Ford Video WRC

Thank you Mikko

Mikko Hirvonen,

Mikko Hirvonen retired from the WRC after Wales Rally GB. Via his personal YouTube channel he’s released this thank you video, which includes footage from his final rally and a few short interviews with his colleagues and competitors.

One of the nice guys is leaving one of world motorsport’s best most exhilarating categories. Let’s refelect for a moment and say thanks.

Citroen Ford Hyundai Volkswagen WRC

2014 Wales Rally GB in pictures

2014 Wales Rally GB

Will you just look at all that bloody mud! It’s the signature look for the Wales Rally GB and, for once, being first on the road was a nice advantage for rally winner Sebastien Ogier who made the most of the wet conditions before the stages became too rutted and dug up by all the cars.

There’s some great photos below and we trust you will enjoy your last gallery of rally pics for 2014. Until Rallye Monte Carlo… if in doubt, flat out!

Citroen Ford Volkswagen WRC

Sebastien Ogier wins 2014 Wales Rally GB

2014 Wales Rally GB

Sebastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia have capped off a stunning WRC season with their eighth victory of the year at the Wales Rally GB. It’s the twelfth win for Volkswagen from the 13 race calendar and a season of success like this has to be savoured, for you can never expect it to be repeated.

“That is obviously the best way to end a season: with a win,” said Ogier after the rally. “We really had to go flat-out on Friday and had a close battle for the lead with my team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala. That allowed us to open up a big lead over the rest of our rivals.

“When Jari-Matti made a mistake on Saturday, it obviously completely changed the character of the rally for us. I just had to get the car to the finish line. However, that is anything but easy given the typical conditions here in Wales. All in all, it has been another magnificent season for Julien and me, with a fantastic team behind us.”

In perhaps his best achievable result in his final WRC start Mikko Hirvonen ended his career on the podium, a bit over 37 seconds behind Ogier. It was a great way for the popular Finn to say goodbye to his fans.

“I couldn’t really think of a better way to end my career,” Hirvonen said. “We had a great fight all through the weekend and to finish with the second place is absolutely fantastic.

“Today it was a bit emotional for sure. Before this morning I manage to be pretty on it and concentrate on the rally, but today it was a bit more difficult!”

Mads Ostberg finished third, meaning the healthy sight of three different manufacturers on the podium was a pleasing way to end the WRC season, dominated by Volkswagen.

Ostberg’s points proved valuable for Citroën and allowed them to claim second place in the manufacturers’ championship, just two points ahead of M-Sport (Ford).

Given their all-conquering season Volkswagen might have hoped the final event could end like the championship standings, with their drivers filling the first three places. But for some minor errors by Jari-Matti Latvala and Andreas Mikkelsen that might have been the case too. The Polos certainly had the pace in the muddy conditions, but not the consistency from the men behind the wheel.

Still, 2014 has been a great season for Volkswagen and we hope Citroën, Ford and Hyundai can raise their game in 2015.


Rally Australia fighting for last place

2014 WRC Rally Australia

Rally Australia organisers are planning to bump Rally GB from the last event on the WRC calendar from 2016 onwards. The 2015 calendar has Rally Australia in the same September slot as this year, with Rally GB in its traditional finale position.

However, Rally Australia boss Ben Rainsford, who is negotiating with the FIA to secure the event until 2018, reckons a warm Aussie summer would make the perfect send off for the WRC year.

“We’re pretty open about wanting to be the last event in the championship and we’ll push hard for it, very hard,” Rainsford said. “We’re looking at putting on a gala dinner, an end-of-season party in Sydney. The city’s ripe for it and Sydney’s good at that kind of thing.

“An Australian summer is a very good place to be, especially when you’re in a European winter. We’ve run as the final round in Perth a few times and it was very popular.”

Rally GB has hosted the final event of the WRC season 33 times since the series began in 1973 and organisers are keen to maintain that spot.

“Rally GB has always presented a unique and demanding challenge to the teams and a fitting climax to the championship,” said Ben Taylor, Rally GB managing director. “Over the years it has thrown up some thrilling finishes and it makes sense for the key WRC markets for those to be played out in a European time zone.

“We certainly don’t presume the right to hold the final event, but Wales Rally GB is on an upward curve and we are committed to working with our partners, the FIA and the promoter to deliver the best possible rally with which to end the next two seasons and beyond.”

[Source: Autosport]

Citroen Ford Volkswagen WRC

Sebastien Ogier wins 2013 Wales Rally GB

2013 Wales Rally GB

Okay, we know this update is a week late, but you pay peanuts, you get monkeys!

So, last weekend Sebastien Ogier did what he does best and that’s dominating his teammates and opponents on the way to another WRC victory, this time at the season-ending Wales Rally GB.

Like the Seabstian in Formula 1, Ogier has done enough by himself to wrap up the manufacturers’ championship for his employer. Although Volkswagen certainly didn’t complain to see Jari-Matti Latvala pick up second place in Wales, providing the team with a perfectly suitable close to a year they would not have even dared to dream when they rocked up to Monte Carlo in January.

Equally fitting was seeing Thierry Neuville on the podium. In just his second year in the WRC he placed second overall in the drivers’ title. He’ll be hoping to emulate Volkswagen’s success in 2014 when he leads the charge for Hyundai’s re-introduction into rallying’s premier category.

And the less said about Citroën’s race in Wales and the season overall the better. They had a terrible year and may well choose to sulk off into the distance with the security of Sebastien Loeb’s WTCC campaign to console them.

The WRC now enters its dormant stage. Although, with just over 50 days until the teams re-emerge for the 2014 season there won’t be much time for reflection for Ogier and Volkswagen, who will no doubt be hoping to embarrass the competition again next year. Thankfully, Neuville, at the very least, will have other ideas.

Citroen WRC

VIDEO: Robert Kubica crashes out of Wales Rally GB

Robert Kubica, Citroen DS3 WRC, Wales Rally GB

Robert Kubica’s debut in a WRC car hasn’t gone to plan, being forced to retire from the event after crashing out twice.

The new WRC2 champion was on the back foot from the start of the event after his co-driver, Maciek Baran, retired prior to Wales Rally GB. Kubica and Citroën drafted in Michele Ferrara to join the Pole, which brought with it the added difficulty of having his notes read to him in Italian.

It’s not really surprising to learn that misunderstandings with pace notes have been blamed for Kubica’s two accidents. In the first accident, on Friday morning (see video below), Robert’s car suffered only minor damage and he was able to re-start the rally from 36th place on Saturday morning. Unfortunately, on SS11 Kubica went off again and was forced to retire.

It’s been an awful weekend for Citroën with Mikko Hirvonen also crashing out of the event after suffering heavy impact into a muddy bank on Day 1. The crash was blamed on an error from his co-driver Jarmo Lehtinen and the resulting blow left the interior of the DS3 WRC and both crew covered in mud.

Dani Sordo is the sole remaining driver for Citroën with one day left to run in the rally. Sadly for Dani his rally was compromised from the start after being given a five minute penalty for the team using its ninth chassis for the year.

You won’t be surprised to learn that Sebastien Ogier and Jari-Matti Latvala are fighting for the win in their Volkswagen Polo R WRCs. We’ll bring you a full update after the rally is over.