So that’s it. The 2016 World Rally Championship (WRC) is over, with the recent Rally Australia in Coffs Harbour the culmination of a 13-round season that kicked off with Rallye Monte-Carlo in January.
Ensuring Volkswagen Motorsport bowed out of the series in style – a series it has dominated for the last four years while accruing a total of 12 consecutive world championships (for driver, co-driver, and manufacturer) – Andreas Mikkelsen took the rally win ahead of team-mate and four-time WRC world champion Sebastien Ogier and Hyundai Motorsport’s Thierry Neuville.
The third-place finish gave Neuville enough points to finish the year in second place in the championship behind Ogier, and ahead of Mikkelsen.
New Zealand’s Hayden Paddon, in his third year with Hyundai Motorsport, was in the hunt for a Rally Australia win, but unfortunately dashed his own hopes and those of his hordes of fans, as a mishap resulted in a puncture. He ended up finishing fourth in the rally and fourth in the championship.
For rally fans and novices alike, 2017 is anticipated to be an action-packed year, with new cars, faster cars, and the return of two major brands to the WRC fray.
Although Volkswagen will no longer be competing, Hyundai will be back better than ever, and Toyota is re-entering the championship after 16 years out of the game. With Citroen coming back after taking 2016 off to develop its C3-based 2017 WRC competitor, the field will include the freshly-developed Toyota Yaris WRC and Hyundai i20 WRC.
On the local front, Molly Taylor also made history in the Australian Rally Championship (ARC) by becoming the first female to win the championship – a massive achievement for her, her team, and for factory backer, Subaru.
With CarAdvice attending this year’s WRC Rally Australia as a guest of Hyundai Motorsport and Hyundai Australia, below is a collection of some of my favourite images snapped during the event. And if you want to see and hear a sample of the action, go on-board for an on-stage chat with Hayden Paddon or watch our highlight reel. Enjoy.
Click on the Photos tab for the full Rally Australia 2016 gallery of images by David Zalstein.