MOTORSPORT /// WRC /// 2014 RALLY GERMANY (21.8.2014 – 24.8.2014) /// UNWANTED COMMENTARY: SHALL WE DO THIS LIVE? /// SS18……

  • Good morning.
  • …Well…
  • …It depends on who you are and who you’re pulling for.
  • …Drama, drama, drama.
  • …What kind of drama?
  • …Rallye Deutschland drama.
  • …Always expect the unexpected and (probably) the worst.
  • …And, probably, at the worst possible time.
  • Okay, first of all, the stage.
  • …This is Special Stage 18.
  • …It is the final stage.
  • …And, it is the Power Stage.
  • …Which means that there are bonus points to be had.
  • …Three for the stage winner, two for the runner-up, one for third.
  • …It is Grafschaft 2 and it is 19.27km (11.97mi) long.
  • …’2′ entails a ‘1’.
  • …1 was the second stage of the day.
  • …Citroën’s Meeke/Nagle had the rally lead.
  • …And, promptly, lost the lead with a crash.
  • …Which followed Volkswagen’s Latvala/Anttila’s crash out of the lead in the first stage of the day.
  • Okay, here we go.
  • Hyundai Motorsport N’s Bouffier/Panseri onto the stage.
  • …These two…
  • …Are out.
  • …Holy crap.
  • …Into the vineyards.
  • …Like Latvala/Anttila.
  • …Like Ogier/Ingrassia in SS8.
  • …This is the second time for these two in this rally.
  • …So much for all three Hyundais finishing.
  • …As I was saying…
  • …Germany.
  • So…okay…moving on?
  • Slovakia WRT’s Melichárek duo head out.
  • …They are the twin of Jipocar Czech National Team’s Fiona the Fiesta.
  • …Reuniting Czechoslovakia.
  • …In a good way.
  • …They’re running in 13th.
  • …And, came in 16th in the first loop.
  • M-Sport-backed Ukrainian pair Protasov/Cherepin head out.
  • …Another Fiesta.
  • …They are in 11th.
  • …And, finished 14th in the first loop.
  • Another M-Sport-backed pair, Kuipers/Buysmans, on  stage.
  • …They are in eighth.
  • …And, completed the first loop in 11th.
  • …M-Sport sent out four cars, plus RK M-Sport’s Kubica.
  • …And, only Kubica/Szczepaniak retired.
  • …Due to engine failure off the start line of the opening stage (today).
  • Fiona takes Prokop/Tománek for a ride.
  • …The trio are in seventh.
  • …They came in eighth in the first loop.
  • …Prokop discovered he has a severe allergy to bee stings during his trip to Germany.
  • …During recce.
  • …A bee crawled into his glove, stung him, he turned into Violet at Willy Wonka’s factory, and spent a little time in the hospital.
  • …So, nothing but props to him for not only competing, but making it to the end and with points.
  • …I shouldn’t say that quite yet, should I?
  • Fiona’s Slovakian twin crosses time control.
  • …Woo to that!
  • …Really, these little guys, these privateers have been incredibly impressive.
  • …The numbers, the standings, do no justice to how much it took to keep those cars on the road and going.
  • M-Sport’s Hirvonen/Lehtinen take the stage.
  • …They are in fifth.
  • …They took fifth in the first loop.
  • …And, they were third last year.
  • …Just worth noting.
  • Did I not just mention that I don’t do Dutch?
  • …I believe I did.
  • …During Friday’s F1 Belgian Grand Prix Practice 2.
  • …Is this why we’re listening to so much Kuipers/Buysmans?
  • I should note that there’s some major thunder rumbling where I am.
  • …So, I may lose satellite any second.
  • …My plan?
  • …Wing it?
  • M-Sport’s Evans/Barritt on stage.
  • …The first-year WRC driver is in fourth.
  • …And, came in second in the first loop.
  • …Pretty good, eh?
  • As we look at Citroën’s Østberg/Andersson.
  • …They are in sixth (overall).
  • …They completed the first loop in third.
  • …With Meeke/Nagle out, this is as good as it’s getting for the French firm.
  • …Which hasn’t lost a Rallye Deutschland since the WRC was formed.
  • …But, you know, it’s a tough rally and the team (completely) changed their lineup for this season.
  • …Things happen and, really, they’ve done a great job.
  • And, I just flashed back to Bouffier’s exit.
  • …I was pulling for Bouffier to just waltz on in and win.
  • …Also, I respond to mention of him with a “Cheers”, “NORM!”-type “BOUFFIER!”.
  • Hirvonen/Lehtinen make it through.
  • …Lehtinen has been very smily through this round.
  • …Seemingly more than usual.
  • …Oh, who knows what evil he’s been up to.
  • …(Maybe) he’s just trying to get Mikko to buck up.
  • …He’s had a (relatively) crappy season in his return to M-Sport.
  • …Which has been sad.
  • …But, honestly, I think he’s just in a rut.
  • …He’ll bounce back up.
  • Evans is through.
