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 Re: WRC Teams and Drivers 2009 by Radiv

14-Jan-09 02:43 PM 

He has been talking to Abarth today about 2010, so he is planning ahead !

 Re: WRC Teams and Drivers 2009 by AndyRAC

14-Jan-09 04:16 PM 

What does it say about the WRC that a World Champion, the last before Loeb - is hunting around for a deal? What a shambles of a sport.

Regarding 2002 - I still play on the WRC II Extreme Playstation game - and there are 21 works drivers, not including McRae and Kankkunen - in 7 Manufacturer cars. Imagine trying to make a similar game now - 2 teams and 4 drivers. Wow!!!

I see today that Dave Richards is blaming the FIA for the mess that the WRC is in. Thing is, he also helped - with the 'Cloverleaf format' events that have basically ruined the sport.

 Re: WRC Teams and Drivers 2009 by moogy

14-Jan-09 04:44 PM 

I cant believe that petter is having difficulty getting a drive! it would be good to see him in a different car, i wish him all the best with his endeavours for a drive this season, it wouldnt be the same without him.

does the rule, rally leader 1st on the road still apply for this coming year?
it seemed to be a very unpopular rule last year.
i want to see the cars going flat out on every stage for all of the stage and not be wondering how ford can wangle a few more manufacturers points.
what was the reason for changing to this rule? i cant see any positives for this rule.

 Re: WRC Teams and Drivers 2009 by RonSkoda

14-Jan-09 04:48 PM 

"does the rule, rally leader 1st on the road still apply for this coming year?
it seemed to be a very unpopular rule last year."

You just answered your own question, of course it stays! Hope we don't see the special games from Ford again, but I fear we will.

 Re: WRC Teams and Drivers 2009 by Ron@Work

15-Jan-09 03:35 AM 

According to today's Autosport magazine, Petter is finding it hard to find a car and might just run a Xsara on Norway to "put on a show for the fans"

He was talking to Proton at the Autosport show, who are looking to join WRC from next year. The article said he could spend this year testing the car ahead of a debut next year. He apparantely will test the S2000 version in the next few weeks.

 Re: WRC Teams and Drivers 2009 by Chris B

15-Jan-09 04:27 AM 

Many interesting news, stories, rumours.

The story Petter in the N°2 C4 in place of Sordo is only a rumour too, but from good sources. It seems he was visiting Citroen and it seems stories that he bought a Xsara are wrong!

A Xsara wouldn't make sense. Several drivers, at least Gardemeister and Stohl, confirmed that the 307 he was linked to at one point was faster than the Xsara, plus there would be enough C4 available.

With Proton I already said elsewheere, I find their idea strange. Judging by the design of the Satria Neo, which is their first self designed and developed car, I trust them to do better in WRC than the jokers Hyundai and Suzuki. But I do believe Proton would get more marketing for less money in the IRC.

A lot of good words in AndyRACs post. Yes, the fact that Petter, last World Champ before Loeb, struggles for a drive tells a lot about the state of the WRC. To be honest, with only 2 makes teams, Chris Atkinson was extremely lucky to get at least an M2 drive. I am convinced he has to pay to it and was also lucky to find a sponsor. No idea who that sponsor is, but his drive at Subaru was supported by Subaru Australia, who are hardly paying towards his Citroen drive.

About Dave Richards, I wish others would open his mouth the same as him! I don't actually remember who came up with that clover leaf service idea, but we have plenty of examples that this does NOT make WRC more interesting for TV. Richards came up with no night stages in WRC, but was it him with clover leaf? In my eyes certainly clover leaf and the choice of events, which Richards criticises also, is to blame for the lack of interest and lack of marketaability of the WRC. And latest news that people applying for the WRC marketer rule are pulling out seems to indicate that the marketing people have no say, they get a set of rules like cliver leaf and event calendar and have to live with it.

This by the way is also why I say Proton would get better marketing for less money out of IRC. Look at the IRC calendar compared to the WRC. All the events that the public can identify and is interested in are in IRC, not WRC! Here it fits somehow what for many is the main complaint about IRC. As long as teams like Proton and people like Petter see the series with the official World Champion tag as the one they must be in, the best teams and drivers will be spread over 2 series and the IRC will struggle to overtake and we have to carry on living with the stupid rules in WRC. Hard to demand, but it would be better everyone would boycott WRC and we get a clear N° 1 series, one which does not include clover leaf, 2-car teams and lack of classic events in their wildest dreams!

 Re: WRC Teams and Drivers 2009 by Gregor

15-Jan-09 10:24 AM 

Perhaps Proton looks at both and thinks WRC would be easier at this point! Third place is pretty much a guarantee as a manufacturer if the car's anywhere near ready.

Replacing Sordo doesn't make sense to me. I believe we discussed a long time ago Spain is Citroen's best market outside of France. Combine that with Spanish passion for their drivers (Alonso and Sainz, at least) and replacing him would be a big hit PR-wise. To justify it Sordo would have to be crashing left and right.

