2007 WRC Season Commentary

2007 WRC Summary by Chris Biewer :

Not too many news in the rules. Or maybe that is me having lost interest thanks to all those many rule changes and thanks to a new IRC series, that puts most of the WRC mistakes right again. I do write this 2007 story indeed 5 years after I wrote the 2006 story!

One thing to take note of is that the calendar is still 16 rounds and teams are still quite rightly complaining about number and choice of events. The FIA balances this with combining the events Sweden & Norway as well as Catalunya & Corsica. These events are close by and scheduled at follow up weekends. Except in case of retirement swapping parts as engines, turbos, gearboxes between these events will lead to a 5min penalty at the start of the 2nd of the paired rallies. This is yet another confusing rule, but effectively limits the parts used in a season, such supposed to reduce cost. It is an area the FIA announces already to explore more in seasons to come.

The bigger changes to the WRC this time are concerning the calendar. Catalunya and Corsica are moved yet again in their traditional slots, this time from early season back to October. Portugal returns to the calendar, while Norway and Ireland are new. The overall number of events stays at 16, so the events that have to go are Cyprus, Turkey and Australia. Cyprus and Turkey were amongst the most criticised events, while Australia is dropped for arguments in some new WRC rules and WRC promotor issues lead the Western Australian government to withdraw all support to the event.

It must be said, to not always sound negative, that Norway and Ireland both were most fantastic inclusions to the calendar! Maybe that is why both were only repeated once, early 2009, and then never again!

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On the sporting side this was less of a Loeb walk through than previous years. The brand new Citroen C4 WRC started its career in style with a 1-2 in Monte Carlo. However, in contrast to 2006, when Loeb became world champion watching TV at home, Grönholm soon gave Loeb a run for his money. Grönholm led the championship until two rounds from the end. The drivers title still went to Loeb. The makes title however went to Ford for a second year running and more convincingly than the year before, because this time Citroen was back as an official manufacturer team. It can be said the decider here was the respective number 2 drivers. While Citroen’s Daniel Sordo was a bank on asphalt, Ford’s Mikko Hirvonen was faster and more consistent in the whole picture of the season.

Team line ups continued to be strange. The idea of M2 teams this year did not spell for more variety in car makes, and would not do so in the future either. The Skoda M2 team is quietly dropped and, despite his successes the previous season, Manfred Stohl swaps his Peugeot 307 for a Kronos Citroen Xsara team. Subaru is a full manufacturer, but their car is so far off the pace and unreliable, that a minor WRC07 upgrade doesn’t change anything and the makes title is still a two-horse battle, although Ford & Citroen now rather than Ford & Subaru. In fact car manufacturer Subaru is nearly beaten by haulage company Stobart. Although Stobart is famous for Scania lorries, they use M-Sport Ford Focus in the WRC.
 

2007 WRC Factory Team and Driver Line Ups :
 

Ford Ford, 2007 - BP-Ford RS Rallye Sport Team : 1st on 212 points.
 

 

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Citroën Citroën, 2007 - Citroën Sport : 2nd on 183 points.
 

 

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Subaru Subaru, 2007 - Subaru World Rally Team : 3rd on 87 points.
 

 

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