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 76
WRC JORDAN >> THERE was plenty of fun and games at the Jordan Rally as the championship competitors strove to get the best advantage on the treacherously, slippery gravel tracks which did their best to upset their plans. It was tactic territory, where Citroen and Ford tried everything to disadvantage their rivals, taking advantage of the sport's confusing but very specific rules. BP Ford's hopes were severely upset when lead driver Mikko Hirvonen damaged his suspension on a rock on the first stage of the second day. He restarted for the final day but his misfortune left his team-mate Jari- Matti Latvala the burden of staving off no fewer than five pursuing Citroen drivers. In the end Latvala vanquished all the Citroens except the one which really mattered, that of the multiple champion Sebastien Loeb. It was a rally where teams incurred sacrificial levels of penalties on their drivers in the furtherance of their aim of finding better running conditions -- in Citroen Junior driver Sebastien Ogier's case a penalty of nearly nine minutes, in Hirvonen's case no less than a quarter of an hour ... Sporting fun or stupid games? Opinions varied widely, but the current level of driver skills and mechanical reliability mean that tactics are now central to the sport, and never more so than in Jordan. Latvala explains: "Running first car on the road can be expected to create a disadvantage of half a second per kilometre. The big difference is not so much the adhesion round corners, it is confidence you have when you must brake, where you are be able to trust the grip." Latvala started happily. Pre-event championship positions meant he ran third car on the road, not a perfect slot but much better than Loeb and Hirvonen who were in front of him. On Day 1 he pulled out a half-minute lead before the running order forced him to set off in front on Day 2. It took all of four stages before Loeb had caught up with him -- and then the fun began. Loeb had a 24-second lead going in to the final day. Victory was at risk if he had to run first car, and this was when the teams performed their strategic manoeuvres. One team eyed the other, one plot was countered by another, and with unprecedented levels of sacrifice the stage was set in Loeb's favour for his second win of the 2010 WRC season ... It is the uniqueness of the event which really intrigues the sport -- team organizers, for example, were revved up by disclosures that the sport's Global Promoters wanted to drop the event from the series in favour of unproved rally in Abu Dhabi. Co-drivers, however, find the constantly undulating, hard-based, gravel topped roads, where blind crests abound, one of the greatest challenges of the season. Mechanically, it is one of the least demanding venues. All 10 World Rally Cars reached the finish, including a popular third place for the private Citroen run by Petter Solberg. Kimi Raikkonen finished eighth -- only the second driver to score world championship points in both F1 and the WRC. Hirvonen's misfortune has cost Ford dear. The Citroen Total team has now pulled into the lead of the championship with 101 points against the 87 for the BP Ford team while, after just three rounds, Sebastien Loeb now holds a 25 point lead in front of Jari-Matti Latvala -- exactly one event's maximum point difference -- in the Drivers series. Turkey comes next, in two week's time, an event being held on roads never seen by any of the world championship drivers before. Turkey is essentially another gravel event but there will be a lot of stretches of asphalt which drivers will have to tackle on gravel tyres. As for Latvala, celebrating his 25th birthday on the day of the finish in Jordan, second place as a number two driver wasn't too bad: "Last year I did not have such a happy birthday. That was the day my car went rolling down the hillside in Portugal ..." 39