What's Happening Behind The Dust Of 2017 World Rally Cars

With the new regulation come into effect from 2017, new cars will hit the stages. Yes it is exciting for the sport. But the question is, where does the current WRC cars stand. And what about the private drivers, as they will be not driving the modern machines as factory drivers.


FIA has already confirmed that only works team drivers will be allowed to drive the 2017 world rally cars, that too after the approval by the FIA itself. Also FIA has mentioned that there will be no separate championship for private drivers who are driving current generation cars. As it will effect the WRC 2 category. Putting some light into this matter, FIA rally director Jarmo Mahonen said, "We want to encourage the private drivers to come in the current cars. But at the same time we have to be careful not to screw the R5 competition, which has been really good. We are still talking about this one and we're going to find a solution, but it's out of the question to make another FIA title for another championship."

Mahonen also said that currently FIA cant stop drivers from entering in 2016 world rally cars. He added, "It's good to have them with us. What we won't do is we won't give them a passport to continue the homologation beyond the next two years - that's when the current cars will reach the end of their life cycle. Driving the current cars does make sense for those drivers looking to make the step to a 2017 car."

This decision of FIA has left some private teams unhappy. Quirin Muller, team manager of Jipocar Czech National which runs Martin Prokop's WRC campaign said, "We have been waiting for four seasons for the privateers' championship which is promised every year to come for the next season." Rich Millener, chief of M-Sport customer programme also stressed that there is a need of series as WRC 2 for drivers making it to modern WRC. He said, "There are guys out there who don't want to drive R5 cars and we have to consider these true privateers who want to stay in a 2016 World Rally Car, At the same time, it's important that we keep the current cars there to bridge the gap between R5 and the 2017 cars. The [performance] gap between R5 and a current World Rally Car is big, but the gap to next year's cars will be even bigger."

Coming to the junior series, that is beneath WRC 2 class. There are speculations about ERC to take charge of junior series from next season. As the current JWRC deal with Citroen will come to an end this year. There is also a possibility of re branding the current Drive DMACK Fiesta Trophy as JWRC. Mahonen said, "It's no secret that we have had meetings with Eurosport and running a [single] junior series with ERC is possible. Right now the Junior WRC is too expensive and the R2 cars are perfect."

ERC co-ordinator Jean-Baptiste Ley is certain that his junior class series will be perfect for next season. He said, "We have a constant and ongoing dialogue with the FIA about the overall training of young drivers from regional to WRC level, seeing as everyone seems to reckon that the current system of career progression could be improved. In the last two years, 81 drivers have appeared in the three international junior series but only two drivers have made it all the way to factory [WRC] cars: Stephane Lefebvre and Eric Camilli. Of the three, ERC Junior series is the strongest and has the highest profile."

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WRC Rally Finland - Kris Meeke Leads Finnish Roller Coaster Ahead Of Latvala

Kris Meeke leads Neste Oil Rally Finland after end of day two. He holds 18.1 seconds lead over Finnish favorite Jari-Matti Latvala. It seems like VW boss Jost Capitos's predictions were right. Meeke made utmost use of his road position and kept up the pace whole day to challenge the VW Polo's. Latvala tried to catch him, but Meeke was up to the task. Sebastien Ogier had a rare off road incident by going into a ditch in a hairpin. 


Finnish gravel GP got underway with a short special stage Harju. Ott Tanak and Andreas Mikkelsen were joint fastest. Tanak made it clear that he would push hard as hell. Day two of Rally Finland was a busy day, with eleven special stages to run. Meeke was fast from the first stage itself, he was battling with Ott Tanak for stage wins. Unfortunately Tanak broke the suspension of his Fiesta WRC. By midday service Meeke was leading by 18.8 seconds. Latavala too had his share of incidents. In special stage four he suffered a puncture and had some cosmetic damage to his Polo, but he lost only 16 seconds, and was back on pace in second position.

In the afternoon loop Tanak again began his assault. Won two stages, but again luck was not with him. Had a puncture in special stage 10. Meeke never faced any major issue and was posting consistent top stage times. By the end of day he was leading by 18.1 seconds. Latvala got his confidence back, but could not match Meeke's pace. Second after day two. Hyundai driver Thierry Neuville was in third after a good day. VW pilot Mikkelsen was just 1.1 seconds behind Neuville in fourth. Craig Breen is in fourth overall, he admitted that lack of experience in a world rally car barred his pace. Hayden Paddon holds fifth just 4.4 seconds behind Breen. M-Sport driver Mads Ostberg is in seventh, Ott Tanak in eight after he suffered problems. Eric Camilli and WRC 2 driver Esapekka Lappi rounded off the top ten after day two.

