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 Re: WRC Teams and Drivers 2009 by peg306

8-Jan-09 09:15 AM 

And another big, but fun, surprise for me. Patrik Sandell will compete in PWRC 2009 with a Red Bull Skoda Fabia S2000!!! More info on

 Re: WRC Teams and Drivers 2009 by RonSkoda

8-Jan-09 09:30 AM 

Excellent news :)

 Re: WRC Teams and Drivers 2009 by Elliott

9-Jan-09 09:37 AM 

Hey Chris, thanks for the update. Only 2 makes huh? Has there ever been this few before? And I have a couple other questions for you. How did Monte, Japan, and San Remo wind up on IRC calander? What's Peter Solberg up too?

As ever, thanks!

 Re: WRC Teams and Drivers 2009 by Radiv

9-Jan-09 10:02 AM 

Petter Solberg asks the press and public to wait until tomorrow! He has got an offer today, and needs time until tomorrow to make up his mind!

 Re: WRC Teams and Drivers 2009 by Elliott

10-Jan-09 00:18 AM 

Well my server wouldn't read it but I wish him well and look forward to seeing what happens. Thanks for the update.

 Re: WRC Teams and Drivers 2009 by Chris B

10-Jan-09 07:07 AM 

"Hey Chris, thanks for the . Only 2 makes huh Has there ever been this few before"

Sorts of. In 1995-1997 Toyota was banned, Mitsubishi competing with only 1 driver for the drivers, Ford was a management mess. Only Subaru was competing for the makes titles and they indeed managed to not beat themselves.

This is some irony in modern context. Subaru may have been miffed at lack of success, but their only 3 titles in all those years were when the makes title battle was at its weakest point in history.

Positive 2009 therefore, Malcolm Wilsons recent comment, that the quitting of Subaru and Suzuki was not such a big loss for the WRC therefore sounds harsh, but he has a point. If Subaru and Suzuki drivers drive more competitive cars, as i.e. Chris Atkinson moving Subaru to Citroen, may give us better battles than recent years.

On the negative side, in those years we at least had a variation of cars. Sure, the Adapta team is still coming, but the Rally Ireland entry list does look bad for the first 11 entries - which is as few there is in works or works-supported cars - consists of only Focus and C4!

"And I have a couple other questions for you. How did Monte, Japan, and San Remo wind up on IRC calander"

This is a complex question, and I have little time right now. Basically the WRC does so many things wrong and the whole idea of the IRC is tu be an alternative series minus stupid WRC rule mistakes of recent years and more in the classic spirit of rallying.

This means i.e. the WRC insists on so many rounds and now on rotation. The calendar is weird. I.e. in 2004 Rallye San Remo being replaced by Sardinia, lead to big criticism of the manufacturers. San Remo is a classic with marketing potential. Sardinia is just another Cyprus, Turkey, Acropolis in no name location, similar conditions, similar area, nothing really new nor outstanding.

The IRC in return was proud to snap up classic San Remo. Better example maybe Safari, the WRC did not want it any more, the IRC was proud to have such a classic, unique, marketaable adventure. Now for rotation the WRC loses more classics, and the IRC is keen on classics. The WRC did not want Monte Carlo for 2009, the IRC tried to snap it up. As a bonus, the IRC also does not have stupid rules as nominations, clover leaf,no night stages, etc.. Such the IRC for the Monte organisers was a chance to return to a classic, unique, adventurous and such marketaable format. Bingo for the fans, teams and the sport itself!

 Re: WRC Teams and Drivers 2009 by Elliott

11-Jan-09 10:31 PM 

Chris, as always thanks for the feedback (you've always given me good info since I joined way back in 2002).

The IRC seems to be on the ball. I was so bummed when Safari was dropped by WRC a few years back. What is WRC thinking? No Monte? Seriously? Same with San Remo and to an extent Japan. These are some of the best rallies. I know I came in at a great time (Colin, Burns, Tommi, Marcus, Carlos, etc, etc) with lots of makes (Mitsu, Ford, Sub, Cit, Skoda, and Hyundai). But it just seems even to me, a strandred fan overseas, that the WRC is run poorly.

Oh, and what's clover leaf?

As always, thanks!

PS-One other thing. Was that like a golden period would you say (around 2002)? It was just so darn cool to me.

