Rally Chile 2023, Day Three Report

The final day then with 54km’s over four stages. Could Ott and Martin hold on to take victory and how would the battle for the podium between Teemu, Thierry and Elfyn go?

Just like Saturday, Alberto Heller would open the road for the three stages. That is because the power stage start list is always changed and sees the WRC2 crews head in first before the top crews start.

First up was SS13 Las Pataguas 1 – 13.20 km and Thierry was fastest from Teemu and Elfyn. Thierry reduced the gap to his teammate and also increased the gap over Elfyn. However, Teemu was certainly driving brilliantly, holding a 9.1 second lead over Thierry. In WRC2 Gus was fastest from Emil and Yohan. The Brit remained in second place behind Oliver with Sami holding third place.

Into SS14 El Poñen 1 – 13.86 km and Thierry was fastest again from Teemu and Ott. The gap between the two Hyundai teammates fell again to 6.7 seconds. Ott remained firmly in charge with a 51.6 second lead. Elfyn was doing what he could to reduce the gap to the podium, but with the better road position the two Hyundai crews had meant they were both pulling away from the Welshman. In WRC2, Oliver was fastest from Sami and Gus and the young Swede remained firmly in charge of the category.

After the service break the rerun of SS15 Las Pataguas 2 – 13.20 km saw Thierry fastest from Elfyn and Takamoto. Unfortunately, Teemu and Markko crashed out of the stage after hitting a tree root on the edge of the road. This impact broke his suspension and steering on the front right causing the car to exit off the road on the left side. A big shame for the Finnish crew after a superb drive. In WRC2 Nikolay was fastest from Gus and Oliver who continued to hold a 22.8 second lead.

The final stage then, SS16 El Poñen 2[Power Stage] – 13.86 km and Kalle took the stage win from Elfyn who had set the benchmark. Thierry was third, Ott fourth and Takamoto fifth. It was a brilliant and well-deserved victory for Ott and Martin in their M-Sport Ford Puma, their 19th victory as well moving them into the WRC legends level. In WRC2, Oliver and Elliott took victory in their final points scoring rally of the year winning from Gus and Sami.

Let’s check out the final finishing positions and hear from the drivers.

Final Overall Classification – Rally Chile

1 O. Tänak M. Järveoja Ford Puma Rally1 Hybrid 3:06:38.1
2 T. Neuville M. Wydaeghe Hyundai i20 N Rally1 Hybrid +42.1
3 E. Evans S. Martin Toyota GR Yaris Rally1 Hybrid +1:06.9
4 K. Rovanperä J. Halttunen Toyota GR Yaris Rally1 Hybrid +2:11.0
5 T. Katsuta A. Johnston Toyota GR Yaris Rally1 Hybrid +4:41.5
6 O. Solberg E. Edmondson Škoda Fabia RS +8:18.5
7 G. Greensmith J. Andersson Škoda Fabia RS +8:44.3
8 S. Pajari E. Mälkönen Škoda Fabia RS +9:20.6
9 Y. Rossel A. Dunand Citroën C3 +9:53.9
10 N. Gryazin K. Aleksandrov Škoda Fabia RS +10:08.2

M-Sport Ford WRT

Ott Tanak

“It’s definitely to have a positive outcome, since a long, long altogether and almost a perfect weekend. It was very different what we had to do, not too much about pure performance, a lot about the management to get through the loops, it was a bit different challenge.”

Alberto Heller

“It was amazing, a really nice event for Chile, all the people in the stages, it was fantastic. To drive one of these cars is an amazing experience. Saturday and Sunday I opened the road, so more learning for me. I enjoyed and reached all more goals. My target was to return the car in the same shape. I hope to return and drive some more events next year.”

Grégoire Munster

“If you take everything into account, the pacenotes, the tyre delamination, the small off from my side, then today the brakes it was not easy. Perhaps change the car number for the Central Europe, but in general happened, happened for a reason. Good learning from our side, all the issues we had we managed to solve, that’s the main goal. One of the biggest things I leant was opening the road, then all the power has to transform to traction is so difficult, so demanding for the tyres. Coming from WRC2 the first thing is the hybrid to get to know and when to use it, how much you can apply and not to lose too much time with the traction. Then there is the aero you can use it in the short corner, but you may not have the grip, it depends if the tyre will accept this.”


Hyundai Motorsport

Thierry Neuville

“It has been a tough weekend for us. Unfortunately, we had two cars out, and I feel sorry for both of them – especially Teemu, who was having a great event. We all know how cruel rallying can be, and we saw it at the previous event in Greece. We had a job to do this weekend, and we did our best despite our issues. We kept fighting and tried to keep our position and progress to second, and now we’ve scored good points. It’s a shame the manufacturers’ championship is over, but it is nice to be back on the podium in second place. We’re happy with that.”

2023 FIA World Rally Championship
Round 11, Rally Chile, 29 September-01 October 2023
Thierry Neuville, Martijn Wydaeghe, Hyundai i20 N Rally1 Hybrid, Action during Day 3 of WRC Rally Chile 2023
Photographer: Vincent Thuillier
Worldwide copyright: Hyundai Motorsport GmbH

Teemu Suninen

“I would like to say a big thank you to the team. It was a great rally and a nice battle with Thierry, but unfortunately our hard work came to an end because of a very small mistake. I was just a few centimetres too tight with my line and hit a tree stump, which was game over. Thankfully we are unhurt. I’m very sorry to the entire team that we were unable to bring home the podium for them this weekend. We hope to be able to put that right in a few weeks at Central European Rally.”


Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT

Elfyn Evans

“Overall, the weekend was perhaps not what we hoped for, and I think there was potential for more. We didn’t quite get it all right this time around even though we had some good speed at times. But I think we can be relatively happy with our end result of a podium. The best news is that the team has clinched the manufacturers’ title. It’s an honour to be a part of the team and it’s great to reward everybody for all their hard work. In the drivers’ championship we probably needed to close a bit more on Kalle this weekend than we did, but at least the fight is still alive.”

Kalle Rovanperä

“It feels good to have helped the team secure the manufacturers’ title. To confirm it here in Chile with two rounds to go is a great achievement and it feels really nice. This was not the easiest weekend for us, as we were a bit handicapped with the starting position on Friday and didn’t make the best decisions on Saturday. Today it was still tricky with quite a lot of road cleaning even on the second pass. But we had a good plan to save the tyres and push hard on the Power Stage. The quick time came, showing we had the speed, and it was good to get those points.”

Takamoto Katsuta

“It has been a very demanding weekend, but I want to say a big congratulations to everyone in the team for winning the manufacturers’ title. There are so many people doing such great work during the season: a huge thanks to all of them because we are always happy to drive such a strong and fast car. The stages here in Chile this weekend were, nice but very difficult. I felt quite good on Friday afternoon but then on Saturday we were struggling a lot with the aggressive surface. It wasn’t easy but we got an idea of how to improve for the future, so it was good experience.”


WRC2 Winner

Oliver Solberg

“What a rally, from the moment we met thousands and thousands of fans at the ceremonial start on Thursday night right up until the end of the last stage, this has been such a special event. A big thank you to Toksport who have been so great to work with this year. These guys have worked so hard to give us the best car and I am so grateful.

“The roads here are just fantastic and to win here is a great result – the perfect result to close out our WRC2 campaign. Of course, it would have been good to take the title, but I can’t be too sad with the way our year has gone.

“More than anything, I wanted to show our speed this year and I think we’ve done that. We’ve won stages and rallies and me and Elliott can be proud for what we’ve done.”

Rally Chile was different. Reflecting on his South American debut, Oliver said he needed a different strategy on the gravel roads sitting just inland from the Pacific.

“When we could see how abrasive the roads were, we knew we had to be clever for this one,” he said.

