Page 1

Rallye Automobile Monte Carlo PRINCIPAL SEBATTLE








Issue 6, February 2013



One on one with Volkswagen’s Director of Motorsport


Rally Sweden

VW Already On Top



Your monthly dose of WRC reports, news and of course the best images of the most exciting sport on the planet. We strive to bring you the best possible emag about the WRC. To be able to do so we need your support!

Check out our advertisers, without them, there can be no Rally-eMag! Sign up by sending us a mail with ‘subscribe’ in the subject at info@ Follow us on Twitter at @emagrally. Also make sure to give our Facebook page a like, Interested in advertising? Mail us at to discuss the various possibilities.

Rally-eMag February 2013 / Colofon

Gentlemen, start your engines! The start of a new season always brings about many questions. How will the new Volkswagen Polo R WRC perform? How will the drivers who switched teams adapt to their new cars? Will the Ford Fiesta remain competitive despite Ford’s withdrawal as a title sponsor? After the first two rounds, we might start drawing some conclusions. It’s true like everyone says, Monte Carlo, Sweden and Mexico are special events so you don’t really know anything untill Portugal. It seems pretty clear though that the new Polo is definitely on the pace! Sordo’s switch to Citroën also seems to work out just fine given his pace in Monte Carlo. But now, the real excitement starts. As of Rally Mexico the WRC will really be without Sebastien Loeb. Although he had announced his retirement, Loeb was still there at the first two rounds and fast as ever. Now he will really be gone and it will be entirely up to the others to take center stage. Namesake Ogier seems ready to pick up the gauntlet and take over as the new alpha male. We have yet to see the pace of the Polo on gravel though. So, changes are happening throughout the WRC which really shake things up. At Rally-eMag we are also going through some changes. As of this year our crew welcomes a new member, photographer Bas ter Haar Romeny. Bas has a keen eye for the details and viewpoints others might overlook and has been following the WRC for decades now. We are thrilled to add Bas to the team and show you his work. Enjoy reading!


Steven van Veenendaal Editor

In this month’s issue... Interview: Rallye Jost Capito Monte Carlo - Principal Sebattle Page 9

- One on One with Volkswagen’s director of motorsports Page 20

Rally Sweden - VW Already on top Page 23

Image: Bas ter Haar Romeny

Who made it? Publisher: Rally-eMag Words: Steven van Veenendaal, Harry van Veenendaal. Photography: Bas ter Haar Romeny, Steven van Veenendaal, Harry van Veenendaal.

Who helped?

Who we thank!

How to reach us?

Logo design: Minse Blom

PR Photography from: M-Sport, Citroen Racing, Michelin Racing, Mini Team Motorsport Italia, Hyundai Pers.

Email: Web: Facebook: emagrally Twitter: @emagrally Issuu:


Rally-eMag February 2013 / Interview

Happy Hour: M-Sport The happy hours at the teams at Rally Monte Carlo are always a great opportunity to catch up with everyone in the sport. As new teams emerge and drivers switch teams there is always a great sense of optimism. Everyone looks forward to the new season with lofty expectations. We asked the drivers of the new M-Sport teams about their goals for the coming season. The first driver we speak to is Juho Hänninen Q: You are only signed up for two rallies at the moment, will we see you at more events? A: Of course we hope we can do some more. I don’t know what will happen after Sweden, my manager takes care of these things. Q: Why did you make the switch to Ford? A: I have been with Skoda for many years, which has been very good. However with Volkswagen joining the WRC, it was clear Skoda was not going to do the WRC and my goal has always been to drive in the WRC, so I decided to make the switch to Ford. Q: The Skoda S2000 and Ford WRC are obviously very different cars, how did you cope with that? A: Indeed the Ford is very different from the Skoda, I was a bit surprised really how big the difference was. But we managed to do over 300 kilometers of testing so it should be ok.


Q: What’s the main difference? A: In IRC we were allowed to cut the tyres, so we could add extra cuts to the tires. Now we can’t do that so I am not so confident in the wet conditions. Q: The Fiesta also has more power. A: Yeah much more, wow! You need to be very aggressive in the car and use the torque because it has so much. It is a bit different in the

Image: Bas ter Haar Romeny

Skoda, you could really attack the slow corners, in the Ford you have be a bit more cautious and use the torque out of the corner. But anyway we have a new car, so I need to fit the car! Q: What is your goal for this rally? And the rest of the season? A: I have no special goal, let’s see when we get to Monte Carlo how many cars are there. Then we can see if we can aim for somebody. Sweden will be very different, there you have to push right from the start. Of course I have more experience there too, so I will try to be a bit higher up. Thierry Neuville Q: Tell us about your switch to Ford, it was announced quite late and came a bit as a surprise. A: I was surprised too, we managed everything quite late although we were always in contact with Nasser. I was given the opportunity to do a full season with M-Sport and the possibility was not there at Citroën. Matton knew I was in contact with M-Sport and he did his best to offer me a good contract, but he could not offer me a full season. I had a great year at Citroën though and I learned a lot. For my feeling M-Sport was the best option, and I went after my feeling.

Rally-eMag February 2013 / Interview

In life you have to take risks sometimes and I do that quite often. It has gotten me this far! This is maybe also a risk because it is a new team. But I am happy I took it because now I have all races in the WRC, like I always wanted. Q: How has the adaption to the new team been? A: Very good! I did not expect it to be this easy actually. M-Sport fits me very well. It is almost like a family.

don’t know yet how competitive Volkswagen will be. Also Dani Sordo is back so we have to see how fast he will be. For me the first goal is just to finish Monte Carlo and Sweden, from Mexico we will know some more and start to look up. On these first rallies I don’t have to much expectations because I don’t have a lot of experience on them, so I can’t fight. Q: What are your favorite rallies this season? A: I like Germany, Spain, Finland and New Zealand, although we will not do New Zealand this year. Finland was the first WRC rally I did and I loved it ever since. It was quite hard for me to drive it for the first time in a WRC, but I loved it.

Q: How is it different from Citroën? A: Citroën is more like a factory you know. It is a factory team unlike MSport. Everyone at M-Sport works for themselves, not for the factory. But I had a great time at Citroën as well, they’re just two teams who work differ- Q: That must have been quite scary with all the blind jumps and ently. crests in Finland? A: No no! I was not afraid. You can never be afraid in this sport! Q: Can you describe some of those differences? A: Well, I don’t want to get in any trouble! Well, maybe, nooo! Let’s say both teams have their positive and negative points. It is a just a different approach. So it is a new team for me and I have to adapt to it, so far that has been going very well. Q: How were your first test runs with the Fiesta? Is it very different from the DS3? A: The tests went very well immediately, it was not difficult at all to switch from one car to the other. The cars are very different though just like the engineers! They have a completely different way of thinking, but in the end the result is the same, both cars are very fast. I like the Fiesta, I already feel comfortable in it.


