The close of the 2021 World Rally Championship season has been a statistician’s dream, as the World Rally Car has been retired from service and replaced with the hybrid Rally1 machine for 2022.
That means that several comparisons and polls can be created and mulled over during the off-season – like DirtFish’s poll to find out rallying fans’ favorite car from the period.
The World Rally Car has of course evolved significantly since it was born in 1997, and one of the key changes was in 2011 when engine size was reduced from two to 1.6 liters.
However it wasn’t just the technical regulations that changed 10 years ago, the sporting regulations did too with the advent of the powerstage which awarded bonus championship points to the top three finishers on a designated stage – typically the final one.
It has proved one of the most popular additions to the WRC and has remained in place ever since, albeit with a slight evolution in 2017 (ironically again with the technical regulations) as the top five became eligible for points and not just the top three.
But over those 11 seasons from 2011-2021, who has scored the most points, and victories, from the powerstage? That’s the question we’ve taken it upon ourselves to answer, and here are the results:
24 Nasser Al-Attiyah
Several drivers have competed in the WRC between 2011-2021 and scored no powerstage points, but Nasser Al-Attiyah has the unique distinction of being the only one to score just one.
It was claimed on Rally Argentina 2012 in a Citroën DS3 WRC where Al-Attiyah was an impressive third fastest, just 1.5 seconds shy of Petter Solberg’s stage-winning pace.
23 Kevin Abbring
Kevin Abbring only ever started 11 WRC events in a World Rally Car, but he scooped powerstage points against the odds on Rally Italy in 2016 with the second fastest time – just 0.6s adrift of world champion Sébastien Ogier.
It was an impressive weekend for Abbring who was still at this point of the season competing in the older generation i20 WRC instead of the updated NG i20 WRC team-mate Thierry Neuville won the rally with.
He finished the rally a lowly 15th but lost drive from his rear wheels and suffered a broken propshaft on the first morning. Abbring took his first – and only – WRC stage win that weekend the day before the powerstage.
22 Robert Kubica
Robert Kubica’s WRC career is remembered as one of great promise that perhaps lacked the consistency required to fight at the very top. But throughout his two seasons in a Ford Fiesta WRC, the Formula 1 racer did manage to amass three powerstage points – all claimed in 2015.
His first points were snatched in Corsica 2015 – a rally Kubica led after the first stage – when he was second behind Ogier’s Volkswagen Polo R WRC on the final stage. He then scooped a further point on Rally GB en route to ninth overall with the third best powerstage time.
21 Juho Hänninen
Juho Hänninen had brief spells at both M-Sport and Hyundai throughout his ultimately disappointing WRC career, but it was with Toyota in 2017 where he was the most competitive – claiming his one and only podium on Rally Finland and the only powerstage points of his career too.
The first of those were won on the Monte Carlo Rally in 2017 – the first powerstage to award points to the top five – as Hänninen was third fastest. But this was one of the most spread out powerstages in history as he stopped the clocks 55s slower than stage winner Neuville as snow suddenly began to fall.
Hänninen scored powerstage points on two other occasions in 2017: firstly in Finland with fifth fastest en route to his third place overall and then in Spain where he was again fifth fastest to seal fourth overall – an event he described at the time as “very close to the best drive of my career”.
20 Evgeniy Novikov
The enigmatic Evgeniy Novikov was always set to feature on this list given his impressive turn of speed. Over his short-lived WRC career, Novikov claimed six powerstage points: one in 2012 and five in 2013 for the works M-Sport team.
Novikov’s 2012 point was claimed on the first powerstage of that season on the Monte as he went third quickest behind the two Citroëns of Sébastien Loeb and Mikko Hirvonen.
The following season he netted second fastest on the Acropolis powerstage – arguably his best WRC performance that was beset when he unfortunately hit some rocks and damaged his Ford Fiesta WRC – before claiming one point for third in Australia and another two for second on Rally GB; the last stage of his WRC career.
19 Stéphane Lefebvre
Just like Hänninen, Stéphane Lefebvre also scored his best powerstage result on the 2017 Monte. He was second quickest on that powerstage, 24.9s up on Hänninen in his Citroën C3 WRC.
But his first points came precisely one year earlier when Lefebvre set the third quickest time on the 2016 Monte on his way to a fifth overall finish.
Lefebvre would only ever scoop some bonus points on one other occasion, fittingly on his way to the best result of his career – fifth on Rally Poland. He was fourth fastest on the powerstage to nick fifth overall from Teemu Suninen on the final stage by just five seconds.
