IRC Team and Driver 2012

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IRC Team and Driver 2012

Postby RonSkoda » 21 Nov 2011 12:37

Ok chaps, time for a new thread for the 2012 lineup.

Andreas Mikkelsen has been confirmed to stay at Skoda UK, it is understood he will also do sWRC in a VW Fabia.

I have heard that Peugeot UK are scrapping their campaign after a poor year and also because the 207 is soon to be replaced by the 208.

There are rumours Skoda are also trying to get Neuville. I have to say, even as a Skoda fan, that having Neuville, Mikkelsen and Hanninen would be a bit greedy! They need to leave someone for Peugeot to fight with otherwise I fear they won't bother in 2012...
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Re: IRC Team and Driver 2012

Postby ChrisB » 21 Nov 2011 12:59

RonSkoda wrote:There are rumours Skoda are also trying to get Neuville. I have to say, even as a Skoda fan, that having Neuville, Mikkelsen and Hanninen would be a bit greedy! They need to leave someone for Peugeot to fight with otherwise I fear they won't bother in 2012...

I was about to post just that. Skoda have made Neuville an offer, but signed is nothing at this point. The offer is fact, rumour is that the offer includes a step to VW WRC team in 2013.

Interesting even Ron doesn't like that. I don't like it for two reasons:
a) I would be right annoyed if I was Hänninen or Mikkelsen, do all the testing and SWRC stuff for VW and then get a guy from an opposing team take the laurels.
b) I half guessed Peugeot UK is not carrying on. A shame really, Wilks had a lot of bad luck, I don't see why they shouldn't be able to compete nearer the top, as they did with Meeke or as Skoda UK did in 2011. Magalhaes is also out. Bouffier had accidents and could never quite live up to his Monte win. I always hated Quesnel complaining about Skoda being a works team, the IRC is a high profile championship, it is down to him to treat it the way it deserves, as Skoda does. However it looks likely Skoda is to keep Hänninen, Kopecky, Loix & Mikkelsen, if they now take Neuville on top of that, than there is simply no point of any other make competing for IRC titles, least not Peugeot! It would make IRC 2012 a very boring affair!

Sorry, this is high jacking the threat a little. Talking teams and drivers 2012, it is maybe a little early yet. I think so far we have Skoda with their 4 drivers, Peugeot definitely wants to do IRC with Neuville, with the question mark on Neuville having that Skoda offer. Proton, Ford, etc I don't see much change really.

Exciting might be if IRC opens up to the (short lived, already due for replacement by R4T) S2000 1600T. Apart from Patrick Snijers, Vaclav Pech now has a Mini S2000 too, and both are bound to do their local ERC rounds.
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Re: IRC Team and Driver 2012

Postby RonSkoda » 21 Nov 2011 14:27

With that driver lineup I think Peugeot would need to take Loeb to IRC to beat Skoda! Or failing that, something radical like Rossetti and Basso.

Re: Wilks, I think he is quite capable of better results than he showed in 2011. He showed some speed, but he made some errors. We have to remember that the car let him down a few times too. Would be nice to see Guy turn up in a Ford maybe?

I don't neccesarily think it would be boring without Peugeot as there should still be some great battles between the Skoda boys but it would certainly be better to have them. There are rumours they are developing a 208 to the new R4T rules, perfect for IRC in 2013?

I believe 1.6T 'RRCs' will be allowed next year.
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Re: IRC Team and Driver 2012

Postby ChrisB » 21 Nov 2011 16:01

RonSkoda wrote:Re: Wilks, I think he is quite capable of better results than he showed in 2011. He showed some speed, but he made some errors. We have to remember that the car let him down a few times too. Would be nice to see Guy turn up in a Ford maybe?

That's what I meant. Maybe he wasn't quite as fast as Neuville was in the end, but Wilks showed great performances more than once. Yes he had drievr errors. But if for example you see his last 4 events, Barum, Hungary, San Remo & GB. In 3 of those he had mechanical problems none of his fault and his San Remo crash can also be put down to very bad luck. That's 4 retirements in a row he can hardly be blamed for. Cuirious retirements at that, none of the other Peugeots was that unreliable and I also find it hard to believe that things like an alternator (Barum) or the engine problem in Hungary can be blame on the driver overriding the car.

RonSkoda wrote:I don't neccesarily think it would be boring without Peugeot as there should still be some great battles between the Skoda boys but it would certainly be better to have them. There are rumours they are developing a 208 to the new R4T rules, perfect for IRC in 2013?

Well, it would still look like a Skoda one makes series and that to me is boring, even though I like Skoda.

The 208 is launched March-April next year as a road car. It is an absolutely stunning car! Gone away from that horrible F1-nose huge grill design, very modern, yet the 2-door version shows mild design hints of the 205 GTI. I try to do an article about that once Safari is out of the way.

Peugeot Sport wants to develop it as the successor of the 207 in IRC. But there are problems. The 208 road car is launched early 2012, the rally version should come not too long after that. At the same time there is not too much known yet about R4T, there is doubt about the future of S2000 1600T, doubt about the competitiveness of RRC with the tiny air restrictor and not least doubts about the future of IRC itself. Not sure what will happen wo the 208 rally car now.
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Re: IRC Team and Driver 2012

Postby RonSkoda » 21 Nov 2011 16:09

R4T rules should be announced next month and Skoda should be developing a Fabia to those rules too. However that will likely be based on a new Fabia road car which won't be launched until some time in 2013.

