Official WRC thread

Hazardous

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It's an interesting situation for sure, and going to get a lot more complicated now Mini and VW are on the scene. It Ogier isn't careful, he is going to fall foul of 'Francois Duval' sydnrome. Now, Ogier has a lot more talent and speed than Duval, but the way he keeps throwing it off while in the lead won't be tolerated for too long. Loeb doesn't seem that bothered, he still doesn't often drive as fast as he can, only as fast as he needs to. On the rare occasions that he does, well, look at what happened in Sardinia and Finland this year. Won despite running first on the road all three days.

If I was Mikko Hirvonen I'd be rather nervous, which is a shame because I think Mikko has championship winning pace: he just can't unlock it unless something goes wrong and all the pressure is off. In Finland he left everyone in his dust, but only because he wasn't fighting for anything. It's all in his head. Jari-Matti has shown this year that he is the fastest Ford driver, the Fiesta just can't keep up with him.

Would VW take a risk on Ogier and his crashing, or Mikko and his potential slowness? But really, who else is out there for them to sign? Jari-Matti is probably still a bit precocious, Loeb isn't going anywhere, Gronholm's been out of the sport too long. Petter is really the only option but there are a few doubts about his ability to sort out a car. I know I will sound like a biased Aussie, but what about Chris Atkinson?

I know he would be useless marketing-wise for VW, but he is still young enough, supremely fast and motivated.

To be honest, though, I think Petter Solberg and....Juno Hanninen? Ott Tanak? Andreas Mikkelsen? Are the most likely candidates. What am I missing?

To be honest, Haydon Paddon deserves a WRC drive sooner rather than later as he has made everyone else in PWRC look extremely silly this year (no great hardship I'll grant you)
I expect Petter to end up in VW, I think he's fed up with the stress of running his own team and would prefer to drive for someone else. To be the team leader in VW would be the obvious choice, although if Ogier leaves Citro?n there would also be an opening there... But there's the same proviso as with the Finns on that role, I doubt 'Hollywood' would be too happy about number 2 role either.

As far as their other options go... Somehow I can't see Ogier going to VW. I am fairly sure he has offers from both Ford and Citro?n and he can pick either one he wants, and I also doubt either of them would be a one year deal. If one of the finns at Ford end up without a job I think VW would be crazy not to take either of them on if they can. I expect Mikko to be the more likely canditate, and even if he is not the fastest driver around he is quite consistent and has lots of experience. I doubt Ford will let Jari-Matti go now as he finally seems to have matured into a point where he is starting to show his speed somewhat consistently.

On the non-WRC options... I really hope VW gives H?nninen a chance. He has already given VAG an IRC title and will probably add an SWRC to that by the end of the year. Hell, he still has a chance to take another IRC title this year despite only taking part in five of the nine events held so far this year which is remarkable, to say the least. He has shown that he deserves a shot in the big league.

I wouldn't mind to see Atko up there, but he has been out of WRC for quite a while now and I don't know whether he'd be on the top of the list for WRC factory teams. Mikkelsen, T?nak and Paddon are all clearly talented youngsters but I don't think they are quite ready for factory seats yet...
 

Hazardous

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Stage 14 is live as we speak. Live in-car + helicopter footage with Rally Radio commentary. I'm likiing this so far...
 

Zesty

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Well, that was the most bonkers rally I've followed for a while and I am now thoroughly convinced of three things....

1) Ogier has proven my concerns about his ability to do the job completely and utterly wrong.
2) Ford have backed the wrong horse, it may be out of necessity but it's painfully obvious which Finn is on the up. Don't get me wrong, I like Mikko (fuck it, I pretty much like EVERYBODY in the WRC which makes who I should cheer for very awkward sometimes) but he's rapidly looking like if does take the title this year, I'll definitely be of the opinion that Loeb lost it, Mikko would NEVER have 'won' it.
3) Being a fan of Petter Solberg and being completely insane is exactly the same thing. Although his exclusion means that Hirvonen and Loeb are on equal points (196 IIRC), which makes the title fight WAY more exciting than I could ever have predicted around Germany, my reaction when I read the news could be quite adequately described as: 'ASDFGJHHKL2!1ONEELEVEN OMG NOOOOOOOOO!!! WHY? WHY ?WHY? WHY? WHAT THE FUCK IS THIS SHIT?!!!' :cry: :cry:

I hope that Spain will now be incredibly epic. :dance:

EDIT: I feel I really should add - Mini are the business, whatever doubts I had about them are being a challenge to the two other manufacturer teams are completely gone. Sordo embarrassed the Ford guys, and I'm so so so happy for them! I really like seeing Dani on the podium... :3
 
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Hazardous

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2) Ford have backed the wrong horse, it may be out of necessity but it's painfully obvious which Finn is on the up. Don't get me wrong, I like Mikko (fuck it, I pretty much like EVERYBODY in the WRC which makes who I should cheer for very awkward sometimes) but he's rapidly looking like if does take the title this year, I'll definitely be of the opinion that Loeb lost it, Mikko would NEVER have 'won' it.
Ford haven't really backed either driver, their drivers have proper equal #1 status. The crucial thing has been consistency, and while Mikko hasn't had the pace over the last half a dozen events he has finished in top four in every single rally this year. Latvala has suffered a few technical problems but he has also thrown the car off the road twice.

