World Rally Championship

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World Rally Championship

Postby meteorite » Mon Feb 14, 2011 8:01 pm

Well, the first event has been run, and there are a lot of happy faces at Ford Motorsport as the Fiesta WRC cars nailed a solid 1 - 2 - 3 finish in the Swedish rally. Of course snow success says nothing about pavement prowess or ability on gravel, but at least they do know how to get a car right and it's a ood omen for he season. Here's Google's summary:

Hirvonen leads Ford clean sweep in Rally of Sweden

(AFP) – 1 day ago

KARLSTAD, Sweden — Finland's Mikko Hirvonen powered his Ford Fiesta to victory in the Rally of Sweden on Sunday, the opening event in the World Rally Championship.

Norwegian Mads Ostberg at 6.5 seconds and Finland's Jari-Matti Latvala at 34s finished in second and third respectively to secure a podium sweep for Ford.

The 30-year-old Hirvonen was repeating his 2010 win in the only rally on the calendar staged entirely on snow.

This was the 13th WRC win for the driver who has twice finished runner-up to Sebastien Loeb in the title race, in 2008 and 2009.

"This is fantastic, it's really great to win the first rally of the season in the new Fiesta," he said.

"I have to say I was very nervous at the start of the last special but now I'm so happy to have made a good start to this season. It's a relief because I had a difficult 2010."

He secured the win by posting the fastest times in Sunday's first three specials, with his teammate Latvala taking stages 20 and 21 to ensure second place.

Runner-up Ostberg said: "This is a new beginning after five truly difficult years. This is the reward for lots of hard work."

Seven time world champion Loeb had a weekend to forget, coming in sixth after trouble with his starting motor on his Citroen DS3. His teammate Sebastien Ogier came in fourth after lifting the rally's 22nd and final 4km 'power stage'.

The Frenchman commented: "I'm glad it's over and I've managed to pick up a few points, so it's better than nothing."

Former WRC champion Petter Solberg suffered an embarrassing end to his time in Sweden when he had his driving licence confiscated by the police for speeding on Friday evening.

As a result his privately entered Citroen had to be driven by his co-driver Chris Patterson in the final stage.
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Re: World Rally Championship

Postby meteorite » Mon Mar 07, 2011 5:41 pm

Sebastien Loeb has won Rally Guanajuato Mexico for the fifth time.

The Citroen Total World Rally Team star began the final day of the event locked in a close battle with team-mate Sebastien Ogier, 10.5s adrift.

But when Ogier crashed on stage 20, Loeb and co-driver Daniel Elena moved in front and were able to preserve their advantage until the finish in Leon.

Although they ultimately benefited from Ogier’s retirement, their win was all the more remarkable after they fought back from a 50-second time penalty incurred when they were late starting stage 15 following a gearbox problem.

The victory marked the first triumph for Citroen’s all-new DS3 World Rally Car and was Loeb and Elena’s 63rd success at world championship level on their 140th start in the series.

Mikko Hirvonen and Jarmo Lehtinen finished second in their Ford Fiesta RS WRC with team-mates Jari-Matti Latvala and Miikka Anttila third.

Nasser Al-Attiyah and Giovanni Bernacchini have won the Super 2000 World Rally Championship section of the event in their Barwa World Rally Team Fiesta.
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Re: World Rally Championship

Postby meteorite » Tue Apr 26, 2011 8:59 pm

We haven't heard much on this subject for quite a while, so this little update clip from Autoweek may prove of interest.

Printed from AutoWeek.com

WRC: Räikkönen looking good, co-driver says
ANTHONY PEACOCK 12:22 pm, April 25, 2011

Ex-Formula One star Kimi Räikkönen's World Rally Championship co-driver Kaj Lindstrom says increased experience and confidence has triggered the Finn's promising start to the 2011 WRC season.

Räikkönen has scored points in his three WRC appearances so far this season in his Ice 1 Racing Citroën DS3. The 2007 F1 champion described his run to sixth overall in Jordan earlier this month as his best performance in the series to date.

“It's much better than last year because he's finding the right way by finishing rallies without making mistakes,” Lindstrom said. “There's no difference to what he's doing. Rallying was a brand-new experience for him when he started, and there's no shortcut in this sport. It takes time to learn and after one year, it's getting easier for him.”

