WRC 2012

Galahad

Not a Moderator
Valued Member
The 2012 World Rally Championship returns this week with the return of the Rallye Monte Carlo to the calendar after an absence of three years. Citroën's superstar Sébastien Loeb retains the familiar no. 1 plate on his DS3 WRC and will be aiming for an incredible ninth successive title. Whether or not you'll be able to see any of it on TV or online, though, is hard to say...

Calendar

After three seasons running in the rival Intercontinental Rally Challenge, the Monte returns to open the WRC calendar with an elongated five-day event. The Jordan Rally drops off the itinerary for 2012 as agreed, while attempts to run an event in Abu Dhabi foundered. The Italian event relocates from Sardinia to Sicily, while New Zealand replaces Rally Australia. Finally the British round moves earlier in the year to September - apparently because the Welsh tourist board are looking for better weather to promote their flagship event. Good luck with that...

RoundRallyDatesSurface
1Monte CarloJan 18-22Ice/Asphalt2SwedenFeb 9-12Snow3MexicoMar 8-11Gravel4PortugalMar 29-Apr 1Gravel5ArgentinaApr 27-29Gravel6AcropolisMay 25-27Gravel7New ZealandJun 22-24Gravel8FinlandAug 2-5Gravel9DeutschlandAug 24-26Asphalt10Great BritainSep 13-16Mud/Gravel11FranceOct 4-7Asphalt12ItaliaOct 18-21Gravel13CatalunyaNov 8-11Asphalt
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Major Teams and Drivers

The internal team dynamics at Citroën became increasingly acrimonious last season as Sébastiens Loeb and Ogier battled for control. Ultimately Loeb won both the fight for the team's focus, and for the championship, and Ogier left to join VW for their Polo WRC project, due to debut in 2013. Ogier therefore faces a potentially frustrating year in a Super 2000 Skoda this season as the VW mechanics learn the ropes on a proven vehicle.

Last year's runner-up, Mikko Hirvonen, moves to join Loeb at Citroën after seven years at Ford. The consistent Finn has been steady rather than spectacular in recent seasons, and it would be a surprise if he puts up a season-long challenge to his team-mate, despite the team insisting there are no team orders. The last man before Loeb to win the WRC, Petter Solberg, finally returns to a works drive, taking Hirvonen's seat at Ford. Hopes for the Blue Oval now rest on Jari-Matti Latvala, who will need to find consistency to match his undoubted speed.

Funding problems have been acute at Mini, forcing the team to take a succession of pay drivers in the second car alongside Dani Sordo. Last year's driver Kris Meeke therefore starts the season on the sidelines, albeit with assurances from David Richards that he remains in the team's long-term plans.

TeamCarDrivers
Citroën Total World Rally TeamCitroën DS3 WRCSébastien Loeb (FRA)Mikko Hirvonen (FIN)Nasser Al-Attiyah (QAT)Ford World Rally TeamFord Fiesta RS WRCJari-Matti Latvala (FIN)Petter Solberg (NOR)-Mini World Rally TeamMini John Cooper Works WRCDani Sordo (ESP)TBC-Citroën Junior World Rally TeamCitroën DS3 WRCThierry Neuville (BEL)--M-Sport Ford World Rally TeamFord Fiesta RS WRCOtt Tanak (EST)Evgeny Novikov (RUS)TBCMatthew Wilson (M-Sport)Ford Fiesta RS WRCMatthew Wilson (GBR)--Henning Solberg (M-Sport)Ford Fiesta RS WRCHenning Solberg (NOR)--Volkswagen MotorsportŠkoda Fabia S2000Sébastien Ogier (FRA)TBC-
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Rule changes

The traditional pre-event shakedown has been increased in importance for this season, as drivers' third runs through the stage will be timed and used to determine the running order on the opening leg - effectively a form of qualifying session. The fastest driver will choose their starting position, then the second-fastest and so on, in an attempt to stop drivers tactically slowing or incurring time penalties to get the best road conditions that has spoiled many gravel events in recent years. The rules determining running order on subsequent days have also been tweaked for the same reasons.

Coverage

Over the close season, long-term global promoter North One Sport lost their contract after the company's overall boss Vladimir Antonov was arrested as part of investigations into the collapse of Snoras Bank. Eurosport have agreed a contract to produce TV coverage for the Monte, but agreements for remaining rounds of the championship - as well as the online footage - remain to be confirmed. As for the UK, there is no confirmation on whether the deal agreed by North One to move the WRC from ESPN to ITV4 will go ahead in addition to the anticipated Eurosport programming.
 

Slyboogy

World Champion
Contributor
As for the UK, there is no confirmation on whether the deal agreed by North One to move the WRC from ESPN to ITV4 will go ahead in addition to the anticipated Eurosport programming.

