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  Home > Seasons > Season 2017
Ogier scores a non-VW title
Before 2017 season started, Volkswagen dropped a news bomb when they announced that they would withdraw from the series. This left all three of their drivers with precious little time to compete for the few available seats for 2017, most teams having already signed their drivers. Ogier was the hottest commodity and his decision was eagerly awaited. It is understood that he spoke with all the teams but did not get offer from all of them. In the end he settled for M-Sport and slim paycheck (helped by the fact that VW still had to pay his salary for 2017). Toyota snatched up Latvala but Mikkelsen was left with no drive.

Ogier started well, winning Monte Carlo but was able to score his next (and only) win only in sixth round in Portugal. Meanwhile the new cars showed their similar level of performance as first four rounds of the season were all won by different makes. Admittedly, Neuville lost two possible wins on accidents in Monte Carlo and Sweden.

During the season, Ogier was leading the championship almost all the way. Early in the season, Latvala was his closest rival but later Toyota's reliability problems robbed him too many valuable points. By mid-season Neuville had made good of his earlier mistakes and with his three wins pulled level with Ogier. But two non-scores from Deutschland and Catalunya saw him slip down.

Third rival for Ogier came from within his own team in form of Tanak. He not only scored his first WRC win but found consistency that elevated him to second in championship with two rounds to go. Gap to Ogier was just too big and Frenchman didn't make mistakes in deciding round of Rally GB, clinching his fifth drivers' title and his first in make other than Volkswagen.

Citroen's season was a terrible one as their new car was fast but initially very tricky to drive. That sapped teams' confidence and put drivers in a bad spot. After finally admitting the problems, Citroen replaced their chief engineer and hired Mikkelsen to help but found no miracle cure before the season was over.

Technical regulations changed with the aim of bringing on the faster and more spectacular cars. This was achieved by bigger turbo restrictor which increased the power from 300 to 380 horsepower, approximately. Also larger aerodynamical aids were permitted, allowing cars to have better downforce and thus, increased cornering speeds. Additionally, maximum allowed width was increased in order to permit wider track and more stability.

Other changes included more points from Power Stage, in attempt to induce competition in that stage. Reversed starting order was reduced so that it applied only to first day of the rally, reducing penalty that sweeping effect bestowed on championship leader.

Championship calendar was kept at 13 rounds following attempt to increase it to 14 events in previous year. Teams were allowed to nominated up to three drivers with two best placed drivers scoring for the team.

New cars
Thanks to the new technical regulations all four teams introduced brand new cars. Despite this, levels of performance and reliability were surprisingly equal throughout the year even though some cars performed better in certain conditions and some teams suffered more technical problems than others.

Newcomer Toyota had the only truly new car as they had nothing old to base it on. Yaris WRC scored two wins and proved to be fast though a bit unreliable machine. Citroen's C3 WRC had been developed during their year off in 2016 and was relatively fast but very tricky to drive. It also gave only two wins to the team.

M-Sport's Fiesta 2017 WRC was perhaps the one closest to the old car and it's strongest point was it's spectacular reliability. Team also was the only one to score with all three of their drivers, which netted them much in the manufacturers' series. Hyundai produced third new car in three years, the i20 Coupe WRC. It is their best performing car but was a tad too fragile to challenge for the makes' title.

Sebastien Ogier
(Click picture to see larger version in a pop-up window)
2017 FIA World Champions: Sebastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia Click picture to see larger version in a pop-up window
Drivers scoring their
first win
  O. Tanak (Sardinia)
  E. Lappi (Finland)
  E. Evans (Great Britain)
first drivers' point
  Y. Rossel (Corsica)
  O. Veiby (Catalunya)
  J. Serderidis (Australia)
  K. Rovanpera (Australia)
  R. Dalton (Australia)
first stage win
  E. Lappi (Sardinia)
  T. Suninen (Poland)