2 OCTOBER 5 2011 motorsport-news.co.uk
IN THIS ISSUE
THE VOICE OF BRITISH MOTORSPORT ISSUE JA2790
“Jenson has done a better
P4 Hamilton is full of praise for McLaren team-mate job”
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Citroën backs its star man Loeb despite
A r ar e f ailur e h as cost Loe b h is bu ff er
FORD LEGEND RETURNS FOR FESTIVAL
Rick Morris to compete at Brands Hatch next week
NOKIA TO SPONSOR
World Rally Championship nets a blue-chip backer
WILKS VOWS TO FIGHT ON IN SCOTLAND
British ace promises maximum attack in IRC event
Historic race and rally news
Rally of Scotland preview
BTCC Brands Hatch report
WRC France report
Britcar 24 Hours report
Colin McRae Forest Stages report 38 Sporting Scene round-up 40 Karting round-up 42 Letters/Comment/What’s On 44 SUBSCRIBETO MOTORSPORTNEWS 46 Classifieds 47 Wanted:One-way flight back home to Geneva on the Friday night of Rally Spain.Apply:K.Räikkönen
ByDanMcCalla Sébastien Ogier will still be prevented from challenging for this year’s World Rally Championship title by Citroën even though he’s now just three points off the lead with two rallies to go.
Points leader Sébastien Loeb, Ogier’s Citroën team-mate, retired in the early stages of Rally France at the weekend with an engine failure, his first retirement in a rally for more than two years. Ogier went on to win the Strasbourg-based event and close within three points of him, while third place has allowed Ford’s Mikko Hirvonen to draw level with Loeb at the head of the table.
But with reports that Ogier has already signed to drive for rival make Ford next season, Citroën team chief Olivier Quesnel says the team won’t change it’s decision to support Loeb, despite the seven-time champion’s recent struggles. “As a team, after Germanywe decided that Loeb is the leader, and now it’s still the same,” said Quesnel.
Ogier the bridesmaid Loeb has lost huge amounts of ground in the title race on the back of his retirement in France, and his crash on the opening day of Rally Australia three weeks previously. Citroën had been setting its team
POINTS FIAWorld Rally Championship After 11 of 13 rounds
1 Sébastien Loeb 196 = Mikko Hirvonen 196 3 Sébastien Ogier 193 4 Jari-Matti Latvala 131 5 Petter Solberg 110 6 Mads Østberg 62
Quesnel has thrown his weight behind Loeb’s bid orders on an event-by-event basis, but clearly showed its decision to favour Loeb bymaking Ogier drop ten minutes at the end of the Australian event to allow a recovering Loeb to score one championship point. That cost Ogier three points compared to Loeb – the amount he is now trailing his team-mate in the title race. While Ogier is now on virtually level terms with Loeb, Ford’s Mikko Hirvonen has completely wiped out his 36-point deficit to Loeb in just two rallies to take a share of the title lead. Because of this, Quesnel wants to do everything in his power to ensure that Loeb fends off the challenge of the consistently scoring Hirvonen over the final two rounds of the season.
“Why does nobody speak about Mikko? He is as close to Seb [Loeb] as Ogier,” Quesnel told Motorsport News. “Mikko for mewill be faster than Ogier in Great Britain. My problem is Mikko against Loeb, it is not Ogier against Loeb. The problem is the blue problem [Ford]. Everybody speaks like it’s all Loeb and Ogier, and I’m sure the media will be pleased if that happens, but believe me, the first day in Spain Hirvonen will be fast. Hewill be quick in Great Britain too. We cannot forget the objective because everyone thinks its Seb v Seb, and all the time Hirvonen keeps scoring the points and catching. Loeb will be the leader, and we have to take care of Mikko.” Ogier has consistently refused to
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