Colin Clark’s Monza Rally driver ratings

DirtFish's 'voice of rally' rates the WRC field on their final appearance of 2020

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The 2020 World Rally Championship season has reached its conclusion, and despite it looking to be Elfyn Evans’ year, Sébastien Ogier took control as Evans was caught out and recorded his seventh world title.

As always, our man Colin Clark was on the scene at the Monza Rally and has rated each Rally1 performer from one to 10.

Toyota Gazoo Racing

Sébastien Ogier 10/10

Monza Rally result: 1st

Claimed his seventh world crown with a faultless drive on what was an incredibly demanding Monza Rally.  Ogier knew his best chance of snatching victory from Elfyn Evans would come if the weather gods worked in his favor – and they most certainly did.  The master of the mountains was faultless in the most demanding of conditions and when others fell off the road or made costly mistakes he called on all his hard earned experience to delicately guide his Yaris WRC through the treacherous passes and  valleys of the mountains above Monza. Firmly cemented his stats as a giant of the sport by claiming title number seven with his third manufacturer.

Credit: Toyota Gazoo Racing

Elfyn Evans  10/10

Monza Rally result: 29th

You could almost hear the collective groan of the Welsh nation as Evans came into that right hander on SS11 and slipped backwards off the road to end an improbable but brilliant charge to the WRC driver’s crown.  Up until that point Evans had appeared to be very much in control of things and looked like a champion in waiting.  He gets the maximum 10 from me because this was the most amazing and unexpected season from the unassuming, enormously likeable and down to earth Welshman.  But more than that, his act of sporting generosity when slowing down his title challenger on that treacherous corner will be remembered long after the pain of losing the title is gone.  Evans has shown himself to be a brilliant driver and a thoroughly decent human being.  And that wins every time in my book.

Credit: Toyota Gazoo Racing

Kalle Rovanperä 8/10

Monza Rally result: 5th

On what was the most challenging rally of the season, the WRC rookie could have been forgiven for faltering somewhat – but that was never on the cards.  His performances continue to belie his lack of experience at the very top level.  A remarkably mature and composed drive once again with the exception of one small blip on the Saturday.  Could Rovanperä be a title challenger in 2021?  At this rapid rate of learning I wouldn’t bet against it.

Credit: Jaanus Ree / Red Bull Content Pool

Takamoto Katsuta 8/10

Monza Rally result: 20th

I really want to give Takamoto 10 for his sheer tenacity and bloody mindedness.  Huge crashes in Estonia and Sardinia were followed up by the most inglorious performance on the opening stage here.  That kind of run would have been enough to floor most other drivers but our indefatigable Japanese young gun bounced back with a run of enormously impressive stage times and confirmed his miraculous resurrection from zero to hero with a glorious first stage win of his career on the season ending powerstage. I genuinely believe that Taka-san has the talent and the ability to surprise more than a few watchers in 2021.

Hyundai Motorsport

Credit: Hyundai Motorsport

Ott Tänak 8/10

Monza Rally result: 2nd

Considering just how little time Ott has had in the Hyundai on Tarmac this was a very decent result indeed.  Was never absolutely on the pace, but actually, never absolutely off it either.  A measured drive and a podium was what was needed and that is exactly what the Estonian delivered.  Other than on his home event, he hasn’t shown the devastating dominance he achieved in his last year at Toyota.  He’ll be looking to step things up a notch in 2021 for sure.

Credit: Hyundai Motorsport

Dani Sordo 9/10

Monza Rally result: 3rd

The Spanish veteran just seems to get better and better.  From a team point of view, did exactly what was required and played a big part in delivering Hyundai’s second manufacturers title.  Used his knowledge of the Monza circuit on the Friday to the max and followed that with a surprisingly accomplished showing on the snowy mountain roads on Saturday.  Without the constraints of having to score manufacturer points, Sordo could well have pushed on to challenge for the win here.

Credit: Hyundai Motorsport

Thierry Neuville 3/10

Monza Rally result: DNF

Thierry had a job to do this week and he failed to do it.  His mistake early on in the event put massive pressure on his team-mates to bring home the result that ultimately delivered the manufacturers title to Hyundai.  There will be no one more disappointed than Thierry I’m sure but there won’t be room for too many more mistakes like this one in the future.  Neuville will be a title challenger in 2021 again for sure, but the competition is very much hotting up.

Credit: Hyundai Motorsport

Ole Christian Veiby 4/10

Monza Rally result: DNF

An enormously difficult event to make his WRC car debut on provoked to be a little too much for the Norwegian.  This weekend was all about seat time in the Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC and up until SS10 Veiby was doing just about OK.  Got caught out on the same treacherous corner as Greensmith despite Greensmith’s co-driver’s efforts to slow the following crew down.  Needs a solid program of events next year to have any chance of establishing himself as a top line driver.


Credit: M-Sport

Esapekka Lappi 7/10

Monza Rally result: 4th

Lappi showed us on the opening day that given the right conditions, he is truly a world class challenger.  A potential podium chance was destroyed by a bewildering tire choice on Saturday afternoon that saw him slipping and sliding through the snowiest stage of the rally with two snow tires in the boot!  Desperately disappointing to hear that we may not be seeing the mercurial Finn on the stages next year.   If ever there was a story of unfulfilled potential, this could be it.

Credit: M-Sport

Teemu Suninen 4/10

Monza Rally result: DNF

He could deserve a three or he could deserve a 10, it’s impossible to judge after such a seriously compromised event.   Suninen needed a confidence building result here but an engine issue compromised his performance and ultimately led to his retirement.  Will we be seeing Suninen in a Fiesta next year?  I don’t know but what I do know is that this was a disappointing season for the talented Finn and he has the potential to do so much better.

Credit: M-Sport

Gus Greensmith 5/10

Monza Rally result: DNF

Got caught out like many others by the treacherous conditions on Saturday afternoon.  Hasn’t had a lot of time on Tarmac in this car but set some respectable times before his mighty scary off.  Hats off to the organizers who ensured that every exposed ARMCO on the stages was protected and probably prevented Grensmith’s accident from being far worse that it turned out to be.


Words:Colin Clark

Photos:Toyota Gazoo Racing, Hyundai Motorsport, M-Sport, Red Bull Content Pool