Lindstrom explained that Räikkönen is finally able to trust his pace notes, which was one of his main weaknesses during his debut season in 2010.

“There won't be any miracles from him just yet but his self-confidence is building because we've seen a big improvement in his pace notes,” said Lindstrom. “He is relying on them more and more and when that happens, there are no big surprises for him on the stages.”

Asked whether Räikkönen likes life in the WRC, Lindstrom added, “He's happy and he's definitely enjoying the WRC. He doesn't have to drive [anything for any reason] but he does because he wants to be here. He's very motivated.”
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Re: World Rally Championship

Postby meteorite » Mon May 09, 2011 10:40 pm

SARDINIA

Sebastien Loeb has extended his lead of the World Rally Championship for drivers after winning Rally d'Italia Sardegna for a fourth time.

Driving a Citroen DS3 WRC, Loeb faced the daunting prospect of running first on the road and clearing a line through the loose surface gravel for the drivers behind for three consecutive days to claim his second victory of 2011 alongside co-driver Daniel Elena.

The result was also the fourth consecutive triumph for the factory Citroen squad in this season’s WRC, which moves it ahead of Ford in the race for the manufacturers’ crown.

“Leading from nearly the start that’s really a good job,” said Loeb. “Mikko was pushing very hard behind so we really had to take big risks all the time. We lost time in some places because of the cleaning but we took it back in some other places. It was really a hard fight.”

Loeb’s success ahead of Ford driver Mikko Hirvonen and Citroen privateer Petter Solberg was his 64th at world championship level.

5 - 08 May 11
Rally d'Italia Sardegna
Italy


Final Results


Pos No Driver Group
Class Stage
Time Penalties Total
Time Diff
Prev Diff
1st
1 1 S. LOEB M A0 3:45:40.9 0.0 3:45:40.9 0.0 0.0
2 3 M. HIRVONEN M A0 3:45:52.1 0.0 3:45:52.1 +11.2 +11.2
3 11 P. SOLBERG M A0 3:46:04.7 0.0 3:46:04.7 +12.6 +23.8
4 2 S. OGIER M A0 3:47:12.4 0.0 3:47:12.4 +1:07.7 +1:31.5
5 6 M. ØSTBERG M A0 3:48:23.5 0.0 3:48:23.5 +1:11.1 +2:42.6
6 37 D. SORDO A0 3:49:08.5 0.0 3:49:08.5 +45.0 +3:27.6
7 22 O. TANAK S A0 3:52:51.8 0.0 3:52:51.8 +3:43.3 +7:10.9
8 25 J. HANNINEN S A0 3:53:18.5 0.0 3:53:18.5 +26.7 +7:37.6
9 5 M. WILSON M A0 3:53:41.3 0.0 3:53:41.3 +22.8 +8:00.4
10 21 M. PROKOP S A0 3:56:29.1 40.0 3:57:09.1 +3:27.8 +11:28.2
11 23 N. AL ATTIYAH S A0 3:58:14.7 0.0 3:58:14.7 +1:05.6 +12:33.8
12 17 A. ARAÚJO A0 3:58:50.6 0.0 3:58:50.6 +35.9 +13:09.7
13 10 K. AL QASSIMI M A0 3:59:22.8 0.0 3:59:22.8 +32.2 +13:41.9
14 18 E. NOVIKOV A0 3:59:53.1 0.0 3:59:53.1 +30.3 +14:12.2
15 16 P. ANDERSSON A0 4:04:26.9 0.0 4:04:26.9 +4:33.8 +18:46.0
16 27 H. GASSNER JR. S A0 4:06:23.4 0.0 4:06:23.4 +1:56.5 +20:42.5
17 7 F. VILLAGRA M A0 4:14:00.5 0.0 4:14:00.5 +7:37.1 +28:19.6
18 4 J. LATVALA M A0 4:19:27.8 0.0 4:19:27.8 +5:27.3 +33:46.9
19 51 P. FLODIN A0 4:20:48.6 10.0 4:20:58.6 +1:30.8 +35:17.7
20 59 N. KONDRAKHIN A0 4:21:56.3 0.0 4:21:56.3 +57.7 +36:15.4
21 26 K. KRUUDA S A0 4:22:45.6 0.0 4:22:45.6 +49.3 +37:04.7
22 57 G. LINARI A0 4:25:34.6 0.0 4:25:34.6 +2:49.0 +39:53.7
23 60 F. MARRONE A0 4:31:21.5 10.0 4:31:31.5 +5:56.9 +45:50.6
24 29 F. TURÁN S A0 4:35:09.8 0.0 4:35:09.8 +3:38.3 +49:28.9
25 19 R. KUIPERS A0 4:35:56.6 0.0 4:35:56.6 +46.7 +50:15.6
26 65 L. BERTELLI A0 4:41:03.8 2:00.0 4:43:03.8 +7:07.2 +57:22.9
27 66 D. CATANIA A0 4:47:58.1 0.0 4:47:58.1 +4:54.3 +1:02:17.2
28 63 T. ERDI JUN A0 4:58:41.2 10.0 4:58:51.2 +10:53.1 +1:13:10.3
29 12 D. OLIVEIRA M A0 4:58:54.0 10.0 4:59:04.0 +12.8 +1:13:23.1
30 55 J. SALO A0 5:04:26.7 0.0 5:04:26.7 +5:22.7 +1:18:45.8
31 64 R. BARBERO A0 5:20:44.5 0.0 5:20:44.5 +16:17.8 +1:35:03.6
32 67 R. DONADIO A0 5:38:56.1 0.0 5:38:56.1 +18:11.6 +1:53:15.2

