Rally News

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sleenster
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Re: Rally News

Post by sleenster » 23 Nov 2011, 22:35

Ott Tänak will be the driver taking part in Rally Du Var alongside JML (potentially future teammates perhaps?)
http://www.var-rallye.fr/#
http://paddocktalk.com/news/html/story-179501.html

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Re: Rally News

Post by Mar » 24 Nov 2011, 12:51

sleenster wrote:Ott Tänak will be the driver taking part in Rally Du Var alongside JML (potentially future teammates perhaps?)
http://www.var-rallye.fr/#
http://paddocktalk.com/news/html/story-179501.html

Uff, that's a difficult question ''hmm''

Rally GB didn't help Tänak, because it showed he still has a step forward to take (he had more or less Kimi's pace). Theoretically, he should still wait, at least, one year to step into the first team. Of course, if Ford doesn't find anybody else, he could jump up.
So he should wait at least a year but, there will be a Ford team within a year? One of the rumours around is that Ford would be willing to sign again with M-Sport, for very little money, until Jari-Matti's contract finishes. Once Jari-Matti's contract is over, Ford would leave the championship. Just a rumour at the moment, though.

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Re: Rally News

Post by sleenster » 24 Nov 2011, 14:21

Mar wrote:
sleenster wrote:Ott Tänak will be the driver taking part in Rally Du Var alongside JML (potentially future teammates perhaps?)
http://www.var-rallye.fr/#
http://paddocktalk.com/news/html/story-179501.html

Uff, that's a difficult question ''hmm''

Rally GB didn't help Tänak, because it showed he still has a step forward to take (he had more or less Kimi's pace). Theoretically, he should still wait, at least, one year to step into the first team. Of course, if Ford doesn't find anybody else, he could jump up.
So he should wait at least a year but, there will be a Ford team within a year? One of the rumours around is that Ford would be willing to sign again with M-Sport, for very little money, until Jari-Matti's contract finishes. Once Jari-Matti's contract is over, Ford would leave the championship. Just a rumour at the moment, though.

The only reason I suggested it was because Tanak has a 5 year contract with Ford and the list of potential candidates for the second seat does not seem to be very long.

Jari-Matti only has one year left on his contract. After that the future is not looking too bright for him :(

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Re: Rally News

Post by Mar » 24 Nov 2011, 15:01

VW? There were rumours not too long ago about VW trying to get him for 2013.
Plus, we don't know if Loeb will stay 1 or 2 years more. There could be a free seat in Citroen for 2013.

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Re: Rally News

Post by phil1993 » 24 Nov 2011, 15:03

Loeb's contract runs until the end of 2013.

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Re: Rally News

Post by Suomileijona » 24 Nov 2011, 15:12

No, it doesn't look good for Jari-Matti at the moment. I hope that he can get a good seat for next year! :( There have been talk about him going to VW, but also talk about Juho Hänninen going there.

At the momet it looks better for Mikko thatn Jari-Matti - even though I didn't want Mikko to go to Citroen... :confused:

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Re: Rally News

Post by sleenster » 24 Nov 2011, 15:34

JM could go to VW, but that it assuming Ogier doesn't kick up a fuss over who will be partnering him in the future :roll::

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Re: Rally News

Post by Mar » 24 Nov 2011, 15:38

phil1993 wrote:Loeb's contract runs until the end of 2013.

It's supposed to be 1+1. He decides at the end of next season if he continues one more year or retires.

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Re: Rally News

Post by phil1993 » 24 Nov 2011, 17:46

Ogier to take part in 2012 in a Skoda Fabia
http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/96431

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Re: Rally News

Post by luieluv » 24 Nov 2011, 18:01

Sebastien Ogier will contest the full 2012 WRC schedule in a Skoda

Thursday, November 24th 2011, 16:40 GMT

Sebastien Ogier will contest every round of the 2012 World Rally Championship in a Skoda Fabia S2000.

Having confirmed he would be leaving Citroen for Volkswagen earlier this week, it was suggested he may have to sit out next year's championship as VW develops its car ahead of an assault in 2013.

In an exclusive Q & A with AUTOSPORT VW's motorsport chief Kris Nissen said that he expected Ogier to be at all WRC events next year, and the five-time rally winner has now confirmed that he will contest the full 2012 calendar in a Skoda.

