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New aero on Ogiers Fiesta for Finland: https://www.motorsport.com/wrc/news/m-sport-brings-finland-aero-upgrade-for-ogier-1062637/


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Dytut said:
New aero on Ogiers Fiesta for Finland: https://www.motorsport.com/wrc/news/m-sport-brings-finland-aero-upgrade-for-ogier-1062637/


He also mentions that the car tends to fly with the nose higher with this new package, but he's confident he can manage it

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So Toyota strong as expected in Finland, with Ott untouchable.
Really nice to see Ostberg up to speed for a full rally, hope he can keep up with some good results for the remainder of the season. Breen had another so-so performance, seems like he can't quite get back to the high of Sweden. Other than the tyre wear the C3 appears to be going in the right direction.
Paddon seemed to be able to wring some speed from his i20 but not near enough, but Neuville and Mikkelsen way off pace. Hyundai just doesn't go well in Finland.
The Fords were... meh. No nig mistakes, but no real pace either. Biggest surprise after their quite strong showing last time.

So no big change in the championship standings, but Tänak edged a bit closer. Would be quite fun if Tänak would dominate one or two more rallies while Neuville and Ogier play cat and mouse to make it a three horse race again. Doubt he can do it, but if Tänak has a good day he can be unbeatable.
 

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Wow just watched Redbull TV day 3 recap, there is some incredible onboard footage with telemetry, amazing to see how real life braking distances look. Too bad DR and D4 got it so wrong :(
BTW: Do you guys know what is that shift pad on the left side of steering wheel that Hyundai's use? I know that in the past they had small pad they used to toggle wipers, but this is much bigger.

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SamRWD said:
Wow just watched Redbull TV day 3 recap, there is some incredible onboard footage with telemetry, amazing to see how real life braking distances look. Too bad DR and D4 got it so wrong :(
BTW: Do you guys know what is that shift pad on the left side of steering wheel that Hyundai's use? I know that in the past they had small pad they used to toggle wipers, but this is much bigger.
Paddon's car still had that small pad but Neuville's and Mikkelsen's cars seemed to have that new bigger pad for whatever purpose.

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I start to wonder if Mikkelsen will bounce back this season. He's had some speed at times, but I kind of had expected more from him when he finally got his drive with Hyundai. Twice the amount of rallies but still below Sordo on points... 

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So predictions for the weekend?
Feels like it'll be all about Tänak, Neuville and Ogier. Tänak will go like hell to get maximum points, forcing Neuville and Ogier to keep the tempo up a bit or they might let him back into the title fight. But as long as Neuville and Ogier can fight for P3-4 I think they'll be satisfied, so they might not go all out.
I don't think Suninen, Östberg or Mikkelsen will be in contention for podiums. I don't think they're confident enough in the car for tarmac.

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Rooting for Tanak, as always :)
I am looking forward to see Ogier and Neuville fighting though, those two will go full attack on this rally, so top 3 is gonna be tight!
Also can't wait to see how Citroen performs, I would love to have another team joining the fight, Finland showed how much they've improved the car (too bad Kris was forced to leave the team before that happened, I really miss that guy)

This season is even more fun than the last one IMHO.

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Well Tänak seem to go all out this morning, that's for sure. Ogier keeping Neuville just behind. Just hope that oil leak on Neuvilles car was just something small. A bit surprised to see Craig so slow on the first two stages, would've thought he'd at least outpace Mads.

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Ott does it again, just missed out on a 30 point haul by a few tenths on the power stage. Toyota really are starting to perform, those cars are fast now with the new engine. Wonder what the other teams are going to do for next season, he's going to be one tough nut to crack if he keeps this performance up. He did manage to close in 10 points on Neuville though, so it's not impossible for him to get back in the fight. But he has simply no margin of error at all, he pretty much needs to win every rally and score good PS points.
Neuville kind of did an Ogier in Germany, just kept the pace he could and kept it on the road. Last year Neuville was the one doing the small mistakes with huge consequences.

With the silly season coming up, what changes in lineups do you think are possible?

Hyundai seem pretty stable. Mikkelsen has a contract, Neuville will most likely sign for next year, and one (or both) of Sordo and Paddon will most likely keep on.

For M-Sport the only safe contract would probably be Ogier, unless he quits. But I think he'll keep on another year with M-Sport. Suninen will probably be kept on to show if he's got the speed next year when he's more at home in the car. Evans... I don't know. He hasn't really stepped up the way I though he would this year. He might be replaced by some new talent on the rise (Tidemand, Kopecky, or even Rovanperä).