Citroen
Ford
Mini
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Re: World Rally Championship

Postby meteorite » Mon Jun 13, 2011 8:35 pm

PORTUGAL

A bit late, but here is what the WRC gurus read into the Portual rally:

Conventional wisdom dictates that Portugal is the first world championship rally where things begin to make sense, following the Baltic chill of Sweden and the asthmatic altitude of Mexico.
1 2

If this is truly the case (relax, it’s not) then Ford needs a long head-aching think about what to do next, because the record states that their cars were second best in the Algarve. After all, the top Fiesta was more than three minutes behind the leader: a drubbing that hasn’t been seen for quite some time, on the face of it.

As ever though, there were sound reasons behind it and the one thing that Portugal has made clear is that this will be the closest season ever - and that Ford faces just as big an internal battle as Citroen.

Once more Jari-Matti Latvala had the raw pace to win the rally; once more he was undone by a puncture as well as a driveshaft problem. Punctures were a leitmotif of Vodafone Rally de Portugal, and once again they primarily struck Ford’s two Finns.

That’s probably no coincidence as the Finnish driving style tends to be sideways and spectacular, the result of massive entry speeds into each corner and all that momentum needing somewhere to go. The Finnish spirit of ‘sisu’ - loosely translated as bravery in the face of adversity - also comes into play here, making several Nordic drivers believe that they can get away with the impossible: or at least have a good go at attempting it. It’s normally Latvala who is wilder than his team-mate - but both in Portugal and Mexico the younger Finn had the genuine potential to win.

Despite the various setbacks he has encountered, it’s Latvala who has been on the podium of every round so far this year. Had things worked out for Latvala, it would not have been inconceivable for Citroen’s superstar line-up of Sebastien Loeb and Sebastien Ogier to be staring at a three-nil score by now in the overall win stakes.

The fact that they’re not is not just down to their own talents but also because they’ve managed to get the best out of the Michelin Latitude tyres so far, ironically through keeping their cars at reasonably modest latitudes on the stages.

It’s a Scandinavian versus European thing: no surprise really that it was Petter Solberg who picked up the punctures on day one rather than the factory Citroens of Loeb or Ogier. That’s not to suggest that all drivers who come from north of Germany are rock apes behind the wheel: it’s more a question of conditioning. European drivers (such as Loeb and Ogier) tend to start off their careers in small front-wheel drive cars that understeer, simply because that is what the native car industry specialises in.

The only way to make them to go quickly is to keep everything extremely neat:
1 2

Sebastien Loeb first learnt his trade on a Peugeot 106. Go to Scandinavia, and there is no indigenous car industry that majors on small hatchbacks (presumably because they’re useless if you hit an elk and there’s plenty of space on the roads due to a population density not dissimilar to that of the Australian Outback).

So young Finnish drivers tend to start off with whatever is old and cheap and hanging around: rear-wheel-drive Toyotas, self-built Escorts, the odd Volvo, BMW M3s and early Mitsubishis.

