MOTORSPORT /// WRC /// 2014 RALLY FRANCE (2.10.2014 – 5.10.2014) /// UNWANTED COMMENTARY: SHALL WE DO THIS LIVE? /// SS7…

  • Well, hello.
  • …Bonjour, if you will.
  • …Because, this -is- Rallye de France-Alsace.
  • …The 11th stop on the 2014 World Rally Championship calendar.
  • So, as there was no local coverage of Rally Australia, I’m out of practice.
  • …Yes, just as I was (finally) getting in a groove of sorts.
  • …C’est la vie.
  • …What do you want to know?
  • …Rhetorical, of course.
  • …Ha!  Suckers!
  • Okay, so, this will be the final stage of the day.
  • …SS7 (of 18).
  • …A nighttime city stage through the home base of Stasbourg.
  • …It is 4.67km long.
  • …2.9mi.
  • And, here we go.
  • Volkswagen’s Ogier and Ingrassia start.
  • …This event could have meant the Drivers’ and Co-Drivers’ Championships for the duo.
  • …But, a spin, a faulty gearbox sensor, and a penalty for an early check-in mix-up (as a result of trying to figure out the mechanical issue) has knocked them down to 33rd as we start the stage.
  • …A podium result would take disaster for the entire WRC entry list.
  • …And, the entry lists of other classes.
  • …So, the VW driver battle lives another round.
  • Hyundai’s Neuville and Gilsoul take the stage.
  • …The Belgians had a quick trip into a ditch (and back out) earlier.
  • …After some mechanicals of their own.
  • …They go into this stage in 11th.
  • …In the past, I’ve listed previous year results.
  • …I forgot to refresh my memory prior to this.
  • …Sorry about that.
  • …Okay, they finished France 2013 in fourth.
  • …Ogier and Ingrassia won and won their Championships last year.
  • …Remember that they came out of Australia 2013, one point short of the Championship win, so they took them in the opening Power Stage.
  • M-Sport’s Evans and Barritt on stage.
  • …These two had a breakdown and were so determined to avoid penalties, they (actually) pushed their Fiesta to time control.
  • …The crazy-hard work paid off, as they stand in tenth.
  • …Within the points.
  • …Evans participated in a Qatar M-Sport-backed, brand-spankin’ new Fiesta R5 at France in 2013.
  • …And, he finished a ridiculously impressive 11th.
  • …He enters France, having finished Australia in 8th.
  • Indie Darlings Prokop and Tománek head out.
  • …Fiona the Fiesta’s Jipocar Czech National Team boys.
  • …Prokop retired from France 2013.
  • …And, as a budget-conscious privateer, was unable to make the trip to Australia.
  • …But, this is his 100th WRC start and the guy just keeps going.
  • …And, going pretty strong.
  • …They start the stage in ninth.
  • Hyundai Motorsport N’s Bouffier and Panseri take the stage.
  • …BOUFFIER!!!
  • …Ooo-and has a little scare.
  • …I just don’t think they like being on live TV.
  • …Recall that he crashed into the vineyards as the final stage of Rally Germany hit the TV airwaves.
  • …This is his first time competing in Rally France in the WRC.
  • …But, he waltzed on in and yoinked a podium at Monte-Carlo, so, hey, Bouffier!
  • …Man, he was a force in the standings for-frigging-ever.
  • RK M-Sport’s Kubica and Szczepaniak take the stage.
  • …If you’re wondering what “RK” stands for, please leave.
  • …Kubica won France, in the WRC2 class, in 2013.
  • …They duo goes into this in seventh.
  • …I don’t know if you’ve noticed that they’re running in reverse order.
  • …They are.
  • M-Sport’s Hirvonen and Lehtinen zip off the start.
  • …Jarmo, shouting audibly wherever in the world you are.
  • …They came in fifth at Australia and sixth at France 2013.
  • …Their best result at France was second, in 2008.
  • …They are (currently) in (overall)…you guessed it…sixth.
  • Time for Citroën’s Østberg and Andersson.
  • …Guys who prove that Swedes and Norwegians can, in fact, get along.
  • …Unless Jonas does something for which Mads believes he is a “fucker”.
  • …Last year, he placed eighth.
  • …A last stage disaster left them in 16th at Australia.
  • …But, they finished.
