There’s a lot to be optimistic about for the 2017 World Rally Championship season, thanks to a load of new rule changes.
The WRC seems to be going back to its routes, with wilder aero and more power. It’ll hopefully make for a brilliant year of rally action.
VW’s departure from the WRC for 2017 has definitely hit the series hard, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be a great season.
There’s still a lot to look forward to, a vast range of potential storylines that could play out and some awesome cars in the mix. Here’s why you should be watching it:
It starts soon
The winter break is a tough time for racing fans, but the WRC is a welcome relief for those wanting some high-octane motorsport action in their lives. The season gets underway with the famous Rally Monte Carlo from the 20-22 January, so the start of WRC 2017 is just around the corner! Quite literally!
Making a return
VW may not be in the WRC this season, but we’ve got Citroen making a return to the series full-time and Toyota coming back after quite a break. They join the M-Sport Ford and Hyundai factory outfits. A tasty battle in prospect…
A major change to the rules for this season has been around the aero of the cars. Regulations have been relaxed in some of these areas and it’s produced some monstrous, epic aero packages. Look at the size of that rear wing. There are bulging wheel arches, huge diffusers and aggressive lines.
So, as you’d expect from more striking aero packages, the cars look downright insane – for small hatchbacks, anyway. They look super aggressive, properly sporty and wild, just how a WRC car should be.
Alongside more downforce from the aero changes, there’s also a boost in power from 300bhp to 380bhp. Torque has increased too. There’s now a larger 36mm turbo restrictor. All of these elements, of course, make for higher performance figures and should cut stage times.
High quality field
VW’s exit put a few top rally drivers’ futures in doubt but thankfully Sebastien Ogier and Jari-Matti Latvala have found new homes at M-Sport and Toyota respectively. Other front-runners like Kris Meeke (Citroen), Thierry Neuville and Dani Sordo (both Hyundai) also remain in the field and emerging talents Ott Tanak and Hayden Paddon should shake things up too.