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Thread: Time to replace JML? Go to Top of This Forum

 Re: Time to replace JML? by Chris B

16-Apr-09 06:09 AM 

Absolutely spot on!

"r better yet, the IRC system where the top two cars from a manufacturer count - which I think used to be the case in WRC too, before "nominated" drivers were required."

This is correct. And if the old times were better, I would cancel the rule that M2 teams can't have the latest cars and works drivers can have the latest cars only. For one that would reduce the homologation costs. The other, not only as you say would M2 teams be obsolete and contribute to the real manufacturer points, the manufacturer would have reason giving top material at fair prices to the amateurs, who then are more likely to get a break. Which leads to the 3rd big advantage, would Matti Rantanen be long forgotten, had he scored makes points for Ford in Finland last year?!

But let them carry on turning manufacturers away in a future off-season WRC, then the IRC comes to the top and they have exactly this system for exactly these reasons!

 Re: Time to replace JML? by baru

26-Apr-09 05:38 PM 

The situation with Latvala is very interesting. Its not his fault of that he came the Ford team at a time of unrealistically high expectations. Ford came out with a truly great rally car a few years ago. They hired Gronholm. They won the manufacturers title two years in a row. This was all a glorious but short-term victory.

The great Ford car hit the scene at the last dying days of the Xsara, and the Subarus of the early decade when Burns and Solberg won titles. It came after Mitsubishi and Puegeot and others ped out of WRC. There was an open window filled by the great talent of Gronholm, as it happens, in the Ford. The problem was that the first coming of Ford was considered the second coming of Christ by Malcolm Wilson and Chris B.

As many folks, me included, have predicted, the Ford team was doomed to lose this year. Citroen is fundamentally greater in every phase of the game, and Gronholm has gone away. A poster to this board before the 09 season said Ford should be considered the favorite foir the manufacturer title, and others agreed. This seemed irrantional at the time to some of us, and obviously our view has proven correct i cannnot wait to see the response of Chris B. Why was Ford so wrong Wilson never gave due respect to Gronholm as bigger and better than Ford, and he never acknowledged that Ford hit the window between Citroen models. And most importantly, Ford hasnt changed its championship car that much. It hopes to hang on to its one glorious car for endless years to come.

If Subaru was in the game this year, they would be ahead of Ford. Even bumbling
Stobart is threatening the BP team. And see how Gronholm proved speed in his first drive ever in a Prodrive Subaru. The driver is more important than the manufacturer in success. And given Fords failures so far, leadership is important, and Wilson has tended to mess with the psyches of his drivers. Hirvonen is doing great, but Wilson actually said that Latvala is the only one with a chance to beat Loeb. Not good leadership skills. Similarly, Wilsons management of Latvala is based on impatience, not proper leadership.

And that brings us back to Latvala. He is young, with plenty of talent, but he crashes a lot. He has a bit of a narcisistic thing going, he puts too much emphasis on proving his speed on individual stages, instead of being patient, choosing his stages, and hanging in to the end. But you take this immature Latvala and you put him under the direction of Wilson, deluded by grandeur, and you get a .... uh, wreck.

And now Chris B has taken credit on behalf of Ford for Solbergs success. Great. The world spins around Ford. Never a mention that Latvala ran at least 14 PWRC rallies in a Subaru, which is why Ford noticed he was pretty good. Im not saying Latvala must proclaim any debt to Subaru Im saying if it was the other way around, Chris B would.

There, now. Ive tried to write a post as long as the average Chris B post, but fear i have failed.

So Ill add an extra line hey, is the Ford production car you know, a real car, less than a million euros trying to beat Subaru and Mitsubishi in Argentina

 Re: Time to replace JML? by Chris B

26-Apr-09 10:00 PM 

I don't quite understand what you mean in the last sentence. The problem with gN as in PWRC N4, this is a one-makes or couple-of-makes championship because these cars are too remote from road market reality. I have read several road tests in which the FWD Ford Focus ST rather clearly beats the Subaru Impreza WRX. On a gravel rally like Argentina these cars obviously can't be compared. I am sure if Ford or PSA would make an equivalent PWRC car, they would quite regularly beat the Japanese. In Argentina was an old, FWD, non turbo gN Peugeot 206 which despite this concept disadvantage plus punctures plus time penalties would have finished 7th in PWRC. As it is you can't blame Ford for not creeating a car nobody would buy, just to quieten some Subaru fans in PWRC. If Subaru was that good in PWRC, why do they need dog gearboxes, composite materials, lightened roof and lightened glass, why can't they compete in the production category with a proper production car.