 Re: WRC Teams and Drivers 2009 by blatant

13-Jan-09 09:01 AM 

Clover leaf is a way of describing the layout of a modern day WRC event. Nowadays, there is just one service park used for the entire rally, and the three legs are basically loops heading out and back to that central service - hence the clover leaf.
In the past, rallies often stayed overnight in different places, or at least had full-on servicing areas mid-leg, away from the rally HQ.
The idea behind it was to make the rallies more compact, and it meant the service crews didn't have to pack up a truck and head out somewhere to service the cars.
What it actually has meant is a lot of repeated stages (which is boring), no services anywhere except at the rally HQ (which is boring) and the crews rack up some major kilometres driving to and from the stages (which is boring for them).

 Re: WRC Teams and Drivers 2009 by blatant

13-Jan-09 09:08 AM 

And was 2002 a golden year in rallying? Thats a toughie. I was talking with a friend about this just the other day. He maintains that the best year of rallying was 1986 - the mad Group B cars, some great driving by some of the best drivers, politics and intrigue behind the scenes, and a championship that went down to the wire.
I think my favourite season was 2001. It was an incredibly close championship race between Tommi Makinen, Colin McRae and Richard Burns. Many of the rallies were very close, eight different drivers won an event, for five different manufacturers. The cars still looked awesome on the stages, there were five ex-champs in the field, and the end of the season saw the crowning of a new one. It basically had everything you could ask for in a WRC season.

 Re: WRC Teams and Drivers 2009 by Radiv

13-Jan-09 10:30 AM 

Rumors has it that Petter is on his way to France today. I guess to talk to Citroen Sport.

He is entered on Rally Norway, but witt TBA on car as of now.

 Re: WRC Teams and Drivers 2009 by Chris B

13-Jan-09 07:35 PM 

In full the rumour is that that in Norway Petter will drive the car with the door number 2! A smart move. the guy who usually sat in the car with door number 2 has not really convinced me when it came to collecting decent makes points in recent seasons.

To the other posts, Elliott I will have to leave the clover leaf question until I have more time. In short it is like Blatant explained. Not only 3 aspects times boring, it is clover leaf to blame for the boring day schedules of recent years. Some clever brains thought it was no good idea for service, budget, media, traffic congestion and the image of rallying to have service barges - we don't need to take all 40 tonners and VIP tents to a remote service, do we - 150km down the road, but have rally cars after action with oil leaks and wheels haning off travel 150km to service and 150km back again. This is the reason why in a typical WRC day we have 3 stages, an annoying 4hrs break and then 3 stages again. Although the basic thinking is understandable, compact and TV friendly rally in WRC these days means in a 9 or 10 hours day of rallying we have 3 stages repeated.

In contrast - as I think I gave as example - a free of such rules 2007 IRC Safari on the first day moved service 150km north of host town Nairobi. Result was 11 - in words eleven! - breathtaking and legendary Rift Valley stages in a day! In one of the last WRC Safaris to use these stages, take the furthest North one north of Naivasha, teams would have had to travel 500km of road section to get to Nairobi service and back again! This of course means we can only have 4 stages a day or lose the classic areas.

On the recent Wales Rally GB leg1 we have re-visited classic central Welsh stages Hafren, Sweet Lamb and Myherin again for the first time in 6 or 7 years, because they have eased up a little with clover leaf service. On leg2 we had the same as last years, Resolfen, Halfway and Crychan. The irony is that Crychan Forest is some 150km north of Cardiff, 50km South East of Sweet Lamb, but instead of moving service to Sweet Lamb area, after stages after Crychan the rally cars had to return to service, which was in Cardiff. If this was not the case, I have actually worked out a time schedule for Wales Rally GB that would include all stages of leg1 and all stages of leg2, all in one day and the teams are still back in Cardiff or Swansea the same time in the evening! I will try to find some time soon and base an article around this example!

My favourite year would be 1985 or the group4 days, 1978 to 1981. However 2002 is a good example of what went wrong without reason. Also 1982 to 1984 was not bad. With 1986 I have a problem. Ace cars but too many incidents from Portugal via Toivonen to the San Remo rules farce. Curiously although I had to get used to groupA and found Monte 87 a bit of a rules farce and missed the brute and sound sensation, in retrospect I must say I quite liked the 1987 season. Before lancia gathered total domination, the mix of cars in 1987 was intriguing, if FWD R11 Turbo nearly winning Portugal, BMW M3 winning Corsica, the unusual Nissan Silvia 200SX and Toyota Supra for rough rallies, even if happless but the spectacle of a Sierra Cosworth.... Maybe this is why I keep saying 4x4 should be banned, without 4x4 1987 would have been the start of years with road realistic cars and big variation.

