WTCC 2017 – Race of Italy (Rounds 3-4)

Sure, you wouldn’t exactly call this a new era just yet, but, when you look at it…this really does feel different, doesn’t it? I mean, when it gets to an international level such as this, one of the great things about motorsport is the fierce competition between fully-funded, manufacturer-backed teams, but sometimes, you get a situation that’s the complete opposite, with one particular outfit constantly holding the advantage, and so, as daft as it might sound, it’s sometimes best to let them go. Of course, there’s always a chance that some of the world’s top driving talent might be left with nowhere to go if this happens – and, really, that’s exactly what’s happened here – but, while that doesn’t say much about the general appeal of the series, it does at least give the rest of the field a chance to move out of their shadow and take up the mantle of being the ones to catch…and that surely can’t be a bad thing, can it? The 2017 FIA World Touring Car Championship might not look quite as strong on paper as it has in the recent past…but it already looks as though it could be the closest season for a while.

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WRC 2017 – France (Corsica) (Round 4)

OK, so it was a little while in coming, but when it did, well…they didn’t exactly make life easy for themselves, did they? I mean, when you think about it, there’s been numerous famous examples in motorsport over the years of strong connections between certain manufacturers and championships – some more iconic than others – and, while it’s not unusual for some teams to want to try their hand elsewhere every now and again, there’s almost an expectation that the more successful names would be able to pick up where they left off when it comes to bringing in the silverware, but, more often than not, it’s not as simple as that, and this is a classic case in point. Sure, they were never exactly likely to lose that winning habit overnight, but things have a habit of changing surprisingly quickly in this game, and, even with the dominant force of recent times now out of the picture, it was always going to take a little while for them to readjust, but, now that they’re off the mark, it’s hard not to think that this could lead to a major upturn in fortunes. Even at this early stage, the battle for the 2017 FIA World Rally Championship title is looking closer than it’s been for a very, VERY long time…and it’s going to be some time before it’s resolved.

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WRC 2017 – Mexico (Round 3)

We all knew it was going to happen sooner or later, but even so…I don’t think anyone saw that one coming, did they? Whichever way you look at it, success in motorsport – particularly at an international level like this – is something that normally takes time to achieve, and, while it’s natural to try and aim for the best possible outcome in any case, it often pays to be a little more realistic and not try to run before you can walk in terms of getting results. I mean, it says a lot about just what a statement it was when even the team themselves – who probably have the highest expectations than anyone – were saying even before a wheel had been turned that their target of outright victories was still a way away from being fulfilled and not to expect too much, too soon, and, while I’m sure they’ll take it however it comes, I highly doubt even they thought this would happen so soon. The new boys have already well and truly made their mark on the 2017 FIA World Rally Championship season…and it’s all starting to warm up nicely.

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WTCC 2017 – Season Preview


While some of its global appeal may have been lost, as one of the best tintop series around, the FIA World Touring Car Championship still has a reputation for incredibly close action – this is the field at the start of the Main Race in Russia in 2016 – but, with the dominant force of recent years now out of the way…who’s going to step up and steal the glory in 2017?

I don’t want this to sound negative…but it doesn’t exactly fill you with confidence, does it? Granted, things never stand still for too long in the world of motorsport, and this even extends to championships themselves, with new categories popping up all the time at the expense of other, more well-established series, but you tend to expect, don’t you, that major international championships would be immune from the threat of being scrapped, and yet that’s exactly the situation we’ve got here. I mean, for years, it’s hardly been much of a contest in terms of the destination of the overall title – indeed, it was sometimes clear for everyone to see even before a wheel had been turned – and, as a result, it was inevitable that there were going to have consequences sooner or later in terms of either the size of the grid or the variety of the machinery on show (two absolute essentials for a good saloon car series) and, after years of predictions that this might happen…we’re now starting to see the results. The 2017 FIA World Touring Car Championship kicks off this weekend with some major questions being asked about its future, and, at present…it doesn’t seem as though anyone has the answers.

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WRC 2017 – Season Preview

WRC 2016
Compared to the machines of 2016 (seen here at the ceremonial start in Monte Carlo’s Casino Square 12 months ago), there’ll be a very different look to the WRC this time around, as well as a very different outcome…but who’s going to emerge on top?

Sitting comfortably, are we? All I’ll say is don’t get too used to it, because this is going to be one hell of a wild ride – sure, whichever way you look at it, motorsport as a whole is a pretty extreme discipline, but, while it’s all well and good watching it take place within the controlled environment of a purpose-built circuit, there’s something that bit more spectacular about taking the same concept out “into the wild”, so to speak…and this is, without doubt, the toughest test of them all. I mean, just think about it for a second – some of the world’s most talented drivers, behind the wheel of some incredible machinery, negotiating their way down essentially closed public roads at insane speeds, with hidden hazards just waiting to trip them up if they get it even slightly wrong and the added bonus of some stunning backdrops…sound good, does it? Well, in that case, strap yourselves in for a whirlwind worldwide adventure – the 2017 FIA World Rally Championship is about to burst into life, and, for once, it doesn’t seem to be anything like a foregone conclusion.

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