MOTORSPORT /// WRC /// 2014 RALLY GUANAJUATO MÉXICO (6.3.2014-9.3.2014) /// UNWANTED COMMENTARY: SHALL WE DO THIS LIVE? /// SS22…

  • Hello (again).
  • 2014 Rally Mexico.
  • MAVTV (in the US).
  • SS22.
  • …El Brinco 2.
  • …8.25km.
  • …A tad over 5 dusty, winding, hot, Mexican miles.
  • …The final stage.
  • …The power stage.
  • …Meaning the top three drivers get bonus points.
  • …3-2-1, accordingly.
  • Okay, what do we have going, here?
  • Currently, the standings have Ogier/Ingrassia (VW), Latvala/Anttila (VW), Neuville/Gilsoul (Hyundai), and Evans/Barritt (M-Sport) in the lead.
  • No major drama today.
  • …Neuville had some issues with his wipers.
  • …Latvala reported some concerns over setup and an iffy suspension.
  • …Prokop/Tománek (Jipocar Czech National) had a moment, but Fiona recovered like a little ballerina.
  • Meeke/Nagle (Citroën) take off.
  • Oh!  And, Meeke, then, GOES off.
  • …They’re (always) after their lucky charms!
  • …Okay, the cars is off and to the side, the drivers are out.
  • …Fans are helping them to get out of the way of other drivers.
  • …Fortunately, he’s alone on the stage at the moment.
  • …Gravel events (especially warm ones) have several minute delays between cars to minimize dust issues.
  • They’re delaying Hirvonen/Lehtinen (M-Sport).
  • Meeke/Nagle and the fans are not only working with the car, they’re…I don’t know if something was in the road or the accident left something in the road…
  • …Something is out of the ordinary, here.
  • …This is not normal.
  • …If you’re new to this and wondering.
  • …I mean, it happens, but, usually, cars can just maneuver around with some warning ahead of the accident.
  • …Nagle is running ahead.
  • …But, I’m not 100% sure if he’s going ahead to give warning or retrieving/investigating something.
  • Hirvonen/Lehtinen (still) sweating at the start line.
  • Well, here’s your drama for the day, I guess.
  • Meeke is back in the car.
  • …The road is (still) littered with fans.
  • …(Still) trying to move the thing.
  • …Aaannnddd, a tow truck is being sent out.
  • …Meeke has gotten it moving.
  • …But…it’s just…it’s pulling.
  • …The wheels just aren’t working.
  • …This (really) is too bad.
  • …He was having a great first go at this event, in ninth (in the points).
  • …There’s the tow truck.
  • …Meeke is tossing what appears to be a rather large rock off the road.
  • …Latvala, Portugal 2012, anyone?
  • …Meeke should kick some more rocks.
  • …To teach them lessons.
  • …”WWJMD?”
  • …What Would Jerry Matt Do?
  • …Well, if we’re going by Portugal 2012, kick and throw rocks, then, in tears, say you don’t want to do this anymore.
  • …Horrible, horrible, awkward-in-the-worst-way moment.
  • …I’ve posted the video a few times (somewhere), I do believe.
  • Rally Mexico is so “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!”.
  • …”I got a rock.”
  • …Seriously, though; it’s famous for rocks and dust.
  • …In 2012, some fans threw rocks at Neuville/Gilsoul’s Citroën.
  • …So, really, they can come from anywhere.
  • Dude, whoever’s in that Michelin Man suit…
  • …Worst job there.
  • …It’s a sunny 77 (Fahrenheit) around Guanajuato.
  • Right, then, thanks to their restart status, Mikkelsen/Markkula (VWII) and Østberg/Andersson (Citroën) will not be running with the WRC-class pack.
  • …(No TV for the Norwegians).
  • …In my very honest opinion, I think that’s stupid.
  • …Let the people see the action.
  • …They’re there, anyway.
  • …But, it is what it is, so, okay.
