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  Home > Seasons > Season 2016
A Volkswagen shock
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2016 was to be the final year before new technical regulations come to effect. Old cars and familiar rallies were expected to favour Ogier and on first two rounds he romped off to wins and seemed to continue his old run of unrestricted victories. But one of the most memorable facts of 2016 season is that no fewer than six drivers scored wins. The only new winner was Hayden Paddon but besides familiar faces of Ogier and Latvala also Meeke, Mikkelsen and Neuville all added wins to their yet slender score.

All these wins came in a long string and it was not until 9th round at Deutschland that Ogier was able to win again. Thanks to his good finishes before that he never lost the championship lead but he voiced his frustration over running order situation which he saw as unfair. Championship leader had to start first on the road for two days.

Citroen's absence meant that Volkswagen had only one real rival - Hyundai - as M-Sport always was known to be an underdog with their selection of drivers and lack of official support and funds. Hyundai improved in every areas. Their drivers, especially Neuville who had had a disappointing previous season, performed well. New car was not a huge jump ahead but seemed at least as fast and reliable as the old one.

Hyundai's good fortunes were also helped by Latvala's extraordinarily bad year. He finished only 6th in the championship and has not been as low as that since 2007. Team-mate Mikkelsen fared much better and was engaged in a tight struggle for the runner-up position with revitalized Neuville but eventually lost. Two other Hyundai drivers Paddon and Sordo also out-scored Latvala, helping Hyundai's fight against Volkswagen.

The biggest shock of the year came after season's final rally had been run when Volkswagen board decided to end their involvement in WRC. This came despite having a championship winning team in place with fully developed car but was necessitated because company was cutting jobs across the board to pay off heavy fines resulting from emission scandal. This left their three drivers suddenly free and frantically searching a drive for 2017. Ogier chose, little bit surprisingly, to join M-Sport and Toyota signed Latvala, leaving Mikkelsen to start 2017 in a R5 category.

Changes
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Championship calendar was meant to expand to 14 rounds again but that did not happen as Rally China was (again) cancelled in last minute and there was no ready reserve event.

Another change in calendar is Australia which was moved to final slot.

New cars
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With impending radical new rules for 2017 no teams introduced anything new - except Hyundai. Defying logic, they came out with New Generation i20 WRC. It scored more points in a single year than the previous car in two years but how much that's due to Citroen's absence and hence easier chances to score and how much to actual improvements is open to debate. Cold fact is that they scored clearly better.

Sebastien Ogier
(Click picture to see larger version in a pop-up window)
2016 FIA World Champions: Sebastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia Click picture to see larger version in a pop-up window
Drivers scoring their
first win
  H. Paddon (Argentina)
first drivers' point
  A. Kremer (Monte Carlo)
  T. Suninen (Sweden)
  V. Gorban (Mexico)
  M. Ligato (Argentina)
  E. Camilli (Argentina)
  K. Abbring (Finland)
first stage win
  K. Abbring (Sardinia)
  E. Camilli (Sardinia)
  S. Lefebvre (Poland)
  C. Breen (Finland)
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