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WRC 2023

1083 Views 26 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  Gripping Pneus
As expected Ott Tanak has signed for M Sport for 2023 to drive a Puma, be interesting to see how the sponsorship and branding is worked out, M Sport have Red Bull backing, I think Ott has Monster as a personal sponsorship deal, roll on the Monte, well not literally, six weeks time.
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I hope it’s better than this year. First year since the 2017 regs change that I’ve kind of lost interest. with Hyundai’s bad start, lack of investment at M-sport (I think tanak will struggle to compete too), toothless elfin (as much as I love him) it was just lacking a lot this year.

Still renewed my wrc live subs though. Just wish they hadn’t scrapped the radio because that was so useful when on the move. Who can sit down in front of the tv and watch it for 3 days straight!
Fourmaux brings the Red Bull money (and Loeb) so I imagine that Ott will be in their colours.

Oliver Solberg has the Monster deal, so it’s likely he will be in a ‘satellite’ operation with a fourth car. I’m fairly sure that Red Bull would rather have a Solberg in its series than worry unduly about the branding. Equally, if we’re honest, there’s quite a high chance of the Monster logo being carried off into a bush early on anyway.

What we don’t have is much in the way of change for 2023. If I were a promising driver in WRC2 or regional competition I’d be wondering what I had to do for a shot at the top class.
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Its been like that for a long time though, i am not sure how you step up from rally 2.

One of my big bugbears has been that 50% or more of the top class have famous rallying fathers - its like they are there almost by right rather than acheivement and that doesn't help. Then with the "old men" guesting in the other car it doesn't leave much opportunity.
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Personally I find WRC 2, or what ever they're calling it these days, more interesting. As A_S said, in the top flight it seems to be not what you know but who you are related to that gets you there.:(

Plus, the idea of "spec." everything except for bodywork and aero is lost on me. Bring back Group A!! (y)
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I think Kalle is a genuine exception. Tommi Makinen said he tested with Finland’s two rising stars in 2017, Lappi and Suninen, with a view to developing them with the car. At the end of the test he did a favour to Harri Rovanpera and put his kid in the car for a run and he was faster than both of the other guys.

Oliver has potential but he’s been wildly over-hyped far, far too early. He’s over-driving to try and live up to the hype. Elfyn is the ideal driver for scooping points towards the manufacturers’ championship.

Rallying is a dynasty-driven sport. National and international level JT’s all sons and nephews - and one or two daughters. Don’t have a problem with that, just wish there were more cars at the top level.
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Yes thats the point I guess not enough cars.

I've been surprised by Kale this season and up until that point I always felt that he was one of those entitled sons. I remember being at Rally GB/RAC in 2017 (I think it was). He was 17 and driving in a well funded and well prepaired WRC2/rally2/R5 fiesta. At that point he had already done a couple of years at that level in the estonian championship I beleive. Part of me sees guys like Chris Ingram (who mentioned on social media he is struggling to sort his entry to the monte) struggling and its such a shame.
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Chris’s biggest problem is that there’s no marketplace for a Russell Brookes or a Jimmy McRae or a Gwyndaf Evans anymore. It used to be possible for a good/great British rally driver to earn a living and win big events at a national/regional level without the WRC. Now it isn’t. It’s WRC or nothing. Matt Edwards has been winning everything for years in Britain and he relies on non-competitive work away from driving just to put food on the table.

Chris isn’t going to be able to match the talent of the very best in WRC or the spending power of the rest in WRC. The likes of Mikkelsen bring huge funding with them and cannot secure a drive, and as much as I like him, Mikkelsen is a lot faster and more marketable to a manufacturer than Chris is.
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So, M-Sport really has bet the house on Tanak. No Fourmaux in the top class, therefore no Red Bull and no Loeb. Also no Greensmith.

Loubet can probably do a job for them. The elderly Greek millionaire can’t. So it’s a two-car team and quite how the finances will work is anyone’s guess… win bonuses and assistance with Tanak's team back in Estonia all big factors when money is tight.

Solberg Jr goes back to WRC2 with TokSport- best plan. The lad needs to win something of note before he gets back in a Rally1 car, although the calibre of his competition is daunting.

Drivers like Fourmaux, Sunninen, Mikkelsen (possibly), Lindholm (probably), Ingram (hopefully!), Rossel, Camilli, Kajetanowicz, Gryazin and WRC3 graduates Pajari and Joona... should be a cracking year for the class - and a real measure of whether Solberg can walk the walk.
Carlos Sainz senior has fractured two vertebrae after crashing his Audi on the Dakar Rally.
Yup , after the accident he was en route to hospital by helicopter, had a change of heart, not literally,had the chopper turn around and take him back to the car.
Carlos snr had also had a run in with the organisers a few days ago, Carlos jnr had met up with snr, but as snr departed in his steed, jnr closed the door for him, this was technically outside assistance, strictly verboten.

A few days before that another competitor had an issue, he wasn't using a watch from the approved supplier/sponsor, modern Motorsport hmmm.
Good job they're nothing to do with the WRC then. That starts tomorrow.
Read this morning that Delacour has been fined.
For having his car washed, ........
In a service area.
More utter madness. Fined for washing a car! Crazy.
Massive congrats to Ott and all at M sport for the win in Sweden, well done for Craig Been second in a Hyundai, after his terrible bad luck last year in the Puma, he'll probably be told off for beating Neuville I'd guess.
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No, Hyundai won’t care which driver finished in front. The only silverware of interest is the manufacturers’ trophy. If one of their drivers gets a title they will celebrate, but they’re generally regarded as employees.

It was quite a good weekend, though. Breen did what he oughtta with his road position on Day 1. Rovanpera and Neuville didn’t have quite enough in the tank to overcome their Day 1 deficits.

The season looks promising…
I read through that and started losing interest quickly, WRC leaves me cold I'm afraid, I'd rather watch women's football.
WRC, like touring cars and endurance racing, doesn't really benefit from live blow-by-blow coverage. It needs to be edited and packaged like it used to be for mass consumption, which is what F1 has realised with the success of Drive to Survive.

By chance, Drive to Survive hit paydirt because it had an enormous fiery crash just before everyone had to stay at home for six months, so of course its ratings went through the roof, having been a fairly obscure Netflix product pre-Grosjean. That enthusiasm will recede over time, but any branch of the sport still wishing to be active in 2030 needs to be finding the right production companies with the right platforms as a priority.

We the fans will always be there. Usually complaining that it was all so much better 20/30/40+ years ago.

But in most cases it probably wasn't.
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In the case of Rally it definitely was...for reasons mentioned in this thread.
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