Random rubbish from the motor sport world

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Rally of Catalunya

We’re back into the WRC after a month long break and while you might expect me to swing back into some new unique view of the parallel universe that is Alliance Motorsport’s Rally Predictions, that wouldn’t be quite right, not in light of the events that have happened in the last few weeks and thus I am drawn to revisit a previous Rally Prediction made earlier this year –

As might be now known, these inspired (or insipid, take your pick – I’m not fussy or under illusion) bits of comedy are interlaced with serious comments. Sometimes well disguised, sometimes quite blatant and about as subtle as a kick in the nuts. But the points sometimes do need to be made. Back in the Rally of Greece prediction I made three comments that I feel were quite important and unfortuantly the highlight of one of those points, Colin McRae, died in a helicopter accident. And so I must lead out with a vale for the great man.

Colin was by far the most popular rally driver we have ever seen and one look at his driving style would be the answer as to why. A man who was impossibly talented and also impossibly unafraid of anything, he defined what rallying was to millions. Images of him doing things in Subarus that no one thought possible drew in the crowds, wondering if they were seeing genius or disaster unfolding in front of them. Nicky Grist also drew fans for his wonderful pace note delivery, the occasional rebuke to the incredible Scotsman beside him or his sheer bravery for sitting next to someone who could throw a car off a stage like hardly anyone else ever could.

Colin really did deserve to win more events than he did and more championships. He probably would have if he had not so often overstepped and crashed – but that was part of the appeal of the man. He would without flinching barrel roll a car, then kick it back to first if it landed on it’s wheels and impossibly, continue on.

He had an appeal on Television as well, making him the face most recognised to a new generation of rally fans. His appeal founded the Subaru Army and that army has made Lords an Gods of each of the Subaru world champions – Colin, Richard Burns and Petter Solberg. Always worthy of quoting, Colin was honest, forthright to go with his other qualities.

He also had a deep passion for the sport and also it’s history, owning and racing a Metro 6R4 for a while and building the worlds wildest rally Escort MkII.

It is with deep sadness I wish him farewell, for his passing leaves the world a genuinely worse place.

Part two of my Greece rant related to local rallying and thence I note with not sadness exactly but with bemusment and bit of anger that Ed Ordynski has left ARCOM. Now, while the circumstances of his leaving are shady at best, the changes he was making are now in doubt. I would urge competitors to keep pressure on ARCOM and CAMS to make sure the changes and more importantly outlook on what is most important to our sport stay in place. I also have noted some of the correspondance between Andrew Crawford (Factor) and Colin Osbourne that was of course for alarm, Mr Osbourne’s veiled critique of rallying has been noted.

Which leads me to point three of this missive.

I have been want lately to take shots at Rally Sport News / other media and some of the things that have come out lately. Wether it be Flat in Fifth or editorials about the need to rallying to pander to “stakeholders and corporate interests for lots of pretty images on TV”, it shows that we need a much better voice as they just don’t seem to get it. We don’t need TV or more manufacturers – we need our problems at the grass roots fixed and veiled attacks against competitors with legitimate complaints is simply out of order.

All of this may make you think I am despondant for rallying furture and at the time of my Greece rant I was. But I am not now for the followign reasons –

1) Colin may be gone but the WRC has suddenly got an incredible fight on it’s hands with Marcus Gronholm actually beating Sebastian Loeb in events and absolutly taking it to the Frenchman for the championship. We were witnessed to a truly fantastic battle in NZ and I suspect with Gronholm retiring at the end of this year, he’s going for broke. Loeb wont give in either and thence we are poised for a wonderful season finale. Chris Atkinson also has lit a torch under the backsides of the Subaru Army, proving that there is life in ProDrive yet. Being signed for two years is a great confidence boost and indication what Subaru thinks of Chris’ talent. He has shown that if the car can do it, he can match Loeb and Gronholm not just on dirt, but on tarmac.

If there is any justice in the world, Team Subaru will finally have all of their hideously foul luck of the last few years stop and win Catalunya in honor of Colin. Of course it wont happen but I honestly think Chris will win on tarmac first. This event? I has reason to think he could do it.

2) While Ed is gone, I sense that rallying is beginning to take matters into it’s own hands. A lot of words have been said lately but the end result is that competitors are walking away from CAMS series events. But they are not leaving rallying behind – instead they are going to say Excels, or Classics or even better, AMSAG where the insanity of CAMS is either lessened or non existant. I have said that this is what needs to happen in the past and I am glad to see it happening now. AMSAG moreover has become a real alternative it appears for all of us by all reports. Competiton for the hearts and cars of competitors is a damn good thing.

We have also seen some events make an effort to do things differently, to give events to competitors that they want, do things that have genuinely done more to improve the sport than any amount of missives and talkfests have done. It just takes a few people with the will to make things change and they will find ways to do it.