“We took a different strategy. Through yesterday (Saturday) we were trying to be careful and to really look after the tyres. I wasn’t sliding the car so much, braking more progressive and just thinking all of the time to keep the car as straight as possible.

“I wanted to be in a good place for the final stage of the day – we knew this one was the most tricky for the tyres. It was so hard at times, when you get to the end of stage and you can see the seconds are going in the wrong direction, but I made a plan and I stuck to it.”

“The plan worked. I was quite happy for that. Like I said, when you were watching the other guys taking time, it was frustrating – but the priority was to save the tyres and play a longer game. We did that.

“This is a good way to end the year: a WRC2 win, and another top-six finish overall on a WRC round. That’s nice. Very nice.”


2023 FIA World Rally Championship for Drivers’ Standings
After round 11

1 K. Rovanperä 217
2 E. Evans 186
3 T. Neuville 155
4 O. Tänak 146
5 S. Ogier 99
6 E. Lappi 98
7 T. Katsuta 77
8 D. Sordo 63
9 T. Suninen 34

2023 FIA World Rally Championship for Manufacturers’ Standings
After round 11

1 Toyota Gazoo Racing World Rally Team 466
2 Hyundai Shell Mobis World Rally Team 360
3 M-Sport Ford World Rally Team 247



Well, what a great return to the top step for the 2019 world champions. Ott and Martin made a great result of these demanding stages in Chile. They completely deserved this result, and it is refreshing to see another team take victory as well. Speaks volumes for the effort of the entire M-Sport team.

Elsewhere it was good to see Elfyn and Scott finish ahead of their rivals for this year’s championship. They still have a good chance to take it, but we shall have to wait and see who prevails in the final two rounds.


Let’s wait and see how things pan out. The next round is the Central European Rally over the final weekend of October from the 26th to 29th.

Round 11 WorldSBK Portimao, Portugal, Race 2

The earlier Superpole race saw Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing Ducati) claim his 2nd win of the weekend, followed by Pata Yamaha Prometeon team mates of Toprak Razgatlioglu, and Andrea Locatelli in 2nd, and 3rd respectively.

Would Bautista be able to make it 3 wins from 3?

WorldSBK Portimao 01.10.2023 Picture courtesy of Kawasaki Racing Team

Lights out for race 2, and Toprak aggressive as always from the off took the hole shot into turn 1, followed by Bautista, and Gardner (GYRT GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) who cut up the inside of Locatelli to take 3rd. Meanwhile further back, drama for Xavi Vierge (Honda HRC), who went off line, taking both Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK), and Redding (Rokit BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) off track along with him. All three riders however were able to rejoin.

Next lap of the 20 lap race, and Bautista attacked Toprak into turn 1, however he eased off the throttle and didn’t make the move stick. Positions were as follows: 1. Toprak 2. Bautista 3. Gardner 4. Locatelli 5. Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing Ducati) 6. Lecuona (Honda HRC) 7. Gerloff (Bonovo Action BMW) 8. Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) 9. Vd Mark (Rokit BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) 10. Petrucci (Barni Spark Racing).

With 18 laps left, Rinaldi was looking quick and stuffed his Ducati up the inside of an unsuspecting Gardner to take 3rd. Locatelli 4th, and Gardner dropped down to 5th.

As was the case in the earlier Superpole race, both Bautista, and Toprak had pulled away from the rest of the field, the others unable to match the blistering pace being set at the front. Rinaldi in 3rd was 1.6s behind his team mate.

With 16 laps remaining, Bautista was rehearsing his overtake on Toprak, getting ahead down the straight, before easing off into turn 1. Meanwhile further back it was 7. Gardner 8. Bassani 9. Petrucci 10. Aegerter (GYRT GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team).

Next lap and Bautista made the move he rehearsed the previous few laps count. He eased into the lead down the straight and took the position into turn 1. Toprak however was having none of it, and stuffed his R1 under the Ducati into turn 5, rear sliding out as he retook the lead.

Meanwhile Garrett Gerloff put in the new fastest lap with a 1:40.829. Further back Rea was up to 14th, but was subsequently given a long lap penalty for dangerous riding. Rinaldi then put in the new fastest lap with a 1:40.738.

With 13 laps to go, it was the turn of Bautista to put in the new fastest lap with a 1:40.4, and extended his lead to 0.3s in the process. Meanwhile Rinaldi had a gap of 1.7s to Toprak.

Approaching the half way point of the race, and Toprak struck, slamming his R1 up the inside of Bautista’s Ducati into turn 13 with a perfect block pass. However, Bautista responded by blasting past the R1 down the straiight. As has been the story all season, the Yamaha had no answer to the outright speed of the Ducati. Toprak, late on the brakes into turn 1, somehow retook the lead. A real battle was unfolding.

Rinaldi in 3rd was struggling to match the pace at the front, and was losing contact, with the gap extended to 1.9s.

Just at the half way point of the race, and drama for the Aussie, Gardner who had a mechanical, and was forced to retire. Positions at the half way stage were as follows; 1. Bautista 2. Toprak 3. Rinaldi 4. Locatelli 5. Gerloff 6. Lecuona 7. Petrucci 8. Aegerter 9. Oettl 10. Bassani.

With 9 laps remaining, Toprak was back in front, the lead now swapping virtually every lap. The gap between them was only 0.2s, this would no doubt go down to the wire.

With 7 laps to go, Bautista again blasted past Toprak down the straight and back into the lead. Meanwhile further back, Rea was up to 13th, and Redding 14th. At the front Toprak cut under Bautista into turn 13, before Bautista retook the lead into turn 1 the next lap, however he ran wide and Toprak retook the lead. This was breathtaking racing!

With only 5 laps left, Gerloff was having another superb race, and was all over the back of Locatelli and looking for the pass. With the constant swapping of positions ahead of him, Rinaldi had managed to claw back ground, and was closing in. Toprak held a lead of 0.2s in front.

Next lap, and Bautista again retook the lead down the straight and into turn 1. Then into turn 13, a favourite for Toprak, he jammed it up the the inside of Bautista with a neat pass to retake the lead.

With 3 laps remaining, Bautista was back in front, powering down the straight and into the lead into turn 1. Toprak was in no mood to settle for 2nd and, stuffed it up the inside of Bautista into turn 5. The move caught the Spaniard out, and his bike jerked violently as he sat it upright briefly. This race was still anyone’s to call. Meanwhile further back Rea was up to 11th.

Down to the penultimate lap, and Bautista again took the lead down the long straight, however as he had done before, he went wide, and Toprak went through the gap he left. This was edge of your seat racing, incredible stuff from two champions giving it absolutely everything.

Last lap, and as they had been for the past 20 laps, they were both still locked together in a bitter dog fight. Bautista took the lead again down the straight, before Toprak dived up the inside, nearly losing the front end in the process. Approaching the last few sets of corners, and Toprak was ahead, ringing the neck out of his R1, then onto the long right hander, Toprak still ahead, Bautista got the drive out of the last corner and powered past Toprak and across the line to take the win. Sensational racing, Toprak however was furious, and smashed his screen repeatedly. He had given everything, and yet it wasn’t enough to beat the flawless pairing of Bautista, and the Ducati.

WorldSBK Portimao 01.10.2023 Picture courtesy of WorldSBK

Rinaldi 3rd, Gerloff 4th, Locatelli 5th, Petrucci 6th, Lecuona 7th, Aegerter 8th, Oettl (GoEleven Racing) 9th, Rea 10th.

Result top 5:

  1. Bautista (Aruba.it Racing Ducati)
  2. Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK Team)
  3. Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing Ducati)
  4. Gerloff (Bonovo Action BMW)
  5. Locatelli (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK Team)

Championship top 3:

  1. Bautista – 566
  2. Razgatlioglu -506
  3. Rea – 350

The championship will go down to the final round in Jerez, Spain.

