Tag Archives: Abu Dhabi

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.


Aabar investments buys into Scuderia Toro Rosso

Aabar investments (Abu Dhabi), withdrew its 40% investment in Mercedes in order to buy into the Scuderia Toro Rosso team.

But Aabar investments continue to back Scuderia Toro Rosso, Red Bull’s sister Formula One team, through its Spanish oil brand Cepsa.

Germany’s Sport Auto reports that Aabar has now bought part of the Faenza based squad.

“The percentage of the stake is between 49 to 61 per cent,” the magazine quoted.

Scuderia Toro Rosso is yet to comment, but are expected to do so within the next two weeks.

Abu Dhabi Young Driver Test – Da Costa fastest on second day

Antonio Felix da Costa recorded the fastest time on the second day of the Young Driver Test in Abu Dhabi. His time was two hundredths of a second slower than yesterday’s fastest time, set by Kevin Magnussen.

Oliver Turvey finished just under half a second behind him in his McLaren with Edoardo Mortara, who had taken over from Nicolas Prost at Lotus, and Sauber reserve driver Esteban Gutierrez finishing in third and fourth.

Gutierrez, who completed the heaviest workload with 94 laps, will be out on track again tomorrow. “The last sector of the track I find a bit tricky, especially turn 20,” he admitted. “I don’t have the confidence yet to push harder there.”

Gary Paffett, who took out the McLaren in the morning before passing it to Turvey, was fifth fastest ahead of Johnny Cecotto Jr in the Toro Rosso and Giedo van der Garde in the Caterham.

Full report to follow.

Driver Team Time Laps
1. Antonio Felix da Costa Red Bull 1m 42.679s 62
2. Oliver Turvey McLaren 1m 43.176s + 0.497 62
3. Edoardo Mortara Lotua 1m 43.418s + 0.739 75
4. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber 1m 43.485s + 0.806 94
5. Gary Paffett McLaren 1m 43.771s + 1.092 41
6. Johnny Cecotto Toro Rosso 1m 44.569s + 1.890 76
7. Giedo van der Garde Caterham 1m 46.106s + 2.427 72

Source: ESPN F1

Kevin Magnussen tops first day of Young Driver test

Kevin Magnussen lead the way for McLaren on opening day of Abu Dhabi young driver test.

Kevin Magnussen and McLaren have topped the timesheets on the first of three days for Young Driver testing in Abu Dhabi. The son of former Grand Prix driver Jan led the way from the Red Bull of António Félix da Costa and Gary Paffett.

As is always the case with testing, not least this week as the six teams present are experimenting with various fuel loads and new components ahead of America and Brazil, it is somewhat impossible to read into the lap times.

However Magnussen was pleased to hold the bragging rights as his morning time of 1:42.651s led the way. Following a short break, the Dane – who turned 20 just one month ago – handed the car over to Gary Paffett.

Further down the pit lane, Caterham ran reserve driver Giedo van der Garde as GP2 runner-up Luiz Razia starred with Toro Rosso. Lotus and Sauber were the only other two teams present, as some had already tested at Silverstone and Magny-Cours earlier in the season. The Swiss outfit worked with Dutchman Robin Frijns, Formula Renault 3.5 Champion who is also testing with Red Bull this week as a reward for picking up that title.

Unlike with the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix last weekend, this week’s testing takes place in full daylight conditions for eight hours per day.


Full lap times at the end of day one of the final three-day F1 ‘young driver test at Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi
1. Kevin Magnussen Denmark McLaren-Mercedes 1m 42.651s (40 laps)
2. Antonio Felix da Costa Portugal Red Bull-Renault 1m 42.717s (79)
3. Gary Paffett Britain McLaren-Mercedes 1m 43.407s (44)
4. Robin Frijns Holland Sauber-Ferrari 1m 43.775s (78)
5. Nicolas Prost France Lotus-Renault 1m 44.194s (55)
6. Luiz Razia Brazil Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m 44.691s (67)
7. Giedo van der Garde Holland Caterham-Renault 1m 45.936s (57)
all times unofficial

Kevin Magnussen top on first test morning

Kevin Magnussen set the fastest time of the morning on the opening day of the Young Driver Test in Abu Dhabi.

Driving for McLaren for the morning session, Magnussen was the busiest driver as he completed 40 laps with a best time of 1:42.651s. He edged out Antonio Felix da Costa by just 0.066s and will now hand over the McLaren to Gary Paffett for the afternoon session.

Magnussen and da Costa’s Red Bull were well clear of the rest, with Nicolas Prost third for Lotus with a 1:45.318s.

Lotus is expected to test its rear wing device that it has yet to race at some point this week, but it did not make an appearance this morning.

Sauber appeared to be testing a similar rear wing device to the Lotus solution, with Robin Frijns setting the fourth quickest time having spent the first hour and a half completing installation laps.

Luiz Razia was fifth for Toro Rosso in a 1:46.793, while Geido van der Garde was slowest having spent the morning running aero tests, with a transition vortex rake on the left side of the car to look at airflow from the front wing.

Times Driver Car Time Laps
1. Kevin Magnussen McLaren MP4-27 1:42.651 40
2. Antonio Felix da Costa Red Bull RB8 1:42.717 33
3. Nicolas Prost Lotus E20 1:45.318 27
4. Robin Frijns Sauber C31 1:45.878 36
5. Luiz Razia Toro Rosso STR7 1:46.793 35
6. Giedo van der Garde Caterham CT01 1:48.193 32

Yas Marina young drivers test: Day 1 line-up

Tuesday(06/11/2012) sees the start of Young Driver test in Abu Dhabi.  As some teams have already run at Silverstone and Magny-Cours earlier in the year, only six will be in action between 9am and 5pm between Tuesday and Thursday of this week.

The Day 1 line-up is as follows:

Red Bull – António Felix da Costa

McLaren – Kevin Magnussen (morning) and Gary Paffett (afternoon)

Lotus – Nicolas Prost

Sauber – Robin Frijns

Toro Rosso – Luiz Razia

Caterham – Giedo van der Garde


Running time:

9am – 5pm
(Local time, GMT +4)