There are only two French WRC champions - one is of course Sébastien Loeb and the second one is Didier Auriol who has won the title in 1994 and it seems they are not particulary fond of each other..
Didier Auriol was in a way criticizing Loeb very recently - he said something like that Loeb has his eight world titles only because there is a lack of real competition in WRC nowadays.
Loeb replied that Auriol may be a bit frustrated because he has only one title and he - Loeb has eight of them and also that he was competing against those drivers a bit longer than Auriol was so he probably knows better. And in the end Loebonly just by the way remarked that he has beaten Auriol in his first ever WRC outing which was held on the rally Auriol knew by heart.
Conclusion? Loeb: 1 - Auriol: 0. Go, Seb, own him once again!
Sometimes I really want to be French. Not only that I would be able to understand all those lovely interviews with Sebs, Julien, Thierry Neuville, Jerome d’Ambrosio and countless other awesome drivers/sportsmen but I would also be able to speak French and have nice accent and also be able to visit local rally events with entry lists like this one at Rallye du Var:
Jari-Matti Latvala, the most cute and lovable Finn ever.
Ott Tänak, future world champion with totally murderous stare.
Quite worthless Julien Maurin and his cute little Fiesta S2000. His name is Julien. Julien.
Bryan Bouffier who has a nice accent and beautiful Peugeot 207 S2000.
Stéphane Sarrazin. StéphanefuckingSarrazin who has driven in probably every motorsport serie which has ever existed.
Two sexy Citroen C4 WRC cars driven by somebody called Frederic Compte who I don’t know and Dany Snobeck who I may heard about.
Jeremi Ancian who I started to support for some unknown reason (no I really don’t know why but I guess he was starting somewhere on international level).
Jean-Sébastien Vigion who is the driver I know nothing about but I noticed him months ago because of his name. Jean-Sébastien, Jean-Sébastien! It’s like an upgraded Sébastien, I cannot think of more sexy name! (Btw, I refuse to google him in case he is old an ugly which he probably is.)
Mathieu Arzeno who accepted my friend request on facebook which I sent to him for some strange reason I don’t remember.
Pierre Campana who has a strange head, is a future of French rallying and I love him because of his impossibly long and boring press releases because I experience some perverse kind of joy every time I am translating them.
..and many other drivers with high probability of having a cute and sexy accent.
So.. this. Sometimes I scare myself with my love for French drivers, especially those I have never seen and know nothing about. Oh and I have a feeling I am starting to understand French websites about rallying which are surprisingly in French language. Go, me!
First of all, I don’t even understand why the whole Citroen seat thing even bothers me as much as it does. And yet here I am, conflicted about all this.
And okay, I haven’t been following for long so, and I don’t feel to secure forming thoughts because I fear something might be completely ridiculous, so I’m really sorry if something doesn’t make sense, really sorry.
I guess everybody already read those Citroen press conference news which broke my heart because.. you know. I love Citroen, I love little Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia and also Julien's and Daniel's not so secret bromance as I already wrote in this “Ogier to Ford?” article. Now I just want to raise some points in this whole already official thing:
Firstly as much as it pains me to say - the whole thing is probably good for WRC - finally something moved in it, it was the same teams with the same drivers for far too long so line-ups has become boring.
Mikko cannot be more happy with how things went. He didn’t have any contract and suddenly he has a best car and deal for two years. For sure (as would Sébastien Loeb say) it might put some pressure on him but on the other hand I doubt Citroen would be too disappointed if he wouldn’t be able to get as good results as Loeb.
This leads to second thing - look how Citroen was behaving towards Sébastien Ogier who was in fact raised by them during his whole career. Do you think Mikko Hirvonen might get a better treatment? Because I don’t think so and I think he will be a perfect Dani Sordo number two driver to them. Fast but not too fast and consistent driver - they can be pretty happy with having him in the team.
I think Mikko will not get any chance to fight for the title for next two years but maybe he might get his chance after Loeb retires. But what then? I think he might be able to fight for the title then, I doubt Citroen would be able to raise a new talented French driver in just two years and I also doubt they would re-sign Ogier after Loeb's retirement. Cannot see Ogier doing it - he is just too proud.
Speaking about Ogier - as much as I love him I also think he is pretty stupid. He was having an equal treatment in the team and Loeb has become number 1 driver in the last part of the season when they just had to prefer one of them because there was a huge danger of Ford snatching the title off them. Also he cannot blame anyone else but himself for being number 2 driver - he has made many mistakes in this season, more than Loeb.
Also I think he should just wait those two years till Loeb retires. It wouldn’t kill him, maybe he would also gain a consistency during that time and if he would be able to outperform his teammate I very much doubt Citroen would favour Loeb even if he had less points than him. It would be stupid and Citroen team is anything but stupid.
Another thing - yes, Ogier is not being number two driver to Sébastien Loeb now. Now he is in fact driver without any seat for the next year. Well done, little Seb, well done. I know there is always a Volkswagen option but I doubt he wants to be out of spotlight for the whole season, I think he wants to win a beat Loeb and Citroen to prove himself. In that case - he needs Ford to sign him. Unfortunately Ford still doesn’t know anything about their continuation in WRC in the next year - really unfortunate situation for little Seb.
Also if Ford would continue and would sign with him. What would happen if Jari-Matti Latvala would be as strong as him and would have a few points more in the last part of the season and Ford would thus favour him to Ogier. Another huge tantrum? Another team-leaving?
(And also - does he really think he can beat Loeb if he will be a clear number one driver in the team?)
And speaking about Jari-Matti Latvala - poor him, finally he doesn’t have Mikko Hirvonen as a teammate so he can become a number one driver in a team and don’t live in his shadow and now he would get Ogier as a teammate? I cannot imagine a bigger nightmare for poor him.
So in the conclusion - this move is a really good thing for Mikko who in his current form would do a number two driver also in Ford so why not to do it in a team with a better car and with their number one driver being close to retirement? Ogier on the other hand can blame only himself if the next season(s) won’t go according to his plan and I really doubt they will.
"At least Daniel will not drive on the power stage as he had promised to if I was still in second place when we got to the stage: at least, I missed that!"
- Sébastien Loeb finding something good on the fact he was taken out by Spanish specator and thus couldn’t finish the rally and fight for the win against Jari-Matti Latvala.
I cannot believe he promised Daniel to drive a Power Stage! And I also cannot believe we have missed it because of such a stupid reason. Btw, look at his website, he has a nice banner which celebrate his 8th world title on it.
— about Sébastien Loeb being taken out of Wales Rally GB by a Spanish spectator on a road section
That Spanish spectator should only be happy it was always calm Loeb they crashed into. If it was one of the Solberg brothers ot even worse - Sébastien Ogier and his infamous tanrums there would be some casualties, I am sure of it.
Those rally drivers should really work on their geographical knowledge. Saying this is as terrible as saying that Finland is in Scandinavia which is the thing 99% of rally drivers or people somehow involved in WRC think. Or as terrible as Kris Meeke and his “Saarland region” thingy. It’s a state for fuck’s sake!