Ogier also hinted that, should VW's testing programme for its Polo prove successful, the car could make its WRC bow as early as next season.

"Taking part in the 2012 WRC will enable me to stay match fit and familiarise myself with those events that I don't know so well," said Ogier.

"The test work will help me follow the Polo's development from A to Z. That's a very exciting challenge. I'm not ruling out the possibility of competing in the Polo towards the end of the year if the team believes we are sufficiently ready."

Ogier also revealed that VW's long-term stability in the sport had helped tip the balance when it came to deciding between the German manufacturer and Ford.

"We looked at both opportunities," Ogier revealed. "However, Ford's future in the sport wasn't as certain as that of VW. When I added together all the pluses and minuses, Volkswagen emerged as the best choice."

Having joined VW immediately, Ogier's first appearance as a works driver will be at the Race of Champions in Dusseldorf on December 3-4.


http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/96431
So its gonna be a mix of Ravishing Black and White for Kimi Raikkonen this season

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Re: Rally News

Post by Mar » 24 Nov 2011, 18:12

So it was true the rumour about the S2000 championship? My little spies are the best, for sure! :)

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Re: Rally News

Post by sleenster » 25 Nov 2011, 15:43

The 2011 World Rally Championship season review

As expected, Sebastien Loeb won an unprecedented eighth World Rally Championship in 2011. However, he did not have it as easy as many predicted. David Evans guides you through the season.

By David Evans
AUTOSPORT rallies editor

Spoiler:
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Forget Fangio and Senna. Forget even Michael Schumacher. None of them - not one - could lay claim to being as good as Sebastien Loeb. That's what the statistics say. As far as four-wheeled motorsport goes, the governing body has never handed out as many championship trophies as it has to the Citroen-driving Frenchman.

Eight. Count them. Eight.

This year's title fight went down to the wire, but shouldn't have. Loeb had the rest of the field licked by mid-season and, once his employer remembered Loeb's history with Citroen and forgot the fact that it had signed Sebastien Ogier as a joint number one, the deal was done for another year.

Or so it seemed. Loeb and Citroen almost tripped themselves up with a three-rally run that netted only 25 points from a possible and probable 84. Ford's Mikko Hirvonen closed the gap, but missed out again on the final round. There was no danger of Citroen missing out on a seventh manufacturers' title, however.

Ogier was a revelation in his first full season in a factory WRC machine. Unfortunately, his presence there also brought on the revolution. Mid-season, it was civil war at Citroen. By the end of the year, and in every way, Loeb was the winner. Loeb returns as the champion again next season, while Ogier has joined Volkswagen's startup WRC programme.

The new technical regulations for this season didn't much alter the balance of power in the sport. Ford and Citroen are closer than the numbers suggest; it was the men in the Fiestas rather than the motors themselves who struggled more this season.

The championship itself got a shot in the arm mid-year with the arrival of Mini and Volkswagen, but political wrangling and the sport's apparent ability to take pot shots at its feet were never far away.

The top 10 WRC drivers in focus

1. Sebastien Loeb (Citroen)
Points: 222
Wins: 5
Other podiums: 4
Stage wins: 63

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Sebastien Loeb was confronted by his most troubled season as a Citroen driver this year. In all honesty, the champion never looked to be troubled by either of the Fords, which is just as well – the strife from within his own team was more than enough for him to deal with.

And Loeb was firmly in uncharted waters here. After years of an entirely compliant Dani Sordo, Loeb was confronted by a number two (technically a joint number one) with a voice. And attitude. And it took time for Loeb to adjust and get the better of Ogier.

Away from the back-biting and posturing in the team, Loeb was exceptional on the stages. Invariably, he was the driver hardest hit by running first on the road, but he was also the driver who dealt with it the best. He complained bitterly, but got on and bagged the points to move further and further out front.

When he tipped the DS3 WRC upside down in Australia (having been distracted by a split time), an eyebrow was raised. When his engine failed in France, Loeb had a fight on his hands again. And he responded with a champion's drive in Spain. Then a Spaniard drove into him in Wales. The lame road accident which halted Loeb mattered little, the title was won.

