2012…The Year of Rally?

It’s official. The NBA is locking out its players for the 2012 season, unless the players decide to take a few less million dollars’ salary out of the goodness of their heart so that some of the smaller teams can actually turn a profit.
The NFL is well into their lockout, which (I hope) ends when the team owners agree to compensate the poor players who are getting their brains turned into jelly.
So that leaves baseball (slow), hockey (where’s the puck?) and NASCAR (shudder) to fill up 24 hours/365 days of gab-gab-gabbing on ESPN next year.
Hey! Show the American people some rally and F1!
That would break up the all-baseball Top Ten Play compilations, at least.
One can dream!
I hope the NBA hurries up, because I can’t wait to see “World Peace” on the back of this man’s jersey.

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June 30, 2011. News, Rally, Sports, Thoughts. 1 comment.

Back from the Dead!

Ouch. I haven’t posted since 2008?

It’s been so long, I forgot my own URL. I had to try my password twice.

So what made me wanna post again?

KIMI RAIKKONEN IS COMING TO THE WRC!

http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/80616

Kimi and Ferrari made as much sense as a marriage between Lt. Saavik and Roberto Benigni. Down-to-business Citroen and Kimi? Much better. Maybe this marriage can last…

Meanwhile, enjoy your Christmas and your US television coverage of the WRC on HDNet! Fa la la la la, la la la la.

December 23, 2009. Auto Racing, Citroen, F1, Motorsport, News, Rally, Rallying, Sports, WRC. Leave a comment.

The Passing of Colin McRae

If you haven’t already heard, Colin McRae has been killed in a helicopter crash at his home in Scotland. I can’t believe that a man who seemed so invincible, who survived countless crashes and rolls, is now gone. Oh, how we’ll miss him…

But just think of what an adventure it was to be Colin McRae! The WRC, the Dakar, the X Games, the MBE, the motorcycles, the R4, the video games, the fame, and the wonderful family. He’s like a real-life action hero, with all the virtues one looks for in a friend. Few people will be as admired and loved as Colin McRae is.

My recent birthday tribute to the departed legend.

Meeting the man himself. 

Colin - Turkey ‘06 Stage End Colin and Nicky Grist, Turkey ‘06

How can you not love Colin?

September 15, 2007. Appreciation, News, Rally, Rallying, WRC. 2 comments.

Marcus Gronholm Announces His Retirement

I’m calmer now. What was I like this morning? Like this: “Nononononononono…why?! What are we going to do?! Noooooo…you can’t take Timo with you too!”

It’s no surprise, though. I knew, despite how much I didn’t want it to be true, that Marcus would retire at the end of the year. When you’re a true competitor like Marcus is, then you wouldn’t want to see yourself decline before you finally ended your career. There will always be the “what if?” It lends a flavor of romanticism. We’ll only remember him as the greatest at his craft.

But OK…I’m going to turn all hypocrite here. We fans should campaign to turn this from “retirement” into “holiday.” Just like Michael Schumacher, who turned up at all the grands prix because he was so bored at home. Marcus is going to be bored on the farm. You can’t drive Ouninpohja, then go home and be content driving a tractor, or selling antiques. So maybe we can lure him out of retirement in 2009…

If not, I hope 2009 mirrors Schuey’s retirement in another way: totally unexpectedly, someone (like Lewis Hamilton) will rise to fill in the vacuum. Mikko perhaps? Atko? Jari-Matti? A really bored Timo who finally decides to take the Focus for a spin?

I’ll end with a look back at my birthday tribute to Marcus, a link to the funny pictures thread at Marcus’ forums, and the best picture of him I could find:

Marcus - enjoying lunch, courtesy of “say”

Just kidding. How ’bout this one?

Marcus sez, “Don’t worry. It’ll be OK.”

September 14, 2007. News, Rally, Rallying, WRC. Leave a comment.