  • Hirvonen/Lehtinen are off and running.
  • …Finally.
  • So, let’s see what else might be in the road.
  • …Seeing that Meeke didn’t make it very far.
  • …And, found trouble in that short of a distance.
  • I’ve turned down the volume, as you can hear Lehtinen from here.
  • …He’s amazingly loud.
  • …A very large man with a very large voice.
  • …In Finnish.
  • …A language that looks like it should be dotted and accented with hearts, and sounds like rage, directed right at you.
  • …And, it’s crazily phonetic.
  • …Those double letters signify emphasis.
  • …Those double letters just propelled Hirvonen over the El Brinco jump.
  • …And, the first car is (finally) through.
  • …Hirvonen/Lehtinen have made it through Mexico.
  • …Not unharmed, as there was that electrical issue.
  • …But…they finished it and did pretty well.
  • …They will get points.
  • Atkinson/Prevot (Hyundai) are on the stage.
  • …It’s been a very slow, troubled rally for the Aussie/Belgie duo.
  • …But, they’ve stuck with it and go into this stage in (overall) seventh.
  • …Remember that the Hyundai i20 is brand, spankin’ new and that Atkinson is a part of their rotating driver lineup.
  • …And, they’re through.
  • …They’ve made it, the Hyundai has made it.
  • Guerra/Rozada (M-Sport) on stage.
  • …The local favorite is borrowing an M-Sport Ford Fiesta WRC for this event.
  • …And, it has paid off.
  • …Going into this stage, they sit in (overall) sixth.
  • Mike and Jim wait at the finish.
  • …With the Michelin Man.
  • …Mikko, matching his face to the so-so sign.
  • …Because, he’s Finnish.
  • …If you’re not first, you’re last (very ‘Talladega Nights’).
  • …If you’re first, you (still) could have done better.
  • …Jarmo, drinking water louder.
  • …I don’t know.
  • Guerra finishes.
  • …And, is beyond super stoked.
  • …He rocked it at home.
  • Fiona and her boys, Prokop/Tománek, on stage.
  • Neuville/Gilsoul take off.
  • …Recall that this was where the Belgian kids nabbed their first podium.
  • …And, if they can get through the next few miles, they will be revisiting that third with Hyundai’s first podium.
  • Evans/Barritt on stage.
  • …I feel like Daniel Barritt and Chris Patterson need to hang out more.
  • …Their voices are quite similar.
  • …And, very recognizable.
  • …This is Evans’ fourth time in a WRC car.
  • …And, this (fourth) will be his best finish.
  • Latvala/Anttila make their way onto the stage.
  • …The Finns lead the Championship, going into Mexico.
  • …If everyone stays on the road, they will drop to second.
  • …But, it will be close.
  • …And, it’s been a crazy-amazing start for them.
  • Neuville/Gilsoul are through.
  • …They will be on the podium.
  • …Again, this is the first podium for Hyundai.
  • …In their third WRC event.
  • …So, good job, Hyundai and the Belgies.
  • Ogier/Ingrassia on stage.
  • Is it raining?
  • …There were storms overnight.
  • …Which seems to happen during Rally Mexico.
  • …Either overnight or during late stages.
  • Latvala through!
  • …He pushes Mike and Jim out of the stage lead.
  • …Podium for Jer-Bear!
  • …His best result at Mexico (if I remember correctly).
  • Oh, yeah, Ogier’s wipers are getting a workout.
  • …But, he blasts through to the stage win.
  • …Ogier wins everything.
  • …The rally, the stage, the max power stage points.
  • …Sweden made him cranky.
  • Ooohhh, speaking of cranky, what the hell was that look on Jer-Bear’s perfectly Finnish face.
  • …He’s not stoked.
  • …Ogier quickly shook his hand, ran off, Jerry Matt booked off.
  • …These boys do not like not being first.
  • …VW has an interesting team dynamic.
