WRC: Why Sordo’s win at Germany was a special one

Author: David van den Boom
 

On Saturday I was at the ADAC Rallye Deutschland, the 9th round of the FIA World Rally Championship 2013. I was at SS11, the Arena Panzerplatte stage, were Jari Matti Latvala nearly retired after hitting a ”Hinkelstein”.

It was fantastic, until the rain came, which then was the reason of the cancellation of the historic event, what is always great to watch.

It was also a great stage for Sordo, because he overtook Neuville in the overall classifications for the lead of the rallye, and he stayed there.

Then the last stage of the rallye ”Dronthal 2” what was also the Power Stage.

Sordo was only 25 km away from his first WRC win. He started the stage behind Neuville, who was only 3 seconds behind Sordo in the overall standings.

Now both started the stage.

Sordo was faster in the first split time, but in the second he was only 0.1 seconds faster than Neuville.

In the third split time they had the exact same time, it couldn’t get any more exciting.

But suddenly Neuville made a mistake and lost nearly 30 seconds. After that it was clear that Sordo had won the rallye.

It was his the first ever WRC victory and I will now tell you why this win was quite special…

Sordo’s WRC career

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Dani Sordo came into the JWRC (Junior World Rally Championship) in 2005 driving for Kronos Racing in a Citroen C2 S1600.

As teammate he had the brit Kris Meeke. He won 4 rallyes, including a home victory at Spain and won the JWRC championship afterwards.

Sordo then began his WRC career back in 2006, again driving for Kronos in a Citroen Xsara WRC.

He’s teammates were, at that time 2-time WRC champion Sebastian Loeb and Xavier Pons. Sordo was 8th at the season opener, the Monte Carlo Rallye.

He was only 16th in Sweden, but in Mexico he got an impressive 4th position and then got two podium places at Corsica and Spain.

He was then promoted as a No.2 driver at Kronos, because Pons was more crashing than making results.

Sordo scored a 2nd place finish at Germany and was fourth at New Zealand as a replacement for the injured Loeb.

Then Citroen came back to the WRC in 2007 with the new C4 WRC.

After a great 06 season, Sordo joined the factory Citroen Racing WRT together with triple world champion Loeb.

From 2007-2009 he got many podiums at tarmac rallyes, but never a win, because his teammate was also the guy to win these rallyes and he was the clear No.2 driver so he had to help Loeb to secure the titles for him.

Dani_Sordo_-_2008_Rally_Catalunya

He even had to let Loeb pass for the lead at Spain 2008, what was quite hard for him.

In 2010 Sordo did the same thing like in last three years, but Citroen wanted more from him, they wanted him to be more succesfull on gravel rallyes, even wins there.

But it never happend, so he’s Citroen seat looked really bad, because there was one young french driver who was to replace him, a guy called Sebastian Ogier.

Ogier drove for the Citroen Junior Rallye team, nearly winning at New Zealand and then winning actually at Portugal, he showed winning potential on gravel and tarmac.

So he replaced Sordo for the gravel rallyes at the 2nd half of the WRC 2010 season.

Sordo only drove for the factory teams at the tarmac rallyes and driving for the Junior team at the gravel rallyes.

Well after Ogier won at Japan, it was clear that he will replace Sordo for the 2011 season, and it happend.

Sordo then switched to Mini for the 2011 WRC season, his teammate again Kris Meeke.

After a lot of testing the John Cooper Works WRC car (based on the Countryman) it made it’s debut at the Sardegna Rallye, were he ended up being 6th.

Dani-Sordo---MINI-WRC-Team---Friday-4

Then a disappointing Finland rallye, but a great Germany rallye with finishing 3rd overall.

Another two podiums at France and Spain later in the year.

So it looked quite promising for Sordo and Mini, as they will compete the full 2012 season.

But after  a great 3rd position at Monte Carlo, everything came to the opposite direction.

BMW pulled out the financial support, so Prodrive didn’t had enough money to compete the 2nd half of the season, the actually long term Mini project was over.

Sordo then became a 2nd chance at Citroen, after Ogier left the team in 2012 and Loeb slowly retiring from the sport.

