2017 is a new era for WRC. On a scale that has never been seen before. Sure, we have had fast cars that looked spectacular in the past. But never has it obtained such heights of professionalism and competition on this scale. This truly is the very pinnacle of Off-Road racing, and It’s moved into an important new Era.
There has never been so much excitement. And finally we kicked off the long anticipated new generation WRC season in Monaco. it’s the perfect setting. Huge crowds of Journo’s and photog’s gather in Casino square. Stunned at the aggressive new look cars. Nearly 400bhp with wings, fin’s and aero trickery on every body panel you can and can’t see.
Now to add to this exciting new dawn for WRC, Volkswagen – Who were always going to…. Well there’s no other way to put this, kick everyone’s back butt-side. Made the shock decision to pull out at the end of 2016. As much as we have to thank VW for putting so much into the sport and made it reach the levels of professionalism it has today. Now they are gone, it’s made 2017 even more exciting. Levelled out the field. With the worlds current best, Super Seb O in what is basically a private team M-Sport, and Jari Matti Latvala in the Toyota. It’s anyones guess who will be at the front.
Well, almost. As once again Super Seb Ogier won in Monte. However, it wasn’t all that easy. Neuville was well in control in his super slick new Hyundai and led most of the way until he broke it on a lump of concrete on the road side. But showing that Hyundai have a very strong driver & car set-up this year, and that thing sounds incredible! Tanak (even with a very sick car and missing a few cylinders) made an impressive, super sideways finish to 3rd, showing how strong that Fiesta is. With an M-Sport 1 & 3 finish, it gained much interest from the Ford manufacturers. Could Mr. Wilson’s hard work finally be paying off? Could we see Ford back fully in the Championship once again?
The most impressive though, was Toyota in what is supposed to be a ‘development year’. But recently employed Latvala took the rather impressive looking Toyota – Have you seen that ass!? And took the beast to a well deserved 2nd place. Latvala it seems has finally found his Sisu & his Mojo that he clearly misplaced in the later years at VW.
The disappointment from round one was Citroen. As amazing as their all new C3 WRC looked in anger, and was most people’s favourite at the start. The best result they managed was, erm…. Well, it was actually last years little old beauty. The still much-loved DS3 (Awkward). In the hands of Craig Breen who continued to show off his incredible talents to finish in 5th place. As for Meeke & Lefebvre – Well, they learnt that the new C3 is very good at crashing. Better luck next time please boys. But overall, the latest spec of the new generation WRC was spectacular!
So, next up is the WRC’s winter wonderland, Rally Sweden. Thankfully this year, it seems there’s plenty of snow and below freezing temps to give us some proper Rally conditions, which are unique to any motor sport championship. Although we do get snow and ice in some parts of the tarmac mountain roads on the Monte. Rally Sweden is the only full Snow rally of the year.
And I will be Stage side. Freezing my toes off, just so that I can tell you all about it when I come back home. Hopefully with stunning winter images and no frost bite.