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WRC: Toyota home win in Finland comeback? – CAR PICTURE

Sébastien Ogier already has a hand on the trophy for the 2021 rally world champion. Ahead of the Rally Finland next weekend, the tenth of twelve races of the season, the French Toyota works driver is leading the overall standings with ease. His lead over the table runner-up, team-mate Elfyn Evans from Wales, is already 44 points.

If Ogier gets 16 more points than Evans in the woods around Jyväskylä in central Finland, he will be world champion for the eighth time ahead of schedule. At the remaining Rally Spain and the finale in Monza, new to the calendar as a replacement for the Rally Japan, which was canceled due to the Corona, he could no longer be caught.

Statistically, the odds are good for Ogier. The 37-year-old from the French Alps is one of only twelve foreigners who were able to snatch victory from under their noses in the past 69 editions of the Finland Rally. Hyundai works driver Ott Tänak recently achieved this feat twice in a row.

Sébastien Ogier can clinch his eighth world title at the Rally Finland at the weekend.

The Estonian has long been beaten in the World Championship fight, however, and is already 74 points behind Ogier. Elfyn Evans and Hyundai works driver Thierry Neuville, Ogier’s second pursuer, on the other hand, are not among the illustrious circle of Finland winners. Evans even has a small disadvantage in terms of Finland experience, because he did not start the last time due to an injury to his co-driver.

On the other hand, new competition for Ogier surprisingly comes from within his own team. The Toyota works team based in Jyväskylä is using an additional Yaris WRC (1.6-liter turbo engine, around 380 hp, all-wheel drive) for Esapekka Lappi.
The 30-year-old Finn is without a permanent cockpit this season and was appointed to the team at short notice by the Japanese brand. Lappi won the Rally Finland in 2017, at the time in the service of Citroën, but this time sees himself as an outsider. “I haven’t competed in a WRC for almost a year. I’m afraid I’m missing the routine, especially on the really fast sections. And there are a lot of them. ”

A new component for everyone is the postponement of the rally into autumn. “So far we have been driving in the summer. Now it’s cooler and wetter, which means the gravel roads are softer, ”says championship leader Ogier from the test drives before the start.

On the occasion of the 70th birthday of their rally, which fell victim to Corona last year, the organizers have revived some special stages used in the past. A total of 19 tests with a total length of 287 kilometers are on the program. The start is on Friday (October 1st) at 13:07, the finish is on Sunday at 14:15.
The homepage of the World Rally Championship (www.wrc.com) streams all special stages live on the internet, the service is chargeable. Servus TV (www.servustv.com/sport) will broadcast two WP live on the Internet on Saturday and Sunday, partly also on free TV.

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