These are cars that favour big oversteer and also need some degree of hustling along, or as it’s known over there ‘maximum attack.’ It may not look pretty but it’s fast. And the tyres that these old rally cars run on are frequently Lappis (for snow) and Nokian (for gravel). These locally produced tyres may not be the last word in sophistication but they’re cheap and built like tanks: the rubber equivalent of an old Volvo, in fact.

This is why, like Star Trek, Finnish drivers tend to think that they can boldly go where no man has been before - at least when it comes to racing lines.

Problem is, that technique doesn’t work well with the latest generation of Michelin tyres, which were developed to chase performance in anticipation of a tyre war against Pirelli that never materialised. This performance has inevitably come at the expense of durability, which is why Michelin are swiftly introducing a new spec tyre, which is expected to be considerably more robust (and much heavier), in time for Jordan.

Loeb however can drive around any vulnerability - you don’t nearly win Le Mans at your first attempt unless you’ve got a certain skill in eking things out - whereas the Finns tend to take reliability more for granted. Hirvonen is older and maybe wiser than Latvala so has a more studied form of driving but in his case, because it’s had to be learned, it comes at the expense of raw speed. The trade-off is consistency, which is why he is still leading the world championship - now jointly with Loeb.

It’s unrealistic to compare drivers from different generations but Latvala has all the hallmarks of a young Colin McRae (who else would have rolled a car 17 times on another Rally de Portugal?) whereas Hirvonen is more of a Carlos Sainz, with an extra element of glacial calm thrown in. Following Sebastien Loeb’s uncharacteristic outburst when he thought that Hirvonen was deliberately blocking him on day two (he wasn’t) the Finn refused to be drawn into any form of recrimination: a sign that he is stronger in his head than many people have given him credit for.

Look at it this way: there’s a strong argument for saying that Hirvonen has dealt with the emergence of a younger and quicker team-mate better than Loeb has.

For all these reasons, the battle is a lot closer than the three-minute victory margin and all the hype around the new Citroen DS3 WRC suggests.


Pos No Driver Group
Class Stage
Time Penalties Total
Time Diff
Prev Diff
1st
1 2 S. OGIER M A0 4:10:53.4 0 4:10:53.4 0.0 0.0
2 1 S. LOEB M A0 4:11:25.2 0 4:11:25.2 +31.8 +31.8
3 4 J. LATVALA M A0 4:14:15.5 0 4:14:15.5 +2:50.3 +3:22.1
4 3 M. HIRVONEN M A0 4:17:09.7 0 4:17:09.7 +2:54.2 +6:16.3
5 15 M. WILSON A0 4:18:41.9 0 4:18:41.9 +1:32.2 +7:48.5
6 11 P. SOLBERG M A0 4:21:10.8 0 4:21:10.8 +2:28.9 +10:17.4
7 8 K. RAIKKONEN M A0 4:21:47.5 0 4:21:47.5 +36.7 +10:54.1
8 7 F. VILLAGRA M A0 4:22:32.2 0 4:22:32.2 +44.7 +11:38.8
9 5 H. SOLBERG M A0 4:25:09.8 0 4:25:09.8 +2:37.6 +14:16.4
10 9 D. KUIPERS M A0 4:28:48.0 0 4:28:48.0 +3:38.2 +17:54.6
11 38 H. PADDON P A3 4:33:33.4 0 4:33:33.4 +4:45.4 +22:40.0
12 18 B. MAGALHAES A2 4:34:55.4 0 4:34:55.4 +1:22.0 +24:02.0
13 52 K. KRUUDA A2 4:37:16.9 0 4:37:16.9 +2:21.5 +26:23.5
14 10 K. AL QASSIMI M A0 4:38:03.5 0 4:38:03.5 +46.6 +27:10.1
15 25 J. KETOMAKI P A3 4:41:13.3 0 4:41:13.3 +3:09.8 +30:19.9
16 26 M. SEMERAD P A3 4:42:46.0 0 4:42:46.0 +1:32.7 +31:52.6
17 56 A. VILLANUEVA A3 4:45:46.9 0 4:45:46.9 +3:00.9 +34:53.5
18 39 B. GUERRA P A3 4:44:42.7 2:30 4:47:12.7 +1:25.8 +36:19.3
19 32 V. GORBAN P A3 4:47:16.7 0 4:47:16.7 +4.0 +36:23.3
20 30 O. SALIUK P A3 4:48:10.9 0 4:48:10.9 +54.2 +37:17.5
21 55 P. MEIRELES A3 4:50:24.6 0 4:50:24.6 +2:13.7 +39:31.2
22 14 P. VAN MERKSTEIJN M A0 4:50:33.0 0 4:50:33.0 +8.4 +39:39.6
23 20 B. TEN BRINKE A2 4:52:05.2 0 4:52:05.2 +1:32.2 +41:11.8
24 22 M. KOSCIUSZKO P A3 4:53:02.0 0 4:53:02.0 +56.8 +42:08.6
25 59 J. MARTINEZ BARREIRO A3 4:53:18.2 0 4:53:18.2 +16.2 +42:24.8
26 28 M. AL SHAMSI P A3 4:54:17.3 0 4:54:17.3 +59.1 +43:23.9
27 53 S. PAVLIDES A2 4:54:23.3 0 4:54:23.3 +6.0 +43:29.9
28 29 B. AL JABRI P A3 4:59:28.7 2:30 5:01:58.7 +7:35.4 +51:05.3
29 21 P. FLODIN P A3 5:01:17.1 1:40 5:02:57.1 +58.4 +52:03.7
30 31 A. KIKIRESHKO P A3 5:04:58.8 1:20 5:06:18.8 +3:21.7 +55:25.4
31 6 M. OSTBERG M A0 5:10:22.8 0 5:10:22.8 +4:04.0 +59:29.4
32 33 D. TAGIROV P A3 5:10:49.0 10 5:10:59.0 +36.2 +1:00:05.6
33 66 J. SILVA A5 5:11:27.5 0 5:11:27.5 +28.5 +1:00:34.1
34 62 R. LOUSADO A3 5:13:15.5 10 5:13:25.5 +1:58.0 +1:02:32.1
35 27 H. HUNT P A5 5:14:46.9 20 5:15:06.9 +1:41.4 +1:04:13.5
36 19 E. VAN LOON A2 5:17:56.5 0 5:17:56.5 +2:49.6 +1:07:03.1
37 61 J. RAMOS A3 5:58:49.8 0 5:58:49.8 +40:53.3 +1:47:56.4
38 65 P. NETO A5 6:17:50.6 0 6:17:50.6 +19:00.8 +2:06:57.2
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Re: World Rally Championship