Q: What are your thoughts on the Monte? A: I don’t like it so much really. I have been here twice and never got a good result. I always went off the road early on. I also prefer dry conditions over snow, or ice or very changable conditions, but we have no choice, it is what it is. Q: What are your goals for the season? A: It is very difficult for me to fix an objective. We Rally-eMag talking to Mads Ostberg. Image: M-Sport

Rally-eMag February 2013 / Interview

Mads Ostberg

Evgeny Novikov

Q: How was your preparation for the rally and the season in general? A: I am very happy about the testing, I had the opportunity to do many kilometers in the car. In preparation for the rally we saw many different circumstances, from dry tarmac, to wet, to slush to full snow. We basically covered everything except real ice.

Q: Did you have a good test before the rally? A: Yes we were able to test for two days in different conditions, from a dry road to full snow and everything in between.

Q: You moved from a privateer Ford team to the works team, what’s the difference? A: This is a much bigger team. If I want something, I just make a call and it happens! The car I had last year is not too different from this one, but I had to deal with it as it was. Now I can make changes to make it suit me better.

Q: You are still driving with Ilka Minor, is she a permanent replacement for Denis Giraudet? A: Denis is not fully recovered yet from Finland. It’s a shame because he is over 50 years old and brings a lot of experience! But he is not yet able to do a rally at full speed. He is here though as part of my gravel crew, together with Francois Delecour, so that’s a good team for me. But driving with Ilka is going very well too so I have found a good replacement.

Q: What are your thoughts on the Monte? A: The most important thing for me is that there is no SupeRally. You Q: Do you feel extra pressure as the number one driver? make one mistake and you are out, there are no second chances. If I feel A: In Monte Carlo not too much as it is my first time here. In Sweden it will good I will push, but again, you have to stay in the race. be different! Q: You have a tendency to be very fast, but also go off from time to Q: What are your goals for this season? time. How are you working on that? A: I mainly want to improve on last year. So I want to finish on the podium A: When you drive on the limit you go off the road sometimes, it happens. in the overall championship. I am looking mainly to the gravel events to The important thing is to learn from it. Ilka plays an important part in that. score the points, like Sweden, Portugal, Sardinia and Wales. I have some Whenever something happens we analyse together what went wrong and experience there so I should be able to score good points. Here in Monte how we can improve. Carlo I have no experience at all so this is definitely the hardest rally of the season. Also it is just a special event, the surface is not really tarmac, it’s… well just Monte Carlo surface!


Q: How did you end up in the M-Sport team? A: I was talking to Malcolm (Wilson ed.) from the start of the season, so I was leaning towards M-Sport a bit already. Then Citroën came and they made me an offer. Then Prodrive also started preparing an offer, so basically I could have gone anywhere. Prodrive eventually could not find the budget and afer some consideration I knew M-Sport was the right choice for me. I know the car and I think it is a perfect car. I also know the team and Malcolm, who has a lot of confidence in me which is also nice. So far I am really enjoying myself.

Image: Steven van Veenendaal

Rally-eMag February 2013 / Interview

Cocktail de rentrée: Citroën At most WRC rounds there is a so-called happy hour where drivers and team principals meet to talk about the WRC round to come. Especially at the beginning of the season this is an event where you have to go to hear the latest about the teams. Obviously your Rally-eMag reporters went there and saw all the lovely snacks and drinks pass by. But the sense of duty was stronger than the urge to eat and drink so we just talked to most people. As you read earlier in this issue we started at Ford who had settled down at Cafe Le Victor Hugo. Then we continued to Citroën at La Maison Pic. Both establishments were situated at Boulevard Victor Hugo, But the distance between the two was an almost fifteen minutes walk in a blistering cold. At Citroën they don’t call this a happy hour but ‘un cocktail de rentrée’ or a return of the cocktail season. The idea was the same though. In a special corner of La Maison Pic was a huddle of people. In the centre of this huddle we recognized Sebastien Loeb. We focussed our attention on other people, starting with Mikko Hirvonen. Q: Mikko during testing you went off and gave us quite a scare! What happened? A: “Well I think it was a bigger scare for me than for you! It was the first day back in the office and very early in the morning so I just was not awake yet. Going down a slope I suddenly noticed there was a lot of slush on the road, I tried to brake but there was really nothing we could do and we just went off. But it already feels like ages ago.


Q: How was recce for you? A: We saw a lot of different conditions on the road, but that is Monte Carlo. During the rally it will be different again because of the weather here. But one thing is clear, there really was more snow than I have ever seen on the Monte. It is not deep snow, but there is a lot of it.

Monte Carlo is also about catching up with your friends. Image: Bas ter Haar Romeny

Q: You switched to Citroën last year after spending many years at Ford, how was that switch for you? A: At first I was a little afraid about ‘how am I going to fit in?’ But the team really made it very easy for me so it has been good. It is a bit tricky still because the mechanics don’t speak English very well and my French... can also be a bit better. But you know I try to learn and speak some French to them and the more French I speak to them the more English they speak to me! Q: In the last five years you finished second in the championship four times, what are your goals for this year? To win the championship? A: Well everybody thinks I should be number one this year. Me too actually! I am the only one who is doing the full season with the same team as last year. So yeah, it looks good! Q: How do the DS3 and Fiësta relate and differ? A: The general idea of the cars is really the same, there are just some small differences. But I like them both and I now feel completely confident in the DS3.

Rally-eMag February 2013 / Interview

Q: What is your goal for the rally? A: This is a bit of a gamble really as we don’t know how fast Volkswagen Q: What is your goal for this season? will be. Well it’s not really a gamble, as we all know how fast both Sebast- A: The most important goal for me is to win a rally this year. iens (ed. Loeb and Ogier) will be. My goal is to score some big points for the championship because that is were I want to be number one this year. Q: How did testing and recce for the Monte go? A: Testing was very good and the recce too. We saw a lot of snow during Q: Who do you consider to be your main rivals? the recce. That will make it difficult. Especially since there is no SupeRally A: I expect the Volkswagen to be fast, if that is the case, both drivers will here so one mistake and you are out! be very fast! But in my own team there is Dani of course, he will be a quick rival too. Maybe Ostberg can also join the fight and challenge. So Q: You had already driven the DS3 when it was still in its early develyeah it will be a very interesting year. opment stages, how does that car compare to the car of today? A: The DS3 car I tested some years ago was actually a very different car. Q: What are your favourite rallies? It was a DS3 but it had a 2-litre C4 engine. So it is very difficult to comA: All rallies have something special. Overall for me I like to go fast so the pare. But I have a lot of confidence in the current car, so it’s good. faster the rally, the more I enjoy it. The cocktail party ended in some happy banter with all the rally people Q: What about Monte Carlo? present. Again you remember again why rallying is our passion. It’s not A: With Monte Carlo it is like love and hate for me. It is a good place to only the breath-taking action on the special stages it’s definitely also the start the championship though as it is such a legendary event. I actually people: of course the drivers, mechanics and team management but also always love the rally, except when I am on the top of the mountain, comthe PR people, the media colleagues including photographers, cameraing down in the snow on the wrong tires. men, and last but not least radio reporters. While we were talking to Mikko, there were several other microphones pointed at the Finnish stardriver, that is the way it is at a ‘cocktail de rentrée’. In another corner we hear some Spanish laughter, so we leave Mikko for Dani Sordo who after a short spell at Mini is back home at Citroën. Q: Hello Dani are you happy to be back at Citroën? A: Yes I am very happy to be back here, it is good team, I know them well and therefore it feels good, so yeah, I’m happy.