IRC should be safe - it looks like a merger with ERC is on the cards for 2013.
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Re: IRC Team and Driver 2012

Postby rv65 » 21 Nov 2011 19:07

I've heard that PSA is working on a 208 R4T, which might make a nice IRC/ERCar.
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Re: IRC Team and Driver 2012

Postby ChrisB » 23 Nov 2011 00:05

On the EuroSport Season review they just said Kopecky has been sacked from the Skoda team and won't be there next year. Is that true? Sadly I can only hear the German commentary and we all know that Ockenga guy will never learn. I have heard so many strange names now, things like Wilks is the codriver and Pugh the driver in the Pug UK car, or i.e. in the last round Al Attyahs Skoda Fiesta and Arai's Fabia Impreza, I don't know any more what to believe from that program.
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Re: IRC Team and Driver 2012

Postby RonSkoda » 23 Nov 2011 09:07

Haven't heard that about Kopecky, doubt it very much.
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Re: IRC Team and Driver 2012

Postby RonSkoda » 01 Dec 2011 09:34

Skoda will do IRC again in 2012 but maybe not all rounds as they will also do the Czech championship and selected rounds of the ERC to prepare for the merger in 2013.
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Re: IRC Team and Driver 2012

Postby Sulland » 01 Dec 2011 18:23

What car drivers would like to drive is often based on results from the previous year.

Not long ago the 207 was the top dog, now the Fabia is regarded as being the best overall car.
Unfortuately this success of a class is killed off by FIA - lets hope they hit bullseye with the new R3T based 4wd car coming in 2013 !!
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Re: IRC Team and Driver 2012

Postby ChrisB » 05 Dec 2011 14:25

Skoda placed an entry for Jan Kopecky on the Jänner Rallye in Austria on the 1st January weekend. The Jänner Rallye is the first round to the ERC 2012. I would guess this confirms that Jan Kopecky stays with Skoda for 2012 then.
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Re: IRC Team and Driver 2012

Postby RonSkoda » 09 Dec 2011 09:23

Sounds like hopefully we will still have a Peugeot presence in IRC next year:

http://peugeot.rallye-info.com/article. ... &stid=9841

http://www.rallye-info.com/article.asp?stid=9840

It also seems that Neuville will get some WRC programme with the Citroen Junior team, good for him!
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Re: IRC Team and Driver 2012

Postby ChrisB » 09 Dec 2011 18:24

I am not sure if Bouffier confirms anything with Peugeot, sounds more like his private wish. Neuville as I added to the article in the Ri editors note.
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Re: IRC Team and Driver 2012

Postby rv65 » 10 Dec 2011 23:15

Bouffier will also compete in Monte 2012 in a 207 S2000.
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Re: IRC Team and Driver 2012

Postby ChrisB » 12 Dec 2011 12:29

Well, Peugeot should carry on in some way. There is an evo version 207 S2000 almost finished, with engine work, wide body and everything. The only thing I don't understand, since 1.1.11 no new S2000 homologations without 1600T engine are allowed any more?

http://peugeot.rallye-info.com/article. ... &stid=9842
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Re: IRC Team and Driver 2012

Postby RonSkoda » 12 Dec 2011 18:25

ChrisB wrote:The only thing I don't understand, since 1.1.11 no new S2000 homologations without 1600T engine are allowed any more?


I think it's because it's a variation to an existing homologated car and not a totally new one so it is ok.

Should be some updates to the Fabia next year too.

Good news about the 207, that means they are surely not abandoning the car altogether. Hope to see Neuville, Bouffier and more in IRC again in 2012.
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Re: IRC Team and Driver 2012

Postby RonSkoda » 16 Dec 2011 09:55

It seems as if Kevin Abbring will join Skoda for the 2012 IRC alongside Hanninen at the behest of VW, and both will also do some WRC with the VW-Fabia.

That probably leaves Kopecky to do Czech Championship and ERC.
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Re: IRC Team and Driver 2012

Postby rv65 » 16 Dec 2011 10:49

IRC is now allowing S2000 1.6T cars. Same with R-GT.
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Re: IRC Team and Driver 2012

Postby RonSkoda » 16 Dec 2011 13:34

Skoda confirmed their 2012 programme: http://www.rallye-info.com/article.asp?stid=9847

No mention of Abbring yet but I think that Loix will change to Ford for next year and that Kevin will take Loix's place (ie. full works car but not official works driver)

2012 livery:

Image

Image
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Re: IRC Team and Driver 2012

Postby ChrisB » 21 Dec 2011 11:21

Hmm, it looks very disappointing for the IRC now I must say. I think the merger plans with ERC might have played a role in that, they should have waited with those comments. Maybe the Skoda domination and driver line up too. Not sure.

But despite the new wide body Peugeot 207 S2000 it looks ever less likely that any of the strong Peugeot drivers will do anything like a full season. Magalhaes is definitely out, Neuville does maybe 4-5 starts at best, Wilks or Peugeot UK would be a big surprise after their rotten luck of late and Bouffier I have heard has to find money.

Now Proton is out too:

http://www.rallye-info.com/article.asp?sid=0&stid=9849
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