2 OCTOBER 26 2011 motorsport-news.co.uk
IN THIS ISSUE
THE VOICE OF BRITISH MOTORSPORT ISSUE JA2793
“Dan was the only really unlucky one”
IndyCar hero Mario Andretti on the sport’s safety
VOLKSWAGEN CLOSING IN ON WRC WINNER
German marque is close to signing one of four stars
REMEMBERING HOW THE BTCC
TURBO WAR WAS WON
The best bits of the BTCC are in our four page review
LOEB WINS TO SET UP
Citroën’s record breaker makes history in Spain
Historic race and rally news
BTCC season review
Cheviot Keith Knox Rally report 31 SUBSCRIBETOMOTORSPORTNEWS 32 Sporting Scene round-up 33 Karting round-up 34 Henry Surtees trophy report 35 Letters/Comment/What’s On 36 Classified 38 Wanted:Two lamb bhunas and a pint of Kingfisher to get into the Indian Grand Prix spirit.Who cares if it’s eight am...
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Points race in the balance as the crews
ByDanMcCalla Sébastien Loeb and Mikko Hirvonen will go head-to-head for the World Rally Championship title on Rally GB for the second time in three seasons next month.
Citroën ace Loeb’s victory on Rally Spain at the weekend has given him an eight-point lead in the title race over Ford star Hirvonen, who finished second after team orders for fellow Finn Jari-Matti Latvala to cede the position. With Ford traditionally strong on the Welsh gravel stages, the Spanish result sets up a tantalising finale to the most dramatic WRCseason in years.
Fr enchman Loe b has upper hand
Citroën still wary Citroën is taking nothing for granted as Loeb attempts to win his eighth successive WRCtitle, despite the fact that the 37-year-old will go into the finale leading the points and that he has wonRally GB for the last three years. Hirvonen has traditionally always run well on Rally GB, and Loeb admits that hewill have to be at his best to secure the crown.
“It’s difficult to say [that I will win] as everything is possible,” said the Frenchman. “The rally is long, so I know that to win the title I will have to beat Mikko, or if I’m second I would have to score points in the Power Stage, so there’s a long way to go.”
Loeb has been backed to win his eighth crown by his team chief Olivier Quesnel, and Loeb will be free to push for his drivers’ title after Citroën secured its seventh manufacturers title thanks to Loeb’s victory in Spain. While Citroën has been criticised for some of its team orders decisions this season, Quesnel believes they have played a major part in putting Loeb in pole position to win the WRCagain.
“Anything could have happened here in Spain so we are very pleased,” Quesnel told Motorsport News. “Seb won the rally, Citroën got the seventh
POINTS FIAWorld Rally Championship After 12 of 13 rounds
1 Sébastien Loeb 222pts 2 Mikko Hirvonen 214 3 Sébastien Ogier 193 4 Jari-Matti Latvala 146 5 Petter Solberg 110 6 Mads Østberg 70
manufacturers’ title, and Seb has eight points [advantage] for Great Britain. It won’t be easy, but when we came here it was the same, but I’m sure that Seb in Great Britain will be OK.
“It’s not just the manufacturers’ title –we have won ten rallies out of 12 so far. Of course it was not easy to make these [team orders] decisions, but I prefer to have these problems and win ten rallies than not have the problems and not win anything at all.”
Ford stays alive Hirvonen and his Ford team went into Rally Spain knowing that he would most likely lose his share of the points lead, and that the Saloubased event was destined to be an exercise in damage limitation. Despite initially struggling for pace on the Tarmac stages, Hirvonen got himself into third in the closing part of the event and took second when team-mate Latvala checked into the pre-Power Stage regroup early and took a two-minute penalty.
The 31-year-old says that compared to Spain, the raft of new stages on Rally GBand the unpredictable weather inWales in November could make the title decider a lottery and give him a fighting chance.
“It’s still alive, and Spain and France have been such difficult rallies for me, but the good thing is that on Sunday morning I started to understand what waswrong with
Loeb says he’ll push hard for the crown in Wales