Q: How were your last two years at Mini? A: It was good also, it is a very nice team you know. Unfortunately they did not have the budget to do the full season nor to further develop the car, but the team was very nice. Q: You are not doing a full season at Citroën either, only 11 rallies right? A: No we do twelve, only France is not sure yet. But twelve is good also, as a present for Christmas I asked to do the season and I got this! So I’m happy about that. Image: Steven van Veenendaal

Rallye Monte Carlo / Overview

Rallye Automobile Monte Carlo

Based in: Valence/Monaco Date: 15-20/01/2013 Number of stages: 18 Shortest stage: Lantosque-Luceram 18.95 km Longest stage: Le Moulinon-Antraigues 37.1 km Total stage distance: 465 km Surface: Asphalt/Snow 9/34

Image: Steven van Veenendaal

Rallye Monte Carlo / Rally review 10/34

Rallye Automobile Monte Carlo Principal Sebattle Not very long before the start everyone anticipated an average Rally Monte Carlo. Temperatures were moderate so the varying weather conditions that should make the Monte live up to its reputation were not yet in sight. The focus of attention was at the Volkswagen camp. Would they be able to challenge the competition? Well at the end of the day these two items (the weather and Volkswagen) proved to be the main ingredients for an excellent Monte, a Rally Monte Carlo that will be in the history books!

tions. Shakedown started in slippery conditions. (Both teammates Ogier and Latvala were surprised by it and went off). Towards the end, heavy snow started to fall. Somewhere between the snowflakes you could see the struggling cars. Unlike other shakedowns all top teams reappeared to test in these special conditions.

Lazy schedule After shakedown drivers began their usual chores on shakedown day. For some of them this means the official FIA press conference hosted by Becs Williams. For others it meant In the beginning of January the first endless media appearances and of signs of things to come reached the course a photo session for the class media channels. Evgeny Novikov of 2013. All drivers huddled together went off in heavy snow during test for the ceremonial picture around a sessions and even Mikko Hirvonen gazebo in a Valence park. Co-drivwas surprised by the conditions and ers usually spend this afternoon for rolled his Citroën DS3. During recce fine-tuning their notes. Somewhere week suddenly the weather forein a corner of the Ford tent we saw casts started to change: temperaIlka Minor talking to Dennis Girautures dropped and snow was falling. det, probably comparing their notes On shakedown-day traffic in downand experiences with one Evgeny town Valence came to a semi stand- Novikov. At the end of the day all still, partly because the venue for drivers went to the ceremonial start the shakedown was just outside the and got some rest before the big Valence city centre but also because start. of the ever changing weather condi-

This year’s Monte turned out to be a battle of the ‘Sebs’. Images: Bas ter Haar Romeny

Rallye Monte Carlo / Rally review

Image: Bas ter Haar Romeny


On Wednesday serious business started. The famous Moulinon-Antraigues stage had a big surprise in store for us. Fastest over this stage was Sebastien Ogier in his Volkswagen Polo R WRC. In their very first competitive appearance Ogier and Volkswagens showed their speed! Moulinon is a real classic in the rally and the conditions fitted well. A dry start with snow, becoming more compact towards the top of the Col de la Fayolle. In the descent to Antraigues the road was completely dry again. It was absolutely essential to have studded tyres for the middle part. But going to the top and especially descending again on dry tarmac was a ‘stud killer’. But Ogier had it all right and created a 3 second gap to archrival Loeb. Burzet, another Monte classic, was the second stage of the day and was almost completely covered in snow and ice. Here Loeb set the fastest time. Ogier was second losing some 10 seconds and first place on the leader board. Third in the stage was Juho Hänninen, followed by Sordo, Neuville and Ostberg. Jari Matti Latvala was seventh. He lost some time due to a penalty for showing up late at the time control. “We changed some tyres.” Explained the Finn. “And time being tight it was not enough, so we lost some time.” During the afternoon loop Ogier loses some more time but he is still in second place when he comes back to the Valence service. The second day of competitive action is a loop of three stages tackled twice and situated west of host city Valence. The second stage was the fully snow covered test of Saint Bonnet le Froid. (Le froid is French for

The Scandinavians struggled to make an impact on the Monte this year. Ostberg left and Hirvonen right. Image: Steven van Veenendaal

‘the cold’ and cold it was!) Loeb is in control but not as much as he used to be. He increases the gap between him and Ogier but he has to allow others to win stages. In this case they are Novikov (2) Hänninen and Ogier. But then again he’s still in complete control. “I’m here to enjoy myself,” he said beforehand. “But I do want to win also.” After day two he is going well into that direction. The road to Monte Carlo On the third day every one is leaving Valence again. From the Valence service park, a gloomy parking lot squeezed in between some buildings not affected by any sign of good architecture on the outskirts of Valence, we move to the glamorous port of Monte Carlo. On the (400 kilometre plus) way to the glorious Riviera, competitors have to tackle three stages. Fairly early in the morning they start with the St Jean en Royans stage. Conditions were perfect. Skies were blue, the sun was all over the place, but temperatures were very low, -13 degrees. The chill factor caused by the strong winds that made the day two stages into a polar expedition was gone though. Nice (almost) dry asphalt marked the beginning of the stage. Two thirds of the stage however was covered in lots of snow. So again the studded tyres were obligatory. Loeb built on his lead and won the stage. Preserving his studs, Ogier lost some time on the earlier parts of the stage but in the snowy parts he gained some time again. He finished just 1,5 seconds of the lead. Feeling more and more confident Ostberg followed in third. Proving this point the young Norwegian,

Rallye Monte Carlo / Rally review 12/34

wins the next stage, with Novikov making it a Qatar M-Sport WRT one two. The last stage of the day is the Sisteron stage and Loeb leads Latvala and Ogier in this stage before going to the Monaco port. The port of Monte Carlo When we arrive there, the first thing we see is the twin sister of the Volkswagen building we saw in Valence. Slightly away from the other competitors on the quayside of the famous port where at another occasion Formula 1 cars run by, the second hospitality unit has been set up. “Being in a championship like this is all about publicity, ranging from partners, sponsors and other business relations to the media,” VW chief Jost Capito explains. “Therefore we need to have enough space and we think we need two of these buildings. Due to the special nature of Monte Carlo where we have to travel some four to five hundred kilometres between the two rally centres, we decided to put one building in Valence and the other one in Monaco.”