2. Mikko Hirvonen (Ford)
Points: 214
Wins: 2
Other podiums: 6
Stage wins: 35

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Mikko Hirvonen has demonstrated almost as much championship consistency as Loeb recently. But, while Loeb had never dropped below P1, Hirvonen's claim to fame is that, in his six seasons with Ford, he only once finished off the end of year podium.

It's just that consistency which kept the likeable Finn in the fight until the end of the year. Well, consistency allied to a compliant and benevolent team-mate. In all honesty, Hirvonen was out of the running when he biffed a tree on the opener in Finland.

That he bounced back with an incredible run of fastest times on his home round of the championship served as further frustration for Ford. Hirvonen could do it.

He could and can drive a World Rally Car faster than anybody, but all too often this season, he seemed to suffer some sort of stage fright. Some pointed to his monster Finland shunt from two years ago, but that doesn't really stack up.

Hirvonen had one chance on the final round and he grasped it and raced his Fiesta to the front of the field. Ultimately, he came up short after an errant piece of Welsh wood infiltrated the front of the Ford.

It's debatable whether Hirvonen would have been the most deserving champion this season, but looking back in years to come, who would have remembered that? Certainly across the spread of his career, he's a driver who deserves to chalk up one title win.

3. Sebastien Ogier (Citroen)
Points: 196
Wins: 5
Other podiums: 2
Stage wins: 55

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Sebastien Ogier is another driver who deserves a title or two in his career. And you can absolutely bet he'll bag more than one before he's done. Fortunately for Ogier, he's a strong character, full of self-belief; a lesser driver would have been psychologically sunk this season.

Ogier was the driver most likely to challenge Loeb this year, but two things stopped him. The first was his own lack of experience, crashing out of the lead in Mexico and Argentina is not the work of a champion-in-waiting and the second was the inevitable turning of the tide within Citroen. Ogier had rallied troops to his cause within the French firm, but when Loeb dug his heels in there was only going to be one ending to this story.

This will be a year remember for Ogier's unplanned exit from the hottest seat in the sport, which is a shame – it should be remembered for brilliant wins in Portugal, the closest finish in history in Jordan and further maximum pointers in Greece, Germany and France (admittedly the latter two coming after troubles for Loeb).

4. Jari-Matti Latvala (Ford)
Points: 172
Wins: 1
Other podiums: 7
Stage wins: 65

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Jari-Matti Latvala will not forget his desert race against Ogier in April for a long time. The Finn finished a shortened Rally Jordan (after the ship carrying the WRC freight hit engine trouble and failed to dock on time) just two tenths of a second behind the Citroen.

In a nutshell, that was Latvala's season: close, but not quite close enough. He was leading and looking very strong in Portugal, only for a puncture and transmission trouble to intervene.

No matter, Rally d'Italia was coming and J-ML loves the mad Sardinian landscape and cracking dirt roads. He was up for that one. And fastest out of the blocks. Unfortunately, just as he was getting into his stride, his co-driver Miikka Anttila made pretty much his first mistake, calling a note wrong.

The winning Ford was upended and Latvala's subsequent pace as frustrating as the speed Hirvonen showed after his meeting with a pine tree in Finland.

The two highlights for Latvala this year were his speed on asphalt – be it on the wrong tyres in Argentina or on racers on Saturday afternoon in Catalunya – and his final-round victory. Loeb fully deserved his Rally GB victory to close the year out, it's just a shame Loeb retired and denied us a fascinating final day of the season.

5. Petter Solberg (Solberg Citroen)
Points: 110
Wins: 0
Podiums: 2
Stage wins: 24

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On paper, Petter Solberg should have been up for his best year yet as a privateer. Having struggled for the previous two years with slightly inferior machinery, the idea of the new technical regulations was that all cars were equal.

This would be the point where the Norwegian would come over all Orwellian and talk about some cars being more equal than others. Actually, he wouldn't. Solberg was Citroen's perfect customer this season. According to insiders at Citroen Racing, Solberg wasn't always getting what he might have hoped for, but not once did he complain publicly about his lot.