Postby meteorite » Mon Jun 13, 2011 8:41 pm

JORDAN

You could say easily say that the Jordan Rally was won in the blink of an eye.
1 2

But the incredible - and incontrovertibly true - fact is that it was won in far less time than that.

The winning margin in Jordan, just 0.2 seconds, is a record that’s almost impossible to break. It might be feasible, of course, to win by one-tenth of a second, but the World Rally Championship’s timing system doesn’t actually cater for a smaller margin than that. So the result is set to stand in posterity.

It’s at this point that the random nature of sport takes over. Such a small crumb of time is not measurable; even Sebastien Ogier will have to admit that the sequence of events that led to him standing on the top step of the podium were not all of his own making, as there were so many random factors behind it - including for example what he had for breakfast. One extra croissant could have led to an infinitesimal moment of lethargy that might conceivably have cost two tenths of a second. It’s a small example of the well-known chaos theory: a butterfly flaps its wings and somewhere, on the other side of the planet, there might be an earthquake.

For a start, the world’s geopolitical situation is well out of Ogier’s control. With a road trip through Syria sounding about as safe as juggling Stanley knives, the WRC circus was forced to divert via the port of Haifa in Israel and then drive to the Jordanian border and onto the Dead Sea, where the proper work began

Just as much as Jari-Matti Latvala and Ogier, the real winners in a race against time were the Ford and Citroen mechanics, who condensed the day-long task of setting up the service area and prepping the cars into just a few hours. The factory cars from Citroen and Ford had been flown in by air freight, but they arrived in what could almost be described as extreme asphalt specification: suspensions hunkered as low down to the ground as possible so that they fit into the transport containers. Effectively, the cars all needed to be put into the correct gravel specification from scratch, overnight.

While the mechanics were slaving over service tents and differentials, the rally organisers were hard at work over laptops, reorganising the event to fit into two days while making sure the necessary preliminaries, notably scrutineering and shakedown, were taken care of.