Final day The final day of this Rallye Monte Carlo starts of in a gloomy way. A dark sky with a lot of rain falling from it. Talk of the town is ‘tyres’. The weather forecast promises lots of snow on the higher mountains. At sea level the result is the aforementioned rain. Due to tyre restrictions, only twenty studded snow tyres are available to each driver. “We have been anticipating this,” says VW boss Jost Capito. “So we asked our drivers to spare the studs on the asphalt stretches. From the data we can see they did, so we’re OK!” Still there is a frantic rush of weather crews trying to look into a future that is changing very rapidly. The Saturday loop consists of two different stages: the most famous of them all: Moulinet – La Bollene Vesubie including the Col de Turini at an altitude of 1600 meter. According to the schedule the test will be run three times. The second stage of the day is the nearby Lantosque – Luceram stage. The second running of this stage was planned to be the power stage. Getting there was quite an achievement, but we made it. You can read all about it in our “Special Stage” section.

Image: Steven van Veenendaal

Image: Bas ter Haar Romeny

Image: Steven van Veenendaal

Rallye Monte Carlo / Rally review

Image: Bas ter Haar Romeny


Sordo finished a splendid return to Citroën in thrid overall. Image: Bas ter Haar Romeny Hänninen wasn’t as fortunate and crashed at Turini. Image: Steven van Veenendaal

Image: Steven van Veenendaal

Drama packed finale Just before the start of the stage, locally the snow changed into a slushy rain. Especially the first part of the Turini ascend was extremely tricky. Very wet asphalt suddenly changed into treacherous black ice and back to wet tarmac. Towards the top the situation was clear: packed snow covered the mountain roads. After the top the roads facing north changed into a very unreliable slush again. The first victim was Jari Matti Latvala who did not go that fast but when he hit the brakes on a patch of (invisible) black ice he lost all grip. On the narrow roads this means touching a wall. And so he did. With a broken suspension his rally was over. Exactly the same happened to Evgeny Novikov who drove a very sensible rally until that moment but had to retire too. Juho Hänninen reaches the top, but going down towards the finish he too slipped off the road against a wall. Game over! “The stage was undrivable,” complains Loeb. I’ve been doing twenty kilo-

metres per hour and even that was sometimes too fast!” Bryan Bouffier was the fastest leading Ostberg and Ogier. After this the drivers had to tackle the Luceram stage which was a little bit better. Sordo was fastest. For the second running in the dark the situation had changed because of the rain. “I drove very sensibly,” said Loeb. “But that is not very enjoyable!” Still he shows who is the master of the game and wins this stage just before Ogier and Sordo. Stages cancelled Meanwhile the situation on the access roads got worse. It was simply becoming impossible for the competitors to reach the start of the two remaining stages. Support vehicles also got stuck. So in the end the organizers could not do anything else but stop the rally. Loeb won and Ogier, on its maiden voyage brought home his VW Polo R WRC in second place. A remarkable Monte had come to a close prematurely, but exactly as a Monte should be: unpredictable!

Image: Steven van Veenendaal

Rallye Monte Carlo / Final results 14/34

Final result 1. Loeb-Elena Citroën DS3 WRC 5.18.57,2 2. Ogier-Ingrassia VW Polo R WRC +1.39,9 3. Sordo-Del Barrio Citroën DS3 WRC +3.49,0 4. Hirvonen-Lehtinen Citroën DS3 WRC +5.26,3 5. Bouffier-Panseri Citroën DS3 WRC +8.13,1 6. Ostberg-Andersson Ford Fiesta WRC +12.03,7 7. Prokop-Ernst Ford Fiesta WRC +23.27,3 8. Wiegand-Christian Skoda Fabia S2000 +29.34,5 9. Burri-Duval Peugeot 207 S2000 +35.38,2 10. Kosciuszko-Szczepaniak Mini Cooper WRC +36.28,0 Image: Bas ter Haar Romeny

Rallye Monte Carlo / Standings 15/34

Image: Steven van Veenendaal Championship standings

Manufacturer standings

1. Loeb-Elena Citroën DS3 WRC 25 pts 2. Ogier-Ingrassia VW Polo R WRC 18 pts 3. Sordo-Del Barrio Citroën DS3 WRC 15 pts 4. Hirvonen-Lehtinen Citroën DS3 WRC 12 pts 5. Bouffier-Panseri Citroën DS3 WRC 10 pts 6. Ostberg-Andersson Ford Fiesta WRC 8 pts 7. Prokop-Ernst Ford Fiesta WRC 6 pts 8. Wiegand-Christian Skoda Fabia S2000 4 pts 9. Burri-Duval Peugeot 207 S2000 2 pts 10. Kosciuszko-Szczepaniak Mini John Cooper Works WRC 1 pt

1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

Citroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT Volkswagen Motorsport Abu Dhabi Citroën Total WRT Qatar M-Sport WRT Lotos WRC Team

37 points 18 points 15 points 10 points 8 points

Rallye Monte Carlo / Special Stage 16/34

Special Stage Moulinet – La Bollene Vesubie “Col de Turini” - 23.54 km How often is it that you come across thousands of people walking up a mountain for up to 10 kilometers? Defying snow, rain, freezing temperatures and icy roads just to catch a glimpse of their WRC heroes? Well, once a year as they head for the most famous rally junction in the world, at the top of the Col de Turini. Here is our personal experience of this year. The final day of the Rally Monte Carlo ran just above the jet-set town in the Maritime Alps. Just two stages are used, ‘Moulinet – La Bollene Vesubie’ and ‘Lantosque – Luceram’. The first of these contains the classic Col de Turini passage and is run thrice. The stages are located to the north of Monte Carlo with one taking the drivers further up north and the second taking them back south again. There are not many roads in this mountainous region with only a single spectator access road running right between the stages. As you can imagine, things get a little busy on this road. Approximately three hours before the start of the first run we make our way from Monte Carlo towards the famous spot. As we climb the mountains, the temperature drops and snow starts to fall. With some 20 kilometers left to go we see the first traffic jam near the town of Luceram. It can’t be that busy right? It turns out the local police, the gendarmes, are blocking the road asking people were they are going. ‘You are going to Turini or Luceram?’, ‘Turini!’, ‘Impossible, it is completely full.’ Although we understood full well what he said, we pretended to be ignorant foreigners who had no clue and after some intense pointing at our car’s media sticker we were let through. Before leaving town we passed another batch of gendarmes, this time they were only checking if we had our snow chains in the car. Ok, so conditions were probably going to be pretty bad up there.