18 Hayden Paddon
At 18th on this list, Hayden Paddon has the (likely unwanted) accolade of being the driver with the least amount of powerstage points that’s actually won one – but that victory does allow him to edge clear of Lefebvre.
Paddon’s first powerstage points were bagged on Rally México 2016 as he set the third fastest time on his way to fifth place, but his next haul was secured, quite famously, on the very next event in Argentina where Paddon’s inspired and sublime push to defeat Ogier earned him a powerstage win but, more importantly, the rally win as well.
He would top up his 2016 powerstage collection with two more points later in the season in Finland when he went second fastest, just 1.1s shy of team-mate Neuville.
The final powerstage point of his career was scored on Rally Sweden 2017 where Paddon was fifth quickest, just one round after the unfortunate accident in Monte Carlo that cost a spectator their life.
17 Takamoto Katsuta
The first driver on this list with the feasible potential to improve their career total of powerstage points, but with Rally1 displacing the World Rally Car Takamoto Katsuta can’t improve on his total of 11 from this era.
Katsuta’s first powerstage points coincided with his first WRC stage win on the final test of the 2020 season at Monza. It had been coming, and the Toyota driver edged Hyundai’s Ott Tänak by 1.4s.
In 2021 Katsuta would score a further six points from powerstages but wouldn’t manage to win another. Somewhat ironically his powerstage form improved as his season curtailed. Two points were secured on Rally Finland with the fourth best time while he came perilously close to another Monza powerstage success with second behind Neuville.
16 Teemu Suninen
Bursting onto the WRC scene in 2017 with a pair of rallies for M-Sport, Teemu Suninen became an effective full-timer in 2018 and collected his first batch of powerstage points with fourth fastest on Rally Portugal – the same event where he clinched his maiden WRC podium in third.
2019 was Suninen’s most prolific in terms of powerstage points as he scored 11 with fifth in Monte Carlo, third in Corsica, fourth in Portugal, a career-best powerstage result of second in Germany and fifth in Turkey.
The three final points of Suninen’s World Rally Car career were secured on the 2020 Monte Carlo Rally where he was third, 2.1s slower than Neuville and Ogier who set an identical time to the nearest tenth of a second.
15 Craig Breen
Craig Breen pips Suninen by one point in these stakes, amassing 17 powerstage points from his 39 WRC starts in a World Rally Car. The first of those were scored on the 2017 Tour de Corse where, despite dropping behind powerstage winner Jari-Matti Latvala into fifth overall by 0.1s, Breen was third fastest on the final stage.
The then Citroën driver would claim an additional championship point on Rally Germany that season with fifth on the powerstage before he scored his first gravel powerstage point in Finland 2018 and scored a further two on Rally Germany again.
However the bulk of Breen’s powerstage points have been won in a Hyundai. Although he missed out on any points in 2019 and scored just one for fifth in Estonia 2020, Breen racked up nine points in 2021 with two consecutive second place powerstage results on Arctic Rally Finland and Rally Croatia, and then a fifth best effort on Rally Finland – his last World Rally Car start.
14 Petter Solberg
The fourth ever driver to win a powerstage in the WRC, 2003 world champion Petter Solberg ranks 14th in this list – just one point behind one of his Norwegian compatriots despite scoring four times as many powerstage victories.
Solberg’s first powerstage points were scored on his first, Rally México 2011, where he was third fastest. Don’t forget Chris Patterson drove the Rally Sweden powerstage as Solberg had lost his licence for a traffic offense.
His first powerstage victory was ticked off four rounds later in Argentina but it was in 2012, and in a Ford as opposed to his privately-run Citroën, where Solberg was most effective.
Scoring 15 points from powerstages across the season – that included three stage wins in México, Argentina and Italy – only that year’s world champion Sébastien Loeb scored more across the season.
Based on his powerstage form, Solberg would likely have featured higher on this list had the powerstage not been introduced in the final two years of his career.
13 Mads Østberg
Mads Østberg has famously won just one WRC rally, but he’s also won just one powerstage in his career. However, while his event victory came on Rally Portugal 2012 in his own Ford Fiesta WRC, his powerstage success was on Rally Sweden 2014 for Citroën in a DS3 WRC.
Østberg has been a consistent powerstage scorer across his career. In 2012 he picked up two bonus points, in 2013 he scored six, in 2014 he clinched five and in 2015 he managed to add two to his championship total before a move back to M-Sport in 2016 that yielded no powerstage successes.
His most impressive season in terms of the powerstage was 2018 as Østberg managed seven points (despite a part program) although in comparison to other seasons, this comes with the caveat that more points were available.