To the other long post, there is not much I can add, as I actually agree with most you say!

Maybe not completely the same point of view, but your points are very good ones, yet don't contradict my main point that if the WRC rules were not changed to what they are now, there would be less pressure and more time for Latvala to become reliable. Unfortunately whatever way you look at it, Ford got only 3 points in Argentina for being beaten by 3 other Fords, while undoubted gentleman driver Fredrico Villagra after only 3 starts is now tied on points with Latvala! This only shows how badly Latvala affected Ford makes chances, but to me this is also proof that something is severely wrong with the scoring modus! I also find it interestin that Citroen leads Ford by 39points, but Ford leads Stobart by only 6!

I would have to admit being guilty for having overlooked the weak opposition time frame the Focus Mk2 came, a point I myself clearly made when talking of Peugeot and Citroen. And you are perfectly right. In fact Ford was very clever debuting the Focus Mk2 on the last rally of 2005, allowing them a winter break and another homologation before the next rally. I would agree that every car gets over its peak at some point and every car needs maybe a year to become fully competitive and have its niggling problems ironed out. The Xsara was still a good car in its last year, though kudos to Ford getting the Focus Mk2 competitive that quickly. But in the second Grönholm year you could indeed say that Ford had an advantage over Citroen as in having a still fresh, yet more proven car. By now Citroen should catch up that year starting disadvantage they had.

 Re: Time to replace JML? by Chris B

26-Apr-09 10:13 PM 

"And now Chris B has taken credit on behalf of Ford for Solbergs success. Great. The world spins around Ford. Never a mention that Latvala ran at least 14 PWRC rallies in a Subaru, which is why Ford noticed he was pretty good. Im not saying Latvala must proclaim any debt to Subaru Im saying if it was the other way around, Chris B would."

On this two points.

One that Petter was a paid Ford works driver when Subaru "stole" him out of an existing contract. Latvala's Subaru starts were in a self financed groupN car, he was not tight to Subaru in any way!

The other being that right in contrary, Latvala virtually started his WRCar career at Ford. He did the BRC 2003 when being underaged in a works loaned Focus WRC. His first WRC start -GB 2002 in an N+ Mitsu ignored- was Acropolis 2003 in "Y6 FMC", again a proper works standard Focus WRC. His Subaru starts were 2005 and 2006 to gain experience of WRC events

Hence they were not Subaru supported and they were after Latvala's links to the Ford works team had started!

 Re: Time to replace JML? by teamanager

29-Apr-09 07:44 PM 

Lots of comments on Latvala. First, the suggestion that Ford were bound to lose this year....Looking at the two teams at the beginning of the year, given Hirvonen's fine season last year, and Latvala with another year of experience, I think most people would have predicted a Ford win in the Manufacturer's champoinship. After all, 2008 was a non-Gronholm year too.

But this is a sport, not a business certainty. Instead of Latvala starting to push Loeb, we've seen him crash. A lot. And who would have predicted that after, what, three years ? Sordo would suddenly up his game and make that C4 fly ?

It was certainly not something I'd have expected. Nevertheless, I think Ford made the right choice in moving Latvala up from the Stobart team in 2008. If they wanted outright speed none of the other candidates - Gardemeister included - was going to push Loeb. I guess it'll take a little longer than hoped, but like Vatanen many years ago, I believe he'll be one of the top two or three drivers in the Championship, and fairly soon, too.

I believe that Ron Dennis - yes, different sport - once commented on his Formula One car which was suffering from unreliability. He said that it was much easier to take a fast car and make it reliable, than to take a reliable yet slower car and make it fast. I think the same thing applies here.

Lastly - really on another topic - when could anyone accuse Chris of favouring Fords ? Maybe Peugeot......but not Fords. LOL !

