Saturday, July 24, 2010

WRC Bulgaria 2010

It was a tarmac event. Sebastian Loeb won. Needless to say his faultless drive was not the most interesting part of the rally.

On the other hand, the fight for second between Dani Sordo and Petter Solberg, was very enjoyable. Solberg got to within four seconds of Sordo, but he was really throwing the car around and had several close calls on the penultimate stage, while trying to catch Sordo. Solber was mindful of how he threw away a second place finish in New Zealand, I think he may have back off a little and settled for third on the final stage.

On the penultimate stage, Sordo hit 216 km/h on one "straightish" section in his fight with Solberg. Even though this was a tarmac event, the roads were very uneven so that speed was still scary fast. If one bump had caught Sordo out... By comparison, Solberg hit 205 km/h on the same stage.

Even though Solberg is doing very well this season, one must not forget that he is only a privateer driving a 2009 car against well funded works teams. To make up for that difference he has to push harder and take more risks. It's a testament to his skill that he doesn't make more mistakes like the one in New Zealand.

Solberg's long time co-driver, Phil Mills, has retired. Solberg admitted he was nervous going into the rally with new co-driver Chris Patterson, but it only took one stage for them to gel. I've always found it curious that Petter chooses English speaking co-drivers.

The Fords were way off the pace which allowed Citroen to lock out the top four places. Henning Solberg drove a S2000 Ford Fiesta in the event. He likes it. He likes it a lot, even suggesting it handles better than the current WRC Ford Focus. Since the 2011 WRC chassis will be the same as the S2000 chassis, this is good news for Ford who have no answer for the Citroens this year.

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