  • The only remaining Polo is on stage.
  • …”Blue and White Steel” Mikkelsen/Fløene.
  • …They are in third (overall).
  • …And, they took fifth in the first loop.
  • …Mikkelsen is (also) third in the Drivers’ Championship.
  • …Also, he’s alarmingly attractive.
  • …Do you know how much time I’ve wasted, getting sucked into his Instagram and Facebook photo stream?
  • …I could have written a series of Blue and White Steel romantic novels, people.
  • …He’s just…
  • …I’m troubled by my reaction to him.
  • Last year’s winner, Hyundai’s Sordo, is on stage.
  • …This year, he is co-piloted by Martí, however.
  • …Last year, it was del Barrio.
  • …And, they were with Citroën.
  • …In that battle to the very end with Neuville/Gilsoul.
  • …Who is his teammate this season.
  • …Sordo/Martí came in fourth in the first loop.
  • …And…
  • …They’re through.
  • …In a part time drive with a new team in a new car.
  • …Boom.
  • Neuville/Gilsoul on stage.
  • …The leaders.
  • …Last year’s runner-ups.
  • …He won the first loop.
  • …Hyundai sent two tarmac experts out and it is paying off.
  • …Though, it’s a safe bet that they could have never expected this.
  • …In their first season, testing the i20.
  • …Neuville is from the area.
  • …On the Belgian side of the border.
  • …Once again, his friends and family are ready at the finish.
  • …As is his buddy, Mikkelsen.
  • …Who gets right in there with Neuville’s dad.
  • …Last year was Sordo’s first win.
  • …This year, it goes to Neuville.
  • …As Neuville and Mikkelsen bear hug.
  • …Think he’ll keep using those yellow-rimmed glasses for a bit?
  • …I mean, could it be more exciting?
  • …Two years in a row!
  • ….Two truly talented guys who have come so close so many times.
  • …And, they’ve shared the wealth, two years in a row, this year as teammates.
  • …So…I think it’s safe to say that the i20 development is on track.
  • ADAC Rallye Deutschland…
  • …Hyundai’s Neuville/Gilsoul.
  • …Hyundai’s Sordo/Martí.
  • …Volkswagen Motorsport II’s Mikkelsen/Fløene.
  • …M-Sport’s Evans/Barritt.
  • Power Stage points…
  • …Evans/Barritt.
  • …Neuville/Gilsoul.
  • …Hirvonen/Lehtinen.
  • Championship-wise…
  • …Due to the double retirement, VW was unable to clinch the Manufacturers’ title this weekend.
  • …And, Ogier/Ingrassia and Latvala/Anttila retain their respective 1-2 positions.
  • …As Mikkelsen creeps up behind Latvala.
  • …Remember that Fløene is a tad behind, as Mikkelsen started the season with Markkula.
  • …But, he’s catching up fast!
  • …With Østberg a bit further back.
  • …And, Andersson in Co-Drivers’ third, I do believe.
  • …VW remain in the Manufacturers’ lead.
  • …Followed by Citroën, M-Sport, and Hyundai.
  • …Funny enough, VWII, with their one driver, is right behind.
  • Well…that was…
  • …I thought last year was amazing.
  • …I was expecting insanity, but…
  • …Yeah, this was a great one.
  • …And, so much of it was about today.
  • …Steadiness (really) paid off for everyone you see on that podium.
  • …That heavy crash out of Shakedown really made an impact on the Belgians.
  • …Whether it was extra caution, wanting to make up for it, or hoping to repay the team for getting that car back, who knows.
  • …What I do know is that they (really and truly) are a solid team with a freakish knack for a freaky rally.
  • …Like Sordo.
  • …I’m pretty sure no one envies Hyundai, eventually having to narrow down their driver line up.
  • …What a great showcase (this season).
  • Okay…
  • …Well…
  • …I would like to stay and babble on and on about talent and alarming attractiveness and such all day.
  • …But, I have minutes to prep for F1’s Belgian Grand Prix.
  • …An equally freaky event, just an hour and a half away from this one.
  • …It’s all about Belgium this weekend!
  • …(Time to crack open those Belgian eclairs and push them into my face hole!)
  • Right.
  • Next up is Rally Australia.
  • …Which kicks off 11 September.
  • …I do believe Australian Chris Atkinson will be in the second Hyundai.
  • …With Kiwi Paddon in the third car.
  • …I think.
  • …I would recommend looking into that one, rather than trusting my quite sleepy mind.
  • Have a lovely day, you crazy rally-obsessed kids!
  • …(And, for the record, everyone did fantastically; Germany is so difficult, in and of itself and because it’s the first pure asphalt round of the season.  So, major props to those who finished.  And, to those who didn’t, whether they’re feeling it or not, they’ve just learned something that will be very valuable and help them later on.)
  • …(Oh, and, thanks to the Hyundai kids for spicing things up this season.  I love VW and the VW guys, but, my god, there has to be some outside competition to prevent monotonous domination!!!)
Advertisements