 Re: Time to replace JML? by m4d-mike

30-Apr-09 04:15 PM 

this applies more to drivers than cars
wilslow is never gonna be world champion but almost always finishes but mccrae would have the rally won and then find a tree to park in.

3 crashes in finland and still finish 9th even the weak ass entries we get now thats not easy.

here is a sujestion.

forget stobart.
look at
guy wilkes
kris meeke
mark higgins
keith cronin. ragin through the brc at the moment.

thats two teams of drivers who have proven wrc car results

higging regularly beats irish wrc drivers in his old n4 scooby

mattie rantanen is drivin a ragnotti clio in the brc too,

fia should allow wild card drivers and wildcard manufacturer entries like it was when the sport was building up after the groub b was dropped.

The drivers we have now are gettin to be a little too famous and are not good enough to deserve it. Preened and polished and not driving long enough to get the car dirty.

 Re: Time to replace JML? by blatant

1-May-09 08:45 PM 

I sometimes think Its Mikko Hirvonen that Ford should get rid of. I do wonder if he is really up to the task of Number 1 driver. This is his second year in the role at Ford, and thus far, he hasn't really managed to apply any presure on Sebastian Loeb. To be frank, he just isn't fast enough. I wonder if Hirvonen is the perfect number 2 driver, and get someone else in, with more of that raw speed, to be number 1.
Honestly, WRC now is like F1 in the mid-2000's. Everyone is secretly waiting for the driver that has dominated for too long to retire so competetivness can return to the series. M Schumacher retiring was the best thing that happened to F1 is a long time. Thing how much better the rallying will be when we don't have Loeb at the top of the leader board cruising through two days of competition and telling us how hard it is to concentrate.

 Re: Time to replace JML? by roowrc

2-May-09 09:46 PM 

Replace Latvala? It depends on what Wilson wants right now. Does he want someone to challenge for victory, does he want both drivers to finish in the points...he probably wants both.

Wilson at the moment has the two best drivers who are capable of beating, and have beaten Loeb in the recent past. But I think Loeb is simply on a roll, and the two Finns are struggling not necessarily with car setup, but with mental setup.

I'd be saying to Hirvonen "just go flat out." Stuff the tactics, Loeb will still win even if he is gravel sweeping. Latvala needs to drive the whole rally at 9/10's, regain some confidence. Latvala can drive a gravel rally at 8/10's and still comfortably beat Sordo, which is what Wilson wants in regards to the manufacturer race. Yet we know exactly where Ford is in relation to both championships.

PG Andersson - his performance in Norway was simply outstanding. Yes that was on snow, but the guy is quick he just needs to be given the oppurtunity.

Gardemeister - consistent. Not consistently fast, just consistent.

Atkinson - speed is unquestioned, but will probably take time to adjust to a new car after being out of the WRC for a few months, and having driven mediocre Subarus for 99% of the time.

But as a driver, why bother getting a WRC drive now, when teams will be wanting drivers who can drive S2000's cars in the near future?

And as for blatant's comment:
"Honestly, WRC now is like F1 in the mid-2000's. Everyone is secretly waiting for the driver that has dominated for too long to retire so competetivness can return to the series. M Schumacher retiring was the best thing that happened to F1 is a long time."

In regards to the WRC, I'm not "secretly waiting" for Loeb to retire, I'm waiting impatiently for other drivers to step up to the plate and bring on the challenge.

And as for Schuy's retirement from F1, he didn't win the championship after 2004, he retired in 2006. So rather it was slightly disappointing he retired when he did, just as a new wave of capable drivers were coming up through the ranks to challenge him.

 Re: Time to replace JML? by Chris B

3-May-09 01:13 PM 

I agree with most things said here. Hirvonen I would rate as a very good #2 driver, decently fast and consistant on all surfaces, but in speed plus reliability he is no Loeb, Grönholm, Röhrl or Mikkola. In Latvala I see an upcoming driver who can challenge Loeb in speed and who has future potential to be a good #1 driver like Loeb. The problem is, as said with Ford and Vatanen before, a talented driver to combine the speed of Latvala with consistancy on most surfaces needs some time to get intto this role.