A couple of kilometers down the road, conGendarmes: ‘You are going to Turini or Luceram?’ ditions were indeed not exactly improving.

Us: ‘Turini!’ Gendarmes: ‘Impossible, it is completely full!’

The snow got heavier and the roads got smaller and more winding. After a couple of hairpins there are more gendarmes on the road, telling us to put on the snow chains. We oblige but are quickly overtaken by a Mercedes GL using its four while drive to power past without snow chains. As we near the top, the Mercedes comes sliding down the hill again, his four wheel drive is no match for these circumstances.

Image Steven van Veenendaal

Rallye Monte Carlo / Special Stage 17/3

Latvala was one of many to fall victim to the Col de Turini Image: Bas ter Haar Romeny

With about ten kilometers to go to the stage we see the first cars parked along the road. Are people actually going to walk to the stage from this distance? The answer is yes. With little under two hours until the start of the first run they will certainly not make it in time (an average stroll goes at about 5 kph, but in these conditions there is no such thing as an average stroll!) In the town of Peïra Cava we are stopped by the Ford Meteo crew who had broken their snow chains, unfortunately we had no spares either. We continue up the mountain with cars parked on both sides of the road. Suddenly another Mercedes comes down the hill, one of the WRC TV crew members. He holds his hands up and shakes his head as if signaling to us ‘there is nothing I can do!’. He bumps into us, fortunately with little damage as a result. After this hurdle we reach the media parking area, still some 1,5 kil-

ometers to the stage, nothing compared to those heroes who trotted many more kilometers up hill! After a twenty minute slip and slide walk we can smell the campfires and hear the crowds in the distance. As we turn the final corner, the most famous corner of them all looms. The place is already filled to the brim. Just the sight of it makes us forget about the icy trot and heavy rain. Massive smoke clouds from the camp fires, dozens of horns and random snowball fights between different spectator groups provide an electrifying atmosphere. The whole Turini-experience is already complete, but wait, there are still some cars to come! The top of the Col is fully covered in snow and although the drivers obviously back of, the cars still slide around the place. The more they slide,

the louder the cheers from the thousands of fans. The stage lived up to its reputation as it claimed the likes of Latvala and Novikov on the way and Hänninen on the way down. The second pass was maybe even more spectacular as darkness set in. As conditions got even worse everyone took a steady approach, but it’s really the crowds make this the place it is. The final run late at night was cancelled, partly due to the conditions on the stage, but also because of the extreme conditions on the access roads, everything and everyone just got stuck as some people departed while others (some in touring car busses) where still ascending the mountain. Even despite this cancellation the stage lived up to all expectations and showed once more why it is such a classic, thanks mainly to the sheer number of fans who make this such a special place.

Rallye Monte Carlo / Who’s hot? 18/34

Who’s hot? Volkswagen Motorsport Volkswagen Polo R WRC

Without doubt the hottest performance in Monte Carlo came from Germany. We don’t want to single out either Ogier or Latvala, instead we give credit to the entire Volkswagen Motorsport team. Of course their preparation was immense with a full year of testing the Polo and testing the team by running an entire season in the limelight with the Skoda. Still, when January came they had to perform for real and nobody really knew what the Polo was capable of in competition. All doubts were erased as Ogier started by winning the very first stage of the rally. In rallying. speed is one thing while reliability can be quite another. No issues in that department either. The Polo proved solid and gave Ogier his first podium finish of the year. By the looks of it, it surely will not be the last.

Image: Bas ter Haar Romeny

Rallye Monte Carlo / Who’s not? 19/34

Who’s not? Evgeny Novikov Ford Fiesta WRC M-Sport Qatar World Rally Team

When we talked to Novikov during Ford’s happy hour he was quite optimistic. “I have to learn from my mistakes, so whenever something goes wrong we analyse what went wrong, so I don’t make the same mistake again. Dennis Giraudet supports me in this. He has been in rallying for so long that there is no co driver with so much experience. Furthermore he works very closely together wit Ilka” (ed. Minor, his current co driver) and indeed in the Ford tent we saw Ilka talking intensely to Denis while Evgeny was taking a nap. On day one he is doing reasonably well between fifth and ninth place. But on day two he is improving with two scratch times, two second places and two fifth.

On day three he continues on this track. But then comes stage 14 on the last day. Conditions are extremely bad and then it happens again in the final stages of a rally he makes a valuable mistake. In the ascend of the Turini he meets a patch of black ice and slides off the track. The Russian has to do some analysing again. It is not a fatal blow to his reputation. He now acquired some credit here and there. Awarding him the not title in Monte Carlo therefore is not criticism, under these circumstances anyone can make a mistake. It’s just a gentle warning: don’t give criticasters fuel for their criticisms. You’re maturing now, so keep on that track.

Image: Bas ter Haar Romeny

Rally-eMag February 2013 / Interview

Interview: JOST CAPITO Jost Capito is the man in charge of Volkswagen’s assault on the WRC. As managing director of Volkswagen Motorsport GmbH., Capito is responsible for Volkwagen’s entries in Formula 3, the Scirocco cup in Germany and China and the Polo cup in India. Above all however he is responsible for what he himself calls the ‘main activity’: the VW WRC team. Just prior to the start of the season we spoke to Capito about the brand new team. Let’s start at the beginning, when and why did VW decide to enter the WRC with the Polo? I don’t know exactly when because I was not involved with the team yet. The car of choice has always been the Polo though. It’s the right choice as it is the right size for the regulations and also the Polo is a truly global car. In the WRC you need a car that is sold globally and the Polo is the only VW that is sold globally. Except for the US, but the WRC doesn’t mean anything in the US anyhow. So it doesn’t matter too much!


Do you think the WRC is the right place for Volkswagen to promote its cars? I think so. Volkswagen chose it because they are a volume manufacturer and I share their view. I would not have joined if I didn’t. The WRC is based on production vehicles and I think a mass manufacturer should compete in production vehicle based championships. What you see are real cars on real roads that customers can actually drive in and on. Customers can relate to that. Also there are more and more global cars rather than regional cars and as the WRC is a global championship I think it is the perfect sport for Volkswagen. You took over from Kris Nissen as head of Volkswagen Motorsport, what have you changed since your arrival? When I came in we did a couple of changes in how we work, mainly with regard to responsibilities. Before, we did the Dakar rally which is a completely different event. It is three weeks but you were not out at the events all year as a motorsport director. Now with the WRC

Image: Harry van Veenendaal

you are away much more, so you have to restructure the way the company works. You have to give responsibility to certain people to run certain programs. We also had some cultural changes. Not because I have been working at different manufacturers before, but I just think people have different philosophies and characters. I think Kris did a great job to set up the team in the way he felt it had to work and I changed it to the way I feel it has to work. There is no right or wrong in this, if he would have done it my way that would have been wrong for him and if I would have kept going in his way it would have been wrong for me. Is the team fully in place now? There is still a lot to do, but we have many people in the right places. Sven Smeets for example is our team manager, he runs the team at the events. I have a lot of trust in him and just let him do his job in the way he thinks it is right. As long as everything goes well I let him do this, although in the end I am responsible. If something happens I’ll be at the board on Monday! Of course it is the first time for us in WRC so everything is new and I expect we will make some mistakes. For example a team that has been running for ten years knows exactly how long it takes to change a part of the car. All of our opponents use evolutions of cars, not brand new cars like us.