Facts about 2002-

- It looked like Peugeot and Grönholm domination, WHICH IS WHY THE FIA HAS DECIDED WE NEED A NEW POINTS SYSTEM SO GRÖNHOLM CAN BE CAUGHT. I don't need to mention that changing from the 10-6-4 to the 10-8-6 system made it harder to run away at the top, but against FIA intention it made it multiple times harder to catch up, because once the leading driver has a lead, he doesn't need wins any more, just cruise to 2nd and don't take risks.

- Indeed Grönholm won with 77points, Petter 2nd with 37points. Incredible fact overseen for the rule change how everybody but Grönholm had their issues. 7points for 2nd is not only extremely low, but Harri Rovanperä at only 7points less was 7th! For 2nd place there were 6 drivers covered within 7points!

- Despite the apparent Grönholm and Peugeot domination, 2002 was a season in which Mäkinen, Grönholm, Panizzi, Sainz, McRae, Loeb and Solberg won rallies, in teams
Subaru, Peugeot, Ford, Citroen, that's 7 different drivers and 4 different cars winning rallies in a 14 rounds season! compared to today, this makes it clear we had to do something about boredom after that 2002 season!

- Let alone the return to 2-car teams one year later, after 2003. In 2002 we had 3-car teams and works teams by Peugeot, Ford, Mitsubishi, Subaru, Skoda, Hyundai and Citroen. Even though Citroen started "only" in 11 of the 14 rallies and not all teams always used all 3 drivers, this is 21 works seats available - Armin Kremer and Antony Warmbold not included! Today how rarely do we have 21 WRCars, even Wilson, Rautenbach, Al Qassimi included?

So don't know if today I would say 2002 was my favourite year. Probably not seeing my favourites above. But I somehow had the feeling with points system and later 2-car teams the FIA tried to shoot at Peugeot and they hit the whole sport as a result. If maybe not favourite, 2002 certainly was a very, very enjoyable season. All the rules that came since to make the sport better, any season that followed 2002 was certainly not as enjoyable. In fact I would say - maybe because I am Peugeot fan - in the WRCar era 1997 there were no WRCars yet, 1998 also the concept was not yet fully up and running, the best years of WRCar competition was definitely 1999 - 2002, then it started going downhill for artificial, unneeded rule changes!

Maybe for newer fans who have only seen recent years, it all doesn't seem so dramatic. Maybe we get used to things. But I must say, 2002 is not that long ago and if I recall that we indeed for fact had 7 different winners and 7 works teams with 21 available seats, it is shocking!

 Re: WRC Teams and Drivers 2009 by Chris B

13-Jan-09 07:56 PM 

Some clarifications on my own post.

I seem to have an argument with the number 3 on my keyboard. 3 reasons 3 times boring, Petters 37points, just keep adding 3s.

Just to let it sink in. In Ireland 2009 we actually do have 21 WRCars exactly entered. This is including all locals, unknown Stephen Murphy, McHale times 3. In a 2002 season maybe 18 or 19 of the 21 works cars would have come, plus all those McHales and Barrables! In those days fixed entry numbers for the JWRC started at N°50!

Before I sound too Peugeot biased, in my choice of best years of the WRCar era, of course we had WRCars in 1997, but the Escort was not a proper WRCar, the Impreza looked too similar to the gA 555. The Corolla was the first real WRCar and came only late 97. With the start of the 1999 the Seat Cordoba WRCar was still new, we saw the debut of Focus and Octavia and had the debut of the 206 round the corner.

Today I have to stay loyal to my team somehow, meaning my personal favourite is Citroen and I do like Loeb very much. But isn't it all a bit easy? To the day I don't understand why in 2002 FIA, fans, everyone was shooting at Peugeot. It may have looked like Grönholm domination, but look at the figures again, every single Peugeot win in 2002 was more satisfying than any Citroen win today, because back in 2002 every single Peugeot win had to be fought for!

 Re: WRC Teams and Drivers 2009 by Gregor

14-Jan-09 10:02 AM 

I heard that rumor in another forum about Petter in that role and thought it was an absolutely insane speculation, yet here I am reading it in what I consider a more trustworthy source! Strange days indeed if it's true.

 Re: WRC Teams and Drivers 2009 by Radiv

14-Jan-09 12:08 AM 

Petter has bought a Citroen Xsara, no chance for C4 I guess.

What can he get done in one of these ?

 Re: WRC Teams and Drivers 2009 by RonSkoda

14-Jan-09 12:26 AM 

Xsara can still be a good car, probably better than the Impreza still. And if Petter doesn't do so well, he has an excuse!

Maybe Petter should just use this year to "keep his hand in" and hope there are more opportunities in 2010 onwards.

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