Why local stars are so important to the WRC

Alberto Heller's impact in Chile was unignorable, as Colin Clark and David Evans discuss on SPIN, The Rally Pod


Kalle Rovanperä, Elfyn Evans, Thierry Neuville, Ott Tänak… usually these are the superstars wherever the World Rally Championship goes.

But not on Rally Chile. The biggest cheers were reserved, almost exclusively, for the Rally1 car with the Chilean flag on the side.

The Ford Puma Rally1 belonging to Alberto Heller.

The reason why is fairly obvious. The WRC returning to Chilean soil for the time in four years was, naturally, big local news, but the nation’s most prominent rally driver competing at the forefront of it sent the crowd into raptures.

They had something, and someone, to cheer for.

Is this something the WRC should look to do more often: ensuring there is a local driver in the top class on every round?

This is one of many talking points on the Rally Chile review edition of SPIN, The Rally Pod, where Colin Clark and David Evans examine Tänak and M-Sport’s return to winning ways, why the weekend it won another championship may not be remembered so fondly for Toyota and whether Teemu Suninen, and to an extent Hyundai, got its tactics wrong on the final day.