Moto2: Chantra Takes First Win of Season

Somkiat Chantra won the Japanese Grand Prix from local rider and teammate Ai Ogura. Pedro Acosta extended his championship lead by finishing in third place. His closest championship rival, Tony Arbolino, finished down the order in eleventh place.

Alonso Lopez had a double long lap penalty to serve during the race due to irresponsible riding in the Indian GP.

Chantra had a good start from pole position as did Jake Dixon, but it was the Thai rider who was leading into the first corner. Aron Canet sent Acosta out wide through turn one and further down the field Fermin Aldeguer ran wide. The Beta Tools SpeedUp rider had to sit up and went through part of the long lap loop.

Even with the knowledge of the long lap penalties, Lopez improved from sixth place to the final step of the podium through the first set of corners. Sam Lowes also had a successful first lap improving to fifth.

Lopez and Ogura got past Dixon and continued to catch up to Chantra who started to break away from the rest of the field. Acosta also started to make placed up following his poor start.

On lap three, Ogura passed Lopez for second place, but the Spanish rider still had both of his long lap penalties to take so would not be staying in the top three for much longer. Chantra continued to extend his lead out at the front to 1.6s.

Acosta got past Dixon on the following lap at turn two after looking for a way past the Brit for over half a lap.

Lopez took his long lap loops on laps five and six and those dropped him down the order and he would need to make multiple moves to finish the race on the podium.

Filip Salac ran wide on the seventh lap, and this allowed Lowes to get past him, but the Elf Marc VDS Racing Team crashed at turn 14 on the same lap. Joe Roberts also went wide on lap seven but kept himself on the bike.

Aldeguer ran wide on lap nine and one of the local riders, Kohta Nozane, crashed on the same lap at turn ten. On the following lap, Sergio Garcia crashed at turn three.

Ogura slowly started cutting into the lead that his teammate had made in the first laps but was unable to catch up to the Thai rider who crossed the line to take his first win of the season. Acosta rounded out the podium and extended his championship lead to 50 points with six rounds to go.

Dixon finished in fourth place ahead of Salac and Manuel Gonzalez. Marcos Ramirez crossed the line in seventh place, followed by Canet and Zonta van der Goorbergh. Darryn Binder rounded out the top ten.

Acosta’s closest championship rival Arbolino began dropping down the order towards the end of the race due to losing grip in his front tyre meaning he could only cross the line in eleventh place.

Feature Image Credit: Autosport

1 Somkiat Chantra THA IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia (Kalex) 35m 19.273s
2 Ai Ogura JPN IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia (Kalex) 35m 20.626s
3 Pedro Acosta SPA Red Bull KTM Ajo (Kalex) 35m 22.353s
4 Jake Dixon GBR Inde GASGAS Aspar Team (Kalex) 35m 24.338s
5 Filip Salac CZE QJMOTOR Gresini Moto2 (Kalex) 35m 29.765s
6 Manuel Gonzalez SPA Correos Prepago Yamaha VR46 (Kalex) 35m 32.234s
7 Marcos Ramirez SPA OnlyFans American Racing (Kalex) 35m 33.625s
8 Aron Canet SPA Pons Wegow Los40 (Kalex) 35m 35.633s
9 Zonta Vd Goorbergh NED Fieten Olie Racing GP (Kalex) 35m 36.965s
10 Darryn Binder RSA Liqui Moly Husqvarna Intact GP (Kalex) 35m 38.678s
11 Tony Arbolino ITA Elf Marc VDS Racing Team (Kalex) 35m 39.934s
12 Joe Roberts USA Italtrans Racing Team (Kalex) 35m 40.082s
13 Alonso Lopez SPA Beta Tools SpeedUp (Boscoscuro) 35m 40.576s
14 Izan Guevara SPA Inde GASGAS Aspar Team (Kalex) 35m 40.750s
15 Barry Baltus BEL Fieten Olie Racing GP (Kalex) 35m 43.305s
16 Jeremy Alcoba SPA QJMOTOR Gresini Moto2 (Kalex) 35m 44.896s
17 Bo Bendsneyder NED Pertamina Mandalika SAG Team (Kalex) 35m 46.076s
18 Albert Arenas SPA Red Bull KTM Ajo (Kalex) 35m 46.644s
19 Taiga Hada JPN Pertamina Mandalika SAG Team (Kalex) 35m 48.685s
20 Alberto Surra ITA Forward Team (Forward) 35m 53.098s
21 Senna Agius AUS Liqui Moly Husqvarna Intact GP (Kalex) 35m 53.376s
22 Fermín Aldeguer SPA Beta Tools SpeedUp (Boscoscuro) 35m 53.564s
23 Sean Dylan Kelly USA Forward Team (Forward) 35m 55.746s
24 Borja Gomez SPA Fantic Racing (Kalex) 35m 58.908s
25 Rory Skinner GBR OnlyFans American Racing (Kalex) 36m 2.342s
26 Mattia Casadei ITA Fantic Racing (Kalex) 36m 4.781s
  Sergio Garcia SPA Pons Wegow Los40 (Kalex) DNF
  Dennis Foggia ITA Italtrans Racing Team (Kalex) DNF
  Kohta Nozane JPN Correos Prepago Yamaha VR46 (Kalex) DNF
  Sam Lowes GBR Elf Marc VDS Racing Team (Kalex) DNF


Moto3: Merciless Masia in Motegi

Image Credit: MotoGP

Leopard Racing’s Jaume Masia conquered Motegi today in Japan. Masia in full command at the front, as his title rivals all squabbled behind gifting Masia the win.

All change in the Moto3 championship as Masia now sits at the top. Championship rival’s Ayumu Sasaki finished 2nd after snatching it on the line from Daniel Holgado finishing in 3rd. Deniz Öncü pushed it too far and into the gravel after battling at the front for so long. 

Image Credit: Leopard Racing


Stefano Nepa and Öncü had a great start off the line, Nepa from row 2 and up to 3rd after turn 1. Holgado up to 2nd with Öncü leading the way at the front of the race. Öncü was keen to pull away at the front and into turn 5 was followed by Holgado and Nepa with a slight gap to the rest of the pack lead by Masia.

Alonso pushed Ortola but unable to get by as they come down the hill into sector 4 to complete the first lap. Diogo Moreira was up 5 places at the end of lap 1 but front row starter Matteo Bertelle was down 7 places. Bertelle later retiring out of the race after 7 laps. Not the race the Rivacold Snipers Team rider would of dreamt of last night.

Onto lap 2 and Masia quickly caught and went by Nepa. Home favourite Sasaki followed Masia going by Nepa into turn 7. Öncü and Holgado lead at the front with a 0.374 gap to Masia in 3rd. Masia swapped fastest lap times with Öncü, as Masia was keen to catch the leaders with Sasaki for company.

In the early stages of the race a lead group quartet developed. Masia and Sasaki caught up to Holgado and race leader Öncü. Into the 90 degree corner Sasaki missed a half hearted attempt to get by Holgado as they completed the first third of the race.

The lead group of 4 pulled away from the rest with a gap of 1.046 seconds to Nepa leading the rest of the field in 5th. Sasaki into sector 3 got by Holgado as they went through the tunnel and onto the last two corners to complete the lap. Öncü lead the group of 4 with Sasaki 2nd, Holgado 3rd and Masia in 4th.

Lap 6 and Masia went by Holgado and Sasaki midway through the lap. Out of turn 10 and onto the straight, Masia broke as late as he could to keep 2nd and hunt down Öncü to start lap 7.

Masia into turn 1 took the lead of the race for the first time. Sasaki into turn 3 went up the inside of Öncü. Öncü went backwards as Masia looked to escape at the front. Holgado almost come together with Öncü at turn 7. Into turn 11 and with the slipstream Sasaki was unable to get by Masia through turns 11, 12 and 13.

