Jeremy Clarkson Examines Speed

Here’s a link to a very interesting video clip on Jalopnik about what separates the layman from a sportsman. It educates and strokes my rally pride.


December 31, 2006. Auto Racing, Ford, Motorsport, Rally, Rallying, Sports, WRC. Leave a comment.

Happy Birthday, Alex Bengue!

I want to wish a happy birthday to former French Rally Champion Alex Bengue! He’s not the most famous of rally drivers, but he did beautifully at the two rallies he entered this year (fourth in Catalunya and fifth in Corsica), and he is partnered with one of only two female codrivers at the WRC level, Caroline Escudero. So let’s hope we’ll see this tarmac expert on one of the five asphalt events in 2007.

December 24, 2006. Appreciation, Auto Racing, Motorsport, Rally, Rallying, Sports, WRC. Leave a comment.

Happy Birthday, Alister McRae!

I caught the rally bug after Alister’s exit from the WRC, so I don’t know too much about the younger McRae brother. But I can say that the sibling rivalry between him and illustrious older brother Colin must have been absolutely spectacular. Setting equal stage times and challenging for rally leads together–what good fun! I’m taking my time machine back there, when I build one. Or not. We’ll see.

Anyway…happy birthday, Alister! Hopefully, we’ll see him more often in 2007 in that Toyota Corolla S2000, or in any other car.

December 24, 2006. Appreciation, Auto Racing, Ford, Hyundai, Mistubishi, Motorsport, Rally, Rallying, Sports, Subaru, WRC. Leave a comment.

Happy Birthday, Denis Giraudet!

Belated birthday wishes to Denis Giraudet, one of the most experienced codrivers still in the game. You gotta love

…his name. So fun to say. Den-ee Zhi-rah-day.

…that he codrove for Stephane Sarrazin, my second-favorite French rally driver.

…the sense of awe that I get when I read his CV. Juha Kankkunen, Didier Auriol, five victories…nice.

…one of the best rally quotes of the year: “We met a big cow in the middle of the road…It was a big milky thing, you know?” (2006 Rally New Zealand)

I hope to see more of him in the WRC in 2007, because every sport could use more gentlemen like him.

December 24, 2006. Appreciation, Auto Racing, Motorsport, Rally, Rallying, Sports, Subaru, WRC. Leave a comment.

Thoughts: Rallye Monte Carlo

The news is out–the rally will be held in central France over four days, with stages not used since 1996. So, there must be questions in your mind, like…
Four days, you say? That must mean…NIGHT STAGES! Very cool.

All new stages? The only driver to have driven them in 1996 is Manfred Stohl? Uh oh. That means…NO COL DE TURINI! Sigh…I’m feeling just a bit despondent.

Until we get to the part about the Super Special in the principality! Our rally drivers are driving part of the Grand Prix circuit! I can already see the sideways action on that famous hairpin. Happiness!

Here’s a link to the stage maps, which still look like jolly good fun. The clerk of the course is trying to steer the Rallye back to its historic roots, so we’ll see how it goes.

December 21, 2006. Auto Racing, Motorsport, News, Rally, Rallying, Sports, Thoughts, WRC. Leave a comment.

Why I Love Rally, Reason #10

Most of the rally drivers are humble, geniunely nice people.

With all the driving talent they’ve got, they could probably rule the planet if they wanted to.

But, when you’re driving on the roughest roads this side of Dakar, sitting forever at time controls, changing your own tyres, taking whatever Lady Luck and Mother Nature can throw at you, and sweating it out in 120 degree cockpits over three exhausting days, you simply can’t be a diva.
Seb and Petter are notoriously personable. Marcus is a farmer. The others don’t make a whole lot of money. And with seats that are hard to get and easy to lose, the drivers are just grateful to be in a car.

Plus, you’ll never see a NASCAR face-punching, all-up-in-yo-face brawl. You don’t have to worry about our rally heroes acting like children…

Petter pulling on Marcus’ ears

but it’s funny when they do!

December 20, 2006. Auto Racing, Citroen, Ford, Motorsport, Peugeot, Rally, Rallying, Solberg, Sports, Subaru, Why I Love Rally, WRC. Leave a comment.

2006 Race of Champions

Alas, Seb didn’t win. But for sitting at home for three months, second place ain’t bad.

