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Gravel Notes Podcast: WRC Sweden review

The World Rally Championship was at its unpredictable best in Sweden as Hyundai’s Esapekka Lappi snapped a six-and-a-half-year winless streak last weekend.

Esapekka Lappi, Janne Ferm, Hyundai World Rally Team Hyundai i20 N Rally1

Photo by: Austral / Hyundai Motorsport

Lappi managed to successfully navigate the challenging 18 stages that caught out world champions Kalle Rovanpera and Ott Tanak to claim a well-received second career WRC victory.

Toyota’s Elfyn Evans trailed Lappi by 29.6s to finish second but left the weekend as the top points scorer with 24 points compared to Lappi’s 19 virtue of the WRC’s radical new points system.

PLUS: How Lappi survived Swedish snow carnage to snap his lengthy WRC drought

The championship welcomed a new face to the podium as M-Sport’s Adrien Fourmaux finished third, as the Frenchman notched up the latest milestone in his fledgling top flight WRC career. Fourmaux has now scored 16 more points across the first two rounds this year than the total he achieved in his maiden Rally1 campaign in 2022.

Hyundai’s Thierry Neuville finished fourth overall but continues to lead the championship standings with a three-point margin over Evans. The pair were involved in a controversial moment when suspicions of foul play were raised when Neuville suddenly stopped and checked in four minutes late into stage six. The Belgian cited a fuel pressure problem for the stoppage but Evans, who was made to open the road as a result, was suspicious that Neuville’s action was deliberate.

Oliver Solberg produced a dominant performance to finish an impressive fifth overall to win the WRC2 class, establishing the Swede as a title contender.

This week Autosport WRC reporter Tom Howard is joined by rally journalist Luke Barry to analyse all the key topics from an action-packed Rally Sweden.

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