10 laps to go and the lead quarter lead by Masia are still over 1 second ahead of the group behind lead by Nepa. Holgado swarmed all over the back of Öncü but was unable to get by. Sasaki sat on the back wheel of Masia as they crossed the line as we approached the second half of the race.

Nepa and Ortola closed the gap slightly to the lead group at the front, as Masia seemed to be managing the pace. Öncü into turn 7 on the fastest place on the track blasted by Sasaki. Sasaki and Öncü swapped places as Sasaki went by Öncü only a few corners later. A fantastic battle for the win with the front 4 riders forever dicing for the lead.


8 laps to go and Masia lead with Sasaki 2nd, Öncü 3rd and Holgado 4th. A gap of 1.129 seconds to teammates Nepa and Ortola behind. Sector 1 lit up with yellow flags as the first retirement of the race Xavi Artigas went down at turn 1.

Sasaki, Öncü and Holgado diced and swapped places. Öncü down and out of the race into turn 10. Öncü pushed too hard and out in sector 3. Disaster for any championship hopes for Öncü and looked to of handed Masia a lead and win of this race with all of the fighting on lap 11.

Masia pulled a 1.117seconds gap to the fighting Holgado and Sasaki behind and now in full control of the race at this point.

Holgado and Sasaki almost come together in turn 1 with 6 laps to go. As the battle for 6th continued lead by Moreira, Masia was 1.209 seconds clear at the front of Sasaki 2nd and Holgado 3rd.

Tatsuki Suzuki down at turn 1 with 4 laps to go. Sasaki tried to catch Masia and pulled back over 3 tenths of a second to the leader up ahead. Sasaki and Holgado squashed any fighting now and both gunning to catch Masia at the front.

Masia lead with 3 laps to go. Sasaki and Holgado still 0.875 seconds behind. Still the ever changing places of 4th and 5th between teammates Ortola 4th Nepa 5th. The Angellus MTA  teammates although on their own for the race, have had a great battle with each other in Motegi.

2 laps to go and Masia responds to the charge from Sasaki and Holgado behind. Masia in full command here and headed to the top of the world championship standings. Nepa now lead Ortola as the two Angellus MTA teammates have over 3 seconds gap to the rest of the field, lead by Moreira down in 6th.


Alonso barged his way by Toba into 8th. Moreira still lead the group with Munoz all over the back of him at the start of the last lap.

In an attempt to salvage as many points as possible, Holgado went up the inside of Sasaki into sector 3 at turn 11.

Masia crossed the line to take a back-to-back victory. As Masia won the drama wasn’t finished there as Sasaki snatched 2nd from Holgado on the finish line. A mistake from victory corner from Holgado allowed Sasaki to take 2nd on the line away from Holgado. Through the final corner Holgado nearly lost it and Sasaki pounced to take 2nd place.

The 9th career win for Leopard Racing’s Masia and arguably his most important. Masia now leading the championship in Moto3 and heads to Mandalika in a couple of weeks time the main man to beat. What a win for Masia!

Race Classification

Image Credit: MotoGP

Championship Standings

Image Credit: MotoGP


Rally Chile 2023 Day Two Report, Saturday

The second day of competitive action then and 150km’s over six stages. Opening the road would be Alberto Heller in his Puma Rally1.

Into SS7 Chivilingo 1 – 27.19 km and Kalle was fastest from Ott and Elfyn. The Welshman regained second overall, now 13.8 seconds behind Ott, and Teemu was now 8 tenths of a second behind Elfyn. Further back Kalle passed Thierry for fourth overall, the Belgian now 4.7 behind the championship leader. In WRC2 it was a good stage for Oliver despite a spin in the stage as he was fastest from Yohan and Jorge. Former category leader Sami had an issue with the dust though and was fourteenth fastest, 39.6 down on the Swede who now led the category from the Finn, a healthy 26.3 ahead. Also on the move was Gus who passed Nikolay.

Next up was SS8 Rio Lia 1 – 21.09 km and Ott took this one from Elfyn by 6.8 seconds and Thierry a further 6.8 behind. Teemu was now 11.5 behind Elfyn in their fight over second place. There was a change though between Thierry and Kalle, with the Belgian passing Kalle again back into fourth. In WRC2, Yohan was fastest from Gus and Emil. The top two overall were fifth and seventh in this one, Oliver pulling away a little from Sami.

The last stage before service, SS9 Maria de las Cruces 1 – 28.72 km and there was huge drama in this one. Where do I even start with this? The following crews all had rear tyre failures, Elfyn, Takamoto, Kalle and Alberto leading to huge time losses for them. Elfyn dropped two positions to fourth place. The Toyota team made a mistake in going with soft tyres leading to their cars dropping back. Teemu was now back into second place and Thierry up now and into third. It was such a dramatic stage that two WRC2 cars placed fourth and fifth fastest, with Nikolay and Yohan respectively taking those positions. Gus was third fastest in the category. Top three remained Oliver, Sami and Gus.

After lunch time and the service break next up was SS10 Chivilingo 2 – 27.19 km. Kalle was fastest from Elfyn and Thierry. The Welshman took a couple of seconds from the third placed Belgian. In WRC2 Gus was fastest from Sami and Yohan. The Frenchman was having a much better day compared to Friday. Oliver was only eighth fastest and dropped out of the lead, now 2.5 seconds behind new leader Sami.

Next up was SS11 Rio Lia 2 – 21.09 km and Ott was quickest from Teemu and Elfyn. Thierry remained in third overall behind Teemu and Ott, but Elfyn had closed the gap a little to the Belgian. Yohan was fastest in WRC2 from Gus and Kajetan. Sami remained in the lead from Oliver and Gus whilst Yohan had now moved into fourth in the category as Emil and Nikolay dropped back.

The final stage then of the day then, SS12 Maria de las Cruces 2 – 28.72 km and would this stage deliver the huge drama that it did earlier in the day? Well, there was not the drama as earlier. Ott emerged fastest from Thierry and Elfyn. The gap grew five seconds between Elfyn and Thierry. It was all change in WRC2 though. The top three fastest were Oliver, Gus and Kajetan. Meanwhile Oliver took the lead from Sami who dropped from first place to third, with Gus moving into second.

2023 FIA World Rally Championship
Round 11, Rally Chile
28 September – 1 October 2023
Thierry Neuville
Photographer: Austral
Worldwide copyright: Hyundai Motorsport GmbH

Let’s take a look at the top positions and hear from the drivers.

Classification after Day Two

1 O. Tänak M. Järveoja Ford Puma Rally1 Hybrid 2:36:16.2
2 T. Suninen M. Markkula Hyundai i20 N Rally1 Hybrid +58.3
3 T. Neuville M. Wydaeghe Hyundai i20 N Rally1 Hybrid +1:12.2
4 E. Evans S. Martin Toyota GR Yaris Rally1 Hybrid +1:22.9
5 K. Rovanperä J. Halttunen Toyota GR Yaris Rally1 Hybrid +2:02.2
6 T. Katsuta A. Johnston Toyota GR Yaris Rally1 Hybrid +4:07.2

M-Sport Ford WRT

Ott Tanak

“Ah, we definitely had a good tyre choice, well not good, just better than the other guys. Hyundai was also quite good and covered for all the situations. Elfyn, Takamoto and Kalle, they were quite brave. Elfyn was still quite close to get it done, but just missed by ten kilometres. The tyre choice was just guesswork. We’d never done these stages and did not know how the stages would evolve.”

Hyundai Motorsport

Teemu Suninen

“It was a nice battle today; I think it was all about keeping the mind calm and focusing on all the different things and managing the tyres. We saw clearly if you attacked on the first stint you were losing time. Overall, I think it was a good day from us, but it was really tricky. The road surface is changing junction to junction, corner to corner, requiring constant management. In some sections you really had to use the tyres, or you would have been so much slower, which was intense. It would be great to finish second tomorrow; I think it would prove something from my side, but there is still one long day to go. It only counts afterwards when we finish the rally and the results come in, so we still have to keep focused.”