What I am saying yet again is that this is not about what Wilson wants as a driver. The WRC has nominations, 2-car teams and no IRC style droop scores system. And for this, never mind the potential of Latvala, every crash is a crash too many for the manufacturer and we will never find anyone to challenge Loeb! The rules need changing or the WRC will stay boring forever!

 Re: Time to replace JML? by m4d-mike

29-Jun-09 06:11 AM 

What the hell happened on poland.
was it lack of concentration overexitement or just a freak accident (those do seem to be going round.

 Re: Time to replace JML? by Chris B

30-Jun-09 06:37 AM 

I have the suspiscioun Latvala is paid by Citroen. You know what I think of ending rallies with SSS's. Not even Latvala can be that stupid taking risks on a 1.5km SSS when Ford has 18points secure and the best Citroen is a min behind.

Maybe it was a freak accident, but the damage he did is immense. Before SSS Ford 18points, Citroen 10, after Ford 10, Citroen 12!

Mind you, have you seen the Loeb tree stump? Can't blame him for not seeing that, that surely goes into the category freak accident.

 Re: Time to replace JML? by m4d-mike

2-Jul-09 12:39 AM 

just saw that matt rantanen s getting a drive in finland for stobart. that should be interesting to watch

 Re: Time to replace JML? by gemini

30-Jul-09 05:49 AM 

BRING BACK TONI G!!!! He definitely would have scored more points than Jari and would have done his job of putting mikko in a good day two position for gravel rallies. BRING BACK TONI G!!!!

Also Adrian can you please post the tipping results for Poland? Cheers

 Re: Time to replace JML? by teamanager

1-Aug-09 07:34 PM 

"Bring back Toni G".....that's getting to be a tired old call. We have people here saying drop Hirvonen, because he cannot beat Loeb (despite the fact that he's currently leading - and extending his lead in - the World Championship.

It's been suggested that Hirvonen is an great #2 driver.....well, I suspect Malcolm Wilson probably agrees with you. But he NEEDS a great #2, so dropping Hirvonen makes no sense. I believe that Wilson actually sees Latvala as being the coming man....the one who CAN take it to Loeb on even terms. He is just having to wit a little longer than expected. But I think that the Ford expectation is to have Latvala as the fast man, backed up by a fast and consistent Hirvonen.

"Tony G" is fast and consistent, but NOT as fast as Latvala has the potential to be. And he's not as fast as Hirvonen either. He also hasn't had a competitive ride in over two years, so he could not be expected to be a big help to Ford right away. I suspect Ford/Wilson are fairly happy with what they have, even with Latvala's mistakes.

And I believe they just confirmed Latvala for 2010.......

 Re: Time to replace JML? by Chris B

2-Aug-09 04:48 AM 

Latvala signed for 2010 and 2011 in fact. I am as surprised by this as Latvala himself.

But very good analysis, Teamanager. In a normal world, aka IRC, I would say Hirvonen and Gardemeister are good #2 drivers. And Latvala may have crashes, but is the guy long term taking a fight to Loeb. Unfortunately WRC has an utterly stupid points system as Loeb has proven. 5 wins in a row followed by 2 unlucky crashes and it is only thanks to Hirvonen's blown engine in Argentina that Loeb is not too far behind and without any title chance! Stupid, stupid, stupid, I am not sitting here to watch people cruising for 2nd places!

But so it is, and that makes a charging hot shoe like Latvala the wrong driver choice and Hirvonen the right one. Gardemeister, I have a lot of sympathies for him, like Hirvonen he is fast anywheere, but I fully agree wit teamanager, with his lack of competition in decent cars I would be very surprised if he wasn't long over his peak.

In an ideal, aka IRC, World - and I said this before as a fav example - Rantanen would get a couple of drives, testing him out in a 3rd points scoring car and nobody would look at Wilslow, Rautenbach.... Unbelievable that for points system and M2 teams everybody talks about Wilson and nobody spoke about Rantanen for a year. 1st try Rantanen was faster than Wilson in his 40th WRCar start. Now 2nd try and he is even better. 10th try and he will give Loeb a headake! Or at least I would want to see what he can do outside Finland. Send him to IRC and Hänninen is no more the only new Finnish superstar!

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