Those seven points were scored via second – overall and on the powerstage in Finland – and a third fastest time in Australia; making Østberg another member of the club to feature in the top powerstage positions on their final World Rally Car appearance.
12 Mikko Hirvonen
The second ever winner of a powerstage, Mikko Hirvonen won five of the points-paying stages across the first two seasons of their existence but struggled to reach the same heights in 2013 and ’14 – scoring just six points across those two years.
That coincided with the end of Hirvonen’s career and a slight drop-off in form, but in 2011 and ’12 the Finn picked up some 27 points with three wins in a Ford in 2011 and two with a Citroën in 2012.
As he was with regular championship points, Hirvonen was a consistent powerstage scorer too. From Rally Jordan to Finland in 2011, Hirvonen scored in five consecutive powerstages which included two wins and two seconds while in 2012 he scored points on all kinds of rallies from Monte Carlo to GB to Germany.
His only powerstage point of 2013 came on Rally Argentina while the following season, he scored four of his five points on the first five rounds before claiming his final ever powerstage point on Rally Germany 2014 as he attempted to chase down his team-mate Elfyn Evans who ultimately beat him to fourth by 6.9s.
11 Kalle Rovanperä
Kalle Rovanperä may have only driven a World Rally Car for two seasons in the WRC, but he finds himself 11th on the list such has been his impressive adaptation and even more impressive pace.
Like several others on this list (already mentioned and still to come), Rovanperä actually claimed his first WRC stage win on a powerstage when he obliterated his opposition on the final stage of Rally Sweden by 3.7s to grab his first WRC podium on just his second start.
His next powerstage points were also courtesy of a stage victory in Estonia before he also scooped three points in Turkey to collect 13 points for 2020. Rovanperä more than doubled that haul in the longer 2021 season where he finished as the second highest powerstage scorer.
A powerstage win on Arctic Rally Finland ensured that Rovanperä went unbeaten on a snowy and icy powerstage when he competed, and he grabbed another five points haul to compliment his Acropolis Rally victory. Croatia – where he retired – Finland and Monza were the only events Rovanperä didn’t score any powerstage points in 2021.
10 Esapekka Lappi
Rovanperä’s team-mate next year at Toyota and Finnish compatriot, Esapekka Lappi, scored the same number of powerstage wins (four) in the World Rally Car era but amassed nine more points – albeit over four seasons instead of just two.
Curiously, Lappi also won a powerstage on his second event in a WRC car – Rally Italy 2017 – one event after grabbing two powerstage points on debut in Portugal. He scored second on the German powerstage and third in Australia later that season.
In 2018 Lappi topped as many powerstages as anybody else (three) with successes in Sweden, Corsica and Portugal but he was only the fourth-highest scorer as he only featured in the top five in Germany, GB and Australia thereafter.
But 39 of his 49 total powerstage points were secured in a Yaris WRC, as Lappi only scored seven points in 2019 with Citroën and four in 2020 with M-Sport.
9 Sébastien Loeb
It’s unusual to see Sébastien Loeb’s name not on top – yet alone as low as ninth – of a list like this, but the powerstage was introduced after the nine-time world champion’s pomp which goes some way to explain it.
Indeed, across the first season that powerstage bonus points were available in 2011, Loeb scored more than anybody else with 19 – including three victories in Portugal, Germany and Australia.
He equalled his total of 19 the following season too (his last championship-winning season) but took four powerstage victories in 2012 – in Monte Carlo, Sweden, Greece and Germany.
Although Loeb would enter four rallies in 2013 he failed to register any bonus points – likely because he didn’t need to push to score them for any championship assault – but he did collect 13 points as a part-timer.
Two of those were scored on the one-off 2015 Monte Carlo Rally, eight throughout the 2018 season where he registered in the powerstage top five on all three of his season appearances, and he also grabbed three points in a Hyundai for fourth on the 2019 Rally Chile powerstage and fifth on the final stage of 2020 Rally Turkey – to date his last WRC stage.
8 Andreas Mikkelsen
Three points clear of Loeb and one adrift of the driver in seventh, Andreas Mikkelsen has amassed 54 powerstage points throughout his career with three wins, placing him eighth on the all-time list for the World Rally Car era.
He does hold one unique achievement though as the only driver to score outright WRC powerstage points not in a World Rally Car. Mikkelsen was third fastest on the Trier street stage on Rally Germany 2012 in a Škoda Fabia S2000.
Ironically, when stepping up into a Volkswagen Polo R WRC, Mikkelsen couldn’t better that total in 2013 when he scored just one powerstage point for third on the points-scoring stage on the Acropolis.