I'm sure the Channel "Dave" has/had WRC too? Don't know if that will continue.

I saw the powerstage through a website of the Swedish Rally last year, it was immense.

It would be good if they showed the powerstages of the Rally on tv live at least, also some Rallycross too!
 

Galahad

Not a Moderator
Valued Member
I think Eurosport are showing the Monaco Powerstage live next weekend. For the rest of the season it's all still up in the air, presumably the same goes for the Dave coverage (I'm not sure if that was 2009/2010?).
 

Slyboogy

World Champion
Contributor
I remember it being on Dave in 2010, and a bit last season aswell, just an occasional viewer and caught it on Dave at times
 

Brogan

🦶 Leg end
Staff Member
I'm going to make an effort to watch it this year.

If Seb can pull off another win, that will surely cement him as the greatest of all time.

Am I the only one though who thinks the field and the cars are getting smaller every year?
Minis and Fiestas?
 

Galahad

Not a Moderator
Valued Member
Am I the only one though who thinks the field and the cars are getting smaller every year?
Minis and Fiestas?

I know - an original Quattro could drive over one of the current cars and not notice a thing. I blame Peugeot myself.
 

Brogan

🦶 Leg end
Staff Member
Well annoyingly I turned Eurosport on only to discover the program wasn't showing - the snooker was still on.
Which is the case every single time I try to watch that channel.

The WRC really need to get a broadcast deal with a more reliable channel if they want to expand their exposure.
 

Johnny Carwash

Champion Elect
Contributor
Well annoyingly I turned Eurosport on only to discover the program wasn't showing - the snooker was still on.
Which is the case every single time I try to watch that channel.

The WRC really need to get a broadcast deal with a more reliable channel if they want to expand their exposure.

Also they have the tennis on both Eurosport channels as well in the morning, maybe WRC should be on Motors tv.
 

Galahad

Not a Moderator
Valued Member
Sadly with the short notice it was effectively Eurosport or nothing. Hopefully a deal will be done with a more reliable broadcaster for the UK.

It's not looking exactly like a thriller at the moment anyway. Lots of incidents, but one man way out in front (guess who!)
 

Brogan

🦶 Leg end
Staff Member
So just to update, Latvala was in the lead by 30 seconds when he didn't hear a pace note correctly, slid wide, hit a wall and rolled over it. Loeb has now inherited the lead.

The tyre choice on the second stage was fascinating though:

SS1 had seen dry asphalt, but the following Burzet to St Martial stage featured patches of snow and ice. Loeb and Ford driver Latvala both opted for a mix of studded and slick tyres, placing one studded tyre at the front and one at the rear, diagonally apart.

While Loeb ran soft tyres, Latvala was on super softs, and despite having never tested the slick/studded combination in this configuration before, he put in an incredible stage time - 52s quicker than Loeb.

That moved Latvala from fourth place, 28s off the lead, to first - with a 30.5s advantage over Loeb.

I had no idea they mixed tyres like that!
 

Slyboogy

World Champion
Contributor
The highlights are on Motors tv at night and in the morning.

Couldn't find anything on Eurosport on the tv guide for the rally today.
 

Incubus

Champion Elect
I gave given up trying to catch any bits from the Monte-Carlo rally pretty early on.
This is just ridiculous quite frankly. No-one in the high spheres seems inclined to lift a finger about that dismal TV (or lack of) coverage, nor do they even seem remotely aware that there is a (once?) prestigious motor racing fixture going on....
 

sportsman

Sidecar racers have the biggest cojones
Contributor
Who to believe.Autosport or Prodrive.

http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/97275 The BMW Group is expected to terminate its contract with Prodrive tomorrow, ending the Banbury firm's involvement in the Mini World Rally Team - and casting doubt over the future of the programme.
AUTOSPORT's sources have confirmed the decision to end the Anglo-German alliance.
AUTOSPORT has been unable to get confirmation from BMW in Munich, but sources within the firm have confirmed the end is imminent for what has been a short and unhappy partnership.
Prodrive's Richard Taylor denied the partnership would be ended when AUTOSPORT contacted him yesterday.
Taylor said: "That's news to me. There's no question of that, no question at all. The team is on its way to Sweden for the pre-event test as we speak. Mini remains committed to the programme and to supporting customers.
"We all want to see the Mini John Cooper Works WRC out there on the stages and that's what we will see with Prodrive running the cars on Rally Sweden next week."
 

canis

Race Winner
Valued Member
Whatever happens there, I doubt we will see any bad news coming out of BMW for a short while, they are too busy hiding from the fact that some bright spark sponsored the current cold front and called in Cooper shortly before it killed over 100 people, not the best image they could have hoped for....
 
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