Toyota has Tänak, but the other two... I don't know. Lappi might stay on and try for the title next year. Latvala is way to unpredictable, and regularly outpaced by Lappi now. And I really don't think Latvala will feel motivated being third driver. So Toyota might pick up some development driver(s) next year to replace him. Maybe share a car between Katsuta and one of the WRC2 talents?

Citroën will be interesting to watch. Breen hasn't quite gotten up to speed, other than his good run in Sweden he hasn't quite performed at the level that I think Citroën expects. Mads has done well so far, so if he can keep beating Breen I think he'll have a contract with them for next year. But I don't quite think they'll be content with him as first driver. We know they want to get Ogier, but I don't think they will manage to. But Lappi might actually be a decent choice for them, he's proven himself fast on both gravel and tarmac which is something Pierre Boudar mentions time and time again as a requirement. They might also be considering getting Sordo if they want a third driver.

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Ott is on a roll now, pushing on PS for a second rally from the lead - he's feeling it :) If Toyota has fixed their fragile under body protection, then there will be only one rally that can be weak spot for them - Rally GB and it's muddy roads carried lot of weight on the massive aero and affecting weight balance.

2019 will be again decided as soon as Ogier makes his decision - moving  to Citroen or staying in M-Sport. Latvala has been speaking quite surely that there will be some changes in teams, imo in such manner that he definitely knows  - will it be himself moving or Lappi, that's the question. Ideal shuffle would be Ogier to Citroen, to develop a better car, Latvala to M-Sport, where he could drive again w/o pressure and maybe pressude his last chance for title and Suninen to be 3rd driver in Toyota for couple of years, until Japanese driver can take a place.

Tbh Hyundai needs some one decent to third car, just in case Mikkelsen  still has trouble to coup with the car. Him, Evans and bad-luck-on-friday-Breen has been disappointing  for this season. 

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You forgot about Kris Meeke. In spite of the crash fest at Citroën I think we will see him next year. 

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You forgot about Kris Meeke. In spite of the crash fest at Citroën I think we will see him next year. 
Just what I was about to say.  I think he could be quite good in a different car & team.  No one has matched his pace in the Citroen since, not even close!

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I don't think we'll see Meek for full season anymore, maybe if he finds budget and support by himself and Wilson will have him in M-Sport, but I doubt. Mostly because his age and all or nothing driving style won't win titel, but I'll admit M-Sport team Latvala/Meek/Evans would be cool and could bring another manufacturer title to the team. 

oh, I forgot Toyota overheating engine - have they done enough for Turkey ?

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True about Meeke, he might return in a different squad. Possibly in M-Sport or Toyota, don't think he'd fit in at Hyundai. If M-Sport loses Ogier (which I find unlikely but possible), he could become their first driver. Also possible that he fills in as second driver if he's desperate (don't think ) and replaces Evans.
For Toyota it's possible if a slot opens up. If Lappi (which is probable) or Latvala switches team Mäkkinen might fill the spot with Meeke.

@juu1ius : I seem to remember reading that they had done some more work for the overheat, so hopefully. Would be fantastic for the championship if Tänak got another win and really joins the title fight :-) 

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bogani said:
I'd love to see Meeke in a Fiesta to be honest  o:)
Me too. A full season with M-Sport: go hard or go home!

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bogani said:
I'd love to see Meeke in a Fiesta to be honest  o:)
Yeah would be great fun. But knowing that M-Sport has a smaller budget than the other teams I don't know if Malcolm will want to pay the repair bills for having him on the team ;-) 

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Volkswagen Motorsport had a rather interesting testing session, saying it was an endurance test to see how much the car can take. This is the conclusion.
More here: https://www.autosport.com/wrc/news/138349/vw-defends-r5-car-strength-after-testing-crash



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Toyota forced to use their old engine for Turkey... Will this halt the Tänak attack? It's still a really fast car even with the old engine, but the new one seemed to make it almost unbeatable for the moment. 

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https://www.motorsport.com/wrc/news/citroen-targets-lappi-for-2019-seat-ogier/3171898/?nrt=193
I had a feeling that Lappi would be of interest for Citroen. I think Lappi would be extremely interested in Citroen if Ogier doesn't switch, because then he might be able to be positioned as the no.1 driver in the team. And he has ambitions... ;-) 

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And if Ogier switches to Citroën Lappi might be interesteed in being the No.1 driver at M-Sport....

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