The result was that we had a fantastic rally over two days (Finland already proved that it can be done) but the biggest loser from this unexpected turn of events was Mikko Hirvonen, running first on the road during the opening day.

The disadvantages of that situation have been well-publicised over the years, but the flip side tends to be that you stand a good chance of making up the time lost on the second and third days of the event. This only works though if there actually is a third day of the event.

Mikko lost 10 seconds on the first stage alone, and at that point the writing was on the wall for him. Having crashed out spectacularly on day one of Rally Finland last year, Mikko probably now approaches all two-day events with pathological loathing.

To some extent Sebastien Loeb lost out too, but the effect was minimised because he was only second on the road on Friday and was also able to make his third place count in order to move into the sole world championship lead.
1 2

It’s a sign of Loeb’s astonishing success that a ‘mere’ podium doesn’t count as a particularly good result for him these days.

But a very significant result it is, both for Loeb and for Citroen, although it’s very easy to overlook that in the justifiable hysteria over the close finish. Because this could be the rally that Citroen look back on at the end of 2011 as the place where the championship turned, following an explosive start from Ford.

Not only has Loeb sneaked himself into the exclusive championship lead now, but Citroen is also equal with Ford in the manufacturer rankings. If the French firm starts to pull slowly but inexorably away, it’s going to be very hard to catch them. Ford has to react and react quickly, because giving Citroen even the tiniest quarter when the power struggle is so finely balanced will only end one way.

As for Loeb, he’s not only the quickest but also the most psychologically cunning driver out there. Ogier can have the limelight, as far as Loeb is concerned. He’s happy to build his team-mate up, even flatter him a little if necessary. It conveniently shifts the pressure onto somebody else slightly while he gets on with the serious business of winning another championship. It’s a psychological tactic that Loeb used to devastating effect at the end of last year, which on more than one occasion resulted in Ogier making a mistake as he tried to keep up with his team leader - especially on asphalt.

In the meantime, Hirvonen knows he has to win in Sardinia to counter the very slight edge that Citroen seems to be building up. Hirvonen’s championship prospects have one big advantage though: he has his team-mate constantly on his side (they’re happy to say that about each other) whereas Loeb and Ogier are less forthcoming in their mutual praise.

In the post-travel chaos, helped by drafting in more people, Ford had their control centre and hospitality erected some time before Citroen’s on Thursday morning. It’s a very small and random example, but on the face of it, which group is functioning better as a completely united team at the moment? Time, of course, will tell.

Pos No Driver Group
Class Stage
Time Penalties Total
Time Diff
Prev Diff
1st
1 2 S. OGIER M A0 2:48:28.2 0:00 2:48:28.2 0.0 0.0
2 4 J. LATVALA M A0 2:48:28.4 0:00 2:48:28.4 +0.2 +0.2
3 1 S. LOEB M A0 2:48:55.9 0:00 2:48:55.9 +27.5 +27.7
4 3 M. HIRVONEN M A0 2:51:12.9 0:00 2:51:12.9 +2:17.0 +2:44.7
5 15 M. WILSON A0 2:54:13.1 0:00 2:54:13.1 +3:00.2 +5:44.9
6 8 K. RÄIKKÖNEN M A0 2:54:43.1 0:00 2:54:43.1 +30.0 +6:14.9
7 7 F. VILLAGRA M A0 2:57:46.9 0:00 2:57:46.9 +3:03.8 +9:18.7
8 10 K. AL QASSIMI M A0 2:58:11.9 0:00 2:58:11.9 +25.0 +9:43.7
9 9 D. KUIPERS M A0 3:02:55.7 0:00 3:02:55.7 +4:43.8 +14:27.5
10 24 B. SOUSA S A0 3:03:33.7 0:00 3:03:33.7 +38.0 +15:05.5
11 26 K. KRUUDA S A0 3:03:55.4 0:00 3:03:55.4 +21.7 +15:27.2
12 27 H. GASSNER JR S A0 3:05:55.8 0:00 3:05:55.8 +2:00.4 +17:27.6
13 6 M. ØSTBERG M A0 3:06:03.9 0:00 3:06:03.9 +8.1 +17:35.7
14 5 H. SOLBERG M A0 3:10:29.9 0:00 3:10:29.9 +4:26.0 +22:01.7
15 55 N. AMIOUNI A0 3:18:36.4 0:00 3:18:36.4 +8:06.5 +30:08.2
16 52 R. ALKETBI A0 3:19:32.9 1:10 3:20:42.9 +2:06.5 +32:14.7
17 30 A. LLOVERA S A0 3:21:07.2 0:00 3:21:07.2 +24.3 +32:39.0
18 28 E. BRYNILDSEN S A0 3:26:55.2 0:00 3:26:55.2 +5:48.0 +38:27.0
19 12 D. OLIVEIRA M A0 3:26:57.3 0:00 3:26:57.3 +2.1 +38:29.1
20 53 M. TANTASH A0 3:38:57.9 0:00 3:38:57.9 +12:00.6 +50:29.7
21 54 M. SALEH A0 3:42:56.1 0:10 3:43:06.1 +4:08.2 +54:37.9
22 57 N. AL-MAJALI A0 3:56:14.3 0:10 3:56:24.3 +13:18.2 +1:07:56.1
23 59 M. HATK A0 4:24:01.4 0:00 4:24:01.4 +27:37.1 +1:35:33.2
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Re: World Rally Championship