A terrible to the 1st half of 2013 for Sordo, lacking pace behind teammate Hirvonen.

Citroen again wanted to replace Sordo for the rest of the ”gravel” season with Kris Meeke. But now after the win in Germany, it’s unlikley that they won’t keep him till next year (at least).

Sordo competed in 106 WRC rallyes until winning his first event last weekend. He truly deserved it, now i hope this won’t be the only one….

Note: This rallye was overshadowed by the death of two dutch rallye drivers (one driver, one co-driver) who died at Saturday evening at ”Panzerplatte 2” in a Triumph for the Historic event.  They had crash at the ”Gina” jump. Thoughts are with thier friends and family.

R.I.P.  to both.

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2013 Belgian Grand Prix Review

Heading into Turn 1, no casualties
Heading into Turn 1, no casualties

A wet start to the Belgian Grand Prix was expected, many fans throughout the world wanted one but it didn’t arrive at the start. The five red lights went out and pole sitter Lewis Hamilton got a clean start and maintained the lead heading into Turn 1 but Sebastian Vettel snatched the lead from Hamilton on the Kemmel straight. Biggest gainers were Jenson Button and Nico Rosberg. Paul Di Resta lost two places at the start. At the end of lap two Vettel was 2.8s ahead of Lewis Hamilton. Felipe Massa had a KERS failure on lap four. Fernando Alonso using DRS went passed Jenson Button fir fourth position and within the next few laps Nico Rosberg for third place. Kimi Raikkonen having break duct issues on lap nine still continued to push and continued passing few cars. Felipe Massa and Nico Hulkenberg were the first ones to pit on lap ten. On lap eleven Paul Di Resta pitted and Charles Pic was forced into retirement due to technical issues. On lap thirteen Nico Rosberg pitted. After Lewis Hamilton’s pit stop he spent most of the time behind Romain Grosjean and the former passed him on lap fourteen. Lewis Hamilton was under immense pressure from Fernando Alonso behind and was overtaken on lap fifteen.

Sebastian Vettel pitted on lap fourteen and took the lead from Jenson Button on lap sixteen.  Mark Webber was the only driver among the front-runners to go onto the hard tyres during his first pit stop. Jenson Button pitted on lap eighteen for hard tyres, his teammate pitted after two laps. Romain Grosjean on a set of medium tyres went on till lap twenty-three, he was clearly on a one pit stop strategy. On lap twenty-four Sebastian Vettel was leading the race from Fernando Alonso by 8.8 seconds and 13 seconds from Lewis Hamilton. On lap twenty-six Kimi Raikkonen ended his consecutive 27 races points finishing record. Lewis Hamilton,  Felipe Massa pitted on lap twenty-six. On lap twenty-eight Paul Di Resta had a collision with Pastor Maldonado taking the former out of the race and the latter was handed a STOP/GO Penalty. 

Mark Webber pitted on lap thirty for medium tyres and his teammate on lap thirty-one for hard tyres and his final pit stop of the race and was still in the race lead. Nico Rosberg, Mark Webber were in fight for third place. With ten laps to go it looked that Sebastian Vettel was untouchable. Jenson Button pitted on lap thirty-five for fighting for the  final podium spot but the strategy McLaren opted didn’t pay off.

Jenson Button, McLaren, 2013 Belgian Formula 1 Grand Prix, Formula 1


The final six laps were easy for Sebastian Vettel and cruised to the chequered flag with a great performance from Fernando Alonso coming home in second who started from eighth and the pole sitter came home in third while his team-mate  came home in fourth, Mark Webber in fifth, Jenson Button in sixth, Felipe Massa in seventh, Romain Grosjean in eighth, Adrian Sutil in ninth and Daniel Ricciardo in tenth.
The Drivers Championship and Constructors Championship as it stands after Round 11:started from eight and pole sitter came home in third place, his teammate Nico Rosberg came home in fourth with Webber coming home in fifth,  Button in sixth, Massa in seventh, Grosjean in eight, Sutil in ninth and Ricciardo the final point scoring driver.

