Rally Poland 2024 form guide

A summer of fast gravel rallies starts here - but who looks set to make hay while the sun shines?


As the World Rally Championship season reaches its mid-point, the terrain changes. A run of three fast gravel rallies begins with this week’s Rally Poland.

The Mikołajki-based event makes its return to the WRC calendar for the first time since 2017 so, while most Rally1 crews have some experience of the rally, few have contested it recently and none in Rally1 machinery.

While it’s termed a fast gravel event, Poland’s softer roads give it a slightly different character from what’s likely to follow in Latvia and Finland.

Can Hyundai continue the momentum it has been building or will Toyota – and Elfyn Evans in particular – strike back at the start of a crucial phase of the season?

Here’s our guide to who’s hot and who’s not as we head to Rally Poland.


#11 Thierry Neuville/Martijn Wydaeghe (Hyundai i20 N Rally1)

Last 3 WRC results: 41st-3rd-3rd
Best Poland result: 1st (2017)

The world championship leader’s terrific start to 2024 hit the skids when he pushed too hard and crashed out of Rally Italy Sardinia. And yet, he still walked away with 12 championship points, demonstrating once more that he has a knack for maximizing what’s on offer under the WRC’s new scoring system.

Fast gravel rallies are a traditional weakness of both Thierry Neuville himself and his Hyundai squad. But that seemed to be changing last year, as Neuville managed second-place finishes in Estonia, Finland and Chile.

Poland’s roads are a little different to those elsewhere in the Baltic region but Neuville’s greater confidence in the car should translate – and winning the last WRC round there in 2017 certainly won’t harm his cause.

If the Hyundais are on song, Ott Tänak and possibly even Andreas Mikkelsen may be more likely winners, but if Neuville can come close to matching Tänak and Elfyn Evans over the next three rounds he will cement his status as favorite for the title.


#8 Ott Tänak/Martin Järveoja (Hyundai i20 N Rally1)

Last 3 WRC results: 1st-2nd-4th
Best Poland result: 2nd (2016)

Ott Tänak’s return to Hyundai was something of a slow burner, without even a podium finish over the first four rounds of the season. But since then, his form has been as good as anyone’s in the championship, with second place on Rally Portugal followed by a (slightly fortuitous) last-gasp win on Sardinia.

He top-scored on both events, lifting him to joint second in the standings, just 18 points behind Neuville. If the Estonian can outscore his Belgian team-mate on the three rounds closest to home, then momentum will be on his side.

Poland holds mixed memories for Tänak. He has two podium finishes from three top-class starts but there has been plenty of anguish too. Who can forget the final-morning puncture that cruelly cost him a maiden victory in 2016? A year later, there was more Sunday disappointment when Tänak crashed from the lead.

Now a 20-time rally winner, Tänak is unlikely to let those painful memories play on his mind. Despite starting second on the road, he will surely be in the fight for victory.


#33 Elfyn Evans/Scott Martin (Toyota GR Yaris Rally1)

Last 3 WRC results: 4th-6th-2nd
Best Poland result: 8th (2017)

After two disappointing showings in Portugal and Sardinia, Elfyn Evans himself admits he needs to “hit the ground running” across the summer spell of fast gravel rallies.

Now is not the time to dwell on his struggles aboard the Toyota GR Yaris Rally1 nor a disappointing past record in Poland with only one top-10 finish in four starts.

Arguably, Evans is at his best on fast gravel roads, as last year’s Finland win demonstrated. Evans’s road position is not ideal, but that’s nothing new, and it’s better than his two main rivals in i20 Ns.

This is his opportunity to stamp some authority on the WRC title race and demonstrate to any doubters that he really can become world champion.


#17 Sébastien Ogier (Toyota GR Yaris Rally1)

Last 3 WRC results: 2nd-1st-1st
Best Poland result: 1st (2014 & 2015)

Four WRC starts in 2024: two wins and two second places. And it would have been three wins were it not for a final-stage flat last time out on Rally Italy Sardinia. Form doesn’t get much better than that.