Duval’s Happy Tidings

Good things are happening for Francois Duval. And he deserves it. After gaining notoriety as a quick, but accident-prone driver, he scored a fine 2nd place at Rallye Deutschland. And immediately, Kronos and Citroen itself have secured him a seat at the upcoming Rally Catalunya. I had just about given up hope for him as another driver who never translated his potential into success. Although he’s not exactly my favorite driver, I hope “Frankie” does well, because it’ll be tough to get another chance if he messes up again. Plus, it would be excellent for Sebastien Loeb (who is my favorite driver) if both Duval and Dani Sordo keep Marcus Gronholm behind them on the three upcoming tarmac rallies.

September 4, 2007. Citroen, News, Rally, Rallying, WRC. Leave a comment.

X Games 13 Rally Super Special: Full Recap

It was supposed to be a few runs through a stadium super special. Then came the insanity.

And practice went so smoothly…

Course Layout

The first run for Ken Block and Andrew Comrie-Picard was incredible. It ended with Ken Block clipping a barrier, dragging a planter (complete with shrubbery) underneath the car, reversing to get rid of it, bumping into another concrete barrier, losing the front right tyre completely and damaging his suspension and turbo! But he still won over ACP, whose ailing engine caused him to land too short on the crossover jump, slamming the back wheels against the ramp and breaking his rear suspension. Absolute mayhem! Kudos to Block’s mechanics, who repaired his car in time for the next battle.

Ken Block - over the hedge

Colin McRae, celebrating his 39th birthday, took it easy on his match against Ramana Lagemann. Lagemann’s engine wouldn’t reach above 4000 rpm, so with no chance to win, he stopped the car.

Next, both the Rock Star Subaru teammates went head to head in a round that looked like someone held up a mirror against the entire track. But it was Tanner Foust’s smooth drifter-style moves that put him ahead of Rally America points leader Andrew Pinker. That is, until Pinker hit a barrier in the asphalt section, came into the stadium jump too sideways and hit the front left into the wall. That second impact threw his trunk door open, which made quite the spectacle as he went on to hit the last few hydrobarriers at the finish. But he did finish!

Pinker - trunk open and into the barriers

In fact, the only routine run was Travis Pastrana against Paul Choiniere. (Travis won.)

The real shocker came when, after a pretty tidy run that put him well in the lead, Colin McRae–rally legend and my favorite to win–ran wide into the hydrobarriers, which tucked under the car to form a ramp. And again, over he went, rolling the car. Except this time, he landed with a corner of the now twice-battered Subaru atop the barrier, with no way of coming down. Colin was so good during practice. With 146 WRC starts, this man has more experience than all of the other drivers put together. But he made the rather silly mistake of accelerating just a bit more, in order to gain speed where he didn’t need any. Sigh. That just means he has to come back to Los Angeles next year to claim the gold medal! Californian rally fans 1, Colin McRae 0.

This is how Colin got stuck

The penultimate match up, and the mayhem still continued unabated. The gap that Travis Pastrana opened up against Tanner Foust was small, but would have guaranteed him victory. But that slow 2 right caught Travis out. He came in too fast, crashed through the barriers into the other course, hitting Foust’s car! He was faster, but had to be disqualified for crossing the finish line in the other lane. Rallying may be nuts, but rules are rules. Travis didn’t mind–he had an absolute blast!

Travis’ illegal lane change

So the final consisted of Tanner Foust and Ken Block, who might still have been in a state of disbelief at advancing the round against Colin. Tanner Foust, though, was a bit worried about the handbrake that had snapped off in his hand. But whatever advantage Ken Block gained midstage, Foust had somehow recouped the time by the finish. The two cars were neck in neck, but both of them came into the finish, again, too fast. As luck would have it, Block’s car served as a snow bank for Tanner to bounce off of. And there you have it. Tanner Foust, stunt driver and drifter extraordinaire, is also now the gold medalist at the X Games Rally Car event. Whew!

Block bounces Foust to the win

By the end, my jaw was tired from dropping so often and my head was buzzing from the excitement. I don’t even think we see this much carnage on the Acropolis! But, all this chaos just goes to show the American public what rallying is all about. Yes, they keep going even on three wheels. Yes, they drive even when their brakes are out. Yes, they roll the car and keep on driving. And yes, when you think you’re in trouble, you hit the accelerator. Anything can happen in rallying, and whatever happens, it’s always spectacular!