To worry Solberg doesn't have a drive reminds me of what I thought when McRae disappeared from the WRC. Plus Petter had a bad season three years ago and absolutely awful seasons these last two years. That's a lot of time to be competing and not winning. Subaru's problems aside Atkinson seems to have at least made do with the car.

Which brings up the biggest question I have. It's already been asked, but if Atkinson has been running in the WRC with the support of Subaru Australia, who's paying him now and why? I think it's great that he's got a drive, but I'd like to know the business behind it.

 Re: WRC Teams and Drivers 2009 by Radiv

15-Jan-09 03:54 PM 

Lets see the Petter saga ends with, but I think he will do two things he will do Rally Norway since it is Norway !, then depending on what kind of car he can get, and sponsors for PSRT, he will decide on the rest of 09.

I think he wont get a top car either Citroen or Ford - they fear he will come to close to their factory drivers. I believe Petter still has it, and will win in the right car.

If he does not get the right car that he can fight at the top with, he will focus on 2010 and maybe link up with a team that will compete in WRC in the cartype that will the WRCar in 2010, S2000 or +.
And be a part of their build up to that, and maybe drive in ed rounds of IRC to learn the car in competition mode.

Let see !

 Re: WRC Teams and Drivers 2009 by Chris B

16-Jan-09 05:28 AM 

Gregor, you are right that Spain is Citroens most important market. The curiosity is that Spain is not only the only market wheere Citroen is market leader, it is the only market wheere Citroen sells more cars than sister Peugeot. It is also interesting how well rally marketing works in enthusiastic Spain. The Xsara was already an old car and selling OK, but only when Sainz joined the team the old Xsara was suddenly Spains most sold model!

The other point however I see is that this is Norway and Petter is Norways hero. That I believe Sordo is not the best N°2 driver for makes points, it is maybe personal opinion. But I am sure if this is only a one off and Sordo will start anyway and he will start 11 of 12 rallies as nominated driver, then the marketing gain in Petter driving the car in Norway will be a lot higher than the marketing damage in Spain, which will be very minor for a one off. But we will have to wait and see what is behind this rumour.

How Atkinson got that Citroen drive with what budget is also something I would love to know!

 Re: WRC Teams and Drivers 2009 by Chris B

16-Jan-09 05:33 AM 

"To worry Solberg doesn't have a drive reminds me of what I thought when McRae disappeared from the WRC."

Here too! And just to remind, Citroen wanted to keep Colin, he was out of a drive the moment the 2-car-teams rule was invented! I hate this rule to the days and as you know, the first reason why I love IRC more than WRC - alongside the choice of events - is exactly their strategy of droop scores over 2-car-teams!

 Re: WRC Teams and Drivers 2009 by Chris B

16-Jan-09 05:37 AM 

Sorry if I keep replying to myself, but this is a subject that really burns in my heart, the events choice and the scoring modus. Here we have a superb example why the WRC scoring modus is rubbish and the IRC one brilliant. We would have never needed M2 teams in WRC and still had enough cars. Besides at least Mitsubishi and Skoda would have never withdrawn. Keep the Colin and Petter scenarios in your mind and look at IRC. Gardemeister is a real asset to IRC and Abarth, but having 2-car teams over droop scores, he would be without a drive! Abarth stealing 4-times-winner Rossetti from Peugeot, who would have cared? Neither Peugeot, nor Abarth, nor any fan would have cared, the 4-times-winner would never have had a drive with either team in the first place!

 Re: WRC Teams and Drivers 2009 by AndyRAC

16-Jan-09 06:03 AM 

Interesting story about Citroen/McRae. From what I remember - Citroen really wanted him, but asked Citroen UK for help, i;e using McRae in marketing, etc Citroen UK didn't want to use Motorsport as part of their marketing campaign, whereas in Spain, the importer were more sensible - use Sainz - shift a load of cars. Voila!! Sainz was signed.

 Re: WRC Teams and Drivers 2009 by Chris B

16-Jan-09 08:14 AM 

It was slightly more complex than this, but not the less interesting.

- For 2003 season, Colin McRae and Carlos Sainz were both drooped by Ford, because they had an excellent new evo in the tube and no money for drivers apparently. 2003 was also Citroens first full season. They needed a N°1 driver alongside Loeb, while for the 3rd car, as we had 3-car-teams, they could choose between Philippe Bugalski, who eventually did 4 starts, and Daniel Sola, not Sordo, who did only 2 starts, so nationality was not much consideration at this point.

- This original plan was changed very last minute. I remember despite 3 car teams and at least 6 manufacturers, time was running out for Carlos Sainz. Only last minute Sainz was signed alongside McRae and Loeb.

- Curiously Sainz got on a lot better with the Citroen Xsara than McRae. It also was only now that in Spain Xsara sales rocketed, making a link to rally marketing success obvious.