Rally-eMag February 2013 / Interview 21/34

Doing everything with a new car and doing service under pressure with a new car I assume we will have some problems in doing that. We have to learn from that and our guys have the chance to do that because this year is about getting experience. The things that go wrong this year will not be accepted next year.

driver to win, if you are lucky enough you can win. Sweden is also a very special rally, things happen there that happen nowhere else. I think Portugal will be the first rally that is like a standard rally and give you a clear picture of where you are. I think the objective to get podiums in the second half of the season is quite high for a brand new team. If you look at last year we did Volkswagen is investing a lot of time and the full season with the Skoda, which was commoney in the WRC. Does that mean that there pletely different. That was a fully developed car is also a lot of pressure to perform? with which we could get used to the process. You cannot buy success in motorsport. We have Now we have a new car so that is a completely seen this in the past. Money is one thing, but you different thing. Everything is new, none of the need to do a proper job. No matter how much nuts and bolts have ever done a rally! money you have, it does not guarantee you do a proper job. So I hope we have done a proper You have done a lot of testing, how different job so we can develop this season with a brand is that from the real thing? new team in the WRC and come into a position Everyone goes testing, but you can’t really comwhere we can be competitive. For this year we pare the results with them because conditions have to prove we can honestly fight for podium change every day. With testing you run a few kilpositions. Here in Monte Carlo everything is ometers and you can change everything. When possible. You don’t need the best car or the best you do a real rally that is not the case anymore.

Also when you talk to the driver they say they drive fast in testing, but if they have to fight for time on a rally it’s a whole different story! So you have to see how much the testing is worth when you actually compete in a rally. Testing doesn’t guarantee you will be competitive or reliable. You basically need a year of experience at the minimum to learn all the different conditions of the WRC. Sebastien Ogier and Jari Matti Latvala sound like a pretty good line-up, do you believe this is the best line-up out there? Yes I think everybody would be happy to have those two drivers. You can’t have a better mix, they are both young and experienced. They have a proper team spirit but they also have their individuality. So they can fight for themselves and it will be up to the form of the day who is faster. Of course the team is above everything but we leave them free to a certain point because there is competition between them too.

The VW Motorhome with their ‘wanted’ driver line up. Images: Bas ter Haar Romeny

Rally-eMag February 2013 / Interview 22/34

Last year Kevin Abbring and Sepp Wiegand also had outings in the Skoda, will we see them again in a Polo WRC? No, we only have three cars. We don’t want to bind these drivers to a contract if we can’t offer them a car to drive in. They should be free to drive in other cars, like Sepp Wiegand Image: Bas ter Haar Romeny Both drivers have an equal status in the is doing now for team, how long will that remain the case? Skoda Germany. Whatever happens there will not be a difference Of course we support them whenever we can in the status because they both have number because they are both very good drivers. We one status, no doubt. None of these two will ever just can’t offer them a drive, not even in testing be a number two. Of course when it comes to because our regular drivers need all the time the championship you have to do what is right they can get in the new car. for the championship, but we also want the right thing for the sport. How do you feel about Red Bull Media, the You want what is right for the sport, is that also a reason to bring in Andreas Mikkelsen later in the season? Yes, he will start in Portugal and do eleven events. We expect him to learn the car and get close to the other two. You need to have a third car, for the WRC in general. As a manufacturer you should have three cars, one of which is available for a young driver coming up, to grow and really be a challenger. We believe he has that potential.

new promoter? In Germany this year TV coverage is better than ever, so I am very happy about that. But we are interested in TV coverage in every country so we are working on that now. The promoter just came in so you can’t expect everything to be perfect from the start of 2013. What we see is good efforts and a good view, I am sure they will do a very good job.

Are you happy with the rallies currently on the calendar? Yes I am pretty happy. But perhaps the championship should be more global. We have a very good European Championship now, so the WRC should also move outside Europe. I think there are maybe four or five traditional rallies that should always be on the calendar, like Monte Carlo, Sweden Finland… Wales? I’m not too sure about Wales. It is a great rally but it’s being run in the middle of November when nobody wants to be there because of the cold So I don’t know if this is what we want. If you have the final event somewhere in a nice place with sunshine and summer and beaches, it would be a different scenario! Wouldn’t you rather be in large up and coming markets like China or Brazil? I would definitely like to be there and I think that in time that will come. But it’s not that simple. You can’t just say let’s go to China and have a rally there. The events need to be at WRC level, the highest level of motorsport. The time has to be right to do proper rallies in these countries. What may be even more important is to have drivers from these countries. If we had a Chinese driver, we would not need a Chinese rally because everyone in China would watch anyway. I have had discussions in the past about what global sport actually is. Someone said that a global sport is a sport that happens in every region. So I asked him if the soccer world cup was not a global sport? I think it is. Even though it is only in one country. It’s about global participation, so that’s what manufacturers need to look at as well. The talents should not only come from the traditional countries, they have to come from different regions.

Rally Sweden / Overview 23/34

Rally Sweden

Based in: Karlstad Date: 07-10/02/2013 Number of stages: 22 Shortest stage: Hagfors Sprint 1.87 km Longest stage: Mitandersfors 27.07 km Total stage distance: 339 km Surface: Snow/Ice Image: Bas ter Haar Romeny

Rally Sweden / Rally review 24/34

Rally Sweden VW Already on top Everyone was speculating: ‘what did Ogier’s runner-up spot in Monte Carlo really mean?’ Was he just the best gambler or did it give an indication of the real strength of the French/German pairing Ogier/VW? Sweden was next on the agenda.

ily. And indeed he has. His star driver is going into semi retirement and will not compete until Argentina. So his 2013 recruits Hirvonen and Sordo will have to pick up where Loeb stopped. Are they up to that task? In Sweden we have not been convinced yet.

So the big question was: where is VW compared to the competition? Jost Capito told Rally-eMag nothing could be said until Portugal, the first three events being too specific to really see the difference between VW and the rest. So perhaps the Swedish result doesn’t mean anything for the total success of the team this year but Capito was elated anyway after the Sweden success: “We didn’t even dare dreaming we could get this result so soon!” The VW Motorsport boss doesn’t lack enthusiasm or passion for his team but he was really surprised. He was glad for the team and praised the team effort as well as the special class of his star driver Ogier. We agree with Capito, whether this really means something for the championship is still a thing of the future. But the first blow is half the battle and for the competition this is a clear sign that things are not going to be easy.

