Stage win counts sure help show who the best drivers are but they don’t show who was nearly there or how fluky those wins were. For that reason I took a look into seeing how to present this proximity in pace and have come up with the below. To equalise the results of different stages these measurements are in s/km behind the scratch time and this post will only take into consideration completed stages. Don’t hire any drivers for your team based on the below alone.
All WRC ‘M’ Results
Enough has been said about Ott Tanak’s ability to win nearly one in three stages he finishes, so I will highlight that two in three were within a third of a second per km of scratch. In fact he has the highest percentage per tenth quantised here up to 1.2, although marginal. More praise on him to come.
Sebastien Ogier is some way off in terms of stage wins but by 1s/km is marginally off Tanak. His biggest jump is between 0.2 to 0.4 – highlighting the narrow margin where the Citroen C3 is said to be lacking and his championship was lost.
Andreas Mikkelsen raises interesting points. At 1s he ranks 4th and climbs to the elite after. Then at 2s he is leading the charts but this kind of pace is cruise territory. Fifth highest in stage wins, at 0.3s he is 8th in rank. Indicative of Andreas’ approach?
Since beginning PushingPace, I always drew the minimum elite standard at +1s/km. Therefore Gus Greensmith can be happy with >60% in his rookie events. Pontus Tidemand was generally more off the pace but his events were generally trickier surfaces – ice, snow, brutal gravel before GB.
It’s true not all stages are driven in anger so we can drill down into particulars. Most Friday stages are raced so let’s look at those.
The field now seems a lot closer as drivers are not beginning to settle for position as they do over the weekend. A bigger factor though is road order and the leading trio sweeping on gravel stages. Despite this, Tanak is still clearly strongest.
See how Ogier still has that lull point between his stage wins and 0.3s where he clambers back amongst the top. In that space is the Hyundais of Neuville, Sordo and Breen. Breen only did two Fridays of Finland and GB but the stage count of 17 is high.
Sebastien Loeb is another point of interest. Slow to start like in Chile, or suffering like Portugal puts him similar to Teemu Suninen, who himself has had mixed results.
The M-Sporters show here what I have asserted all year, they are not pushing. It’s a strategy that sometimes serves well such as in Chile but relies on others to retire or suffer issues.
Now a quick look at Saturday stages just to highlight how road sweeping on a gravel heavy calendar affects our leaders.
Clearly Saturday belongs to Tanak. Neuville and Ogier are also strong but there are strange distributions for the other drivers. My favourite POI is Kris Meeke who is either on it up to 0.4 or cruising. Let me know if you spot anything.
I’m going to keep this post brief and as an introduction for people to look at the data. But there is so much more to look into and then analyse the reasons why. I could carry on with surface type, stage lengths, stage average speeds or any combination of these but there are better ways to present this info then by looking at percentages at steps of pace.
There’s also the choice of compiling the teams results and seeing the strengths and weaknesses of each car.
Until then, if you would like me to specifically look into anything using this style of presentation let me know and I’ll see what I can do. As always any other comments, critiques or questions are also welcome.
I’ve already uploaded these images so here’s all stages over 10km, where more total time gains are to be made. This cuts out the super specials and other ‘cruiser’ stages as most attacks are on longer stages. The average stage in 2019 was 17.4km.
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