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.
Continue reading “WRC 2017 – France (Corsica) (Round 4)”
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.
Continue reading “WRC 2017 – Mexico (Round 3)”
As the only truly winter rally on the current calendar, the snow-covered Swedish forests present perhaps the most unique challenge of any WRC event, so, with no clear championship favourite after the opening round of the season…who would be able to tame the white stuff this time around as the sport’s new era begins to take shape?
Now, I don’t know about you…but I think we’ve been here before, haven’t we? Of course, in motorsport, no two championship seasons are ever exactly the same – particularly after such a dramatic overhaul of the rules during the off-season – and so it’s inevitable things aren’t going to stay this way, but, with everyone starting from a clean sheet of paper, there was hope that the start of the sport’s new era would level the playing field and give a chance to some of the less familiar names to immediately make their mark…and yet, for one reason or another, we still ended up with near enough the same result.
In fact, if you were being really honest, you could say that this was the dominant force of recent times picking up virtually where they left off last year (and, if you’d only looked at the final result, that’s probably how it appeared), but it’s all too easy sometimes to take success for granted based on what’s gone before, and so, while it might not have looked like a contest on the surface, if you read between the lines…there was considerably more to it than that. The 2017 FIA World Rally Championship may have started as many had expected, but the field looks to be even more competitive than it has for a while…and so there’ll be plenty of twists and turns still to come.
Continue reading “WRC 2017 – Sweden (Round 2)”
You could call this ‘the calm before the storm’ – with 2017 signalling the dawn of a much-anticipated new era for the WRC, the new louder, angrier breed of cars gathered in Monte Carlo’s Casino Square ahead of the curtain-raiser…but who would be the one to strike first blood once they hit the stages?
Well, it’s certainly been a while in coming, but now (finally), it’s here…and it’s going to be something special. Of course, I realise that making statements like that at this stage means it could always come back and bite me in the weeks and months ahead, but, as far as I’m concerned, there’s no harm in being optimistic about something new, particularly when it has the potential to reshape the pecking order in such a big way. I mean, for all its plus points – and there’s plenty of those – certain championships in the world of motorsport can sometimes become a bit samey, and so, when the same driver keeps on winning time and time again, it’s not difficult to understand why things would need to change in order to shake things up, but, as shake-ups go…this is a pretty sizeable one, to say the least! The 2017 FIA World Rally Championship could well be the most open season for many years, and, given what we’ve seen in the recent past…I don’t think there’s many who’ll be complaining.
Continue reading “WRC 2017 – Monte Carlo (Round 1)”
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.
Continue reading “WRC 2017 – Season Preview”