For the first time in well over a decade, six drivers won a World Rally Championship round. So the 2016 WRC season shared the spotlight a bit more than it has done in recent years.
There were starring cameos, comebacks from drivers who had been written off, and all-action class heroes and battling underdogs as well.
Here are our man DAVID EVANS' top performers.
10. ELFYN EVANS
Team: M-Sport (WRC2)
Wins: 3 (in class)
WRC2 position: 3rd
Had it not been for a wonky fuel pressure sensor in South America, Elfyn Evans would have enjoyed the perfect season, celebrating two major titles with WRC2 and the British Rally Championship. He was miles ahead of the rest at home in Britain, but just missed the opportunity to celebrate at the FIA's Gala in Vienna.
What Evans really demonstrated this season was the sort of fighting spirit and tenacity of character that folk had been desperate to see during his two years in M-Sport's frontline team. In short, Evans stood up this year, backed himself, defended himself and demonstrated just what he's capable of. He enjoyed an exceptional start to the season, winning WRC2 in Monte Carlo and Sweden, but it was his Corsican victory that really impressed.
Undoubtedly, Evans won't agree, but there's a very strong argument for saying Malcolm Wilson called this one right: benching the Welshman for a year put him out of his comfort zone and found him a voice that we'd all been waiting to hear. He comes out of 2016 a stronger, faster and more rounded driver than he went into it.
9. JARI-MATTI LATVALA
Championship position: 6th
For a month or so, Jari-Matti Latvala's dream was over. Volkswagen had cut and run, leaving him high, dry and without a drive. Nightmare.
Even if Volkswagen had stayed, you could have been forgiven for questioning the Finn's place in the team. The 2016 season was comfortably his worst since the really tough days at the start of his professional career. On paper, J-ML was awful this year.
Dig a little deeper, look behind the results, and you'll see Latvala bore the brunt of Hannover's mechanical frailties this time around. There was the driveshaft in Sweden (and Wales), the powersteering in Portugal, the gearbox in Germany and suspension in Argentina (though that's the one that retains the question of 'did it break, or did he break it?').
But he did fail to capitalise on the opportunities when he was in a diamond position on the road with the world's finest rally car beneath him. His lack of fight in places such as Sardinia, and in particular at home in Finland, showed a driver still lacking in self-belief and ruthlessness. Since he's 169 rounds into his world championship career, that's what concerns me the most.
8. ESAPEKKA LAPPI
Team: Skoda (WRC2)
WRC2 position: 1st
Nobody really gave Esapekka Lappi a hope in this year's WRC2 series - largely because the Finn was nowhere to be seen. He was second to Elfyn Evans in Sweden and then crashed in Sardinia. Earlier in the season he'd become a father for the first time and had put his title tilt on hold while he took paternity leave.
When he came back, he was firmly at the back of the leading pack and any hope of a title challenge would live or die on middle-season scores: third in Poland didn't look too promising, wins in Finland and Germany better. But still he would need to come to Wales for the first time and win and then do the same again in Australia if he was to deny his countryman Teemu Suninen a title some felt the private Fabia driver would have been more deserving of.
In the second half of the year, Lappi really turned on the class and showed pace, consistency and bags of self-confidence - some of which helped him recover from backing his Skoda into a tree on the first stage of Rally GB.
7. CRAIG BREEN
Team: PH Sport (Citroen)
Best result: 3rd
Championship position: 10th
Two years ago, Craig Breen's career as a professional rally driver was in serious doubt. He was in Wales for Rally GB, but he was holding a microphone rather than a steering wheel and he was talking rather than listening to pacenotes. A good few folk couldn't really see a way forward to the world stage from what had been a tough European Rally Championship in a pretty shoddy Peugeot 208 T16.
But Breen refused to give in or give up. When his driving wasn't doing the talking, he was - and he was doing it behind closed doors with Citroen chief Yves Matton.
There was genuine surprise when Breen landed a seat in a PH Sport DS 3 for this season, and boy did he make the most of it. Sensible in Sweden, pacey in Poland, he was utterly fantastic for third in Finland. All of this from the Irishman who had never sat in a works-specification World Rally Car in his life.
Breen has shown he absolutely deserves his seat at world rallying's top table - the biggest regret for Waterford's finest is that there won't be a Circuit of Ireland next season for him to win and take his hat-trick on.
6. HAYDEN PADDON
Championship position: 4th
By his own admission, Hayden Paddon isn't quite as naturally gifted as some of the other drivers at the front of the field, but his work ethic and his desire to find and fulfil the same speed is unmatched.
Paddon lives by strict self-analysis and numbers. In terms of gap-reduction between his car and the one up front, this year has pretty much been a success across the board. Probably best not mention Portugal and Sardinia - where he shunted his i20 WRC on the roads around Porto, and then crashed the rapidly built replacement for the burned out wreck on the Italian island. A fairer reflection of Paddon's season is what came shortly before Portugal: Argentina.
This season's South American visit was the highlight of Paddon and co-driver John Kennard's career to date. They took on the masters, Ogier and Ingrassia, and beat them fair and square down the road known as El Condor.
There's still a bit of work to do on the asphalt, but predictably Paddon's on top of that and has a plan.
