by clicking the arrows at the side of the page, or by using the toolbar.
by clicking anywhere on the page.
by dragging the page around when zoomed in.
by clicking anywhere on the page when zoomed in.
web sites or send emails by clicking on hyperlinks.
Email this page to a friend
Search this issue
Index - jump to page or section
Archive - view past issues
GP Week : Issue 72
WRC INSIGHT >> made a commercial pact with the global promoters of the WRC which dropped them from the rotation. This season saw two major events come back to the series, Poland had been missing since 1973, and Rally Australia had been missing since the Western Australian-based event lost their local state sponsorship. A deal was done to run the event on the East Coast but it was not a smooth path. Difficulties cropped up everywhere, but eventually a well organised event was run in difficult circumstances. The appointment of a Global Promoter was a step aimed at giving an outsider the chance to give the WRC some purpose and direction. The company appointed was ISC, which nowadays is a television production company, and they set about trying to market the series. It took time before the policies of the ISC became clear, but after a couple of months the FIA announced their main purpose was to advise on events to comprise the WRC calendar. The ISC declared their approval of "iconic" events, alongside events which touched areas of greater levels of population. Its deal with Finland looked like the promises were valid, but then the French federation decision threw up conflicting issues - like who should choose which rallies were run -- ISC or the federations concerned. The season had many refreshing stories, none so much as the determination and successes of Petter Solberg, unceremoniously out of the WRC when the Subaru programme was stopped. Subaru might have stopped but Petter? No way. He found support, mostly in native Norway, and set up a private team. He started the season with an eight year-old Xsara WRC and, through his performances with Xsara cars, he found he was not only gaining points in the series but had the potential to challenge the professional team drivers. In the end Citroen let him have a C4 car for the final two rallies. In days when politics and commercial interest seem to dominate every corner of the sport, what Petter set out to do and, in his way, achieve, was a very welcome breath of fresh air. The other special memory at the top of the rallying tree was the activities of the number two drivers at Ford and Citroen. Dani Sordo, Loeb's teammate, proved to be a very careful and competent pair of hands. By the penultimate round of the series Sordo also proved he was competitive with Loeb on special stages, but he knew the story. During the season he scored his 14th second place on world championship rallies, without a win. At Ford, the number two driver was Jari- Matti Latvala. By any account this colourful 24 year-old character had remarkable speed as well as remarkable lapses. These culminated in an incredible crash in Portugal in which he rolled downhill an endless number of times, the basic strength of his car happily keeping himself and his co-driver intact. And it was around Latvala that the whole final story of the season revolved. In Sardinia he drove a very canny rally and found himself leading the event on the final day, ahead of his teammate Hirvonen. The season was still young and it seemed inappropriate to then suggest team orders -- and anyway, the feeling was that he deserved the win. As it transpired that act of team kindness proved horrendously expensive. It cost his teammate a possible two extra championship points. In the end Hirvonen lost the title by one. 37