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 WRC Teams and Drivers 2009 by RonSkoda

16-Nov-08 06:13 AM 

I thought I would start a thread regarding this as there doesn't seem to be one yet.

Anyhow, this is a little bit tricky at this stage as Ford and Suzuki have not confiremed they are participating in 2009 yet. I expect Ford will, although I see it hard for them to justify given that globally the company is on the verge of brankrupcy. Suzuki showed a bit better in Japan, but was it too little, too late?

If those two stay, I expect all their drivers to remain unchanged for 2009.

There also seems to be a Citroen M2 team confirmed for 2009, probably one driver Rautenbach, other maybe Aava.

Stobart will still be Wilson and maybe Henning if Galli doesn't make a comeback?

There has been lots of talk about other M2 teams from Subaru and Ford but we will have to wait to see how serious those will be. One good thing which should help in their favour is that they now only have to compete in 8 events out of 12.

There was an article in last week's Autosport, saying that Mikelssen's dad will 'only' give him 2mEuros for next year, but he needs 3m and will have to find the other 1mEuros himself if he wants a drive.

 Re: WRC Teams and Drivers 2009 by Chris B

16-Nov-08 07:53 AM 

I thought there was such thread, but indeed there isnt. We spoke a little about WRC 09 possibilities in the M2 vs IRC thread, but its off subject there.

First the economical situation

This was already mentioned in the IRCS2000 forum, as I do have worries about the Opel project. German news are full of Opel asking the government for help or they will go bust, which leads me to believe the Opel S2000 car will see only private development if any. Ford and Skoda in return should be in a better situation. Ford because by coincidence they are launching complete new Ka and Fiesta, the 2 smallest cars of their range. With them being fresh, they might get away with the crisis. I know the Ford US situation looks very different with them huge 8000cc Pick Up trucks the Americans used to be o keen of - completely not understandable for Europeans, I drove some US cars, tho rarely, and I am convinced many European 2000cc cars are as comfor, functional and quick! Anyway, I have the impression Ford of Europe works very much detached, near like an independant manufacturer, and Ford US has nothing to do with the WRC program. Skoda is quite a vice versa situation, funny enough. With their huge Superb being brand new and with Skoda having a name here for being excellent quality at cheap prices, I can see many people who normally would buy a Mercedes, BMW or Audi look at the Skoda Superb.

At Ford there is further point how serious were they with their pulling out threads. It has become quiet and I start to believe it was only empty talk to put pressure on the FIA. Though I do wonder the latest Focus RS 08 evolution was a bit of a cheat. The Focus road facelift is simply implemented through stickers and for the first time in history new Focus WRCars are registered on the name M-Sport rather than Ford of Europe -UK reg plates starting with P rather than E-

Suzuki also indeed is a question mark. Meanwhile everybody of the original team is sacked, including Monster Tajima. And the car simply is no good. Suzuki never was. Their Japan result and stage times does not convince me either, because they did those times when the main drivers were cruising for their title considerations. Andersson in the Suzuki beat Loeb in the C4 on several stages, which surely doesnt mean all the sudden the Suzuki is faster than the C4. Loeb partly drooped 30-40s on single stages to the fastest, just to make sure of a finish, and if he goes that slow, why would Hirvonen and Latvala then go maximum attack. Now it is al down to how clever Suzuki is, as before they already did a Hyundai. If in JWRC with capable drivers you start with 7 works cars against 1 single private Renault driven by Brice Tirabassi or Patrick Sandell, you finish 2-3-4-5-6-7-8 in the championship for Suzuki that was reason to believe they have the best car and are ready to win the WRC makes title by 2009 -they indeed said so-, I could imagine the same team to look at the Japan stage times and say "our car is faster than Loeb in a Citroen, we carry on!"

Assuming Ford and Suzuki will carry on, I indeed see very little change at all. All drivers seem pretty fix. The fixed numbers system goes that the WRC title winning driver is guaranteed 1, his team mate 2, the remaining numbering pairs are identified by the makes title positions. This indeed means even the numbers do not change!!!! Because except Ford vs Citroen -with Munchies not starting GB- all makes positions 2008 are fix, and 1 is identified by driver champ, who is ix too.