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https://f1head.wordpress.com/2012-formula-one-drivers-standings/

https://f1head.wordpress.com/2012-formula-one-constructors-championship-points-table/

Notes: Sebastian Vettel leads the championship by 46 points from Fernando Alonso. Jenson Button’s fifth place finish helps Mclaren move ahead of Force India in  the constructors championship by four points. Lotus drop to fourth in the constructors standings.

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2013 Belgium Grand Prix Saturday Images

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Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel in parc ferme
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Shell grid girls

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Cars on Kemmel straight
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Esteban Gutierrez
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Nico Rosberg's footwear
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Paul Di Resta, looked impressive in Q3
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Shell grid girls
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Mark Webber just before the bus stop chicane
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Nico Rosberg
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Nico Hulkenberg's 50GPs celebration eith his team

All image credits to Sutton Images

DTM: Wickens wins at Nürburgring

Author: David van den Boom (@David__VDB)
 

Robert Wickens won the DTM race at the Nürburgring ahead of Augusto Farfus and Christian Vietoris.

Farfus started from Pole ahead of Wittman. The race was started under rainy conditions, so the start wasn’t without collisions.

Rockenfeller spun at Turn 1, were in contrast Wickens had a great start comming from 10th to 3rd, but dropping back through the race to 5th.

Then he battled with Adrien Tambay for 5th and bumped the Audi driver from behind, so both were onto the grass.

Spengler got a penalty for this afterwards and was then only 14th.

After a terrible start championship leader Rockenfeller had a superb strategy which led him to the lead of the race, until he made his 2nd pitstop, he ended up being 4th.

Wickens overtoke Wittman, after he made a mistake and got 2nd. Wickens then handed the lead from Rockenfeller after he made his last pitstop and holded it till the end.

Scheider had very bad luck again, an ended up at the end of the field. Tomcyck finally got his first points of the season, finishing 5th.

Also Molina had a great race after starting on a great 4th position he ended up being 8th.

It was great race to watch, but i couldn’t get any footage of the race because it was raining pretty hard.

I’m quite delighted that i didn’t watch the live coverage on TV, because the ARD (the channel which is broadcasting the DTM) always switch to the World Championship in Athletics (what was also live) in the middle of the DTM coverage, what is quite awful.

Full results:

1 10 R. Wickens HWA-Mercedes 47 0
2 7 A. Farfus RBM-BMW 2.158 47 0
3 9 C. Vietoris HWA-Mercedes 9.749 7.591 47 0
4 19 M. Rockenfeller Phoenix-Audi 20.524 10.775 47 0
5 15 M. Tomczyk RMG-BMW 27.104 6.580 47 0
6 24 A. Tambay Abt-Audi-Sportsline 27.523 0.419 47 0
7 21 M. Wittmann MTEK-BMW 29.540 2.017 47 0
8 20 M. Molina Phoenix-Audi 33.037 3.497 47 0
9 12 J. Green Abt-Audi-Sportsline 39.972 6.935 47 0
10 18 P. Wehrlein Mücke-Mercedes 40.486 0.514 47 0
11 6 F. Albuquerque Rosberg-Audi 40.908 0.422 47 0
12 5 E. Mortara Rosberg-Audi 42.629 1.721 47 0
13 11 M. Ekström Abt-Audi-Sportsline 46.303 3.674 47 0
14 1 B. Spengler Schnitzer-BMW 51.991 5.688 47 0
15 2 D. Werner Schnitzer-BMW 57.649 5.658 47 0
16 16 A. Priaulx RMG-BMW 1:21.517 23.868 47 0
17 3 G. Paffett HWA-Mercedes 1 Runde 1 Runde 46 0
18 22 T. Glock MTEK-BMW 1 Runde 8.615 46 0
19 4 R. Merhi HWA-Mercedes 1 Runde 23.227 46 0
DNF 17 D. Juncadella Mücke-Mercedes 18 Runden 17 Runden 29 0
DNF 23 T. Scheider Abt-Audi-Sportsline 39 Runden 21 Runden 8 0
DNF 8 J. Hand RBM-BMW 47 Runden 8 Runden 0 0

Support series recap

So in contrast to the WEC at Spa, were we only had the Porsche GT3 Benelux Cup with only had 11 cars in the field, at the Nürburgring we had the FIA Formula 3 Europen Championship, Auto GP, porsche Carrera Cup and the VW Scirocco R Cup.

