RallyRACC Catalunya-COSTA DAURADA, Rally de España 2019
-Victory for Thierry Neuville-Nicolas Gilsoul (Hyundai i20)
-Ott Tänak-Martin Järveoja (Toyota Yaris), World Champions
-Dani Sordo/Carlos del Barrio (Hyundai i20), third on the podium
-The three Spanish WRC2 teams, in points positions
PortAventura World (Tarragona), 27-10-2019.- Ott Tänak/Martin Järveoja took this Sunday the title of FIA World Rally Champions for the first time, and did so with a Toyota car, a brand that had not won the Drivers World Championship since 1994 with Didier Auriol. The victory of the 55 RallyRACC Catalunya-COSTA DAURADA, Rally de España 2019, was for Thierry Neuville/Nicolas Gilsoul (Hyundai i20), their third win this year in the penultimate round of the calendar, where they arrived still with chances to get the title. It is also the first time that the Belgian duo and the Hyundai brand win the RallyRACC.
The final day started very early from the PortAventura World Service Park for the 47 participants still in the race, that were to run twice through the stages of Riudecanyes (16.35 km) and La Mussara (20.72 km), thus completing the 74.14 timed kilometres of a total of 236.61. The fastest time in the first stage was set by Thierry Neuville, although in the next it was Dani Sordo's turn to be fastest, winning his first tarmac stage after winning a stage on Friday on gravel.
The penultimate stage of the round finished without change in the provisional standings, with Neuville in first place with a comfortable margin of 17''5 over Sordo, who, in turn, tried to keep his advantage over Tänak, who was 22'' behind the leader. The Spanish rider also tried to have the two Hyundai finishing in the first two steps of the podium, as it was very important for the Constructors' Championship that the Korean brand leads provisionally.
At Riudecanyes and with just the Power Stage of La Mussara to go, Sordo was again fastest and the positions were stable. It was in that last stage of the 55 RallyRACC where the Estonian duo of Ott Tänak/Martin Järveoja secured their first world title, after winning the stage and getting the 5 additional points awarded to the winner, as well as snatching the second overall position from Dani Sordo/Carlos del Barrio by only 4 tenths.
Thierry Neuville/Nicolas Gilsoul's victory is the third of the season, after the ones they achieved in Corsica andArgentina. They also broke the winning streak of the two Sébastien, Loeb and Ogier and gave the first win for Hyundai in the Spanish round. This result is very important for the Constructors' title, that will be decided in the last round inAustraliabetween the Korean brand andToyota.
At WRC2 Pro, victory went to Mads Ostberg/Torstein Eriksen (Citroën C3 R5) for the third time this season after leading the race from start to finish. Competing for the first time with the Citroën C3 R5, Eric Camilli/Benjamin Veillas (Citroën C3 R5) won the WRC2 with their first victory of this year in this category. Great performance by the Spanish duo of Nil Solans/Marc Martí (VW Polo GTI R5) during the two days on tarmac, where they won 8 of the 11 stages in that surface and finished 9th overall. Another two Spanish team participated in WRC2. José Antonio Suárez/Alberto Iglesias (Skoda Fabia R5) finished 7th and Jan Solans/Mauro Barreiro (Ford Fiesta R5 MKII) in 10th after having to deal with braking issues in the two tarmac days.
Also, during the first day of the rally the Beca Júnior R2 organized by RFEdeA and the Peugeot Rally Cup Ibérica organized by Sports & You took place. Pep Bassas/Axel Coronado won Beca Júnior R2 and secured the title with one round to go. The same happened at the single-brand Peugeot series, where Daniel Berdomás/David Rivero took the title due to their sixth place, also with another round to go. Meanwhile, the victory at the RallyRACC Junior class was for Ruairi Bell/Darren Garrod.
The next round will be the Rally of Australia, from 14 to 17 November, where the Constructors WRC and Drivers WRC2 World Championships will be decided.
29 years in the World Championship
After this 55th edition, the RallyRACC will have a break, as the next round included in the World Championship will be in 2021. In 1957 the I Rallye Catalunya-Volta a Catalunya was created and in 1973 it was the Rallye Catalunya-Rallye de les Caves, that was part of the Spanish Championship. The race was included in the European Championship in 1980 and in the World Championship in 1991. This year, 2019, the RallyRACC celebrated its 29th consecutive edition as part of the FIA World Championship, 15 of them in the current headquarters in Salou, PortAventura World and Costa Daurada, where it arrived in 2005.
Final official classification of the 55 RallyRACC
1-Thierry Neuville/Nicolas Gilsoul (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC), 3h.07'39"6
2-Ott Tänak/Martin Järveoja (ToyotaYaris WRC), +17"2
3-Dani Sordo/Carlos del Barrio (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC), +17"6
4-Sébastien Loeb/Daniel Elena (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC), +53"9
5-Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila (Toyota Yaris WRC), +1'00"2
6-Elfyn Evans/Scott Martin (Ford Fiesta WRC), +1'14"2
7-Teemu Suninen/Jarmo Lehtinen (Ford Fiesta WRC), +1'47"6
8-Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (Citroën C3 WRC), +4'20"5
9-Mads Ostberg/Torstein Eriksen (Citroën C3 R5, 1st WRC2 Pro), +8'24"
10-Eric Camilli/Benjamin Veillas (Citroën C3 R5, 1st WRC2), +8'47"2