2024 WRC Predictions: Rally1

January 16, 2024Joe Moore

We are weeks away from the start of the 2024 WRC season. Here are my predictions. 

Tänak Wins The Championship 

Ott Tänak is one of the three drivers expected to win the 2024 WRC Drivers’ Championship. I’d be surprised if Tänak didn’t beat Thierry Neuville and Elfyn Evans to win his second championship. Tänak is the only former World Champion contesting a full season. His previous championship experience is what puts him over the edge for me. He knows what it takes to win. It’s just up to Hyundai to give him a car that can compete with Evans Toyota. 

Toyota Wins The Manufacturers Championship 

If I’m being completely honest, Toyota is probably the favorite to win the Manufacturers’ Championship again. Even if Tänak wins the championship, I still can’t see Hyundai winning the Manufacturers’ championship. Why? It comes down to the other drivers. A trio of Sordo, Mikkelsen and Lappi isn’t as good as a duo of Ogier and Rovanperä. Sure Hyundai has the better second driver in Neuville, compared to Katsuta for Toyota. Nevertheless, the duo of Ogier and Rovanperä will likely win, or finish within the top five at every event they contest. Don’t get me wrong, Sordo, Mikkelsen and Lappi are all good drivers, but they aren’t better than two drivers who have 10 World Championships between them. 

Katsuta Wins His First 

Takamoto Katsuta has yet to take the top step of the podium at the top level. I feel as if this will be the season he finally takes that leap. He’s Toyota’s second full-time driver this season and is a talented driver. He just hasn’t been able to do it yet. He came close at the 2023 running of Forum8 Rally Japan, however a spin and subsequent damage ended those hopes. If Katsuta were to win an event it’ll probably be his home event of Forum8 Rally Japan. 

Rovanperä Wins More Events Than Evans 

Kalle Rovanperä has moved into a part-time role for the upcoming season. However, I don’t think that’ll stop him from winning more events than his teammate Elfyn Evans. Rovanperä is the best driver in the championship, there’s no denying that. At the events he competes at he will be one of the front runners. I have Rovanperä pencilled in to win over 75% of the rounds he contests. This is more than what I have Evans to win. 

Lappi Wins His Second Event 

Esapekka Lappi has moved into a part-time role with Hyundai for the 2024 WRC season after he contested a full 2023 season. Lappi has only won a single event so far in his career. I have a feeling he’ll take his second career win this season. Which event that’ll be at I don’t know. However, Lappi showed good pace in the Hyundai last season and was on pace to win Rally Mexico before he hit a power pole. 

M-Sport Has At Least Three Podiums 

It’s no secret that the M-Sport Ford WRT doesn’t have a championship-calibre driver, no offence to Fourmaux or Munster. However, I wouldn’t be surprised if the duo managed to finish on the podium a couple of times this season. Munster is really good on tarmac. Something he proved at the Central European Rally this past season. Fourmaux wasn’t bad on rough gravel either. Nearly winning the WRC2 class at Rally Italia Sardegna. The rallies the M-Sport will podium at is something I won’t try to predict.