- During the 2003 season there was talk that some teams used 3 excellent drivers and others didn't. I personally don't agree with this, at least as far as Peugeot was concerned, Citroen maybe indeed was overdoing it a bit, but Citroen still gave chances to Bugalski and Sola while Loeb was also still young and new. If Ford is giving the N°1 car to a still not top star Markko Märtin and the other 2 cars to pay drivers as Hirvonen, its their problem. Besides Duval also was never hanging around. Even the supposed poor teams ran a 3rd car, Subaru had regularly Arai, Hyundai had Vallimäki and Stohl, Kankkunen the year before, Skoda with their 3rd car gave chances to legend Stig Blomqvist and new blood Roman Kresta, matthias Kahle and Gabriel Pozzo. I really don't see what was the problem with 3-car teams in 2003!!!! Nevertheless, the FIA invented a rule to level this out, in which from 2004 3rd drivers can only be those that have not finished on the podium in the last 3 years. They did so blaiming Peugeot, ignoring the fact that Peugeot also gave chances to youngsters and i.e. in 2000 Marcus Grönholm would have qualified as a 3rd driver under this rule, despite this being his WRChampionship winning year. Worst thing however was, that from June this was a confirmed ruling and there was no indication that this rules was to be changed!

- Result is, Citroen it was who now had 3 drivers that all 3 would not qualify for the 3rd car. One had to go and looking at the results during 2003, it was obvious this had to be Colin McRae. For me here joins another interesting aspect of rallying, as indicated before at PSA Duval and Märtin should have swapped cars. I find it striking that at Ford Colin was so much more superstar than Carlos, but at Citroen the situation was exactly vice versa. Between Loeb, Sainz and McRae, McRae was their most crash prone driver, yet their only driver who did not win a rally. However I do remember that before this decision was taken, marketing considerations and discussions with Spanish and UK importers took place and the behavior of the UK importer did not improve the case for Colin, even though remember when first signed they went for Colin and had to think hard about Carlos.

- Anyway, the 3rd car rule stood. Without this rule Citroen would have kept Colin. It really was a dilemma for them already, because they were generally happy with their 3 drivers. However as this rule stood, Citroen did the next best thing and signed Simon Jean-Joseph as Colin replacement. Jean-Joseph was bringing major sponsorship money! Citroen and Peugeot both had signed their 3-car-team for 2004, when on the eve of the penultimate round, Australia, the FIA drooped the bomb and announced the already confirmed rule was obsolete and we are going to have 2-car-teams. Peugeot was stuck with 3 drivers under contract and a strategy that now no more could work. Citroen was lucky enough to be able to sack Simon Jean-Joseph, but lost a major sponsor. When at the end of 2004 PSA announced both their brands to withdraw from WRC, this scenario was the main reason!

- Interesting is that from 2004 Carlos Sainz not only remained in the team. The Spanish importer cooperated greatly with a Citroen WRC advertising campain, consolidating Spain as the only market in which Citroen is market leader, Sainz also eventually brought in a Spanish sponsor, Telefonica, and when after Duval, Sordo became part of the Citroen team, it was also a deal designed by Carlos Sainz! Even if in my eyes Sordo is not as fast as Sainz and Duval and especially Hirvonen - it was the N°2 drivers that decided the makes title pro Ford in 2006 and 2007 - these are all very valuable reasons why Sordo is in the team.

 Re: WRC Teams and Drivers 2009 by Chris B

16-Jan-09 08:24 AM 

One slight detail missing, in Citroens off-season the Gauloises Kronos team interestingly also had 2 Spaniards alongside Loeb. I actually felt Xavier Pons did better, although unluckier, than Sordo. Difficult to judge. I like Pons because he is quite a character, while Sordo seems a bit too media friendly, designed, I never remember what he said in interviews. Maybe personal preferences, but in early season Pons was let down by the car, which did not happen to Sordo, Pons also had more crashes than Sordo admittedly, but it also is fact that in the last 5 rallies of 2006, Pons beat Sordo straight on all 5 of them! In contrast Sainz is Sordos manager and Sordo also competes with Sainz's navigator.

Side effect of this add on, I thought Pons looked like a joke in the Subaru. He was i.e. in the top5 in all the last 4 rounds of 2006 in the Xsara. He never was in the top5 in the Subaru! Maybe this gives a hint, or at least a fasincating comparison, to the earlier questions how Chris Atkinson will compare switching from Subaru to Citroen.

 Re: WRC Teams and Drivers 2009 by Radiv

25-Jan-09 06:49 PM 

So, then it is confirmed; Petter will drive a 2006 Xsara in rally Norway.
He tested Focus and Xsara today in Sweden, and chose the Citroen.

Hopefully he can get all the right bits and pieces for it from Citroen, if so - this can get fun. If he has tested Focus and Xsara in parallel, then he know what he is doing - he took the best overall package !

I hope he can get it tested and sorted out before Norway.

This also mean that Petter will be continue to work towards 2010, and test a lot of S2000 cars, maybe also some rallies.

Have fun on the Le Mans testing with Oreca on Paul Richard Petter !!!

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