Could road position decide this year’s WRC?

The podcast team discuss how being first on the road could be pivotal this season


Comparing the World Rally Championship to a yo-yo may, at first, appear a bizarre comparison to make.

But just as a yo-yo bobs up and down until tension in the string is released, this year’s WRC title contenders are flying up and down the leaderboard after each event – such is the competitiveness of the 2023 field.

Just check this table out, illustrating each contenders’ championship position after each round, to see what we mean!

Driver Monte Carlo Sweden México Croatia
Ogier 1 5 1 1=
Evans 4 4 5 1=
Rovanperä 2 2 3 3
Tänak 5 1 4 4
Neuville 3 3 2 5

And what the table doesn’t even demonstrate is the 11-point gap between first-placed Evans and fifth-placed Neuville. Talk about fine margins.

So with things so tight, the finest of details will ultimately prove pivotal in the chase to become 2023 World Rally champion.


Road position, therefore, could be key as we speed into gravel season.

Evans is faced with the thankless task of sweeping the stages clear this week in Portugal, but he’s more than aware that he’s likely to be repaid.

“We will have the job of opening the road, but I’m sure that is something that is going to swing back and forth between the drivers a few times over the next rallies,” he said.

“We will just have to try and maximize our performance in the loose conditions we will face on Friday and see what’s possible.”

There’s a tantalizing question lingering though. Will drivers start getting tactical and sacrifice points in order to manipulate their starting position for the following round?

Join David Evans, George Donaldson, Luke Barry and host Lisa O’Sullivan on this week’s SPIN, The Rally Pod to find out what our team think – and for all the general preview Portugal goodness you’ve been waiting for!