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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


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.


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.


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.

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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Ferrari Power For Marussia In 2014

Ben Sweeney's F1 Blog

Marussia this morning announced that it will be using Ferrari engines next year when F1 makes the switch to the ‘greener’ 1.6 litre engines.

Not only will Marussia take on Ferrari engines, but they will also be running with Ferrari gearboxes, in what could be an important step in the battle with rivals Caterham.

Marrusia team CEO, Andy Webb, underlined the importance to the team: “The importance of this development to our team cannot be overstated. Not only will we benefit from a customer supply from the most successful engine manufacturer in F1’s history, but this also provides further confirmation, if it were needed, of our commitment to the sport and determination to maintain our progression towards our long-term ambitions.

“The new powertrain regulations being introduced next year represent the most substantial engine development within the sport since the introduction of the V8 formula and are all the more significant for…

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How the pitlane TV ban will affect F1 fans

The Buxton Blog

The past 48 hours has seen a flurry of reaction to the accident in the pitlane during the German Grand Prix.

None of them would have stopped the accident. None of them deal with the cause of the accident. And all will impact the way in which you receive your information on Formula 1.

I dealt with the FIA’s first response in yesterday’s blog. It was a perfectly useless statement which changed little. However, FOM’s announcement late yesterday afternoon that all TV crews would now be banned from the pitlane for all sessions, was a far bigger blow. Here’s why:

For qualifying and the race, only FOM employed cameramen – those who worked directly for Bernie – were allowed in the pitlane. They roamed free. The immediate reaction after Germany was to restrict them to the pitwall. This would mean a less than ideal view of pitstops, but should theoretically…

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A Get Well Soon F1 Poem for Legend Murray Walker

The F1 Poet - Ernie Black


Birmingham’s son, Graeme Murray Walker

Is a legend of sorts and a real slick talker


I’ve listened to Murray, most of my life

I’ve spent more time with him, than I have with my wife


From lands afar to our home Grand Prix

For the BBC and ITV


On race day Sundays, he would appease

He held our attention with class and ease


With a friendly voice and a friendly smile

With brilliant diction in his own style


Finding a way, to make us chuckle

A simple comment causing knees to buckle


His “Walkerisms” are world renowned

His effect on our sport has been profound


He is the voice of Formula One

He may be ill, but he’s not done


Join me please, in wishing him well

And a quick recovery, from this rough spell


While he rests, we’ll reminisce


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