  • …To say the least.
  • Stage 22…
  • …Ogier/Ingrassia, Latvala/Anttila, Hirvonen/Lehtinen, Neuville/Gilsoul.
  • Overall…
  • …Ogier/Ingrassia, Latvala/Anttila, Neuville/Gilsoul, Evans/Barritt.
  • …Fiona and her boys come in fifth.
  • …To answer my pre-event question as to whether they’ll use their solid Mexico record to bounce back in the standings.
  • …I mean, really, how cool are those standings?
  • …Guerra in sixth.
  • …Sixth!
  • …Atkinson in seventh…
  • …Just a really cool round.
  • …Mexico is (always) a great event, but this was pretty spectacular.
  • So, another year of shitkickers and sombreros for Ogier and Ingrassia.
  • …But, will he run his face into something on his way to the podium.
  • …Like last year.
  • …Those were some sweet stitches.
  • …Total classic Mexican road trip.
  • …Sombrero, Corona, a small VW, and stitches.
  • …Welcome to North America.
  • …Hey, Ingrassia didn’t have to get out and open any gates this year, though.
  • …So, that’s different.
  • Okay, well, that’s Mexico.
  • …Another year until the WRC returns to North America.
  • …Frankly, I’m getting a little sick of letting these guys go.
  • …The worst was when a group of them were on a flight that had fuel issues and had to divert to O’Hare (in 2012).
  • …I don’t remember the full list, but do remember Østberg and Becs Williams.
  • …Chicago is 6.5-ish hours away from me.
  • …And, that, my friends, was as close as I’ve ever gotten to the WRC and as close as they’ve ever had to get to me.
  • …Fortunately for them.
  • Anyway…
  • Next up: Portugal.
  • …Which can be absolutely terrifying.
  • …Did you catch my story about Jerry Matt in 2012?
  • …That year was a disaster.
  • …Heavy rains caused washouts and turned the roads into slides.
  • …Drivers were reporting creeping around in first gear.
  • …Those who remained on the road, that is.
  • …Slides were happening no matter how careful drivers were.
  • …Hirvonen won.
  • …Then, he lost.
  • …Scrutineering found non-homologous parts.
  • …And, so, Østberg (a privateer at the time) got the win.
  • …Just a reminder, ahem: Novikov (M-Sport at the time) got second.
  • …Then, last year, if I remember correctly, was dusty and nasty.
  • …It’s just a difficult event, no matter what.
  • …So, let’s all prepare for the worst (so it all looks better), eh?
  • Okay, well, I can hold on as long as I want, but that’s it for the North American stop.
  • …The next American stop is Argentina.
  • …One continent, two subcontinents, two rallies.
  • …Sad, eh?
  • …But, the WRC is Eurocentric.
  • …The Americas are very expensive long hauls.
  • …So, (maybe) someday there will be more stops.
  • …I mean, choose your terrain and weather.
  • …Then, choose North or South.
  • …It’s very seasonal-friendly.
  • Okay, sorry, I’m rambling.
  • Amazing event.
  • …As always.
  • Next up, Portugal.
  • Ogier/Ingrassia will go in as Championship leaders.
  • …With Latvala/Anttila right on their tails.
  • …And, Jost Capito (still) hugging all of them.
  • …The German mom of the WRC.
  • …More podium photos for his fridge.
  • …Capito’s hugs are like heat-seeking missiles.
  • …Everyone in his path gets hit.
  • …Um…am I safe (here)?
  • …I’m not big on touching.
  • …I guess Capito would be okay, though.
  • …Really, this is a genuine concern, though.
  • …He’s a hugging machine.
  • And, I think I’ll end on that note.
  • Rally de Portugal kicks off on April 3rd.
  • I’ll roll with whatever broadcasts happen and work with my schedule.
  • …Sorry.
  • Until then…
  • …Sombreros and shitkickers for everyone!!!
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