Instead, he got on and did the best he could. Solberg's best chance of a first win since 2005 came on the Acropolis Rally, where he drove exceptionally well to make the most of a favourable place on the road to build a 51-second lead on Friday night.

Was this it? Could this be the moment Hollywood returned to the roof of his car? No. First on the road on Saturday, he was demolished in a morning. Nobody deserves a win or a ride next season more than Solberg. After three years of toil, heartache and massive commitment, the sport owes him.

6. Mads Ostberg (Stobart Ford)
Points: 88
Wins: 0
Podiums: 2
Stage wins: 2

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Mads Ostberg was another Norwegian well worth a cheer this season. The M-Sport Stobart Ford driver's highlight was undoubtedly Rally Sweden. Out of the box, Ostberg was bang on the pace with his new Fiesta RS WRC and he carried the fight to factory Ford man Hirvonen for three days.

Ostberg's speed was as relentless as it was inch-perfect through the Scandinavian snow. In the end, he couldn't quite carry off the dream drive. But second was a good start. All year, it looked as though that was as good as it would get as he struggled to match that cracking pace on the opener.

A lack of testing through the season certainly hit Ostberg's speed, as the drivers around him grew more accustomed to the latest-generation World Rally Cars. He ended the year as he started it, standing one step down from the winner. Ostberg might have benefitted from retirements to garner second in GB, but the manner in which he drove to that runners-up spot was a further mark of his ever-developing maturity as a frontline WRC driver.

7. Matthew Wilson (Stobart Ford)
Points: 63
Wins: 0
Podiums: 0
Stage wins: 0

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And drivers don't come much more mature than Matthew Wilson. The Briton, still only 24, showed exceptional consistency throughout the season. Wilson himself acknowledges that perhaps he doesn't have that tenth tenth to allow him to challenge the Loebs of this world, but he's damned good a putting the points down.

In rugby terms, Wilson's a hard-working and wholly dependable forward rather than a dancing, shimmying wing – although his hairdo is far more fullback than flanker…

Wilson has a vast amount of experience and knowledge of the WRC and the development of World Rally Cars and to see such an erudite young fella on the sidelines would be a waste.

8. Dani Sordo (Mini)
Points: 59
Wins: 0
Podiums: 2
Stage wins: 5

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Dani Sordo spent too much time on the sidelines for his own liking this season. Having joined the Mini team, the Spaniard couldn't wait to get back to the sport in Sardinia. He played himself in with the WRC and with the team, posting quick but not crazy times in Italy and Finland, but then when it came to his favoured asphalt, he was on it and on it properly.

In Germany he was third, an exceptional result on an event which was expected to expose the odd shortcoming in the BMW engine ahead of the Spaniard. It got even better in France, where the Brit-built machine and Sordo frightened the life out of Ogier and Citroen.

How Sordo would have loved to put one over on his former employer and the man who sat in his seat this season. In the end, he was second. For the second year in succession, there was plenty of hype around Sordo in Spain, and for the second year in succession, the party never quite matched the billing.

And landing in a ditch in Wales was a pretty muddy and miserable end to an other wise great part-season.

9. Henning Solberg (Stobart Ford)
Points: 59
Wins: 0
Podiums: 1
Stage wins: 0

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Henning Solberg turned in another solid season for the Stobart team. Early in the year, the Norwegian's Fiesta seemed to be changing colour every other event as he searched for the deal to complete the season.

Like his brother, Solberg works just as hard off the stages to ensure he makes it there as he does on them. And it's moments like his podium on Rally GB which make all that hard work worthwhile.

10. Kimi Raikkonen (Ice-1 Citroen)
Points: 34
Wins: 0
Podiums: 0
Stage wins: 0

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And so to Kimi Raikkonen. This season showed an improvement in his pace, partly born out of the fact that the playing field was leveled slightly by the new cars being new for everybody. There was still the odd mistake here and there, but generally Raikkonen was improving.

The lack of a burning desire and desperate hunger – both understandable when he was competing essentially for fun having already topped the world in one motorsport discipline – was frustrating for those who can see what he could be capable of if he capitalised on his massive natural talent.

Any other business...

Driver-wise, Sordo's Mini team-mate Kris Meeke is well worthy of a mention. The Northern Irishman has taken a sensible approach to this season, learning roads he's been away from – or never been to – for a long time.

