2019 has come and gone, and with it another rally season. Those who mark the time by the round will know that the season saw its fair share of upsets but that it generated even more familiarity. With that in mind, let’s dive into an assessment of the season to see who won, who lost, and what fans will need to look for in the season to come.
Rallies in 2019: A Summary
Rallies are only as successful as their manufacturers. Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT produced some of the most popular – not to mention most successful – racing vehicles in the 2019 season. Of the fourteen official rallies the season hosted, four saw a Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT vehicle in the winner’s circle. Some of the most popular vehicles to grace the routes included:
- Citroen C3 WRC
- Ford Fiesta WRC
- Hyundai I20 Coupe WRC
- Toyota Yaris WRC
The Ford Fiesta is definitely a favourite, being both the UK’s top one and in the top best rally cars globally.
2019 World Rally Championship Results
The overarching victory in the rally world this past year went to Ott Tanak, who took the title of World Drivers’ Champion. Tanak, who originally drove for Toyota, was recently recruited by Hyundai as a driver for the 2020 rally season.
Martin Jarveoja took the title of World Co-drivers’ Champion, while Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT took the title of World Manufacturers’ Champion.
Rallies and the Broader Automotive Industry: A Comparison
In the world of racing alone, Europe dominates the automotive market. Rally racing in the EU generated 46% share in 2015, with that share only growing over the past few years. The market is expected to hit $2.96 billion in value by 2023.
In terms of the global passenger market share, small brands dominated over half of the broader automotive industry. The largest, well-known brand to generate a remarkable market share was Volkswagen with an impressive 9%.
Comparatively, Ford dominated the 2019 rally market, with the majority of drivers using Ford vehicles during their runs.
Where, then, should fans and automotive investors alike expect the rally scene to go in the later months of 2020? Citroen has already shaken the World Rally Championship by cutting its rally program entirely. Even so, drivers at the wheel of some of the manufacturer’s previously released vehicles will appear on the track come 2020.
The World Championship’s first round is set to take place between the 23rd and 26th of January at Monte-Carlo. Ford thus far dominates the track, with 23 of the 88 entrants driving some variation of the manufacturer’s WRC vehicles.
Surprisingly, none of the brands previously mentioned previously garner the second-most popular spot, as Peugeot has outplaced them all with 19 drivers. 13 drivers represent Hyundai, while 12 drive for Citroen, and 8 for Toyota. Volkswagen and Skoda are also set to appear at this raise, with 4 and 8 drivers, respectively. Other manufacturers with vehicles appearing in the first round include:
With so many changes from 2019 still resonating through the industry all fans can do now is wait and see how a new season shakes up the rally standing.