5. ANDREAS MIKKELSEN
Championship position: 3rd
It was with immense frustration that the world watched Andreas Mikkelsen this season. Why on earth did he focus so much attention on second place in the championship? In years gone by, Mikkelsen has shown that, on his day, he's been capable of sustaining a challenge to Sebastien Ogier. This year he showed he could sustain that challenge for three consecutive days and one WRC round.
Much was made of Ott Tanak's sensational performance in Poland. Mikkselsen started five places ahead of Tanak on the road, and the estimation is that every position is worth a tenth of a second per kilometre. There were 246 kilometres in the first two days; multiply that by five and that hands the Estonian an advantage totaling 1230 tenths of a second.
By my reckoning, that's 20.5 seconds. Tanak's lead on Saturday night? Try 21.3s.
You could argue Mikkelsen was in a Polo, generally accepted to be superior to a Fiesta - but the DMACK boots beneath the Ford definitely had the edge over the Michelins on the German motor in Mikolajki.
Conclusion: Mikkelsen was just as epic as Tanak in Poland, and much more epic than Ogier. And then Mikkelsen beat his senior team-mate in a final-day head-to-head in Australia.
Mikkelsen is capable of magic, if only he'd thought first rather than second this season.
4. THIERRY NEUVILLE
Championship position: 3rd
Eighteen months ago, this guy was done. Washed up and about to be hung up out to dry. Thierry Neuville was Cougar in Top Gun: holding on too tight, he'd lost the edge.
Except it was slightly different - Neuville appeared to have given the edge away. He'd become distracted by things that didn't matter, and his place at the top of Hyundai had been taken by a Kiwi - Paddon - who'd stormed the Korean team with the sort of commitment Neuville once displayed.
Enough was enough. Neuville put his house in order and started the long climb back. Winning in Sardinia was probably more fortuitous than hard-fought against a capitulating Latvala, but it was also a major step in Thierry's career revival.
Departing the Italian island with the winner's trophy under his arm, Neuville never looked back. He finished in the top four on every event from Alghero to the end of the season, outscoring every driver other than Ogier in the year's second half while banging in five podiums in the last five rallies.
There's absolutely no doubt Neuville has his edge back - the question now is about whether he can maintain it.
3. OTT TANAK
Best result: 2nd
Championship position: 8th
Malcolm Wilson should drop Ott Tanak more often. Once again, the Estonian has bounced back with even more speed to return himself for a third stint in Wilson's A-team. And this time, you really do have the feeling his stay in an official Ford Fiesta WRC will be an extended one.
Let's be honest, Tanak's speed has never been in doubt - his ability to drive around a problem or through a rally without creating a problem, less so. That's where he scored so well this season. And in his creativeness in getting around the trickiest of questions - demonstrated brilliantly when asked on live television if he'd arrived late to the Coffs Harbour stage because he'd been caught cheating.
"You have funny questions," was the blockbuster reply.
But most of all, Tanak rates third in our WRC rundown because of Poland. This year's Mikolajki-based WRC counter was one of the most emotionally charged rallies in years. As he had been 12 months ago, Tanak was untouchable between the Polish lakes and he led comfortably into the final day... only to suffer a heartbreaking puncture.
At the finish, he'd still scored his best ever result on a world championship with second place. Fighting back the tears, he stared straight ahead and said: "Second means nothing."
Powerful stuff from an increasingly powerful and potent WRC force.
2. KRIS MEEKE
Team: PH Sport (Citroen)
Championship position: 9th
Kris Meeke's improvement this season was one he predicted a decade ago, maybe even longer. The Northern Irishman has only ever wanted for job security instead of the hand-to-mouth, rally-here-rally-there existence he'd endured for far too long. Give him a future and he'd show you what he could do.
This year, he did that in spades. Meeke was sublime.
Admittedly, he did much of his winning from a position on the road that could certainly be described as favourable, and he did it from the comparatively pressure-free existence of a private driver without a care for manufacturer points.
On the other hand, he did it in a car that had been development-free for at least two years and on dampers that weren't markedly different to those that first connected a Xsara to the road more than a decade earlier.
Meeke changed more in the last year than I can ever remember. In Portugal and Finland, he exuded the kind of confidence needed to lead two of the most technically challenging rallies pretty much for their duration. And he did it without even a hint of a wobble.
Meeke's time on the first run through Ouninpohja was right up there with anything Burns or McRae produced. But taking 35 seconds out of anybody and everybody on Sunday morning's 33-miler in Corsica was probably even better.
1. SEBASTIEN OGIER
Championship position: 1st
As a professional World Rally Car driver, this was Sebastien Ogier's second worst year. In his rookie season on the front line, he scored five wins for Citroen - he only managed one more than that this year. He won a third fewer rallies than he did in his first season in a Volkswagen Polo.
The numbers don't lie. They can't. What they can do and have done is twist the view of what was arguable Ogier's finest season yet in world rallying.
A pre-season regulation change made this an unwinnable year for him, but all that did was reinforce an iron will not to be beaten. Rarely has one driver relished offering a two-fingered salute to the governing body and its set of rules aimed solely at slowing him down.
Undoubtedly, the FIA's decision to make the championship leader (ie Ogier) run first on the road for the first two days spiced the series up, and gave us more individual rally winners than in any year since 2002.
But they also drove Ogier to distraction. Fortunately, he demonstrated the wherewithal to drive faster and more consistently than ever before. Two mistakes all season on his way to title number four. That's why he remains number one.