Rally Animals: Sheep

The WRC seems to gravitate toward countries with high concentrations of sheep. And in a place like Wales or New Zealand, where there are more sheep than people, well… the law of averages means it’s inevitable for rally car and wool to meet.

Rally New Zealand 1997: the infamous encounter between Carlos Sainz, Luis Moya and Mr. Sheep.

The story goes that an itty-bitty Matthew Wilson was permanently scarred by the shreds of meat on the Escort coming into service. Apparently, it was both the sight and smell, as the engine was hot enough to barbeque the mutton. ūüėõ

Lamb chops, anyone?

May 29, 2007. Animals, Auto Racing, Ford, Motorsport, Rally, Rallying, Sports, WRC. Leave a comment.

Why I Love Rally, Reason #15

The WRC is a geography lesson: 16 rounds in 16 different countries.

Grab a map. Point out where Sardinia is. Name the capital of Finland. Impress your friends! (My brother overheard people arguing over whether Bolivia is in Africa or Europe–eek!)

Marcus on a mappy map

May 28, 2007. Motorsport, Rally, Rallying, Why I Love Rally, WRC. Leave a comment.

The WRC on DVD in the US!

Wooo! At last, good news!

US-based Live Sockets Entertainment will be releasing the 2006 year review (I’m assuming it’s the “Turbocharged” title) and coverage from all 16 rounds from this season onto DVD. No region-free player required! I’ve seen their titles in Best Buy, so that could mean I can just stroll into my local store and pick up a season of the WRC. Crazy! (This may give you an idea of how little we American rally fans have…don’t laugh.)

Here’s some gratuitous eye candy from Rally Argentina:

Gimme a watersplash over an oval track any day! Oh, how Mikko loves to jump…

Addendum:

The DVD is now available for purchase at 247Motoring.com, but it’s a pared-down version of the international release. There’s a “What is WRC?” featurette (seeing as it is a North American release). There seem to be no on-boards or the JWRC/PWRC review. Meh.

May 23, 2007. News, WRC. Leave a comment.

Poor Daniel Carlsson

I was really sad to hear that Daniel Carlsson has been excluded from the rest of the season by the FIA for failure to complete the rounds he had committed to. At the start of the season, I was impressed by his innovative way to find a drive. He found sponsorship through the World Rally Against Drunk Driving campaign, meaning he both got to drive and publicize a worthy cause too. Everybody wins. But alas, something went awry and the FIA came down hard on him. Undeservingly hard, if you ask me. Now, Manfred Stohl must get the other teams to consent to his participation in the rest of the season, while the OMV Kronos team is scrambling to fill the number 2 car. If they don’t, they’ll fail to meet the requirements of a Manufacturer’s Team.

Ugh. I just wanna hear some good news for a change!

May 22, 2007. Citroen, Rally, Rallying, WRC. Leave a comment.

Rally Report: Rally d’Italia Sardegna

When I follow a rally live throughout the night, I don’t just stare at the screen. I actually write out my own take on each stage. Usually, I do it with pen and paper, but without the extra¬†energy I get from¬†Rally Radio, I find it easier to do it on MS Word. So if you’re somehow curious, this is what’s running through my mind in the middle of the night. Beware.

Download the file, with screenshots of splits and stage times, here. (You need to set it to the web page view.) It’s a full recap, so no need to put it in a separate post.

May 20, 2007. Auto Racing, Motorsport, Rally, Rally Radio, Rally Reports, Rallying, WRC. Leave a comment.

Argentina: Press Conference

This is the best¬†post-event press conference I’ve ever read. Seb gives an honest appraisal of the River Plate super special (and super specials in general), Marcus tells his true feelings, and Timo has some fun.

Read it for yourself here.

May 20, 2007. WRC. Leave a comment.

Happy Birthday, Dani Sordo!

I LOVE Dani Sordo. Tons. It’s not so obvious, since this birthday post is weeks late, but I forget my friends’ birthdays all the time. It’s–sadly–very normal. So here are my favorite things about Dani:

He seems like the nicest guy. Very talented, but still shy*, normal and fresh-faced.

But he’s passionate about the sport. You can see it in his fiery reaction to the gearbox problem he had in Rally Argentina. In fact, he loves driving so much, if he weren’t a rally driver, he’d be a delivery truck driver!

Shoot, this kid is fast on tarmac. He’s only 24 years old and he’s threatening Seb Loeb on asphalt?! And he’s getting better by each gravel rally.

The Citroen ad. (It makes the quote below pretty ironic. But don’t ask me why it’s in slow-mo.)

Honestly? The hotness. Refer to above video for evidence.

It may have been his most embarrassing moment, but his big crash in 2006’s Cyprus Rally on the last stage shows just how human he is, and how earnestly he wants to succeed.

And I’m sure he will succeed. No kidding, this Wonderboy is going to be world champion one day. Carlos Sainz believes in him. And so do I.

*Love this quote from the press conference before Portugal:
“Q: Normally it‚Äôs your team-mate, Sebastien Loeb, giving you advice. You‚Äôve been here before ‚Äď can you give Seb some advice?
Dani: I know a little more than him but Seb is a big professional and I think that Dani Sordo is very small.”

Dani in Australia 2006  Dani-jumping through mysterious Welsh mist  Dani with mentor Seb, Race of Champions

May 18, 2007. Appreciation, Citroen, WRC. Leave a comment.

I Have Returned…

Holy rally cow! It’s been forever since my last post because one, I only saw Rally Argentina coverage last night, and two, I spent a week in Hong Kong for business. So I played catch-up and…

Seb won in Argentina, but the rally was hardly enjoyable because of all the aforementioned frustration. Plus, the review show kept commending Jari-Matti Latvala on his fine performance, but didn’t get a single interview with him. Sigh…this rally is a classic, so I hope it’s just one off year for them.

The World Rally Commission is discussing their Vision 2012 plan, which (surprisingly) sounds OK. There are changes, but they seem sensible. It’d be even better if they stuck in a line about getting BF Goodriches with mousse inserts.

Xevi Pons is back! He’ll be driving the third Impreza for the Subaru World Rally Team. That’s right–not a privateer Subie, a factory car. At the start of the season, he said he wouldn’t drive anything if it couldn’t be a competitive seat. (It’s like he attended Derek Zoolander’s Center for Kids Who Want to Read Good, and Learn to Do Other Stuff Good Too: “Screw him! Hold out for more!”…and he got more!) The deal begins in Finland and could extend up to 2009 if he’s a good boy.

Now, if only Toni Gardemeister could land a sweet deal like that…

May 16, 2007. Rally, Rally Reports, Rallying, Thoughts, WRC. Leave a comment.

Rallye Argentina–what a mess…

First, no Rally Radio. Now, no Day 1.

What is heck is going on?

Geez, I hope we end up with a rally to watch at all…

It’s a classic rally with the Mina Clavero and El Condor stages, but with Mexico de-facto gone from the calendar forever, it doesn’t make sense anymore to go to Argentina.¬† Norway, Ireland and especially Portugal are just poised to take its place. What. A. Mess.

May 4, 2007. Rally, Rally Radio, Rallying, Thoughts, WRC. 2 comments.