M-Sport The M sport squad can look back on a good event. Without official Ford backing they have to cope with the competition all on their own. Although the technical cooperation between Ford and M-Sport is still excellent as Ford principal Malcolm Wilson indicated when we recently talked to him. “It is impossible to develop the car further without this technical cooperation,” he said. And it shows, there is no indication that the Fords lack performance, they can very well keep track of the competition until now. Mexico has always been difficult for Ford but as Capito said earlier. in Portugal we can see the real differences.

Citroën In the Citroën camp Yves Matton was the first one to agree with that. “We have a tough battle on our hands,” he said gloom-

Rally Sweden usually falls victim to the Scandinvians. Both Hirvonen (top) and Latvala (bottom) won the rally twice. Ostberg (middle) came to within 8 seconds of his first win here in 2011. Untill this year, Sebastien Loeb was the only ever non-Scandinavian winner. Images: Bas ter Haar Romeny.

Rally Sweden / Rally review 25/34

This will be the last time we see Loeb on the WRC for a while. Image: Bas ter Haar Romeny

Image: Bas ter Haar Romeny

At least in Sweden Ford was up to the job. Mads Østberg clearly proved he belongs in the top-class by challenging Jari Matti Latvala and beating him. OK Latvala has to get used to a completely new car, but Østberg has to get used to being the number one driver. This gives him certain powers to make things change to his car. It also means he can never blame the car, because he set it up himself. But beating Latvala in a straight fight is an accomplishment. And if we look further down the leader board after Latvala it’s only Fords we see. Neuville leads the rest of the pack. The Belgian even beat his temporary teammate Hänninen who is almost on his home turf being a Scandinavian. It will be difficult for the Fin to get further backing for the rest of the year, as the Monte-Sweden stint was his only one this year. Although insiders see the potential of the Fin, others (like sponsors) may see it differently. Neuville is safe, at least for this year. With the help of Nasser Al Attiyah and Qatar he found himself a solid seat for a whole year. Something that Citroën could not offer him as he told us in Monte Carlo.

place in Sweden earned him 4 championship points and 12th place in the drivers rankings. Unfortunately we cannot say that of Matthew Wilson. At the last moment he was drafted to replace Nasser Al Attiyah who was ill and therefore could not compete in Sweden. Obviously the Brit had to get used to competition again. However his times outside the top ten were not convincing. The roll that threw him out for the day didn’t help him. However with the help of Rally2 or SupeRally as it was formerly called, he finished 27th.

Jipocar Czech National Team and other Fords Also in a Ford we see Martin Prokop, He is a man you can rely on. Both in Monte Carlo and Sweden he finished 7th. We will see more of him this season. We’re not so sure about two others in Sweden. Henning Solberg was having a lot of fun in a Fiesta that offered a lot of space for future sponsors. The older Solberg brother is always an asset in the WRC field. He is constantly in a good mood and (occasionally) quite fast. His 8th

Apart from the Lotos team, occasionally we will also see a Prodrive Mini. In Sweden we saw the Finnish driver Jarkko Nikara. We will see him in several other outings, but he doesn’t have a budget for a full season. In Sweden he started by breaking a wheel during shakedown and after a lot more of trouble he finished 25th.

Lotos team WRC No official Mini team this year but luckily we will see and hear the characteristic sound of the famous Mini. Motorsport Italia will run the Lotos WRC team with Michal Kosciuszko. Michal still has to get used to being in a new car and at this moment the Pole cannot be found in the top rankings yet. In Monte Carlo he snatched one championship point but in Sweden he was fourteenth and consequently did not earn points

Rally Sweden / Rally review

Film of the event Qualifying in Sweden was a clear indication of things to come. Ogier was fastest, less than a second before Mads Østberg and 1.5 seconds before Hirvonen. Sebastien Loeb was not awake yet as he later would say. He ended eighth at almost 3,5 second behind Ogier. That is almost 1 second per kilometre! In the evening Loeb has woken up and wins the opening Super special in Karlstad. This time it is Ogier who only finishes ninth. But the consequences for Ogier are not so bad as the ones for Loeb. Due to his bad result in qualifying Loeb has to start relatively early in the field. In the fresh Swedish sno, that is nothing short of a disaster. He has to start before all the top runners apart from Novikov and Sordo perhaps. At almost every stage Loeb loses time to his competitors. At the end of the day he is second but the gap between him and Ogier is no less than 31 seconds with Latvala just under two seconds behind him in third.


On day three Loeb finds his rhythm again and he starts winning stages. Ogier however continues to retaliate every time Loeb picks up some time. At the end of the day Loeb did crawl a little closer though. The gap now is ‘only’ 27 seconds. “That is too much declares Loeb at the finish of this day.” But knowing the French champion, he never stops fighting, so everyone is anticipating a nice fight on Sunday. Meanwhile Østberg and Latvala fight a nice battle. The Norwegian was 9 seconds behind Latvala on day two. A fierce battle resulted in a 6.1 second advantage for the Norwegian on Saturday. Final day battles As predicted Loeb did not give up easily. The first three stages of the day were his. He gained just over six seconds but on the second passing of Kirkener he lost 4 seconds again. Still he

launched a final assault on Finnskogen 2. But this assault ended in a snowbank. Loeb gave up “That is it!” he said at the end of the stage where he lost another 12 seconds. “I’m not going to win so let’s concentrate on finishing now!” Ogier showed his overall dominance in the rally by winning the Power Stage too. Latvala was second and Østberg third. So he gained an extra bonus point in the championship. Latvala was completely honest when he confided in us: “I simply cannot drive at Ogier’s speed. I honestly don’t know why. I can’t give you an answer to that,” he said. “But at least I had a nice battle with Østberg during the last day.” The two started with a 6.1 second difference at the end of day three, on day four Latvala started to come back and came as close as five seconds but Østberg came back too. Though Latvala ended before the Norwegian in the Power Stage, Østberg did succeed in grabbing the last step on the podium before Latvala, the gap being 6.1 second again. Ogier’s triumph Winning the Power Stage was the icing on the

Image: Bas ter Haar Romeny

cake for Ogier. He fully deserved to win this one. He controlled the whole rally and did not make a single mistake. It was probably one of his nicest wins. After a year of not being able to compete on a level playing field with his opponents he finally got what he always wants while competing and that is a victory. Proving our point the normally supercool Frenchman admitted: “I had tears in my eyes, coming back to final service.”

Threat Ogier in this form is a serious threat to all other competitors. Especially Hirvonen has to find a solution. He has to lose his ‘eternal second’ image and this was going to be HIS year. However after two events he is sixth in the championship and already more than thirty points behind on Ogier. He knows what he has to do in Mexico!