2023 FIA World Rally Championship
Round 11, Rally Chile, 29 September-01 October 2023
Teemu Suninen, Mikko Markkula, Hyundai i20 N Rally1 Hybrid, Action during Day 2 of WRC Rally Chile 2023
Photographer: Vincent Thuillier
Worldwide copyright: Hyundai Motorsport GmbH

Thierry Neuville

“We were trying to do the job as best as we could today, but I think I did a little bit too much tyre management in the middle stage of the second loop. We got a little bit closer to second place, which was the target, but it was not a problem-free afternoon. We lost the hybrid between the first and second stage of the afternoon, and on the last one I lost all power and had to do a reset, so we were late leaving the start line. Unfortunately, that lost us a few seconds, but it is what it is. Tomorrow is going to be another challenge with two shorter stages, but we’re going to do the maximum we can. It is not going to be easy, as there is a high risk of fog, which could turn around the whole classification if it is really impactful.”


Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT

Elfyn Evans

“This morning we knew that tyre wear might be high, but we weren’t anticipating it to be quite as high as it was. The grip levels and temperatures are relatively low here, but the roads today were extremely hard and aggressive for the tyres. It was just a pity that we couldn’t see out the final five kilometres of the morning loop: it seems I went too quickly at the beginning of the stage even if it didn’t feel that way, and we dropped a lot of time. At least we could claw some back this afternoon and there’s still an opportunity to fight for the podium. Thierry still has a decent gap with not so many kilometres to come, but we will of course try our best.”

Kalle Rovanperä

“Clearly, we were a bit too optimistic to take soft tyres this morning. Already at the end of the first stage it was quite clear that the tyre wear was much more than we had expected. In the afternoon it was still really difficult to manage even with the hard tyres on the car, but they were still in quite good condition for the last stage, where we lost some time in the dust behind another car. At least for the drivers’ championship it’s good for us to be only one place behind Elfyn at the moment, and we’ll see what we can do in the Power Stage tomorrow.”

Takamoto Katsuta

“Today’s stages were totally different to yesterday and the surface was very, very abrasive. Already in the first kilometres of the first stage, I could feel so much grip and at this point I knew that I needed to save the tyres. The afternoon was easier for the tyre choice, but wear was still very high, and we had an issue with one tyre in the second stage. We lost a lot of time today, so now I just want to finish the rally with a good feeling, and I will of course try to push for some extra points on the Power Stage.”


Well, with 54km’s over four stages on the final day, what would the final day hold for the teams and crews? The four stages are completely new to the crews. Can Ott and Martin hold on to take a popular victory for M-Sport, or will there be further drama out there? Can Elfyn and Scott pass Thierry and Martijn and take third place?

In WRC2 can Oliver and Elliott hold on for victory or will be see more drama and the top positions change again?

Moto2: Chantra Storms to Pole in Japan!

Image Credit: MotoGP

Delight for IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia with a stunning 1-2 here at their home Grand Prix in Japan. Somkiat Chantra was on fire today in Motegi and so far this weekend has been fastest in every session in Moto2. Chantra took pole with teammate Ai Ogura 2nd, and Jake Dixon rounding off the front row in 3rd.

Disaster for Tony Arbolino today qualifying in 13th place. With championship rival Pedro Acosta heading up the second row tomorrow in 4th. Arbolino has it all to do in tomorrow’s race, to try and stop Acosta running away with the championship this year. 

Image Credit: MotoGP


Qualifying 1

Jake Dixon lead the pack out of the pits onto the track for the Q1 session. Dixon a shock name in the session and had never failed so far this season to get into Q2.

As Dixon approached the end of his out lap, several riders were queuing ready to follow Dixon round the track. Dixon stating before the weekend that Motegi was one of his favourite tracks.

As the first bunch of riders posted their first flying lap times, Alonso Lopez set the benchmark for the rest of the field. Lopez having to serve a double long lap penalty this weekend after the carnage last weekend in India.

With 10mins left of the session, the top 4 currently heading into Q2 were Lopez, Bo Bensneyder, Zonta Van De Goorbergh and reigning Moto3 champion Izan Guevara.

Mattia Casadei lit up the yellow flags in sector 2, going down at turn 6. Casadei with his 3rd crash of the weekend. A tough weekend so far for the Kalex rider.

7mins of the session remained. Dixon and Binder lit up the sectors red and as they all crossed the line, Binder went quickest with a time of 1:50.294. Van De Goorbergh just +0.060 back to Binder and Dixon moved up into the top 4 in 3rd.

The riders back on the track now after a brief stop in the pits.  Lopez set a blistering lap time of 1:50.089 and moved to the top of the standings pushing Dixon down to 4th. Had Lopez set that time this morning, he’d of been 2nd quickest overall from the practice sessions.

Chequered flag out and the riders on current flying laps weren’t able to break into the top 4. The top 4 heading through to the Q2 session were Alonso, Binder, Van De Goorbergh and Dixon.

Qualifying 2

Both Beta Tools SpeedUp teammates Lopez and Fermin Aldeguer were the first to post times in the session, only to be blitzed moments later by Chantra posting a time just shy of the lap record of 1:49.977 seconds.

VD Goorbergh lit up the yellow flags in sector 1 just as Chantra broke the lap record with a time of 1:49.898. For 7 years Johann Zarco held the record, but finally broken today by Chantra and the provisional pole lap so far sat with the IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia rider.

Championship leader Pedro Acosta moved up into the 3rd after his first run, but only briefly as Dixon moved up to 2nd and Aron Canet into 4th. The front row with 6mins left in the session was Chantra, Dixon and Ogura.

Acosta and Dixon not giving up on pole went quicker with Dixon just +0.214seconds shy of Chantra’s provisional pole lap in 2nd, and Acosta in 3rd.

Tony Arbolino had a nightmare start to the session and with only a few minutes remaining was in 14th place. Arbolino’s teammate Sam Lowes was going better and up to 7th with a couple of minutes left in the session. Arbolino managed to finish 13th in the qualifying session. A disaster for Arbolino and will be looking to do all he can in the race tomorrow, to keep any championship hopes alive.

As the chequered flags waved, Ogura split Chantra and Dixon moving up to 2nd place to the delight of the team in the garage. A dream qualifying session for the IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia at their home race in Japan. Chantra quickest in every session so far this weekend! It will take a mighty effort from anyone to stop Chantra from taking the win tomorrow.

Qualifying Classification

Image Credit: MotoGP

Official Starting Grid

Image Credit: MotoGP





Moto3: Motegi Pole for Masia

Image Credit: MotoGP

Jaume Masia continued his blistering form and took his 3rd pole position in a row here today in Motegi, Japan. Masia made it look easy, with championship rival Deniz Öncü qualifying in 2nd and a back-to-back front row start for Matteo Bertelle completing the front row in 3rd.

A 5th pole position of the season for Leopard Racing team’s Masia and it’s hard to imagine anyone in Moto3 being able to stop Masia charging to championship glory. Championship rival’s Daniel Holgado starts the race on row 2 from 6th position and Ayumu Sasaki starts 7th on row 3 tomorrow.

Image Credit: Leopard Racing 


Qualifying 1

Jose Antonio Rueda had a rare appearance in Q1. Taiyo Furusato and Riccardo Rossi also unlikely names in Q1 ready to battle it out for a spot in Q2.

Furusato was the first of the riders to come through and set a time, quickly followed by a group of 5 unable to go faster, with 10mins left of the session. Furusato was quicker through the first 2 sectors on the next run, only for the lap to be cancelled after running wide in sector 3.