Ogier clearly remains at the top of his game and his motivation to perform is as strong as ever. He’s said he’s enjoying helping the team through what has been a tough season for its two full-time drivers although quite how far that extends towards assisting Elfyn Evans’s title challenge is unclear.

The eight-time world champion is still hungry for more rally wins. Starting fourth on the road on an event he has won twice – albeit nearly a decade ago – must make him pre-event favorite.


#16 Adrien Fourmaux/Alexandre Coria (Ford Puma Rally1)

Last 3 WRC results: 15th-4th-17th
Best Poland result: n/a

A fine start to 2024 for M-Sport’s lead driver has dropped off a little over the past few rounds, as unfavorable road position, unreliability and the odd mistake have taken their toll on Adrien Fourmaux’s fortune.

But now that he has slipped to fifth in the standings, Fourmaux’s position in the road order is more advantageous, and a return to smoother gravel may also suit him better.

One factor that does count against him is a lack of experience of Poland. Fourmaux is one of only two manufacturer drivers who haven’t previously contested the event. The fact that no-one else has been here with Rally1 machinery may negate that slightly, but Fourmaux is still likely to be focusing on a solid run rather than anything spectacular.


#18 Takamoto Katsuta/Aaron Johnston (Toyota GR Yaris Rally1)

Last 3 WRC results: 35th-29th-5th
Best Poland result: n/a

Takamoto Katsuta is the other driver without prior experience of Rally Poland, which he has admitted will hinder his preparation and impact his chances on the event.

His form coming into the rally is not great, certainly in terms of results. Katsuta has retired on both the previous two events – in Portugal after hitting a wall, and in Sardinia due to gearbox failure – and scored just seven points.

But Toyota’s third driver takes some solace from knowing he was running at a decent pace and that his latest retirement was not his fault.

Katsuta is still seeking that first WRC win and although it isn’t likely to come here, a push towards the podium is within reach if he’s able to strike the right balance of speed and consistency and be on hand to take advantage of other people slipping up.


#13 Grégoire Munster/Louis Louka (Ford Puma Rally1)

Last 3 WRC results: 5th-DNF-7th
Best Portugal result: 20th (2021, ERC)

This year is all about learning and building experience for Grégoire Munster. There were clear signs of progress as he recorded his best finish to date on Rally Italy Sardinia, bringing his Puma Rally1 home in fifth place.

A late retirement in Portugal was disappointing, but he did cover most of the event’s mileage, and seventh in Croatia was another encouraging showing after what had been a difficult start to the year.

Poland, like Croatia, is an event that the M-Sport driver has contested twice before when it was part of the European Championship. Neither went particularly well, but there were a few top-six stage times at the wheel of a Hyundai i20 R5 in 2021.

So Munster does at least have a good idea of what to expect from the Polish stages, which he will hope to set him in good stead to maintain a reasonable pace while still prioritizing a finish over ultimate speed.


#9 Andreas Mikkelsen (Hyundai i20 N Rally1)

Last 3 WRC results: 6th-6th-7th
Best Poland result: 1st (2016)

Hyundai’s Andreas Mikkelsen gets his first gravel outing of the year, which surely remains his favored surface despite his status within the team as an ‘asphalt specialist’.

In the two events he has contested so far this year, Mikkelsen has struggled to unlock the i20 N’s ultimate pace with the limited seat time he has available to him. But on a rally he knows well and likes, the Norwegian will be hopeful of making significant inroads this week.

One of Mikkelsen’s three WRC victories came here in 2016 and he also finished second in each of the previous two years. Unlike most of his rivals, Mikkelsen also has more recent experience, having finished second in Poland en route to winning the ERC title in 2021.

From eighth on the road, and with all that experience and past success on the event in his back pocket, the cards appear to be stacked in Mikkelsen’s favor. He needs to be showing podium pace.