3) A better voice for us has come about. BMSC is rapidly evolving into a quasi official site for not just ACT events but for Australian events as a whole. So loud has this become that it’s notable that veiled remarks have been made about it by those that don’t want to listen, but should be anyway. This place is in touch with competitors, it’s collective views, while diverse and sometimes eyebrow raising, do provide a valuable barometer with directors, officials and crews. And it’s clear people do listen to it… okay usually it’s ignored but you never know……

My challenge to RSN would be to dare to represent us better because you only exist if rallying is strong. The strength of rallying is not in how many manufacturers are about or how many minutes TV time, it’s about oversubscribed fields and happy competitors willing to come back for more. If you want to survive, then help us survive. My second challenge is a dare – put my words on your site. Dare to put an alternative view for that’s why I started my Antilag nonsense. I felt that I had to get my point of view across and hopefully grow it to emcompass more than just one idiot’s view of rallying and motorsport.

But people, we need good loud voices. Dont let it be just mine. say what you think is wrong and more importantly (even if I disagree with the methodology and who’s doing it) put them to the Enst and Young review!

So yes we have a future and one hell of a WRC race on. Dammit, it’s good to be wrong!

Now I have that out of my system, I’ll get on the satellite and find out what our rally spies (three blind mice with machine guns to get that farmer’s wife) say about what’s going on and hopefully I’ll have a good dose of alternate reality to bring back normal service.


Welcome to the Alliance Motorsport’s always puzzling Rally Predictions!

Now, it’s pretty obvious that our usual rally spies have no diea where the rally is, so they in fact had to wait until the event started and follow the antilag. Unfortunately said antilag was the sound of gang warfare and our Three Blind Mice were victims of a Puss in Boots drive by. And we’re kinda got a problem.

But not to be worried (unless you want this continued assault on good grammar and spelling to be finished), we have a replacement rally spy – Sebastian Loeb! yes, we have managed to get the famous frenchman himself to write out some thoughts on the event and who will win

“Hello to all my fans in Australia and also to all those who drive Citroen. Firstly, how do you know it is me typing this? Well, read it in an outrageous French accent and add a few ummmm…. and it is all good.

I have had a good day today, altho I do not lead the rally. I had a bit of problem on one of the stages when I run over Tinkerbell and she get sucked into engine intake. It was amazing to see engine explode but magically repair itself as good as new, altho the pixie dust does make Daniel sneeze and he goobed all over the pace notes.

I have many strange things like that happen to me you know. But I will deny that I have pact with Satan – that would be Danny Sordo who has that. How else can you explain he is leading the rally instead of myself? I am not happy with that of course, but Danny is driving really well now he has a fan. Yes, somehow, that likable and insufferable brat has a real fan. I like to hurt Danny’s feeling by saying that ze fan is more stupid than a mound of horse poo but you know I think I’m right. Ze fan keeps on shouting “LEAVE DANNY ALONE!” and or something. I think he also likes Britney Spears too, so he’s clearly a flaming retard.

I have arranged for the Fairy Godmother to make Danny’s car melt into a pile of goo or be turned into Conderella’s carriage or something like that so he wont finish. I will win this rally as a result and I get to have Snow White as my prize too. She’s one hot fairy tale babe you know…. oh wait, that”s MY wife who does Cosplay as Snow White I’ll be having as first prize. Hey you know, everyone like a bit of kinky.

Marcus Gronholm? Oh well he’s like second or something but he’s also got this problem with a talking donkey that wont shut up until Marcus gives it an uppercut.

Mikko Hirvonen sleeps more than Sleeping Beauty on stage and I don’t get how he can drive a car comatose. I say he will be third as he almost always is. I reckon if he wakes up he might win an event or two… now wheres’ that sleeping powder again…

I am amazed that Citroen found a car big enough to fit in Francois Duval’s tougne. and I am also amazed my English spell check does not know how to spell tounge. But you know despite all those accidents wating to happen and the potential for him to bite it off and bleed to death I think he can come fourth… but wait a moment, I’m behind him tomorrow? oh merde, he leaves a drool trail wider than Max Mosley’s ego. I will need to have full wets!

I do like Jari Marti Latvala for … ummmm…. what am I up to? Fifth? Ah yes, Number five. You see Latvala can get like all those fairytale broads cause they think he looks like Prince Charming and they want to have a happily ever after – or at least a nice afterglow after a quickly behind the service truck. He is more beautiful than me even! I will fix him I think with a bit of Fairy Godmother magic.

I think I will feel sorry for Subaru for once and allow Petter or Chris to finish sixth. Must remember to get that Harry Potter brat to renew the “Expirus Subarus” thing again for Corsica.

Seventh it is Shrek if they can find a car that his farting does not dissolve to base elements. That Ogre is noxious!

Eight I think will be Xavier Pons. He’s doing Rapunzel on the side and… and… umm…. so why is this silly spell checker knowing how Rapunzel is the spelt but it doesn’t know tounge? This is very silly.

But I must be away. I have Cinderella wanting to have her pumpkin eaten. Very odd as my name is not Petter.”

Thanks to Sebastian and on with the rally!

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