racing with M-Sport Ford WRT a very distant third.
It was equally close for the driver’s title, with Toyota Gazoo Racing’s Elfyn Evans chasing his first title on 111 points ahead of team mate Sebastien Ogier on 97 followed by Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT’s Thierry Neuville with 87 points, the Belgians team mate, reigning champion Ott Tanak, was just four points further back. Toyota’s Kalle Rovanpera with 70 points was next up ahead of Ford’s Teemu Suninen on 44 points and team mate Esapekka Lappi with 38 points, were followed by Hyundai’s Daniel Sordo on 26 points and Ford man Gus Greensmith on 16.
Rally Monza proved to be a truly testing and unforgiving end to the season, two stages were cancelled due to accidents and weather conditions. Many of the teams were to experience moments of great elation others huge disappointments. Among those teams suffering the latter were:
- Thierry Neuville/ Nicolas Gilsoul – suspension damage after hitting a concrete block then deep water stalled the car which would not restart
- Teemu Suninen/ Jarno Lehtinen- engine misfire led to retirement
- Gus Greensmith/ Elliot Edmonson- suspension damage after clipping a concrete block
- Elfyn Evans/ Scott Martin – particularly slippery road caused the car to slide off the road down a bank, the crew was unable to regain the road, a sad end to the Welshman’s dream of his maiden WRC championship.
The battle was now between Ogier, Sordo, Tanak, Lappi and Rovanpera with the lead changing regularly until Ogier began to pull out a lead which would bring him his seventh WRC Drivers title. Sordo and Tanak drove a calculated rally to ensure Hyundai retained the Manufacturers Championship.
Final Classification – Rally Monza
1 Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (Toyota Yaris WRC) 2h15m51.0s
2 Ott Tänak/Martin Järveoja (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +13.9s
3 Dani Sordo/Carlos del Barrio (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +15.3s
4 Esapekka Lappi/Janne Ferm (Ford Fiesta WRC) +45.7s
5 Kalle Rovanperä/Jonne Halttunen (Toyota Yaris WRC) +1m11.1s
6 Andreas Mikkelsen/Anders Jaeger (Škoda Fabia Rally2 evo) +3m56.2s
7 Oliver Solberg/Aaron Johnston (Škoda Fabia Rally2 evo) +4m12.1s
8 Jari Huttunen/Mikka Lukka (Hyundai i20 R5) +5m15.4s
9 Mads Østberg/Torstein Eriksen (Citroën C3 R5) +5m27.4s
10 Pontus Tidemand/Patrik Barth (Škoda Fabia Rally2 evo) +5m53.0s
FIA World Rally Championship for Drivers’
1 Ogier 122
2 Evans 114
3 Tanak 105
4 Neuville 87
5 Rovanpera 80
6 Lappi 52
7 Suninen 44
8 Sordo 42
9 Breen 25
10 Loeb 24
FIA World Rally Championship for Manufacturers’
1 Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT 241
2 Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT 236
3 M-Sport Ford WRT 129