Mikkelsen would claim his first powerstage victory the following year in Sardinia before notching up another on Rally Spain 2015 – the scene of his first WRC victory. His only other powerstage victory was once again in Italy four years later driving for Hyundai.
However Mikkelsen’s highest scoring season in terms of powerstage bonus points was 2018 where he scored a spate of third and fourth fastest times in Monte Carlo, Sweden, México, Argentina and Italy.
7 Kris Meeke
It’s no real surprise to discover a driver renowned for such devastating raw pace as Kris Meeke should find himself so high up on this list.
Another to secure a powerstage win at the same time as his first WRC stage win, Meeke’s first success came on Rally Spain 2011 driving for Mini. He also recorded powerstage wins for Toyota but it’s with Citroën he racked up the lion’s share of his 55 points.
Meeke scored half of his powerstage wins with Citroën – firstly on the 2015 Monte Carlo Rally before another success on the 2016 Tour de Corse in a DS3 WRC before another scratch time and maximum bonus points haul on the Monte in 2018 with a C3 WRC.
His most prosperous powerstage season however was 2019: his last in the WRC and only year spent with Toyota. Meeke secured 17 powerstage points that season – comfortably the most points outside of that year’s championship top three Tänak, Neuville and Ogier – with two victories in France: one again on the Monte and the other in Corsica.
It means that despite winning six powerstages in his WRC career, Meeke never topped one on any surface other than asphalt.
6 Dani Sordo
Much like Meeke but perhaps for the opposing reasons, it’s no surprise to see a driver as dependable or with such career longevity as Dani Sordo make it into the upper echelons of this ranking.
Since the powerstage was first implemented, Sordo has scored at least two points in 10 of those 11 seasons – 2014 standing as the anomaly as Sordo failed to finish in the top three on any powerstage across his six-round campaign for Hyundai.
His best season was unquestionably 2017 where he scooped two back-to-back powerstage wins in Spain and Germany. It was the only season Sordo ever won more than one powerstage and his season total of 18 points was seven better than his next best haul from 2021.
Sordo’s maiden powerstage victory was in a Mini on Rally Portugal 2012 claimed in narrow circumstances, just 0.3s ahead of Latvala’s Ford. Ironically Sordo would fill in for Latvala on the very next WRC round as the Finn broke his collarbone in a skiing accident.
His second (and only in a Citroën) on Rally France Alsace 2013 was unique as it was scored on one of few powerstages to not run at the end of the rally but instead at the very start. It’s of course better remembered as the test where Ogier secured enough points to win his first world title.
Sordo has however won the most powerstages for Hyundai, adding a third to his collection and fifth in total on his home event in Spain.
5 Elfyn Evans
The highest placed driver to not have a triple-digit powerstage career points figure is Elfyn Evans, despite only ever winning two tests in his career.
The first of those was claimed in Evans’ first full season as a WRC driver too on Rally Germany in 2014. As alluded to in Hirvonen’s entry, Evans was fighting his M-Sport team-mate to hold onto his fourth place and in a bid to do so, he blasted to his first ever fastest stage time which just so happened to also be a powerstage that rewarded him with three points.
His next powerstage success would come some seven years later on Rally Finland. It was a big weekend in Evans’ career as he won the event to secure a 30-point maximum and put the pressure firmly back on his Toyota team-mate Ogier in the world title race.
In the intervening years, aside from 2015 where he failed to score, Evans has been a consistent presence in the race for powerstage points – constantly hoovering up some points to top up his championship haul.
But much like his approach to the championship, Evans’ powerstage approach has always tended to lean on the side of the percentages rather than a balls-out push.
4 Jari-Matti Latvala
One of the big hitters who was at the peak of their powers through the WRC’s powerstage era, Jari-Matti Latvala narrowly misses out on third place behind of one of his former team-mates by just a solitary point.
Despite driving one of four works cars in 2011 when the powerstage was first introduced, it took Latvala 11 rallies to claim his first stage win – on Rally France Alsace.
But from there the floodgates opened. In his last year with Ford in 2012 Latvala won twice (in New Zealand and Spain) before grabbing seven powerstage wins across his four seasons with Volkswagen between 2013-16. His most prosperous season in a Polo was 2014 where he remarkably scored powerstage points on 12 of the 13 rallies, only missing out in Germany when he crashed on the final day.
He won four tests that year – on the Monte, Australia, Spain and GB – which also represents his most prolific return, although in 2017 Latvala equaled his season total of 27 points by winning the tests in a Toyota in Sweden, Corsica and Poland, although that was achieved when the top five could score in the powerstage and not just the top three.