Postby meteorite » Mon Jun 13, 2011 8:47 pm

ARGENTINA

Argentina always has this strange habit of throwing up a few surprises. Just ask Sebastien Loeb, who was motoring serenely through the pampas a few years ago when he suddenly found a huge bull mid-stage.
1 2

How that bull avoided becoming corned beef is a complete mystery as well as a testament to the sheer talent of the seven-time world champion.

Or ask the Argentine weather service, who failed to predict an enormous storm that shut down the whole of Buenos Aires just when the superspecial was finishing in 2008. With no air transport to fly back to Cordoba (and the stars of the world championship asleep on airport benches) the whole of Friday’s action was scrapped, with the rally resuming on Saturday.

On that occasion, along with five others now, Loeb reigned supreme. But even he will admit that this year’s victory is one that everybody else lost, rather than he won.

There’s a lot spoken about luck in the world of motorsport, with the more bullish drivers (we’re not talking about Loeb and his furry Argentine friend here) mostly claiming that you make your own luck.

That’s not true though as none of us, however committed, are capable of legally manufacturing a lottery win, for example. A more accurate version is that the top drivers avoid making their own bad luck, by dint of preparation and application. And this is exactly what Loeb did in Argentina this year.

Of course he starts off with the advantage of experience. It’s only when you’re experienced that you can watch Jari-Matti Latvala waltz off into the distance on the opening day and not worry too much. As time goes on you cultivate a calm born out of self-confidence, which overrides any other emotion.

Like the absolute professional that he also is, Malcolm Wilson refuses to apportion blame to Latvala for the suspension breakage that cost him the rally win, but the truth is that these things don’t tend to break on their own.

Hitting rocks, potholes and other road debris is always a grey area however: is it the driver’s fault for causing damage, or the team's fault for not building a car capable of withstanding what is a very common type of impact on a gravel rally?
1 2

As one senior engineer explained: “You can easily build a car to resist most types of impact. But the problem is that this inevitably costs weight, which is why Safari cars are always so heavy, for example. So it’s a trade-off: if the driver wants a car that is light enough to be competitive, he will have to accept that there are some things he can’t hit.

“But equally, teams sometimes have to accept that they have made their car too vulnerable in the pursuit of performance. It’s a question of where you draw the line - and what makes that judgment more complicated is the fact that no two impacts are ever quite the same. An impact that a component might comfortably absorb in one direction could break it in a slightly different direction.”

Conclusion: the only thing you can practically do is design a car to resist the most common types of impact and tell your driver to avoid hitting anything, something that Loeb obviously remembered when he saw that bull all those years ago. And he obviously remembered it again this year, as his Citroen was bomb proof despite the severity of some of the stages.

He had the novel experience of starting Saturday and Sunday further down the running order than he has been accustomed to, and while this is undoubtedly a quicker place to be it also frequently more risky, as rocks tend to get pulled out of the road by the cars in front.

Loeb has often been asked what his ‘secret’ is, but he’s quick to explain that he doesn’t have one. “The only thing I do is try not to push beyond my limits of acceptable risk. I’ll normally go as quickly as I can on the Friday, and I will know then if I have the chance to win. If there is the chance to win then I will keep on pushing. If not, I will just settle for what is possible.”