Another major incident was, Ogier went off the road. He spun out in  a hairpin and his Polo got stuck in a ditch. It took 16 minutes to get going. Ogier said it was a 'stupid' mistake. Currently he is 53rd overall.

                                     Overall Classification
Pos.No.
Driver / Co-driver
Vehicle
Pos.SS time
Penalty
Total timeDiff.Leader
Diff.Prev.
17
GBR

1
Meeke Kris / Nagle Paul 
Citroën DS3 WRC 
RC1
1
01:13:22.201:13:22.200:00:00.0
00:00:00.0
22
FIN

2
Latvala J. / Anttila Miikka 
Volkswagen Polo R WRC 
RC1
2
01:13:40.301:13:40.300:00:18.1
00:00:18.1
33
BEL

3
Neuville T. / Gilsoul Nicolas 
Hyundai i20 WRC 
RC1
3
01:14:06.501:14:06.500:00:44.3
00:00:26.2
49
NOR

4
Mikkelsen A. / Jæger Anders 
Volkswagen Polo R WRC 
RC1
4
01:14:07.601:14:07.600:00:45.4
00:00:01.1
58
IRL

5
Breen Craig / Martin Scott 
Citroën DS3 WRC 
RC1
5
01:14:16.001:14:16.000:00:53.8
00:00:08.4
64
NZL

6
Paddon Hayden / Kennard John 
Hyundai i20 WRC 
RC1
6
01:14:20.401:14:20.400:00:58.2
00:00:04.4
75
NOR

7
Østberg Mads / Fløene Ola 
Ford Fiesta RS WRC 
RC1
7
01:14:25.101:14:25.100:01:02.9
00:00:04.7
812
EST

8
Tänak Ott / Mõlder Raigo 
Ford Fiesta RS WRC 
RC1
8
01:14:36.601:14:36.600:01:14.4
00:00:11.5
96
FRA

9
Camilli Eric / Veillas B. 
Ford Fiesta RS WRC 
RC1
9
01:14:44.801:14:44.800:01:22.6
00:00:08.2
1035
FIN

10
Lappi Esapekka / Ferm Janne 
Škoda Fabia R5 
RC2
1
01:15:24.001:15:24.000:02:01.8
00:00:39.2

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Jost Capito Believes Kris Meeke Will Win Rally Finland

Volkswagen team boss Jost Capito believes that, Kris Meeke should easily win Rally Finland, this weekend. As PH-Sport run Citroen squad is only contesting partially in 2016 WRC season, Meeke currently holds ninth position in the standings. That means he will be eight on the road in Finland due to Dani Sordo's absence. Capito strongly believes, with the road position Meeke has, he will be unbeatable in Rally Finland.


Jost Capito
Capito said, "It's clear - if Kris does no major mistake, he wins Finland. There's no doubt about that. Nobody else will stand a chance. This is clear already and now we can all see that this is clear." Even though VW spearhead Sebastien Ogier holds championship lead, he has not won a gravel rally this season. Capito is certain of things not changing, as the current road order rule puts championship leader first on the road for first two days. Capito further added, "It's not just difficult for Ogier to fight for the win, it's impossible now for Ogier to fight for the win."

Kris Meeke
But Kris Meeke has disagreed with Capito's statement. He said these are just mind games played to provoke him.  He said, "That's bullshit. Finland's nothing like Portugal, or Sardinia or Poland. Even if it's bone dry this week, there are only a few places where it'll be more tricky [to be first on the road]. The weather here has been wet in the run-up to the event. Running first on the road will be no disadvantage at all this week. In fact, it's quite possible it might be an advantage. It's nice that Jost is saying that, nice to be remembered when I'm away and not competing on these rallies - it's better than him saying: 'Meeke's shit and he's got no chance'. But I think we can see this for what it is: mind games. Maybe he's trying to provoke me a little bit."

Having not driven the DS3 WRC since Rally Portugal, Kris Meeke is concerned about his pace in Finland. Meeke added, "I would have to really stick my neck out to be on the pace in Finland. That's not what this rally is about for me. I had to do that last year, I had to set those times to try and get the long-term deal that I wanted. Don't get me wrong, I'll be trying - I love Finland and it's a fantastic place to drive a rally car, but I've nothing to prove."

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