Rally Sweden / Final results 27/34

Final result 1. Ogier-Ingrassia VW Polo R WRC 5.18.57,2 2. Loeb-Elena Citroën DS3 WRC +41,8 3. Ostberg-Andersson Ford Fiesta WRC +1.24,5 4. Latvala-Anttila VW Polo R WRC +1.30,6 5. Neuville-Gilsoul Ford Fiesta WRC +5.06,4 6. Hänninen-Tuominen Ford Fiesta WRC +5.43,1 7. Prokop-Ernst Ford Fiesta WRC +11.25,4 8. Solberg-Axelsson Ford Fiesta WRC +11.42,7 9. Novikov-Minor Ford Fiesta WRC +13.04,7 10. Al Rahji-Orr Ford Fiesta RRC +16.27,0

Image: Bas ter Haar Romeny

Rally Sweden / Standings 28/34

Championship standings 1. Ogier-Ingrassia VW Polo R WRC 46 2. Loeb-Elena Citroën DS3 WRC 43 3. Ostberg-Andersson Ford Fiesta WRC 24 4. Sordo-Del Barrio Citroën DS3 WRC 15 5. Latvala-Anttila VW Polo R WRC 14 6. Hirvonen-Lehtinen Citroën DS3 WRC 12 7. Prokop-Ernst Ford Fiesta WRC 12 8. Bouffier-Panser Citroën DS3 WRC 10 9. Neuville-Gilsoul Ford Fiesta WRC 10 10. Hänninen-Tuominen Ford Fiesta WRC 8

Manufacturer standings pts pts pts pts pts pts pts pts pts pts

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7.

Citroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT Volkswagen Motorsport Qatar M-Sport WRT Abu Dhabi Citroën Total WRT Lotos WRC Team Qatar World Rally Team Jipocar Czech National Team

57 points 55 points 31 points 15 points 12 points 10 points 8 points

Image: Bas ter Haa Romeny

Rally Sweden / Special Stage

Special Stage Vargasen - 24.63 km Rally Sweden is run entirely on snow and ice roads which means power sliding is inevitable. It is thus quite natural that the Swedish fans have a strong preference for those drivers who tend to live a sideways life on the stages. None better of course than the late Colin McRae. The Scot was so popular here that he has a jump named after him, Colin’s Crest.

To commemorate McRae after his death in 2007 the Rally Sweden organizers named the famous jump in the Vargasen stage after him. It would henceforth be known as Colin’s Crest and has been a crowd favorite ever since. He or she who jumps furthest at the jump is awarded the Colin’s Crest Award. Although it does not really mean

anything, it has propelled the fan pleasers to push just that little bit harder over the jump. The record is tied between Marius Aasen and Ken Block who both leaped some 37 meters in 2010 and 2011 respectively. This year the award went to Thierry Neuville who came close to the record with an impressive 35 meter jump.


McRae has a long history with Rally Sweden. It was his first WRC outing back in 1987 in the humble Vauxhall Nova. Although he probably didn’t raise too many eyebrows at the time, it was the start of greater things to come. Two years later he returned with the larger and more powerful Ford Sierra XR 4x4, which he drove to fifteenth place in spectacular fashion. His sideways driving drew attention from the Swedish fans but they would have to wait for another four years before being able to lay eyes on the Scotsman again. When he returned in 1992, he did so in spectacular fashion. McRae threw caution to the wind and powered the large Subaru Legacy RS over the frozen lakes on way to his first ever WRC podium finish, second behind Mats Jonsson but in front of the great Stig Blomqvist. This was the year the Swedes truly embraced the Scot and although he would never go on to win the rally, he has been the crowd favorite ever since. Image: Bas ter Haar Romeny

Rally Sweden / Who’s hot? 30/34

Who’s hot? Sebastien Ogier Volkswagen Polo R WRC Volkswagen Motorsport

The start of the season has been simply amazing for Sebastien Ogier. On the Polo’s debut he finished second behind Loeb, putting him first of all championship regulars. In Sweden came the first win. Icing on the cake no doubt being that he managed to defeat Loeb in a one-on-one battle. The great champion just couldn’t keep up with Ogier. Although everyone always says you can’t take too much from the first three rounds as they are very specific in nature, it does seem as though Ogier is holding the cards this year. Could the WRC domination of ‘Sebastien’ continue through Loeb’s natural successor?

Images: Bas ter Haar Romeny

Rally Sweden / Who’s not? 31/34

Who’s not? Mikko Hirvonen Citroën DS3 WRC Citroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT

During happy hour at Monte Carlo we talked to Mikko and he was quite optimistic. “I’m the only one with a full programme who is with the same team as last year. Everyone says I should now be number one, so I think I might have a good chance…” Well Mikko is one of our favourite drivers, he is not the fastest man around but very reliable, plus he is just an allround nice guy. He did not start the season very well though. It already began during testing. He was surprised by road conditions going down a steep hill and ended up on his roof. After day

one he was in third saying “I have to improve my driving on snow again otherwise I have the feeling I’m not a Finn anymore, because Finns can drive on snow.” After two rounds it seems Mikko might have lost a bit of his Finnish touch. An unimpressive fourth in Monte Carlo and an uncharacteristic first stage off in Sweden puts him sixth in the championship, already 34 points behind Ogier. Mikko has some catching up to do and we’re sure he will be ready for war in Mexico.

Images: Bas ter Haar Romeny

Rally-eMag February 2013 / And now...

And now for something completely different... In rally reports you usually see the most spectacular action shots and decent portraits of the drivers. There is another world out there however. A world where we see the human side of rallying, the action from a different perspective or just anything odd we come across following the sport. In this section we want to give you a glimpse into that world with some slightly ‘different’ pictures.

In Monaco a boat isn’t enough. You need a chopper to hang out with the big boys. Or you take an old skool VW pickup van and don it with three fast guys. Image: Steven van Veenendaal

Evgeny naps while Ilka and Denis discuss the notes. Image: Steven van Veenendaal


Monagask wildlife. Image: Steven van Veenendaal

The discussion paid off. Novikov blitzed through the forests. Image: Bas ter Haar Romeny

Rally-eMag February 2013 / And now...

And now for something completely different... part 2

Opinions differed on the quality of the Rallye Monte Carlo Media Guide... Image: Bas ter Haar Romeny

What goes on in Seb’s mind? Send in your ideas at!


Image: Bas ter Haar Romeny

No matter the weather, rally fans tend to be a happy bunch. Image: Bas ter Haar Romeny

See you next month when we cover: Guanajuato Rally Mexico

Rally-eMag 006 February 2013  

February 2013 issue of Rally-eMag featuring Rally Monte Carlo, Rally Sweden, an interview with director of VW Motorspor Jost Capito and inte...

Rally-eMag 006 February 2013  

February 2013 issue of Rally-eMag featuring Rally Monte Carlo, Rally Sweden, an interview with director of VW Motorspor Jost Capito and inte...