August 7, 2007. Auto Racing, Motorsport, News, Rally, Rally Reports, Rallying, Subaru. Leave a comment.

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!

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

Shortened Calendar for 2009

It’s sad, but necessary I suppose. The 2009 WRC season is set to run 12 events. That’s four fewer weekends of rally madness. Now, whether that will be rotating through 24 events, as proposed earlier, that’s to be announced in October (I hope not).

The World Motor Sport Council also decided (in principle) that World Rally cars will be based on Group N and S2000 cars.

That means costs are significantly reduced for the manufacturers. I hope that resolves the financial issues once and for all. I don’t want to hear any more complaints about high costs and penny pinching.

To those four rallies about to get the ax: I will miss you.

June 27, 2007. News, Rally, Rallying, Sports, WRC. Leave a comment.

Various Seb Loeb News

Congratulations to Sebastien Loeb and his wife Severine, who announced the eminent arrival of a baby who will probably start rallying in his stroller.

Flash forward to 2030: he and Oliver Solberg will be battling it out in front. They’ll be codriven by the Elena and Mills children. Plus the Stohl baby, who will drive a privateer car.

Additionally, Seb will enter the tarmac Donegal Rally in Ireland next weekend (June 15-17). As experienced as they are, the guys of the Irish Tarmac Championship are going up against the world’s best driver on asphalt, whose nickname contains the word “super.” It’s like Bruce Lee versus a troupe of ballerinas. No contest!

June 9, 2007. News, Rally, Rallying, Solberg, 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.

Eric Bana goes rallying?

Who knew?!

The cool thing is that he’s passionate about rallying. The bad thing is he crashed his baby, the 1974 Ford XB Coupe in the tarmac Targa Tasmania Rally. But that’s how it goes…misjudge a corner and there’s a grove of trees to stop your slide.

The story’s out on the AP and all over the internet. Rallying definitely needs all the media exposure it can get here in the US. If you don’t know what rally is, or how awesome it can be, feel free to poke around my site.

Odd…all of a sudden, I find I’ve become an Eric Bana fan.

April 23, 2007. Auto Racing, Motorsport, News, Rally, Rallying. Leave a comment.

Bad, bad, bad, bad news. Glenn is leaving!

Glenn MacNeall has decided to leave the Subaru Team and no longer co-drive Chris Atkinson.

I’m just brokenhearted. Ridiculously so. He’s such a funny, professional guy who enjoys a close friendship with Chris. His statement reads:

“Competing in the World Rally Championship is far more than just a job, and while I really have enjoyed my time with the team I’ve simply come to the point now where I want to do other things. Having made up my mind to go, it wouldn’t be fair on Chris for me to carry on with anything less than 100 per cent commitment, and for this reason I felt it would be best to step down straight away. I’ll continue to follow the sport very closely and I wish Chris, Petter and the whole Subaru team the best of luck in the future.”

Maybe his life is heading in a different direction. Maybe he needs a life where he’s not abroad 40 weeks out of the year. Maybe he couldn’t take another high-speed crash into the rally scenery a la Stephane Prevot. I don’t blame Glenn for leaving, but where are they going to find a guy to take his place? George Clooney-coiffed Tony Sircombe, perhaps? Anyway, while the SWRT scrambles to get a replacement, I’ll be watching the old Shakedown spotlight on Glenn and crying on the inside.

April 3, 2007. News, Rally, Rallying, Subaru, WRC. 1 comment.

Dakar Rally

Heads up: the Dakar Rally started today. If you’re in the US, you can find a 30 minute highlights show every day on Versus (formerly the Outdoor Life Network). Among the entries are Bruno Saby, Freddy Loix, Nasser Al-Attiyah, and rally legends Markku Alen, Carlos Sainz, Ari Vatanen, and Miki Biasion. Yowza, what an entry list!

If you don’t know what the Dakar is, it’s basically a weeks-long rally (race) in the African desert. It’s insane, it’s extreme, and it’s got rally gods coming out of retirement to drive. Kinda nice.

Here are links to the story and the official site.

January 7, 2007. Auto Racing, Dakar Rally, Motorsport, News, Rally, Rallying, Sports. 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.

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.

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