On Sunday morning, what was possible was second place, which Loeb grabbed from Mikko Hirvonen with a spirited drive through the 48 gruelling kilometres of Ascochinga. But Loeb never suspected that this would become first, after team-mate Sebastien Ogier rolled his own DS3, two kilometres from the stage finish, badly enough to force him into survival mode for the remaining three short tests.

It was Mexico all over again - but this time Loeb wasn’t breathing down his neck and the young Frenchman at least managed to salvage something from his final-day off. Despite that, in many ways, it will have been a more crushing moment for Ogier than Mexico (although team boss Olivier Quesnel is sure to think differently).

In a head-to-head battle, making mistakes and going off is part of the game. It’s even secretly admirable: the do or die spirit that made legends out of people like McRae and Tommi Makinen. But going off when you’ve got a lead of nearly a minute? That’s bound to hurt your pride, whichever way you look at it.

Pos No Driver Group
Class Stage
Time Penalties Total
Time Diff
Prev Diff
1st
1 1 S. LOEB M A0 4:02:56.9 1:00.0 4:03:56.9 0.0 0.0
2 3 M. HIRVONEN M A0 4:03:59.3 0.0 4:03:59.3 +2.4 +2.4
3 2 S. OGIER M A0 4:04:04.2 0.0 4:04:04.2 +4.9 +7.3
4 11 P. SOLBERG M A0 4:04:29.5 0.0 4:04:29.5 +25.3 +32.6
5 6 M. ØSTBERG M A0 4:09:13.7 0.0 4:09:13.7 +4:44.2 +5:16.8
6 7 F. VILLAGRA M A0 4:10:45.4 0.0 4:10:45.4 +1:31.7 +6:48.5
7 4 J. LATVALA M A0 4:13:21.4 2:10.0 4:15:31.4 +4:46.0 +11:34.5
8 5 M. WILSON M A0 4:17:29.6 0.0 4:17:29.6 +1:58.2 +13:32.7
9 38 H. PADDON P A0 4:29:30.7 10.0 4:29:40.7 +12:11.1 +25:43.8
10 21 P. FLODIN P A0 4:36:51.1 40.0 4:37:31.1 +7:50.3 +33:34.1
11 33 D. TAGIROV P A0 4:42:37.6 30.0 4:43:07.6 +5:36.5 +39:10.7
12 35 N. FUCHS P A0 4:46:03.1 1:50.0 4:47:53.1 +4:45.5 +43:56.2
13 53 R. ORLANDINI A0 4:48:46.1 2:50.0 4:51:36.1 +3:43.0 +47:39.2
14 26 M. SEMERAD P A0 4:51:56.5 0.0 4:51:56.5 +20.4 +47:59.6
15 39 B. GUERRA P A0 4:49:47.1 3:10.0 4:52:57.1 +1:00.6 +49:00.2
16 50 E. CAMPOS P A0 4:54:07.5 10.0 4:54:17.5 +1:20.4 +50:20.6
17 23 G. LINARI P A0 4:55:52.7 1:00.0 4:56:52.7 +2:35.2 +52:55.8
18 43 K. BLOCK M A0 4:56:26.8 50.0 4:57:16.8 +24.1 +53:19.9
19 34 Y. PROTASOV P A0 4:57:25.5 0.0 4:57:25.5 +8.7 +53:28.6
20 22 M. KOSCIUSZKO P A0 4:58:04.7 0.0 4:58:04.7 +39.2 +54:07.8
21 27 H. HUNT P A0 5:04:14.3 1:00.0 5:05:14.3 +7:09.6 +1:01:17.4
22 65 G. SUAREZ A0 5:32:29.9 1:10.0 5:33:39.9 +28:25.6 +1:29:43.0
23 75 P. PELAEZ A0 5:44:59.8 3:00.0 5:47:59.8 +14:19.9 +1:44:02.9
24 72 C. CUEVAS A0 6:19:48.5 0.0 6:19:48.5 +31:48.7 +2:15:51.6
25 78 M. DURANTE A0 6:27:12.9 1:00.0 6:28:12.9 +8:24.4 +2:24:16.0
26 71 G. BOTTAZZINI A0 6:27:59.6 1:10.0 6:29:09.6 +56.7 +2:25:12.7
27 76 F. CLEMENTE A0 7:01:20.1 1:40.0 7:03:00.1 +33:50.5 +2:59:03.2
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