Saturday, May 14, 2011

WRC Italy 2011

Mini made an auspicious debut in Italy. The car is obviously very fast albeit a bit unreliable, but that is the right way to do it. You can always make a fast car more reliable, but making an unreliable car go faster is almost impossible. The best news is that Volkswagon has committed to enter the WRC in 2013. The competion is looking to be in good shape for the future.

Not only is Loeb a brilliantly fast driver, but he is also annoyingly lucky at times. Loeb spent the entire weekend as road sweeper and yet it did not seem to slow him down at all, an incredible feat. While Loeb was in perfect form, he was helped by the fact all of his main rivals had problems.

On day one, Latvala's co-driver misread a pace note which caused them to entered a corner too fast, rolling the car. It was not too badly damaged and Latvala restarted on day two in forty-fifth place. Even though he was out of contention, he cranked out a series of stage wins which showed what he could have achieved at the front of the pack.

Also on day one, a very racy looking Hirvonen briefly lead the rally until a slow puncture finished his charge. Hirvonen fought back valiantly, even winning the power stage, and clearly demonstrated he had the pace for a rally win, but he simply ran out of stages, finishing only 11s behind Loeb.

Petter Solberg also looked like a possible contender for a win but a turbo problem on day one and a puncture on day two, put any chance of a victory to rest. Still, he managed to salvage third place, his first podium finish of the season, so it was still a good rally for him.

Ogier took himself out of contention when he played tactics and slowed on the last stage of day one. Unfortunately for him, none of his rivals were in the mood for tactics so they all went flat-out, leaving Ogier a whopping 1m31s behind the rally leader. Ouch! Ironically, this was the reverse of what happened in Jordan where Ogier was the one who kept his foot down.

Italy reiterated what is required to beat Loeb: drive flat-out, make no mistakes, have no mechanical failures, and do not bother with tactics. Sounds easy, doesn't it? ^_^

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