Red Bull KTMs Filippo Farioli come through and up to 2nd in the standings. Still +0.633 seconds behind the quickest time set so far in the session. A 1:57.564 from Furusato. Farioli come off at the end of turn 2, but quickly back up and thankfully Farioli ok to continue.

5mins left in the session and CFMOTO teammates Joel Kelso and Xavi Artigas come through with Kelso setting the quickest time and Artigas up into 3rd. The top 4 currently heading through to Q2 at this point was Kelso, Furusato, Artigas and Farioli.

3mins remained in the session and Rossi was red through sectors 1 and 2 on his first flying lap in the session. Rossi topped the standings with a 1:57.161 a time +0.261seconds clear of Kelso in 2nd.

The riders had very little time to get through to Q2, only one more shot at getting through to Q2. Kelso, Artigas, Rueda and Rossi all on flying laps as the chequered flag came down on the session. The top 4 heading through to Q2 were Rossi, Kelso, Furusato and Rueda.

Qualifying 2

Some breaking news at the start of the Q2 session, with 3 place grid penalties handed out to Diogo Moreira and Collin Veijer. Both for moving their hands off the grips on the straights. No rain and a dry session in a really important qualifying in Moto3. Just 1 point separating the top 3 in the championship.

As the battle for pole position started it was bike #6 Ryusei Yamanaka coming through to set the first time of the session. GASGAS Aspar Team rider Yamanaka keen to impress this weekend and still needed a ride for next season. Bertelle quickly followed over the line and up to the top of the timings, with Ortola 2nd and Rueda currently in 3rd.

Less than 10mins of the session remained and the first group of riders were all setting flying laps. David Munoz setting a benchmark time now of 1:56.892, the first to get into the 1min56’s. Munoz tucking in behind the Husqvarna teammates Veijer and Sasaki picking up some slipstream along the finish straight.

Masia now seen coming out of the pits with Deniz Öncü, Kaito Toba, Rossi and Kelso all yet to set a time in the session.

With 5mins left of the session both Masia and Öncü were lighting up the sectors red just as Rossi had a big crash into turn 9. Yellow flags in sector 3, but both Masia and Öncü clear of the incident at the time and their laps stood. Masia up to the top with a 1:56.744 and Öncü 2nd with a gap of just +0.120seconds to Masia on provisional pole.

Masia and Öncü marched on with Öncü behind Masia on track, both continued to set the sectors red on their second runs. Both Masia and Öncü improved with Masia up to a 1:56.331 with a gap of +0.208 to Öncü in 2nd. Only Öncü able to be within a half a second to Masia at the top.

Sasaki with only a minute left in the session got a slipstream from teammate Veijer. Sasaki through the victory corner turn 14 onto the straight only to go 5th. Sasaki was up in the first two sectors on Masia on that lap, but unable to piece it all together for pole position.

With the chequered flag waving the riders all completed the session, none of the riders able to knock Masia off the top. A third pole position in a row for Masia. The Leopard Racing team rider sent a clear message to his championship rivals today in Motegi. A 5th pole position of the season for Masia and seemingly unstoppable at the moment in Moto3.

Official Starting Grid

Image Credit: MotoGP


Round 11 WorldSBK Portimao, Portugal, Race 1

It’s the penultimate round of the 2023 championship, and there are only two riders capable of lifting the trophy. Reigning champion, Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing Ducati), and 2021 champion, Toprak Razgatloglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK).

Round 11 WorldSBK Portimao, Portugal, Race 1 Picture courtesy of WorldSBK

The earlier Superpole saw Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) take top spot with an unmatched lap of 1:39.620, followed by team mate Alex Lowes, and Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) in 2nd, and 3rd respectively. Toprak 4th, Bautista 5th. Locatelli was subsequently penalised for not heeding a flag, and demoted to the back of the grid for race 1.

Conditions for race 1 were near enough perfect, with air temperature of 29 degrees Celsius, and track temperature of 40 degrees Celsius, with clear skies under bright Algarve sun.

Lights out for race 1 and it was Toprak with the hole shot into turn 1, Rea made contact with Bautista and dropped down to 4th, Bautista moved into 3rd, behind Lowes in 2nd, Vd Mark (Rokit BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) was up to 4th.

Next lap and Lowes was looking quick, and moved through on Toprak to take the lead. Positions were as follows: 1. Lowes 2. Toprak 3. Bautista 4. Vd Mark 5. Rea 6. Gardner (GYRT GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) 7. Lecuona (Honda HRC) 8. Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing Ducati) 9. Petrucci (Barni Spark Racing) 10. Bassani (Motocorsa Racing)

With 18 laps of 20 left, Rea put in the new fastest lap a 1:40.743, and moved through on Vd Mark into 4th, before cutting under Bautista to move into 3rd. The leading 5 riders had now pulled away from the rest of the field.

Next lap and Lowes got mugged going into turn 1, as first Toprak dive bombed him to take the lead, followed swiftly by Bautista, Rea, and VD Mark. Lowes dropped down to 5th. Bautista then got through on Rea into turn 5 to take 2nd. Meanwhile further back, after having briefly lost contact with the group ahead, Remi Gardner was in 6th, and closing in.

With 15 laps remaining, Bautista got into Toprak’s slip stream and briefly took the lead, before Toprak was able to fight back and maintain the position. Meanwhile further back it was, 7. Rinaldi 8. Gerloff (Bonovo Action BMW) 9. Lecuona 10. Bassani.

Next lap and Bautista attacked once more into turn 1, before Toprak was yet again able to snap back and retain position.

With 13 laps to go, Bautista lined up the move into turn 1 again, and this time the move stuck, and Toprak was unable to respond. Bautista now in the lead. Meanwhile further back, drama for Rinaldi who was forced to retire due to a mechanical issue. At the front Bautista put in a new fastest lap a 1:40.489, and was pulling away.

Just at the halfway point of the race, and Bautista held a lead of 0.8s. Vd Mark had now caught Lowes in 4th, the Dutchman was all over the back of him and was looking for the pass. Meanwhile further back, Gerloff was up to 6th.

Next lap and Vd Mark made a pass on Lowes into turn 1 and moved into 4th, Lowes down to 5th. Meanwhile, after having started at the back of the grid, Locatelli was up to 11th.

Next lap and Locatelli was now up to 10th, having got past Xavi Vierge (Honda HRC). Meanwhile at the front, Bautista could not shake off a stubborn Toprak, and his lead was only 0.5s. In 3rd place Rea had lost contact with the two ahead of him.

With 6 laps left, Locatelli was having a strong race and moved through on Bassani to take 9th. Further back there was a 3 way fight for 13th between, Petrucci 13th, Redding (Rokit BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) 14th, and Domi Aegerter (GYRT GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team).

With 4 laps remaining, Gerloff had caught Lowes and made a pass on him into turn 1 to move into 5th. Meanwhile at the front Bautista had increased his lead to 1.0s. Toprak held a gap of 3.3s to Rea in 3rd, and Rea held a gap of 4.5s to Vd Mark in 4th.

Next lap and Gerloff had now caught Vd Mark, and attacked the Dutchman to move into 4th. The Texan was having a great race. Next up for Vd Mark was Lowes, and Gardner who both attacked him and subsequently moved up positions. Vd Mark dropped down to 7th.

Round 11 WorldSBK Portimao, Portugal, Race 1 Picture courtesy of WorldSBK

Penultimate lap and Bautista had extended his lead to 2.0s, and now looked comfortable for the race win.

Last lap and Bautista crossed the line to take the win, as well as the constructors championship for Ducati. Toprak 2nd, Rea 3rd, Gerloff 4th, Lowes 5th, Gardner 6th, Vd Mark 7th, Lecuona 8th, Locatelli 9th, Vierge 10th.

