Cyprus IRC Finale

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Cyprus IRC Finale

Postby RonSkoda » 04 Nov 2011 15:19

Well now it is certain a Skoda driver will take it and it will not be Hanninen.

Mikkelsen is in the strongest position but if Al-Attiyah steals the win then Kopecky would take the title in his current position.
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Re: Cyprus IRC Finale

Postby mof » 06 Nov 2011 00:59

Mikkelsen won it. Great drive, great car.
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Re: Cyprus IRC Finale

Postby ChrisB » 06 Nov 2011 15:04

For my 2 cents, if you are interested:

Jan Kopecky complained at the end of the last stage the coefficient system stole his title. To which Colin Clark replied, if you don’t like it you should not start this rally. That made me think. If you don’t like it, it’s not about not starting this rally, but about not starting the whole season. So if the system is wrong, the IRC could risk losing many regular entries.

I don’t know. Let’s look at what happened and compare the fighters that were left:

At first it looked like a battle Mikkelsen vs Hänninen vs Neuville. Significantly Kopecky (and Loix) not part of that battle. Then Hänninen crashed and Neuville lost his alternator. So we were down to one already, so to say.

In the remaining rally Kopecky had to rely on Al Attiyah. Only the Ford could bring the driver’s title to the Skoda works team over the importer. Al Attiyah took a battle to Mikkelsen. A 2nd place for Kopecky would not be enough if Mikkelsen wins this rally. However in return Mikkelsen needed that win, if Al Attiyah beats Mikkelsen, then the title would be Kopecky’s. But then, just as Al Attiyah delivered the first stage win for a Ford all season, his engine cried enough, and that was it for the title race. Funny, basically it was all in the hands of a non-regular.

If we compare the last two contenders. Well, I guess what I am trying to get at, I am a bit surprised Mikkelsen became the champ. Where did he come from all the sudden, after a season full of drama and mistakes?

Mikkelsen: Started off round 1 with a 1st stage crash. To cut a long story short, in the first 8 rounds I count 5 crashes, 3 of which terminal, 2 destroyed a good result. But, while all season there are 25pts for a win, Mikkelsen managed to score 87.5pts in the last two rounds alone.

Kopecky: he ends the season with 2 wins, 7 podiums (in 11 rounds!) and one single retirement. After 8 of the 11 rounds, Kopecky was leading the title race quite clearly on 120pts with Mikkelsen 6th on 56pts. I can kind of see why Kopecky is frustrated.

But if Kopecky struggled on the pace in Cyprus, I think one key moment that nobody seems to talk about at the minute is his win in Hungary. With 3 stages to go Neuville was 14.7s down on Kopecky. In the last stage alone Neuville took 7.8s out of him. Kopecky still won, but what would he have done if the last stage was 2km longer? I admire Neuville for his ability to manage his rally (he did it on Corsica and in San remo too) and then still put one on top when there is a fight at hands. Kopecky does not seem to have this last little extra.

Well, for the spirit of the IRC, I think Mikkelsen is the better champion. That’s why we have drop scores. That’s why I love the drop score system. Look at the WRC. To be honest, even if that makes the WRC look boring in the history books, I would hate it if Hirvonen wins the title this year. Loeb won nearly half the rallies so far this year, while Hirvonen does not seem to have this little extra even compared to his own team mate. But the engine blow up in France means Hirvonen, driving for 3rd and 4th places, is in with a big shout on the title! Sorry, that can’t be right. So I can’t complain about Mikkelsen, even though I think Kopecky is even a little bit more an alrounder, compared to Hirvonen, who is still a little bit weak on asphalt.

Further Kopecky’s title loss from the points lead is a bit his own fault. Not only did he not seem able to go Mikkelsen’s speed in Cyprus, but I think 5th in Scotland was a poor result for the title battle.

One irony in Scotland is that you could as well say team strategy is to blame. Had Hänninen not started in Scotland (though we could not know he was to crash 1st stage Cyprus), Kopecky would have had an extra 3pts, enough for the title!

Point is, driving to 3rd, 4th, 5th places should not be rewarded with a title, I want to see attacks, and therefore, if things go wrong or there is a little bit of bad luck involved, drop scores are absolutely mega!

Then however, before I sound too harsh on Kopecky, and against my own principles, actually, I do wonder if we haven’t taken things a step too far.

Look again after 8 rounds. We had Kopecky 6 podiums at that point, compared to Mikkelsen’s 5 crashes. At that point, Kopecky was deservedly leading the championship, and Mikkelsen was deservedly the least likely title candidate! And I guess I am not alone wondering how little my pre-season finale judgement meant in the end.

I do wonder, if coefficient 2 for Cyprus was too much. I think the coefficient system is a fantastic idea, but maybe x1.5, like in Scotland, would have been better? I stick by coefficients and drops scores are great, to have a real fighter and event winner win the title. But seeing how Mikkelsen now came out of nowhere, following a near enough catastrophic first 2/3rd of the season, collecting 87.5pts on the last two rallies alone, I can’t stop wondering has winning rallies as Monte Carlo or Barum become meaningless? That is something that should be re-considered....

...and that is why Jan Kopecky has my sympathies for his feelings he displayed in Cyprus.

Anyway, exciting season.

Oh, and next time Quesnel or whoever at Peugeot complains about IRC is unfair for Skoda is a works team, well they could at least have tried to beat Mikkelsen instead LOL!
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Re: Cyprus IRC Finale

Postby RonSkoda » 07 Nov 2011 16:48

It's a tricky one...

First thing to say is that Andreas is definitely a worthy champion, just that I thought it might come next year rather than next. He definitely benefited from the coefficients, but then you could argue that this also slightly redressed the gravel/asphalt balance in the championship.

I can understand Kopecky's frustration as he also won two rallies but those two wins earned him 37.5 points less than Andreas two wins.

I like the fact that IRC use the rules to reward drivers whp push hard, but I do think there could be better ways of doing that. I would make the championship less rounds to start with (maybe 9/10?) and change the points system so that a winner gains more. Maybe 30 points for win, 20 for 2nd.

Agree fully about Hirvonen by the way. It would be a travesty if he wins this years WRC title, even if he wins in Wales. He has been minutes off the pace on asphalt and 50% of his wins have come from team orders.
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