They all had good amount of cars in their fields, especially the Carrera Cup with 34 cars (!).

F3 wasn’t really that exciting, the drivers aren’t driving like in GP2, they are pretty calm and careful at overtaking, which actually didn’t take place. Marciello (Ferrari F1 junior driver) won all three races and it looks he’s going to win the championship with only 3 venues to go.

Auto GP had two good races (despite only 15 cars), with Race 1 won by former F1 driver Narain Karthikehyan.

Carrera Cup and Scirocco Cup had the best races, especially the Scirocco Cup, despite the big crash frm Tomas Schreier in Race 1, which was red flagged afterwards.

My footage of the races will come soon.

DTM Nürburgring 2013 Preview

Author: David van den Boom  (@David__VDB)
 

Note: I’m only writing a preview to this , because i’m going to the Nürburgring this weekend. Normally i won’t write a preview for the DTM races.

Yes i know, i have written an negative article about the DTM some weeks ago, but these are the reasons why still go to the DTM this weekend:

1st: I really like the Nürburgring itself, Nordschleife and GP circuit.

2nd: The DTM on track action is most of the time pretty good (despite DRS)

3rd: There many support series includiing the FIA F3 European Championship and Auto GP (yep there were Narain Kartikehyan is driving now) and they’re all pretty good to watch.

So now to the preview of the upcoming DTM race…

 

Audi: The Favourites

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It seems like Audi have the sorted the problems from last year out. It also looks like the change from A5 DTm from RS5 DTM this year, made a bigger impact to the perfomance of Audi as expected.

So now Pheonix driver Mike Rockenfeller (2010 24h of Le Mans overall winner) is leading the driver’s championship ahead of BMW driver Bruno Spengler.

The Nürburgring is his home race and he always showed great pace here, since his debut in the DTM back in 2007.

So he’s going to be the man to beat at this weekend, but watchout for Ekström.

After over 10 years in the series, Ekström proofed that he has still got what it takes to win a DTM race. I still think he’s the deserved winner of the Norisring race and also got 2nd at Moscow.

But these two are really the only ones from the 8 Audi driver’s who could win this race.

Scheider had incredible bad luck, Mortara and Green are having trouble this year.

Alberquerque and Molina don’t show any good pace, only Tambay is the driver who could get a podium but who knows?

 

Mercedes: Need to win again

3 Gary Paffett (GB), HWA, DTM Mercedes AMG C-Coupé

Eurospeedway at the Lausitz 2013- that was the last race were a Mercedes won a DTM race. Mercedes doesn’t lack pace, they’re head to head with Audi. The problems are the drivers.

I really thought that would be Paffet’s year, but you can’t win a championship when you do something silly like at the Norisring.

Paffet will be the favourite from Mercedes drivers. Vietoris is always a bit unobstructive, but clean and consistend, that why he’s 3rd in the drivers standings. But i don’t think he’s fast enough for a win.

Also Wickens has chances, but he needs to sort he’s Qualifying perfomance.

The other Mercedes drivers? Do they have a chance? Nope…

 

BMW: In Trouble

BMW-M3-DTM-2013-Moskau-Russland-01

Ok, Spengler won two races this year with the BMW M3 Coupe DTM. But the best driver in a team, doesn’t he wins every race for them, see Moscow, were he really had problems.

But Spengler won this race in 2006 and 2010, so he has good chances to win there.

Timo Glock looked on fire in first three races of the season, taking a 3rd place at Spielberg.

But now i’m thinking he’s going to have same season as Ralf Schumacher had in 2011.

Taking a podium spot, what got really hyped and then suddendly driving at the back of the field. The difference between Glock and Schumacher II is that Glock got his podium in his rookie season, were Schumacher II got his first podiums in his 4th season in the DTM.

Glock deserved a good F1 cockpit, but i really hope he does well in the rest of the DTM season.

And don’t forget Augusto Farfus, who won the season opener at the Hockenheimring, but can’t keep that speed on a consistent basis.