Latvala’s final powerstage success came on Rally GB in 2018 – a season where he would also claim three powerstage wins. His career total of 15 wins puts him fourth on that particular all-time list.
3 Ott Tänak
Is it a shock to find Ott Tänak as low as third on this list? Potentially, but then it must be remembered he hasn’t completed the same number of events in a top-line car as those who have bettered his achievements.
It didn’t take long for Tänak to score a powerstage win either. In his first season with a World Rally Car, he topped the Rally France Alsace powerstage a few months after scoring his first bonus points with third on Rally Portugal.
His next win, and indeed powerstage points, wouldn’t come until 2016 though when he put Ogier to the sword throughout the entire Rally GB, winning the powerstage to finish 10.4s behind overall.
Tänak’s form duly picked up when the net widened for point-scoring opportunities in 2017. He won two tests for M-Sport that year before claiming nine powerstages from 26 in his two seasons with Toyota in 2018 and ’19.
Although his general form hasn’t been, Tänak’s powerstage form for Hyundai has been just as impressive too as he’s won more powerstages (five) than anybody else over that two-year period in 2020-21.
Indeed, only one driver has ever scored more than Tänak’s 18 total powerstage victories, proving how effective these tests have been for the Estonian.
2 Thierry Neuville
With a shave under 200 powerstage points, Thierry Neuville ranks a strong second in the all-time list with 17 stage wins to boot.
Neuville has contested almost every powerstage since it was introduced, only missing the inaugural 2011 season, and in that time he’s scored over 30 points in the past three full-length campaigns and been top powerstage scorer in the 2017, ’18, ’20 and ’21 seasons.
Ironically scoring his first powerstage points on the same event as Tänak (Rally France Alsace 2012, he was second fastest 0.9s behind) in a Citroën DS3 WRC, Neuville was back in the top three on the very next event in Sardinia.
His first powerstage win however was in an M-Sport Ford in Finland 2013 – the first of three that year as Neuville really hit his stride, topping the powerstage on the season’s final two events in Spain and GB.
But the majority of his powerstage points (176 to be exact) have been claimed for Hyundai. The first three seasons with the team were a bit of a drier spell as Neuville scored just two more points (and one fewer victory) in those years combined than he had in 2013, but with the introduction of the i20 Coupe WRC in 2017 he really hit his stride.
Only Tänak has scored more wins in those five seasons than Neuville but nobody has scored more points (159) in the latest generation of cars. These have included some impressive all-out drives to where Neuville won the powerstage to claim narrow victories from behind in Argentina 2017 and Italy 2018.
1 Sébastien Ogier
This one wasn’t really in doubt, was it? Sébastien Ogier is the king of the powerstage with 82 more points than anybody else and over twice as many stage victories. The form you’d perhaps expect from the driver who won eight of the 11 titles up for grabs in this era.
Aside from the headline statistics, Ogier also holds many other powerstage distinctions. He was the first driver to win one, taking the inaugural stage victory on Rally Sweden by just 0.3s over Citroën team-mate Loeb.
He’s also the only driver to have scored powerstage points for four different manufacturers (Citroën, Volkswagen, M-Sport Ford and Toyota) and has both the record number of points for a season and record number of victories for a season.
His points tally of 41 in 2019 stands as the highest scored over a year, despite it being the year he lost his world championship title. Ogier’s largest powerstage victory haul for a season stands at an incredible nine – claimed in 2015 where he went on an uninterrupted run of seven consecutive powerstage wins from Sweden through to Finland.
For Volkswagen alone, Ogier scored 29 powerstage victories (more than enough to beat anyone else’s career total) and 104 points; good enough for fifth in the all-time list in the era where points were harder to score.
Although his utter dominance of the powerstage weakened over recent years as Ogier matured, his numbers remained impressive throughout. In short, Ogier’s powerstage record is simply unrivaled.
|Year||Most points||Most wins|
|2011||Loeb (19)||Ogier (4)|
|2012||Loeb (19)||Loeb (4)|
|2013||Ogier (28)||Ogier (7)|
|2014||Latvala (27)||Ogier (6)|
|2015||Ogier (27)||Ogier (9)|
|2016||Ogier (26)||Ogier (7)|
|2017||Ogier & Neuville (34)||Neuville (4)|
|2018||Ogier (37)||Neuville & Tänak (3)|
|2019||Ogier (41)||Tänak (6)|
|2020||Neuville & Tänak (18)||Neuville & Rovanperä (2)|
|2021||Neuville (35)||Tänak (4)|