If you haven’t heard already, the likeable Swedish DTM star and some-time rally driver Mattias Eckstrom took the title of Champion of Champions. Well-deserved.

Colin McRae took second in the rally class, being beaten only by Seb Loeb, turning things around from a rather blah start in the Nations Cup. Our beloved Scot is still in the game! *crossing fingers for more appearances in the WRC*

Finland took the Nations Cup solely on Heikki Kovalainen’s shoulders (Marcus was having a horrible night) with the good ol’ US of A taking second.

The drivers raced in the ROC buggy, an Aston Martin Rally GT, a Porsche 911 GT3, and a souped up Renault Megane. But with all these cars taking the corners in a purely straight-laced fashion, I erupted in a cheer when the first Citroen Xsara WRC came around a corner sideways. That’s the money, right there.

I actually thought it was good that a non-rally driver won. With the ROC beginning as a competition between rally drivers on an actual gravel rally stage, Eckstrom’s win proves that the event isn’t geared only towards the rally crowd. We want it to expand to include the absolute best drivers of all disciplines. The ROC is heading in a good direction. I hope it’ll find wider TV exposure than premium satellite service, even if I like watching it in glorious high-def on HDNet. And soon, we’ll get the top drivers from every country and racing discipline–then we’ll get Seb to beat ’em all. That’s my vision, anyway. 😉

December 17, 2006. Auto Racing, Citroen, F1, Motorsport, News, Rally, Rallying, Sports, WRC. 1 comment.

Travis Pastrana News

Me with Travis Pastrana and Ken Block–Yay! 

I got to meet 2006 Rally America Champion Travis Pastrana at the LA Auto Show and asked him about his future. We know that he’s signed for three more years at the Subaru Rally Team USA, but he will be entering three rounds of the PWRC in the 2007 season, including Rally Mexico in March. 

He did the recce this past year in Mexico, and everyone’s suspicions that he’d contest that rally have been confirmed. His sights are on the PWRC for now, but he’s made it abundantly clear that World Rally is where he ultimately wants to be.

Today, Travis had the time of his life at the 2006 Race of Champions in the Stade de France. With both 2006 NASCAR Nextel Cup Champ Jimmie Johnson and F1 up-and-comer Scott Speed sidelined with broken wrists (coincidence or voodoo…?), Travis became his own teammate. Though he came in second in the Nations Cup, the star-struck Pastrana still raced and beat Marcus Gronholm, Armin Schwarz, DTM champ Bernd Schneider,  F1’s David Coulthard and rally god Colin McRae! This boy’s in motorsport nirvana right now.

And I got to meet him! I’m pretty happy too. 🙂

December 17, 2006. Auto Racing, Motorsport, News, Rally, Rallying, Sports, Subaru, WRC. Leave a comment.

Happy 27th Birthday, Chris Atkinson!

Time to give our props to our favorite Aussie.

You gotta love
…his raw talent. Fastest stage times and a podium in Japan 2005.  He’s still learning (and doing it publicly in a factory drive), but let’s hope he’ll find some consistency next season.
…how he takes all the bad luck, mechanical problems and driver errors in stride.
…his silly sense of humor. He’s usually laughing and kidding around. Read this.
…how he doesn’t know what the capital of Canada is. Do you?
…his brains. The youngest certified stockbroker in the Sydney Stock Exchange!
…his pink sunglasses.
…the accent.
…this many appearances on AXN’s Shakedown. He was so good at asking the “Godfather” to whack the other drivers, you’d have thunk he’d done it before!
…how he always says, “that’s life.” He could practically trademark that.
…the friendship he has with codriver Glenn MacNeall. (I’m still trying to figure out when his birthday is. It could be tomorrow. I’m not sure.)

Check out those arms! He could pick up that Impreza!  Atko and his furry friend  Where’d his hair go?

Now, I fully expect Atko to win a world championship one day. He’s very likeable, he’s got the speed and the personality, and he’s gaining the experience. After the Loeb-Gronholm-Solberg dynasty, my crystal ball says it’ll be Atko vs. Mikko Hirvonen vs. Dani Sordo.

December 1, 2006. Appreciation, Auto Racing, Motorsport, Rally, Rallying, Sports, Subaru, WRC. Leave a comment.