3) Being a fan of Petter Solberg and being completely insane is exactly the same thing. Although his exclusion means that Hirvonen and Loeb are on equal points (196 IIRC), which makes the title fight WAY more exciting than I could ever have predicted around Germany, my reaction when I read the news could be quite adequately described as: 'ASDFGJHHKL2!1ONEELEVEN OMG NOOOOOOOOO!!! WHY? WHY ?WHY? WHY? WHAT THE FUCK IS THIS SHIT?!!!' :cry: :cry:
I was quite happy about that, considering the points standings. Frankly, I quite doubt Solberg cared that much either, he wants to win events and I don't think seconds and thirds really count in his mind...

The puncture he suffered was much more of a shame, he could've made it a proper three-way battle for the win...

EDIT: I feel I really should add - Mini are the business, whatever doubts I had about them are being a challenge to the two other manufacturer teams are completely gone. Sordo embarrassed the Ford guys, and I'm so so so happy for them! I really like seeing Dani on the podium... :3
I so wanted to see Dani win the event... Not only because I like the guy and I like having Mini and Prodrive around, but it would have been so awesome to see him beat a Citro?n to the win... I hope they'll maintain their pace in Spain, it would be even better to see Dani take that win in his home event.
 

Loz

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Autosport said:
New Richard Burns video to promote Paint it Orange campaign

The Richard Burns Foundation has released a short film portraying intimate details of the 2001 World Rally champion Burns' fight against brain cancer alongside highlights from his career.

The film, posted on AUTOSPORT, is part of the Foundation's Paint It Orange campaign, which sees motorsport stars including Sebastien Loeb and Sebastian Vettel, plus celebrities from outside the racing world, wearing commemorative orange t-shirts celebrating the 10th anniversary of Burns' WRC title success.

The foundation raises funds to assist others facing neurological injury and illness.

Zoe Scott, Burns' former girlfriend and carer during his illness said: "Naturally, we'd all rather remember Richard as an athlete and a fit and healthy young man, but the brutal reality of his illness was that it had a devastating effect upon Richard - both mentally of course, and physically.

"Six years down the line, those that were close to Richard - his friends and family - have taken the brave decision that Richard's suffering can be harnessed positively to show how damaging and debilitating brain cancer can be - and hopefully this will inspire the support that the Richard Burns Foundation needs and deserves as it tries to help others in Richard's memory."
Donate by buying a Paint it Orange T-Shirt Here
 

Hazardous

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http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/96263

Hirvonen replaces Ogier at Citroen... if this isn't a bombshell, I don't know what is.
It has actually been rumoured for a few weeks now. It's not at all a surprise that Ogier is leaving the team, and Mikko is probably the best driver available and willing to step into what is likely a number two role, as Latvala is contracted to Ford and Petter Solberg is unlikely to accept such a deal.
 

Hazardous

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I'd be extremely surprised if he didn't end up in Ford. Ford has a free seat and have publicly stated their interest, and Ogier is available. For Ogier Ford would be the only competitive option.
 

crookie

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Yeah, the news have been an unofficial fact for a while now, and likewise I'd be very surprised if Ogier didn't end up with Ford. Will be very interesting to see Ogier and Hirvonen swap places as we finally get a good idea of how the Ford performs compared to the Citroens and whether Loeb is as perfect as he is on paper or if the Citroen's just the better car. Especially looking forward to how Hirvonen and Ogier will perform on tarmac next year to see if the French are just so much better on tarmac compared to the Finns or if it's the car.

I'd also love to see P. Solberg driving for VW with proper works team support again. Like Hazardous, I'd also be interested to see H?nninen given some proper seat time in a WRC car instead of the occasional drives.
 

Zesty

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I've recently been seeing things about Ogier possibly going to VW. Surely not. He'd not take a year off to just be a test-driver, surely? :shrug: Moving to Ford seems far more logical.
 

Zesty

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Well, I'll be damned... :blink:


Shame we'll have to wait awhile until we know if this was a good move for Ogier or not. Hopefully this doesn't mean Loeb is entirely without any competition next year, and is still around in 2013 for we can see them battling again. I'm now calling Tanak in a factory Fiesta (if there is still actual Ford involvement next year instead of all the Fiesta's being M-Sport customer cars). But, seeing as I got this one wrong.... :lol:
 

crookie

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Huge surprise indeed and being still a rising star I'm very surprised Ogier is willing to skip a season for this. Would've been nice to see him at Ford just to get a better idea of the Ford vs. Citroen difference.
 

Zesty

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I heard something about him doing SWRC in a Fabia. Hopefully he'll be doing enough so that sitting out 2012 not being too detrimental to his progress.
 

Paddy

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According to Autosport he'll be competing in a Fabia S2000 for 2012. The SWRC is looking like a very interesting championship next year all of a sudden with WRCA champion Craig Breen also contesting it in his Fiesta S2000.
 

Hazardous

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I would say it'll be far from interesting. I'm thinking that Ogier in a factory-backed car is going to walk it. The only potential challenge I could see is from Juho H?nninen, who won the title this year (and IRC last year) but even if he gets a factory prepared car it would be a massive surprise if he could beat Ogier.
 

Necx0

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Agree with Hazardous. Ogier will make the rest of the SWRC drivers look extremely average. Well, if he doesn't I will be extraordinarily surprised. Frankly, I don't think it'll hurt him at all. He gets to do all the rallies with no pressure, will be testing like mad and have an absolute rocket of a car come 2013.

Hirvonen's move doesn't surprise me either. Gives him a year to get his head together again behind Loeb, then when the Little Master retires he takes number one status and wins the championship. Theoretically at least.
 
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