The Dog Box: Mid-season Review

Yours truly made an appearance on The Dog Box’s mid-season review podcast. Thanks kindly to Bruce McKinnon for the opportunity! It was a bit nerve-wracking, but fun!

You can find the podcast here at The Dog Box. He’s also interviewed Malcolm Wilson and Paul Howarth about this year’s developments. Props to Bruce for his dedication and being part of the blogosphere revolution. Without people like him and the wonderful people in the forums, the fans would never be heard!

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July 30, 2007. Auto Racing, Motorsport, News, Rally, Rallying, WRC. Leave a comment.

Summer Break

Ah, the summer vacation. When I was in elementary school, we were super-excited about it because we were tired of school. Then, it got old really fast cuz we were bored, sitting around playing video games all day. That’s what the two month break in the WRC is like. It was a welcome break at first, but now I’m just antsy. Just two weeks to go until Rally Finland…two long weeks…

In the meantime, I’ve been reading the interim news from Motorsport News–the Donegal International Rally, Le 24 Heures du Le Mans*, WRC Commission deliberations, and Colin McRae’s awesome new R4 all-purpose race car. I’ve also spent the last few weeks falling in love with Lewis Hamilton (though my heart still belongs to Seb Loeb). The kid is so wonderful; he belongs in the World Rally fraternity, not the in the hoity toity bubble of F1. Lewis is not only ridiculously talented, he’s also humble, friendly and approachable. He’s the type of driver who would look a fan in the eyes when he’s signing an autograph.

Anyway, if residual WRC news and Lewis Hamilton isn’t enough to keep you occupied, try the X Games Rally event. And Bear Grylls. He’s the man!

*Go Stephane Sarrazin–he set pole and finished second! And he recently said that he’d love to do a WRC event again. Excuse me, Xevi Pons: you’re a good driver, but you’re in Stephane’s seat.

July 21, 2007. Auto Racing, F1, Motorsport, Thoughts, WRC. Leave a comment.

Happy Birthday, Manfred Stohl!

A happy belated birthday to my favorite affable Austrian (not that I know any other Austrians). Haven’t done a birthday tribute in quite a while, but let’s see if the rust wears off.

Reasons to love Manfred:

He’s a very steady driver who’s almost sure to finish a rally. In 2006, he only had one DNF, and none thus far in 2007. And he really squeezed out great performances from the same Peugeot 307 that cursed Marcus the year earlier.

So 2007 hasn’t seen much speed from Manfred in his Xsara. Citroen swears it’s the same machine that Seb had last year, but Manfred has been very vocal about its noncompetitiveness. He’s ambitious and aims for the best, even after 110+ WRC starts. He doesn’t enter a rally to finish 10th, if he can help it.

I say this every time, but I love his name. Man. Fred. Truly fantastic.

Manfred’s the only WRC regular to have a female codriver, Ilka Minor.

He’s so genuine, friendly and good-natured. His face has a smile built in it.

The infamous leetle cow incident. Aww…

He rides a unicycle!

Listening to his TV interviews with his thick accent. It’s like Arnold Schwarzenegger’s, but much happier (that’s not a stereotype–after all, Arnold’s my Governator!)

He’s the WRC’s true privateer. Keepin’ it real.

All righty then. This may be the end of the list of Manfred’s virtues, but not the end of our appreciation. Best wishes to Manfred and his young family!

Manfred sharing his unicycle skills    Manfred’s always smiling

July 12, 2007. Appreciation, Citroen, Peugeot, Rally, Rallying, WRC. Leave a comment.

Rally America on ESPN2

Oops. I missed the first installment myself, but I’ve got the torrent running as we speak.

But you are not doomed to repeat my mistake! Study this schedule! Promise yourself you will not miss a single show! (Especially if you have an HDTV. Rally in HD has got to be gorgeous.)

Rally America Schedule - too lazy to type it out…

July 6, 2007. Rally, Rallying, Sports. Leave a comment.

Review: Autosport and Motorsport News

I subscribe to both Autosport and Motorsport News, the UK’s two leading publications on auto racing, because both have regular WRC coverage. If you live in the US, and have a couple hundred bucks to spare, you might want to sign up for them.

Autosport’s dominant focus is Formula 1, but they have a regular section for rally news. It’s written by Anthony Peacock and David Evans, and the latter brings a lot of experience and perspective to the rally reports. The design is clean, the printing is high-quality and the tone is polished. However, in between rallies there is very little WRC coverage. But when there is, the rally reports are quite entertaining. David Evans captures a lot of the stuff that happens in off the stages.

Motorsport News is printed like a newspaper (but smaller), so its quality isn’t as nice. There are more items on rally than Autosport, but the tone is a bit looser. The difference between the two is like that between Time Magazine and the New York Post. Jerry Williams and Richard Rodgers are their main reporters. It’s fun though; the commentary’s got more humor to it, the pictures can be hilarious, and there’s a crossword puzzle in the back. Bonus!

There are two downsides. One is the price. They’re both weekly publications, and though each issue averages out to $2 roughly, that works out to a big chunk of dough. My local bookstores don’t carry them either. Two is the overseas delay. I’m in California, so it takes about two weeks for them to arrive. It’s better late than never, but that’s the reason I’m sometimes very behind on my rally news.

Bottom line is that these are much better than only receiving RallyWorld. There’s great writing, relevant news articles, colorful rally reviews, and reporting on the sport’s problems and controversies. They’re both available through Haymarket Publications in the US. And if you’re lucky enough to live in the UK, they have neat-o free gift offers for new subscribers.

July 2, 2007. Appreciation, Reviews. 1 comment.