PREVIEW: 2016 Dayinsure Wales Rally GB: Championship claimed, what’s next for Ogier in Flintshire?

It’s been two weeks since Volkswagen’s Sébastien Ogier claimed his fourth World Rally Championship in Spain, the WRC heads for the penultimate round of the season at the 2016 Dayinsure Wales Rally GB.

Wales Rally GB, which closed out the WRC season for many years, now remains the penultimate round in the championship.

Unpredictable weather, gravel roads and lots of mud sum up this rally, which has been the site of British success with Richard Burns and Colin McRae, both winning this rally three times between each other.

This is the fourth year that the rally has been moved from South to North Wales, with Deeside being the Service Park for teams, while the stages take place in the forests of North Wales.

Championship claimed, can Ogier make it four wins in four years in Wales?

Ogier Four WRC Titles 2016 Rally RACC Podium
Credit: Bodo Kräling/Volkswagen Motorsport

Sébastien Ogier comes into Wales Rally GB on the back of winning his fourth World Rally Championship in Salou, but can he make it a fourth win in Deeside?

The Volkswagen driver, who has won this rally in 2013, 2014 and 2015, is looking for his fourth win in four years in Wales.

This year’s Wales Rally GB is one of the longest in recent history, with no mid-leg service throughout the three days.

Whether or not Ogier can make it four wins in four years in North Wales with this year’s setup of the rally is another matter, but this will be the Frenchman’s biggest test to claim a fourth win at Wales Rally GB on the spin.

All to play for Best of the Rest honours

Hyundai's Thierry Neuville lies joint-second in the Drivers' Standings with Volkswagen's Andreas Mikkelsen. Credit: Hyundai Motorsport
Hyundai’s Thierry Neuville lies joint-second in the Drivers’ Standings with Volkswagen’s Andreas Mikkelsen. Credit: Hyundai Motorsport

Whilst the 2016 World Rally Champion has been already decided, the runner-up spot in the Drivers’ Standings is yet to be decided.

Four drivers are still in with a shout of claiming the 2016 World Rally Championship runner-up spot.

Hyundai’s Thierry Neuville and the second Volkswagen of Andreas Mikkelsen are second and third respectively (Mikkelsen is second by virtue of his results) on 127 points each.

Mikkelsen crashed out on the second day of Rally Catalunya, meaning that Neuville claimed third, and continues the Belgian’s good run of form during the second half of the 2016 WRC season.

The other two Hyundai’s of Hayden Paddon and Dani Sordo still have a mathematical chance of claiming the runner-up spot in fourth and fifth.

However, the Kiwi and Spaniard must hope that Mikkelsen and Neuville retire from Wales Rally GB if they are to gain ground in the Drivers’ Standings for the runner-up honours.

Can Latvala spring a surprise in Wales?

Credit: Jaanus Ree/Red Bull Content Pool
Credit: Jaanus Ree/Red Bull Content Pool

Results have not been coming Jari-Matti Latvala’s way in both the Tour de Corse and previously in Rally Catalunya, but this is a rally that he has previously won before in 2011 and 2012.

Latvala, who is sixth in the Drivers’ Standings in the third and final Volkswagen Polo R, knows that a win could pull him back in contention for the runner-up spot, provided that his rivals retire or crash out in Llandudno.

The Finn, who retired from last year’s Wales Rally GB needs to claim a good amount of points in the last two rounds in Britain and Australia if he is to finish the 2016 WRC season on a high note.

The seventy-second edition of Wales Rally GB starts with the opening stage Myherin 1 on Friday 28 October at 08:20am UK time, and finishes with the Power Stage in Brenig on Sunday 30 October.

The Checkered Flag will be bringing you extensive pre and post-event coverage, as well as all four days of the 2016 Wales Rally GB from the 27-30 October 2016.