This week sees the World Rally Championship (WRC) head to Estonia for the latest event of the 2021 season.
Sebastien Ogier will start the rally as the leader in the championship for drivers. The Frenchman has a 34 point advantage over nearest rival Elfyn Evans. There is then a 22 point gap between Evans and third placed Thierry Neuville. The Belgian has an eight point advantage over fourth placed, and teammate, Ott Tanak.
The rally in Estonia signals the WRC entering the second half of the 2021 season which has so far seen Ogier win four of the six rallies contested so far with Evans winning in Portugal and Tanak claiming victory in the Arctic Rally Finland.
Tanak won the 2020 edition of the Rally Estonia ahead of Craig Breen and Ogier. Evans was classified in fourth last season while Neuville was forced into retirement in the latter part of the rally.
In the championship for manufacturers Toyota has a 59 point advantage over second placed Hyundai. There is then a 105 point gap between the South Korean manufacturer and third placed M-Sport Ford.
A quick note on Takamoto Katsuta who claimed his maiden WRC podium last time out in Kenya as he finished second. The Japanese driver has been classified inside the top six in all six rallies contested so far this season. He enters Rally Estonia fifth in the championship, three points behind Tanak and 10 points ahead of sixth placed Kalle Rovanpera.
Recent rallies have followed a familiar pattern of Hyundai drivers starting strong, only for their rallies to come apart due to reliability issues. This then usually gifts, in part, Ogier the victory. With that in mind, and that the WRC is in the final half of its 2021 season, it will be interesting to see what unfolds this week in Estonia.