Through the opening months of the 2021 WRC season, the races have been rather spread out, but we have a comparatively busy month ahead, with 2 races set for June. Towards the end of the month, we will have the Safari Rally in Kenya, but we begin June with the Italian Rally, which is set to go this coming weekend. With 4 races in the books, the battle at the top of the driver standings is tight, with just 2 points separating 1st from 2nd. Will we see that change after the action this weekend, or will someone come from off the pace to tighten things up even further? Let’s look at the current top 4 in the standings and how they might perform this weekend so you can bet against their WRC odds.
2021 Rally Italia Sardegna Analysis | WRC Betting
When you consider that Ogier has been crowned WRC champion in 8 of the last 9 years, it’s no real surprise to find him on top once again, albeit in the early going. Ogier has already picked up a pair of wins this season, but as we already mentioned, that is just enough to give him a 2-point lead at the top of the WRC driver standings. He is coming off a 3rd place finish in Portugal and will head to Italy knowing that he has not had a ton of success there. You need to go all the way back to 2015 to find the last time that he won the Italian Rally, although he has also had some podium finishes since then. Still, that may mean he is vulnerable this weekend.
Last season was a breakthrough year for Evans, who handled the rigors of racing during the pandemic better than most. He was very much in the hunt for a championship last season before delivering his worst performance of the year in the final race of the season. That left him in 2nd place overall, which was still a fantastic showing. He is right on the heels of Ogier heading into the Italian Rally, where he has consistently finished in the top 5 in the past few years. If he can finish ahead of Ogier this weekend, he may just take the overall lead.
There is a bit of a gap opening up between the top 2 drivers and the rest of the pack, but it is still early enough in the season that it should not be considered a huge issue just yet. Neuville started the season with about as consistent a showing as you can get, finishing 3rd in each of the first 3 races of the season. That was followed by an absolute nightmare in Portugal, where he finished 36th. He will be looking to rebound in Italy, where he has had some success. Over the past 3 years, he has a 1st and a 2nd on the Italian course, so a good chance to pick up points this weekend.
It was a poor start to the season for Tanak, who was forced to retire in the opening race of the year. He followed that up with a win and a 4th place finish to get right back in contention, but then had a poor 21st place finish in Portugal that served as a setback. It’s still early in the season, but he really needs to start picking up points quickly if he is to stay with the leading pack. He won in Italy in 2017, but he has failed to land on the podium since then.