Citroen works
1 S. Loeb
2 D. Sordo

Ford works
3 M. Hirvonen
4 J.-M. Latvala

Subaru works
5 P. Solberg
6 Ch. Atkinson

Stobart Ford
7, 8, one of them likely Matthew Wilson

Suzuki works
9 T. Gardemeister
10 P.-G. Andersson

Such the only top10 numbering change would be Suzuki moving up a pair. Beyond that it is tricky. If Munchies continues they will have 11 and 12, but since Munchies owner Luis Peres Companc ended his career and the team already struggled for their 2nd driver all 2008, I have serious doubts they will continue. All other M2 teams are new and therefore their fixed numbers would be guessing work.

Ford M2

- Stobart is definite, though for their situation with crashes by Galli and Duval, I actually tip Duval for IRC or nothing by his own comments, the driver choice is completely up in the air.

- Munchies as said I have doubts.

- van Merksteijn, there are rumours and knowing they guys money and enthusiasm I see it happening. One car would be driven permanently by Pieter van Merksteijn junior, the other by senior, however only seleected rounds accoring to business commitments. If senior cants start, there are strong rumours about Manfred Stohl, as Stohls Austrian M2 team with Andreas Wimmer in a Bozian 307 WRC has fallen through.

Subaru M2

- Adapta. Here it is me spreading rumours, but indeed a lot could depend on Adaptas drivers choice! Adapta is the team around Mads Ostberg. The curiosity is that Adapta are keen to run a completely Norwegian team, but their national arch rivals, the Mikkelsen clan are unwilling to join, as if they really hated each other. And that despite Mikkelsen also being linked to a Subaru M2 team. As a wild brainstorm I could see Adapta consisting of Mads Ostberg and Henning Solberg with Mikkelsen and a yet unknwo driver maybe forming a seperate Subaru M2 team, possibly with Aava.

Citroen M2

- PH Sport. They also are an interesting puzzle. In recent talks they had 5 drivers for 3 M2 cars. Meanwhile pieces fall place, not all of them as I would have expected. Conrad Rautenbach -clearly for money rather than talent - will definitely be part of the PHSport M2 team. This is what Olivier Quesnel said himself. Sébastien Ogier will drive a 5th C4 but not be part of an M2 team, as so far only first 6 rounds are confirmed. Leaves as potential team mates to Rautenbach.
Nicolas Vouilloz, who meanwhile has signed for Kronos IRC
Urmo Aava, who is linked to Subaru M2
Andreas Mikkelsen, who is also linked to Subaru M2
Wonder what will happen out of this. Citroen suddenly is missing an M2 driver. Vouilloz by now is completely out of question. And if either Mikkelsen or Aava join the Citroen M2 team, it throws the 2nd Subaru M2 team doubt with the remaing driver out of a program.

 Re: WRC Teams and Drivers 2009 by RonSkoda

16-Nov-08 08:58 AM 

Re: Ford, and Ford Europe, they may very well be run separarely, but Ford US must be the parent company of Ford Europe?

Munchis, maybe Khalid Al Cashmachine could drive there instead of the main Ford team next year?

Rgearding Stohl, I thought that OMV had pulled all sponsorship money other than for the CNG fuel Mitsubishi? Or does Stohl have other funding other than from OMV?

 Re: WRC Teams and Drivers 2009 by Chris B

16-Nov-08 09:52 AM 

Indeed OMV has nothing to do with this. They also had nothing to do with the 307 deal. The 307 deal seemed serious, but fell through because Andreas Wimmer was meant to bring money in, which failed, plus there was no support of Peugeot and there was an internal change at Bozian. Same for the van Merksteijn deal. I don't know who would pay for Stohl. Maybe van Merksteijn has enough money?

 Re: WRC Teams and Drivers 2009 by arturWRC

27-Dec-08 09:29 AM 

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"On this website Supporters from all over the world can book accommodation for the period the Rally Poland ཅ (25-28 June 2009), which is one of the rounds of WRC cycle. You can also find there a google map on which both places of accommodation and special stages are marked. What is more, there are also descriptions of given accommodation along with pictures, GPS
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 Re: WRC Teams and Drivers 2009 by Radiv

31-Dec-08 02:40 PM 

Still no news from the Solberg brothers on what they will drive in 09

So far it looks like Henning is closest to a Bozian Whale, but we do not know what Petter is chasing, but if he can get his hands on a C4 I think he will go for that, and form Petter Solberg Rally Team (PSRT)

For Henning we will know 2 january (Ireland), and for Petter the 8th (Norway)

Exiting days !

 Henning has a go for 09 ! by Radiv

2-Jan-09 01:28 PM 

He will continue with Ford, more priority in the team, and more testing - congratulations Henning, Cato and the sponsors !!