Result top 5:

  1. Bautista (Aruba.it Racing Ducati)
  2. Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK)
  3. Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK)
  4. Gerloff (Bonovo Action BMW)
  5. Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK)

Championship top 3:

  1. Bautista – 529
  2. Razgatlioglu – 477
  3. Rea – 344


Rally Chile 2023, Day One Report

The first full day of action saw the crews tackle 112km’s over six stages. As championship leader, Kalle would open the road. What could the Finn do on the first day to stay close to those who would have an advantage further down the start list?

First up was SS1 Pulperia 1 – 19.77 km and Ott set the early pace from Teemu and Elfyn making a great start despite being second on the road. Just 4.9 seconds covered the top three. There was drama for Esapekka though. The Finn would roll out of the stage and that would be the end of his event as well. Meanwhile his teammates were doing better giving the Hyundai team something to cheer for. It was big crash for EP, but he and Janne were fine. In the WRC2 category the top three was Oliver, Sami and Nikolay, again the top three covered by just a little under 5 seconds.

Time for SS2 Rere 1 – 13.34 km and Elfyn continued his great start winning the stage from Kalle and Pierre-Louis. The Welshman jumped two places and into the lead, with Teemu now second, just a tenth from his former teammate and Ott dropped down to third, but just 1.8 seconds from the new leader. In WRC2 the top three was Sami, Gus and Oliver. Sami moved into the lead and Oliver dropped to second and Nikolay remained in third.

Into SS3 Rio Claro 1 – 23.32 km and it was another stage win for Elfyn from Ott and Teemu. The Welshman continued to hold the lead and in fact had opened the gap to Teemu. There was drama for Ott teammate though, with Pierre-Louis losing control and rolling out. The top three in WRC2 remained Sami, Oliver and Nikolay.

After the service break, Teemu won SS4 Pulperia 2 – 19.77 km from Ott and Thierry. The Finn jumped one place and into the lead as Ott moved into second overall, whilst Elfyn was now in third. Sami was continuing to set the pace in WRC2, winning the stage from Nikolay and Oliver. The Finn continued to hold the lead in the category as well.

2023 FIA World Rally Championship
Round 11, Rally Chile
28 September – 1 October 2023
Teemu Suninen
Photographer: Austral
Worldwide copyright: Hyundai Motorsport GmbH

Ott then took SS5 Rere 2 – 13.34 km from Thierry and Teemu, the result being the Estonia moved back into the lead from Teemu and Elfyn was still third. Once again, Sami was fastest from Oliver and Emil in WRC2.

Ott took SS6 Rio Claro 2 – 23.32 km from Teemu and Thierry. The Belgian’s pace brought him up into fourth overall, whilst Kalle suffered a spin in the stage. The top three remained Ott, Teemu and Elfyn. Sami also continued to lead WRC2 from Oliver and Nikolay.

Let’s check out the top positions and hear from the drivers.

Classification after Day One

1 O. Tänak M. Järveoja Ford Puma Rally1 Hybrid 58:43.7
2 T. Suninen M. Markkula Hyundai i20 N Rally1 Hybrid +4.2
3 E. Evans S. Martin Toyota GR Yaris Rally1 Hybrid +12.7
4 T. Neuville M. Wydaeghe Hyundai i20 N Rally1 Hybrid +27.7
5 K. Rovanperä J. Halttunen Toyota GR Yaris Rally1 Hybrid +38.7
6 T. Katsuta A. Johnston Toyota GR Yaris Rally1 Hybrid +45.6
7 G. Munster L. Louka Ford Puma Rally1 Hybrid +1:38.4

M-Sport Ford WRT

Ott Tanak

“It’s been a quite consistent day and the afternoon loop was actually quite drama free, so clearly a lot about tyre management. I would say we did quite well. It was difficult to make the right choice on tyres and either tyre compound would have good, but I would say it played out quite well. The feeling in the car was quite consistent and I had a good rhythm in the stages.”

Hyundai Motorsport

Teemu Suninen

What a day! I think we did a good job, we were driving very well and pretty much on the limit the entire time, with a few moments here and there, but we are still here and in a really good position with just a few seconds between us and the lead. The car was really enjoyable to drive. I am happy with my performance. I think we managed some small issues well and didn’t lose too much time. I want to go for the win, but tomorrow is like a whole new rally. It is very different profile, and I am still learning the car in different conditions, how to manage the tyres – which will be really important tomorrow. There is a lot of new things, but I will try to keep pushing.”

Thierry Neuville

“Today has been a bit of a struggle. This morning whenever I tried to attack, I was almost going off, which is not the situation you want on such a challenging event. It was a bit better this afternoon, but road position is making a huge difference here. We are struggling on the loose gravel, the car just can’t get grip and slides around, but in the afternoon loop we were able to find some grip and it was much more drivable. It is good to have made a place and to have got ahead of Kalle, which was our target for a good road position for tomorrow, however there are still four cars behind us who are in a better place.”

Esapekka Lappi

“Both Janne and I are ok, which is the main thing, but unfortunately our roll cage is damaged, and we are unable to continue in Chile. I braked too late on the last corner of SS1 Pulperia 1 and to try and save the situation, I turned in a bit earlier. There was a gravel bank just in front of the concrete, and I think the front tyre dug into the gravel which caused us to roll. It had been a very challenging stage and I felt I was too safe, braking too early throughout; I just didn’t have the normal rhythm.”


Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT

Elfyn Evans

“We had a really good morning, but it wasn’t easy. The grip levels were really low and today’s stages were particularly technical. It was very fast in places, but also quite blind, so with the grip as it was, the pacenotes were really critical. Somehow the road seemed to be cleaning more in the afternoon, which was a bit of a surprise and made things quite difficult for us, and I also just didn’t have the best feeling behind the wheel. But given our starting position this morning, it’s quite OK to at least be in the fight tonight. We’ll have a better position for tomorrow and can look to fight from there.”

Kalle Rovanperä

“Today was quite difficult for us. The stages were definitely looser and more slippery than I had been expecting. Where it had been drying up, it was a big challenge to open the road. We changed the setup of the car a bit for the afternoon, and it was certainly a bit better in that sense, but the road cleaning was still a big factor: the surface was a bit messier with no clear lines to follow, so it was tough. Then I had a half-spin in the final stage and dropped a place, which was not good for the road position for tomorrow, but hopefully we can still start to fight back.”

Takamoto Katsuta

“Today’s stages were really difficult. They were mainly new for everyone, and we knew the grip would be not so high, but it was even more slippery than expected. There were also quite a lot of blind corners, so you really needed to trust the pacenotes and the car. In the morning I was driving on the careful side with no rhythm, but in the afternoon, I had a much better feeling. With my engineer, we changed quite a lot in the service and the car felt a lot better. The pace was also there, but I was still making some mistakes and losing a bit of time. Tomorrow will be a big challenge also with long stages and we’ll be the third car on the road, but I will do my best.”


Well, it was a great return to the stages in Chile and what does day two hold for us? Well, it is the longest day in terms of competitive kilometres with 154km’s over the six stages. Can Ott continue to lead, or will Elfyn and Teemu fight back? What will Thierry do, or even Kalle?

What will happen in WRC2 as the fight for victory continues between Sami and Oliver? Can Gus get into the mix as well? How about Nikolay who holds third in the category?

Rally Chile 2023 Preview – The championship heads back to South America.

For the first time since 2019 the crews and teams are heading to South America. The last time this round was included on the calendar was in 2020, but the round was cancelled prior to the start due to the political unrest in the country at the time.

This seasons rally has 320km’s over sixteen stages. The longest day is Saturday with 154km’s over six stages.

Following Thursday’s shakedown, crews will take to the first stage of Rally Chile, Pulperia 1 (19.77km), at 8:35am on Friday morning.

