Plenty to look forward to, despite the obvious...
Let’s be honest. Unless something pretty dramatic happens – or the FIA passes yet more rules to try and stop him – Sebastien Ogier will win this year’s World Rally Championship. But that doesn’t mean there’s nothing to get excited about
First off, Kris Meeke is in a great position in 2016. Without any pressure, he can drop in with smash-and-grab raids on the series while simultaneously developing Citroen’s new C3 WRC in the way he wants it. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Meeke score a couple of impressive results, which would no doubt help build confidence ahead of The Big Push in 2017.
There’s also Craig Breen against Stephane Lefebvre. You’d say the Frenchman is in pole position to be Meeke’s team-mate next year, but a fired-up Breen could well make Citroen’s decision quite difficult if he gets enough outings in the DS 3 WRC.
The Hyundai interest is two-fold. Will the Next Generation i20 be the leap forward the squad hopes (and needs)? And can Thierry Neuville reestablish himself against the up-and-coming force that is Hayden Paddon?
Finally, there is a lot of pressure at M-sport. It’s great the squad is doing the full year, but Malcolm Wilson will want Mads Ostberg and/or Eric Camilli to prove the new Fiesta really is as good as he says it is. And Elfyn Evans will be aiming to prove Wilson was wrong to drop him. An epic R5 fight with Skoda’s Esapekka Lappi would certainly help. Kevin Turner, Editor