  • …Care to guess where they are after six stages?
  • …Hint: fifth.
  • Time for Hyundai’s Sordo and Martí.
  • …Sordo did not take part in France 2013.
  • …The Citroën seat was reserved for part-timer Loeb, in his WRC finale (in his hometown).
  • …However, he has taken second twice.
  • …In his 150th WRC start.
  • …Apparently.
  • …He’s been around forever, but I always think of him as constantly getting the shaft when it comes to seat time.
  • …Anyway…
  • …He did not go with Hyundai to Australia, either.
  • …The rotating Hyundai seat was handed to Australian gravel expert Atkinson.
  • …But, prior to that, Sordo, a tarmac specialist, took second at Germany.
  • Citroën’s Meeke and Nagle take the stage.
  • …Meeke has (only) taken on France in a WRC class car once (before).
  • …In 2011.
  • …Unfortunately, his MINI retired.
  • …But, he’s back, he’s in a more reliable car, and he’s coming off a fourth-place finish at Australia.
  • …The guy has been rolling with little sign of stopping.
  • …Some setbacks, yes.
  • …They’re always after his lucky charms.
  • …But, he’s been focused on learning and moving forward.
  • Volkswagen Motorsport II’s Vikings hit the stage.
  • …’Blue and White Steel’ Mikkelsen and Ola Fløene.
  • …The alarmingly attractive Norwegian has been battling for the lead all day.
  • …Handsomely.
  • …They completed the VW 1-2-3 at Australia.
  • …And, he came in seventh at France 2013.
  • Jerry Matt is on the stage, people.
  • …Jerry.  Matt.
  • …Poopiekins.
  • …Jer-Bear.
  • …VW’s Latvala and Anttila.
  • …Jer-Bear took third last year.
  • …He took second at Australia.
  • …And, his best result at France is second (in 2012).
  • …That was the year he started developing a rather sexy relationship with tarmac.
  • …After a career, being known for sucking on it.
  • …However, look back at his results.
  • …Sucking?  Not so much.
  • …I know my Poopiekins, people.
  • …Don’t mess.
  • …Post-run interview…
  • …The Confidence sounds solid.
  • …(Third driver.)
  • …(Backseat driver?)
  • …All he needs to do is keep focused, stay relaxed, and make sure he listens to his instincts.
  • …No crazy pushin’ for cushions.
  • …Save that for your personal life, Jer-Bear.
  • …-wink-wink-
  • Okay, well, that is that for SS7.
  • …And, the end of Day 2.
  • …I start on Shakedown (or, in the past, Qualifying).
  • …If there is (still) a need for clarification on that one.
  • …Sordo/Martí and Mikkelsen/Fløene tie for the stage win.
  • …Followed by Latvala/Anttila, Meeke/Nagle, Ogier/Ingrassia, and Hirvonen/Lehtinen.
  • …Overall, the top remains the same as when the stage started.
  • …Latvala/Anttila, Mikkelsen/Fløene, Meeke/Nagle, and Sordo/Martí.
  • …As always, further details are at WRC.com.
  • If you are in the US, I do believe MAVTV will be airing two (more) stages this weekend.
  • …6:30am (ET) Saturday and 5:00am (ET) Sunday.
  • …I will not be able to run this mind-blowingly deep, important commentary tomorrow, but will be rolling some out on Sunday.
  • …Which will be super-fun.
  • …Because, coverage of F1’s Japanese GP will start at 12:30am (CT), end at 4:00am (CT), and Rally France coverage will start at 5am (CT).
  • …I will have typed 2000+ words of ridiculousness, after being awake for who knows how long, by the time I start my WRC commentary.
  • …Which can (only) mean good ol’ ‘Cookies & Gold Stars’ nonsense.
  • …I like to put the f-u in “fun”.
  • …Drums, please.
  • So, that’s that and that was good.
  • …Thank you for bringing coverage back into my home, MAVTV.
  • …Sexy times.
  • …Bringin’ sexy back.
  • Wherever you are, may the rest of your day be super bon-bon.
  • …(Cue the Soul Coughing!)
  • Au revoir!
  • …(Think all my French teachers and professors would be proud that I’ve found a use for French, or humiliated that I have yet to grasp it after so many years?  I would guess they would be nearly as humiliated as I am.)
Advertisements