 Re: WRC Teams and Drivers 2009 by Elliott

5-Jan-09 11:45 AM 

So Citroen, Ford, Subaru, and Suzuki. I've been out of it awhile, what happened to Puegeot, and Skoda. Will Mitsu ever come back?

 Re: WRC Teams and Drivers 2009 by Chris B

5-Jan-09 12:13 AM 

No, Elliott, short version there is no more Suzuki, no more Subaru! But the good news is Citroen and Ford will carry on with WRC for at least 1 more year. Peugeot, Skoda and Mitsubishi are in IRC and will stay there for the time being.

 Re: WRC Teams and Drivers 2009 by Chris B

7-Jan-09 10:23 AM 

Rally Ireland entry list published.

Some interesting comments emerging from this.

1 - Loeb
2 - Sordo

3 - Hirvonen
4 - Latvala

so far as we expected. Now the M2 teams already:

Stobart Ford
5 - Wilson
6 - Aava

I personally expected Wilson this year permanent M2 nominated and such N°5. Urmo Aava, there was recent talk of him having a Ford drive and this sounded to me like Stobart. The Ireland entry list however confirms now that this means no Duval and no Galli this year!

PH Sport Citroen
7 - Ogier
8 - Atkinson

This surprises me slightly. The M2 rules normally mean that the 1st named driver - except force majeure as Galli last year - is fix for all nominated rounds of that team, only the second driver can be exchanged. I very much betted that Ruatenbach would be that fixed driver, as for Ogier only first 6 rounds are confirmed at this point. In Ireland however Rautenbach is that Citroen driver not nominated for M2 points, and if they can pull that one off for this season, a mix of Ogier, Atko and Novikov in the nominated M2 cars will make them a very, very interesting team for makes points!

9 - Al Qassimi
10 - H.Solberg
11 - Rautenbach
12 - Boland

This means Boland in an old shape Subaru is not makes points nominated. Rautenbach alone will such also not be points nominated. 9 and 10 is two Ford alright, but Al Qassimi is BP Ford Abu Dhabi and Henning is Expert. I do not think they are makes points nominated either. Al Qassimi likely like last year, Henning likely waiting for Munchies joining the frame for 8 rounds.

Leaves as a guess, not only Munchies missing Ireland, but Adapta too. I reckon Adapta with Ostberg and one more Norwegian driver will start the season in Norway. And there is another Norwegian driver who wants to start the season in Norway. Get the puzzle?

The JWRC looks more lame than ever!

 Re: WRC Teams and Drivers 2009 by RonSkoda

7-Jan-09 10:28 AM 

I believe "M2" teams or whatever they call them now can change their nominations for both drivers throughout the season.

Re: the Ford 'teams' I guess they will shuffle drivers around as necessary between Munchis and Stobart to give each team enough events to qualify for the championship.

 Re: WRC Teams and Drivers 2009 by peg306

7-Jan-09 03:17 PM 

Swede Patrik Flodin will do full PWRC season for the russian URT team with Subaru N14. Very nice too see :) Hope and believe he will do pretty good! See homepage for more info.

 Re: WRC Teams and Drivers 2009 by peg306

7-Jan-09 03:20 PM 

""Swede Patrik Flodin will do full PWRC season for the russian URT team with Subaru N14. Very nice too see :) Hope and believe he will do pretty good! See homepage for more info.

Hmm, i could just see that this news were only available in swedish for now, but i guess there will be an translation soon..

 Re: WRC Teams and Drivers 2009 by Chris B

7-Jan-09 05:27 PM 

URT should be Uspensky Rally Team. If so I should be able to get info in English and publish it on the front page if interested. Though tomorrow I am out all day. Let's see what I can do.

 Re: WRC Teams and Drivers 2009 by Chris B

8-Jan-09 06:31 AM 

Hi Peg306 and everyone,

Uspenskiy is the only team who could get an Impreza N14 to a PWRC victory, with Flodin on the recent Wales Rally GB. So this should be good.

No press release exists yet for 2009. But from the IRC Rally Russia organisers I know a team member of Uspenskiy and this is the info he kindly sent me:

"Yes, he'll do PWRC in 2009 with the Uspenskiy Rally Tecnica team. He'll also take part in the first round of the Russian Championship called "Peno", which is a snow event, to test the car in such conditions and prepare for the first production round of the WRC - Norway. The car will be the same - Impreza N14 with Tein suspension."

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