Wittman looks promising (2nd at Brands Hatch) and Werner and Hand have nothing to lose.

 

I will try to upload some footage from the weekend (DTM, F3 Europe, Auto GP, Porsche Carrera Cup and VW Scirocco R Cup) on Youtube next week or so.

My channel

Full Results from Moscow race:

1 19 M. Rockenfeller Phoenix-Audi 1:14:38.512 74 2
2 11 M. Ekström Abt-Audi-Sportsline 1.303 1.303 74 2
3 7 A. Farfus RBM-BMW 11.393 10.090 74 2
4 24 A. Tambay Abt-Audi-Sportsline 12.275 0.882 74 2
5 3 G. Paffett HWA-Mercedes 17.495 5.220 74 2
6 12 J. Green Abt-Audi-Sportsline 18.704 1.209 74 2
7 8 J. Hand RBM-BMW 19.363 0.659 74 2
8 2 D. Werner Schnitzer-BMW 26.117 6.754 74 2
9 23 T. Scheider Abt-Audi-Sportsline 34.184 8.067 74 2
10 9 C. Vietoris HWA-Mercedes 41.331 7.147 74 2
11 18 P. Wehrlein Mücke-Mercedes 42.000 0.669 74 2
12 10 R. Wickens HWA-Mercedes 43.782 1.782 74 2
13 6 F. Albuquerque Rosberg-Audi 44.443 0.661 74 2
14 4 R. Merhi HWA-Mercedes 51.576 7.133 74 2
15 21 M. Wittmann MTEK-BMW 52.941 1.365 74 2
16 22 T. Glock MTEK-BMW 54.421 1.480 74 2
17 15 M. Tomczyk RMG-BMW 58.460 4.039 74 2
18 17 D. Juncadella Mücke-Mercedes 1 Runde 1 Runde 73 2
19 1 B. Spengler Schnitzer-BMW 1 Runde 2.496 73 2
20 16 A. Priaulx RMG-BMW 1 Runde 10.327 73 2
DNF 5 E. Mortara Rosberg-Audi 43 Runden 42 Runden 31 3
DNF 20 M. Molina Phoenix-Audi 69 Runden 26 Runden 5 2

 

DTM driver’s standings:

1. M. Rockenfeller 94 4 25 12 18 10 25
2. B. Spengler 67 10 18 25 6 8 0
3. G. Paffett 57 12 8 2 25 0 10
4. C. Vietoris 56 15 4 6 15 15 1
5. A. Farfus 48 25 0 8 0 0 15
6. R. Wickens 45 0 15 0 12 18 0
7. M. Ekström 38 0 6 10 4 0 18
8. M. Wittmann 33 2 12 18 0 1 0
9. D. Werner 26 18 0 4 0 0 4
10. J. Hand 26 6 10 0 0 4 6
11. D. Juncadella 20 0 0 0 8 12 0
12. J. Green 18 0 0 0 10 0 8
13. T. Glock 15 0 0 15 0 0 0
14. A. Tambay 12 0 0 0 0 0 12
15. T. Scheider 12 8 2 0 0 0 2
16. R. Merhi 8 1 0 0 1 6 0
17. E. Mortara 2 0 0 0 2 0 0
18. A. Priaulx 2 0 0 0 0 2 0
19. P. Wehrlein 2 0 1 1 0 0 0

 

 

 

 

 

GP2 2013… a catch up

The Buxton Blog

At slightly over the half way mark of the 2013 GP2 Series, I thought I’d take a few minutes to reflect on the first part of the season and tee up the four remaining races of the year.

It’s been a fascinating season so far, with some of the most exciting races I can remember in the life of the current GP2/11 Dallara chassis. The shift towards a higher degging tyre by Pirelli in line with F1 has made a huge difference to race strategy. Interestingly, while in the past we may have got used to Feature races being slightly dull affairs for the middle 15 or so laps with all the excitement stored up for Sunday’s Sprint races, in 2013 the opposite has often been true. Saturday’s contests have been thrilling, with a variety of strategies starting to be employed throughout the field. The flip side however is that…

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