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 Most improved driver of 2009? by Ron@Work

27-Apr-09 09:33 AM 

You'd have to say Sordo, right?

Though.. I can't tell whether he's actually improved and Seb is just crusing the whole time.... But he seems to be almost on a par with Ford's Finns though, even on gravel.

Discuss!



 Re: Most improved driver of 2009? by AndyRAC

27-Apr-09 09:44 AM 

Thank goodness, I thought you were going to sat Matt Wilson.....,

...who couldn't beat Frederico Villagra!

Actually, Sordo has been impressive since RallyGB in December.



 Re: Most improved driver of 2009? by m4d-mike

27-Apr-09 12:51 AM 

if i was sordo now i would be looking to jum ship soon as possible or he will never get a world title for himself. he will always be branded s citroen number too and to be honest wilslow gets more media attention.

no one seems to care(may be just me) where he sits in results



 Re: Most improved driver of 2009? by bringbackrealrallying

27-Apr-09 02:29 PM 

Sebastien Loeb. He will win every rally this year.



 Re: Most improved driver of 2009? by blatant

28-Apr-09 01:18 AM 

Unfortunatly.
Sordo has been good this season, but until he can at least start putting some pressure on Loeb, he's only ever gonna be 'drive-for-manufacturer-points man.



 Re: Most improved driver of 2009? by teamanager

8-May-09 07:21 PM 

The Drivers Championship looks like being a foregone conclusion this year. Five rallies done, and five wins for Sebastien Loeb. Boring, huh ?

I don't think so. No driver has EVER won every round of the WRC in the same year - don't tell me I'm wrong, Chris - But Loeb only needs seven more wins. Now that would be something to go in the record books.

So, until he actually loses one, I guess I'm rooting for Loeb to take them all !



 Re: Most improved driver of 2009? by Chris B

9-May-09 12:20 AM 

...and quite possible to happen. See this:

Shocking!

I can show the exact calculations, but trying to keep it simple to make the mark:

Having compared and calculated Rautenbach's pace in WRC Cyprus, Portugal and Argentina and IRC Acores, the result is:

Relative to Rautenbach, Loeb would be 0.2s per km off the pace in IRC!!!!

This means, if you believe Loeb could win in IRC too, then he is cruising in WRC with lack of competition more even than the biggest IRC fans believed!



 Re: Most improved driver of 2009? by teamanager

10-May-09 02:12 PM 

An interesting stat, but it's still that. Just a miscellaneous stat. Until we see Loeb in a S2000 running head to head with the rest of the IRC regulars it will be impossible to say how good he is in comparison. I'd like to see it, though.

I might add that the gap between the competitors in IRC seems to be growing. We're not seeing several cars just seconds apart after two days anymore.....I think the top teams are starting to show. But at least there are a lot more competitive cars than there are in WRC.



 Re: Most improved driver of 2009? by RonSkoda

10-May-09 03:36 PM 

It certainly seems that Abarth have dropped back a bit.. But wait for the tarmac events, I expect entry lists to be big and times to be very close there!

Duval is starting Ypres in a Fabia.



 Re: Most improved driver of 2009? by Chris B

10-May-09 09:42 PM 

"I might add that the gap between the competitors in IRC seems to be growing. We're not seeing several cars just seconds apart after two days anymore.....I think the top teams are starting to show. But at least there are a lot more competitive cars than there are in WRC."

Agreed there are more competitive cars, or at least more than 2 drivers that are interesting, unlike WRC. Agreed also that top teams starting to show. Not yet, see my paragraph, but that in fact is my fear with S2000 from the beginning. With high revving high compression atmo engines without turbo air restrictors, once someone started decent all tricks development the gaps between cars will be much bigger than WRCar ever were! I also agree with Ron that I am disappointed by Abarth. In a way I feel sorry for them. Once again they have lost both cars and stay empty handed in the points table. Rarely seen an unluckier team. But even up to that point, like on every rally so far this year, they seem to have lost the pace they still had in Asturias and San remo last year. Non of their no doubt very fast driver looked a thread to Peugeot and Skoda in any stage, and that's a big shame!