His first point of reference has been Sordo and the former IRC champion should take a great deal of satisfaction from the number of stages he has beaten him on. In the end, he was just 7s from a podium that would have ended his season on a real high in Cardiff.

Estonian Ott Tanak missed out on the S-WRC title (for Super 2000-spec machines), but looks to have started what will hopefully be a long and illustrious career in a World Rally Car with sixth place in Wales.

Skoda's Juho Hanninen did grab the S-WRC title, while Hayden Paddon dominated P-WRC (think Group N cars). Craig Breen stole the maiden WRC Academy award after an thrilling-beyond-belief finale in Wales. The Irishman won took the title by scoring fastest time on the last stage of the season. The deep joy felt by Breen's team was balance by the agony of season-long series leader Egon Kaur.

The Academy was undoubtedly one of the WRC's better innovations this season, as was the powerstage. Introduced as a way to spice up the final day of WRC rounds with three, two and one point on offer for first, second and third quickest on the live television stage, the concept worked very well.

But was it actually needed? Probably not. This has been an incredible year in terms of competition, with 10 of 13 rounds being decided by less than a minute, but knowing that there was the constant dilemma of risking 25 points for three more made for great television.

Great television everywhere except Britain, that is. Or perhaps not quite everywhere. In the UK, the ESPN deal simply hasn't worked. In fact, it's been woeful and potentially extremely harmful to the sport.

With viewing figures coming close to being measured in hundreds rather than the millions of the halcyon days of the late 1990s, something has to be done. There's also an increased desire to see straightforward coverage (when you can find it), with less use of shoelace-cam or whatever the next innovation is; let's just see onboard that looks forward, heli-cams that look down and stage-siders that pan as the cars go past.

North One Sport, or Convers Sports Initiatives (CSI) as it became known following the summer takeover, is moving in the right direction, there's no doubt about that.

The internet coverage of the sport is improving all the time, with the live footage from Rallye de France coming as a real shot in the arm for the promoter, but this needs to be happening on every event.

Granted, it's easy to sit here and blithely type that with what would seem scant understanding of the millions needed to put such an infrastructure in place. But frankly, that's not our problem.

As the promoter of the sport, it's CSI's job to find the money – and the manufacturers should be helping out here as they're the primary benefactors of the deal – and to give rally fans what they want: constant consumption.

The other significant area of CSI's business is lining up the rallies to form a calendar. And this is the area that has provided much of the political squabbling this season.

Love it or loathe it, we were told Abu Dhabi was coming in as a hugely well-funded season finale, based out of the Yas Marina circuit and providing a level of opulence matched only by the curtain-raiser in Monaco.

Admittedly, not all hoops had been jumped through, but we were talking about a multi-million-pound investment and guess what? Despite the best efforts of CIS, the event was canned. And canned because of shortcomings from governing bodies – both locally and globally.

An integral part of the calendar debate has been FIA president Jean Todt's insistence that rally returns to its endurance roots. Todt's initial plans have been watered down and week-long slogs up and down South America look to have been averted after cries of cost from the manufacturers, but the formulaic approach to WRC rounds is going to be, thankfully, a thing of the past.

There's no doubt that the World Rally Championship is on the up again. And it's not going to take much to make it great. The arrival of Volkswagen and Mini (although Germany needs to fully realise the dynamite potential of what Prodrive, Sordo and Meeke are doing on a global scale rather than being quite so apparently obsessed with an M3 in a domestic race series), has been a massive boost for the sport.

What we need now is a commonality of approach from everybody. Agendas need to be cast aside for the good of a sport that is ready to be great again.

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Re: Rally News

Post by Suomileijona » 25 Nov 2011, 16:26

Sleenster, Thank you very much for the article! :hug:


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Re: Rally News

Post by Mar » 26 Nov 2011, 08:00



Mikko looks weird in red :blink:

That is Almeria, my home province, where I was born and grew up :blush:
Loeb was earlier on this week testing in the area of the desert so it was difficult to find where exactly he was, but now I discover that Hirvo was in Celín, just 10km from my brother's place (who I'm visiting at the moment). This is annoying :<>: I could have taken some pics of him :(

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