Five more stages follow on Friday, increasing the competitive distance to 112.86km

Saturday presents the longest day of the weekend, as the 154.00km distance is made up of two loops of three demanding stages.

The final four tests will take place on Sunday, with the second pass of El Poñen (13.86km) offering Power Stage points to round off the rally.

Let’s hear as always from the drivers.

Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT

Kalle Rovanperä

“Greece was a good result for us, and the championship is looking better for us again, but we need to focus hard for the next event because Rally Chile is going to be another big challenge. The last time we were there, I was driving a Rally2 car, and we had a good weekend. But I think that after four years and with a lot of new stages, it is going to feel more like a new rally anyway and it’s going to be a challenging event for everyone. The roads are nice, but the conditions can be very tricky, and the grip can change a lot. Still, I’m looking forward to it and hope it can be a good rally for us.”

Elfyn Evans

“Rally Chile was a nice event when we went there for the first time back in 2019 but also a very challenging one. The roads remind me a bit of Wales in points, but the rally will be happening at a different time of year on this occasion and only a few of the stages will be the same. It will almost be like a new rally with a lot of new pacenotes to write, so it could be a difficult week. There isn’t so much knowledge from the past we can use, but I am looking forward to it, nonetheless. We’re going to give it everything, as we will keep doing until the end of the year.”

Takamoto Katsuta

“It’s going to be a big challenge for all of us to go back to Chile after four years. I have some nice memories from there in 2019 when we had a good weekend in WRC 2. Of course, I haven’t been there in a top-category car before, so that will be an extra challenge for me. The roads are quite fast but also very tricky, and there will be a lot of new stages this time. It’s going to be a very important rally for the team and for me also. It won’t be easy, but I will try to do my best and hopefully we can have a good weekend.”

Hyundai Motorsport

Thierry Neuville

“Rally Chile has only been run once before and this time there are going to be a lot of new stages, so our previous experience does not help our preparations too much. Because of this, the recce will be very important. Last time in Chile it was quite tough for me as I had a big crash, but we go back this year with the target of having a good rally and finishing the weekend on the podium. For this to happen we will need consistency, a great feeling in the car and a setup that works well on the roads. If we can get all of those things to align, we will be fast.”

2019 FIA World Rally Championship
Round 06, Rally Chile
09-12 May 2019
Thierry Neuville, Nicolas Gilsoul, Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC
Photographer: Helena El Mokni
Worldwide copyright: Hyundai Motorsport GmbH

Esapekka Lappi

“The first thing I will do to prepare is to look at the onboards from when I was there in 2019, but a lot of the stages we will be taking on are new for this year. I will also try to remember how the surface behaved in different conditions and what the feel of the car was like. While there are some technical sections, overall, the rally is quite fast, which reminds you of Estonia and Finland a bit. However, the grip level you get at those events is not there in Chile. It is not the roughest rally, so we won’t have to think about saving the car too much, but we will need to have confidence to be fast. As always, the goal is to finish on the podium.”

Teemu Suninen

“Most of the stages at the event are new, so our preparations will be different. Making good pace notes on the recce will be key to being successful. The roads in Chile are normally fast, but we still expect them to be slower than those at Rally Estonia and Rally Finland as they are a bit more technical. The surface is quite smooth, so we won’t have to think as much about the car lasting well, we can just push it to the limit from start to finish. Our focus is purely on ourselves, trying to improve our pace from Finland and finish as high as possible.”


M-Sport Ford WRT

Ott Tänak

“Most of the rally seems to be new again this year, also the weather plays a big part there, but all together stages should be very similar to what we have experienced in New Zealand or in Welsh forests.

“Sport is always at maximum effort whatever the conditions. As it’s a case of more or less a new event again, we don’t know what kind of stages we will see. Generally, rhythm wise, there used to be all kinds of stages in Chile from twisty and slow to fast and smooth. New roads always make it challenging, and it takes extra effort to make the notes perfect.  As the event is overseas and quite unique, we need to guess the car setup and hope all decisions are correct when we arrive at the start of stage one!

Pierre-Louis Loubet

“It’ll be an amazing experience to go to Chile for the first time! It’s the first time for me rallying in South America, so I’m pleased about that. It looks like the rally will be a really nice event, quite slippery in some places from what I can tell, and that means it’s very important to be clever and to avoid any mistakes and stay on the line. There isn’t too much space to make mistakes. I think it’ll be an interesting rally.”

Grégoire Munster

“The challenge for Rally Chile will, of course, be driving in the top category. Everything is new for us in the car and in the team, as we’ll be working with different mechanics and engineers too. It’s a fun challenge ahead, I’ve never been to Chile before, and most of the stages are new so we cannot base much from previous onboards. We’re looking forward to it, I just want to make the best out of it and enjoy the rally. I hope to see improvements in our pace over the weekend and just really live the full experience of driving a Rally1 car.”

Alberto Heller

“I’m really excited about the rally, it’s a pleasure for me to drive in my home country, in my national rally. This is a great opportunity for me, the idea is to have the car in the middle of the road, drive through and try to build speed corner by corner. But the first challenge is to finish the rally, enjoy it with my people, and have an amazing experience to remember!”

WRC2 Competitors


Oliver Solberg

“This rally hasn’t been in the WRC since 2019,” said Oliver, “and I didn’t compete in that year. I did, of course, watch all the coverage and in our preparation for this week, me and Elliott [Edmondson, co-driver] have been watching as many videos as we could find of the event and the roads.

“What can I say? They look fantastic. The place looks amazing. Who wouldn’t be excited by those stages? They look in places a lot like Wales, but there’s just a bit of everything in there: some fast and flowing sections and some tighter, twistier bits.

“To be honest, it’s not such a disadvantage for us not having driven in Chile before – only one of the stages is the same from 2019 and the first and third days are completely different.

“For me, the aim is to carry on doing what we have been doing all this year: just driving our own speed. OK, the [WRC2] championship hasn’t gone our way, but I’m really proud of the results we’ve achieved in the WRC – sixth in Finland was fantastic and seventh in Portugal was also really strong. We’ve been six times in the top-10 overall. It would be nice to make that seven.”

“Of course,” said Oliver, “I competed in North America a few times in the US and in México and I absolutely love it over there. I heard so many stories from my dad about driving in Argentina and about the passion from the fans down there – we’ll be on the other side of the [Andes] mountains, but I think the feeling is going to be the same.

“The ceremonial start in 2019 was one of the best in the championship and going to a place called Los Angeles for this year’s ceremonial start is going to be very cool on Thursday night.”


Hyundai Motorsport WRC2

Emil Lindholm

“A new event is always exciting and involves more preparations than rallies I’ve run before. It has been helpful to talk to other crews about their experiences to have an idea of what to expect when we head out for recce. Unlike some of the rougher events, we expect the time gaps in Chile to be small, so the driving needs to be precise. I think we should have a good package, and even though the starting field we have in WRC2 is very competitive, I believe that with a consistent performance we should be able to score a podium.”

Fabrizio Zaldivar

“For me, Rally Chile will be a special event as it is in my home continent: South America. Our last event in Finland did not end how we wanted; our hope is that we can show a better performance in Chile. I feel now more confident in the car and know what it takes to be fast, but it is a new rally for me, so I don’t quite know what to expect. To have a clean weekend and finish towards the front of the field will be our target and I will try my best to do it.”


This will likely be a really important round in deciding this seasons championship. If Elfyn can finish ahead of his teammate, then with two rounds left after this event it will be game on between them.


In terms of possible winners, there are a few, but it is hard to look past Ott and M-Sport taking victory. They scored a good win last time this event took place in 2019. Other drivers that could go well include Esapekka and Teemu who drove for Citroen and M-Sport in 2019 and took fifth and sixth overall. However, their starting position on day one will certainly benefit them. Can they make the most and take a podium, or maybe even victory?!


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