"I might add that the gap between the competitors in IRC seems to be growing..." On this I beg to differ. Yes, for the moment it does look like in Meeke IRC have found their Loeb style dominator. As an IRC fan I am quite surprised by this. I had conficdence in Meeke to be a top driver, but that much better than everybody else? In Monte Carlo we had a very close battle and eventually a winner who was not at all the fastest on the stages, a very exciting round. In Brazil, given Abarth recent lack of pace, the 3 Kronos Peugeots had a rally of their own. It is right, in Acores the gaps were bigger, but after what I just said on Monte and Brazil, this would be a judgement based on one single event. Wait for Ypres!

In fact, there is another thing that makes IRC interesting and competitive, the lack of WRC style nominations, the droop scores, etc.. So Duval starts in a Skoda, Ron. OK; Every night when Loix walks home from the pub, he walks over these stages, it is truly a home rally for him. Vouilloz will have his 3rd start in Ypres and always looked strong. Also Guy Wilks should be there. Let's see how easy Meeke finds winning that one!



 Re: Most improved driver of 2009? by Chris B

10-May-09 09:53 PM 

Oh, and beyond that, for WRCs problem, surely it is just that, a stat. It was the first start of Rautenbach in an S2000 and aparently he had no previous testing. Also it was his first start in the Acores. I think this stat in the first place was more to prove something for IRC and the result only by coincidence could be a hint of WRCs problem.

Because plainly, I obviously made those calculations out of interest, knowing it will be difficult to prove anything beyond a vague tendency. Given the different conrerstones of events and regs, plus given the hype about Loeb robot superstar, plus given that in IRC Rautenbach had a latest spec car, which he doesn't have in WRC by M2 rules, I would have been happy had Rautenbach been half as far off the pace as he is in WRC. From an IRC point of view, I was absolutely stunned by the fact that he is regularly closer to Loeb than he was this weekend in IRC. Maybe it is just stats, maybe we would need more Rautenbach IRC starts to get a somewhat accurate tendency, but I believe it means already now that the competitiveness of IRC is a lot higher than most of us, even IRC fans believed! If not better, it is at least very close to the competitiveness of WRC! Anyone who thought IRC is 2nd league, would have had to have Rautenbach higher up. And this was even still a round with a weaker entry and only few close battles! In Ypres or Madeira at this form Rautenbach and arguable Wilson, Villagra, etc, would seriously be outside the top10.



 Re: Most improved driver of 2009? by Ron@Work

11-May-09 06:27 AM 

Re: Rautenbach

I am pleased that my own and my colleagues faith in the strength of the regular IRC drivers has been kind of vindicated in Azores.

Ok, Conrad was learning the car, but most of the IRC drivers were new to Azores too so you can't really count that. Conrad is supposed to be doing 3 more IRC rounds (Russia, Sanremo, Scotland), so it will be interesting to follow those too.

On this evidence, even I doubt that Loeb would be off the top pace in IRC. More likely is that he is crusing in WRC, but I think it is fairly clear than all of the WRC 'M2' drivers would struggle in IRC, and maybe even Sordo and Hirvonen too.



 Re: Most improved driver of 2009? by Mambo

21-May-09 02:37 PM 

I would definitely say Sordo is the most improved driver this year. I think he can challenge Loeb on tarmac (Catalonya) and maybe win. Its sad, cos he is up against the best driver out there, his team mate... I hope Sordo will be Spain´s next champion, I think he will race few years after Loeb retires, so it can happen.



 Re: Most improved driver of 2009? by m4d-mike

26-May-09 08:45 AM 

has any one remembered petter solberg this season. i think he has shown some serious improvement this season.i know the subaru can be blamed fora lot of it but atkinson was beating him in the same car last season



 Re: Most improved driver of 2009? by Chris B

26-May-09 02:21 PM 

Haha, you stole my punch line. I always regarded Petter very highly. It's not the driver that improved, but his car!


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