Wednesday, February 8, 2012

WRC: Ford and Mini continue playing Catch-up to Citroen in the 2012 World Rally Championship

Whale; I must say I definitely didn’t receive any Memo’s ‘bout those three new for ‘Twenty-eleven World Rally Championship makes last year – especially since after all they’re part of Fenderzland, eh? Albeit I’d really enjoy being able to watch these BLINKIN’ WRC Piloto’s back upon le Telescreen – are Yooze listening Versus; Err NBC Sports Network? As I still say that somebody should pick-up the TV Broadcasts, I mean, C’mon! NBC Sports and SPEED cannot find 90-minutes of Airtime for this racing series?

As I was then unawares that the WRC had felt compelled to regress its rules package for the previous season – while it seemed that it was an even larger travesty NOT having le Monty (Monte Carlo) Rally as part of the WRC Championship, which thankfully returned to its rightful place this year after a three-year hiatus.

(BMW) Mini
A year ago I mused to myself that Mini’s return to Rallying was undoubtedly the best news the World Rally Championship (WRC) could receive. As David Richards Prodrive operation returned to the ranks with ex-Citroen ‘Works driver Dani Sordo at the helm of the brand new Mini Countryman, with Chris Meeke as his teammate, as the squad would only run a limited schedule in preparations for its Full-time WRC assault in 2012.

But what I was unaware of was that these “Works” BMW Mini’s were being called the John Cooper Works WRC Team, which is apparently a tie-in to past Mini glory, as the Mini Cooper S took to Rallying in the 1960’s and scored a Hat-trick of victories at the sport’s crown jewel; winning the Monte Carlo Rally in 1964, ’65 and ’67, along with the Acropolis and 1000 lakes Rally’s.

As Y’all may be aware of the name Cooper, which won both the Formula 1 Drivers and Constructors Championships consecutively with Sir ‘blackjack, nee Jack Brabham in 1959-60...

The new ‘N improved smaller, swelt Citroen DS3 WRC car was unveiled to the public in 2011, when the dominant Rally Car manufacturer had to remodel its world conquering chassis to fall into line with last year’s BASTARDIZED World Rally Championship rules package...

Yet even these sweeping rules changes couldn’t slow down reigning 8-times WRC Champion Sebastian Loeb who’s simply obliterated the World Rally record books! As Loeb has picked up where he left off by winning this year’s Monte Carlo Rally and definitely appears set to once again throw down upon his compatriots in the World Rally title hunt, whilst chasing a record ninth Drivers crown

And Loeb gained another new teammate this year when last season’s co-hort Sordo apparently fell out of favour with the Citroen bosses. Thus longtime Ford driver Mikko Hirvonen has taken up the dutiful role of Wingman, a la some Boyz named “IRV the SWERVE” (Eddie Irvine) and ‘Rubino (Rubens Barrichello) did for ‘DER TERMINATOR, aka Michael Schumacher at Scuderia Ferrari...

And as we learned during this year’s “Peacock-lite” half hour Dakar vignettes, 2011 DAKAR champion Nasser Salih Nasser Abdullah Al-Attiyah will campaign a third “Works” Citroen under the banner Qatari World Rally Team for the full season excluding the “Monte” which apparently was too close to this year’s Dakar. Thus Nasser will ironically begin his World Rally career in Sweden by learning how to bounce off of Snowbanks - Ya Sure Yuh Betcha! Which I’m guessing will be a whole new style of driving for the Qatari, right?

Once again, the primary Blue Oval ‘Works Team will be the Ford World Rally Team run thru Malcolm Wilson’s M-Sports operation, with Finland’s Jari-Matti Latvala the lead driver behind the keyboard of its Ford Fiesta RS WRC racecars.

Meanwhile 2004 WRC Champion Petter Solberg of Norway being the last person to defeat Sebastian Loeb for the WRC title... As the ‘Nordski who is reputedly known as "Mr. Hollywood" returns as a FoMoCo “Works” driver, although he claims his solitary role at M Sport is to serve as Jari’s ‘Wingman.

And I’m assuming that America’s Ken Block will return again with his Monster Fiesta RS WRC in a limited schedule? As all I could find was an NON “Works” entry listed for Go Fast Racing, which I’m ASS-suming is the ‘Yank’s mount this season...

While it SUCKS that BMW wasn’t willing to Pony up for a two-car works team, letting Meeke’s twist in the wind a wee bit and taking the easy route of Paid drivers instead, in surely what cannot be a good sign towards Mini’s ability to defeat Citroen or the “feared” Volkswagen Polo WRC effort in 2013...