Loeb strikes again! WRC - 2012 | Rallye de France | Day 2

Is there anybody who can really challenge & put Loeb at bay!? I seriously doubt it :/

Sebastien Loeb has extended his lead by over 13s by the end of Day 2 at the end of SS8, and still leading by 30s after SS10. It is universally accepted fact that he is going to snatch the 9th title & the world remains calm. No wonder, he/Citroen has announced his end of full attack at the finish of this season onwards in WRC. He is simply untouchable, & we always wonder/ponder the positives of him which makes him what he is?!

If we count on the pluses, some of it can be listed here. Say,

  1. Keeping the Cool throughout the rally,
  2. Maintaining consistence in his best self known performance level,
  3. Close knit with the team principle/principal.
Anything more missed here, Mr.Loeb?! :)

Overall leaderboard, at the end of SS10..
1.1S. LOEBM1:51:
2.3J. LATVALAM1:52:23.8+33.2+33.2
3.2M. HIRVONENM1:52:34.6+10.8+44.0
4.37D. SORDO
5.8T. NEUVILLEM1:53:08.4+3.1+1:17.8

Petter Solberg had gone off into vineyard in SS9 and hitting an electric pole, here is the video of it. Hope nobody is injured in this freak accident.

However, Nasser al-Attiyah wasn't lucky either, who looses control of his car, goes off the road & hits two spectators, and in the process breaking limbs of those two.

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Day 1 : Highlights

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Shakedown | Rallye de France | WRC - 2012 | Strasbourg Hautepierre

Shakedown of Rallye de France in Hautepierre, Strasbourg has been run, Sordo emerging the quickest. 

Behind the wheel of a MINI John Cooper Works WRC, Sordo set the fastest time of 2m34.1s through the 3.8-kilometre Parc-des-Sports-Hautepierre stage today morning. He was just over 0.3s to factory Ford driver Jari-Matti Latvala and Petter Solberg was 0.6s in his Fiesta RS WRC.

Sebastien Loeb, who has a comfortable lead to his closest rival & team-mate with 61 points, all he has to do is finish in top 5 to secure his ninth WRC drivers’ crown in France this weekend. He made the practice stage in 2m35.5s. Shakedown was held early today in dry conditions at 07:30am local time, but there was light drizzle later in the morning.

Top 10 shakedown times

1 Dani Sordo (MINI) 2m34.1s
2 Jari-Matti Latvala (Ford) 2m34.4s
3 Petter Solberg (Ford) 2m35.0s
4 Sebastien Loeb (Citroen) 2m35.5s
5 Thierry Neuville (Citroen) 2m35.7s
6 Mikko Hirvonen (Citroen) 2m37.5s
= Nasser Al-Attiyah (Citroen) 2m37.5s
8 Mads Ostberg (Ford) 2m38.0s
9 Evgeny Novikov (Ford) 2m39.4s
10 Ott Tanak (Ford) 2m40.0s.

Below are small video-clips of Mikko, Loeb & Nobre taking their shot at it.

Also a short video-clip of the reconnaissance by the competitors.

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14th edition | Raid de Himalaya | 2012

Raid de Himalaya is one of the toughest & brutal battle grounds for rally-raid, which is unlike any other place on earth. This event is held annually, mostly in October second week & the highlight of the event is that it is held at the highest motorable road in the world. Yes, it is the Khardungla where the rally passes through on one day and the competitors battle through the most harsh & inhospitable terrain in the world.

In this year's  event there are three manufacturers who are going neck-to-neck with their best crews, who have already proved their grounds in the past. Maruti Suzuki, the chief sponsor has just 2 cars [Grand Vitara], but with one driver who has won the event many times in the previous years in his Maruti Suzuki Gypsy King. Suresh Rana. Rana is also based out from the hills & knows the terrain well, so choosing him was an obvious decision as his name is much synonymous with the manufacturer.

Tata's are wielding their attack with their much suited & sturdy Tata Xenon 4x4 for the first time this year in the extreme category, with Taufeeq Mughal, Soham Hazara & Harkaran Singh behind their 3 wheels. Mahindra is extending their attack since the start of the year 2012 with their flagship model XUV5OO, with Lohitt Urs, Sunny Siddhu, & Amittrajit Ghosh on the drivers seat.

Now with the battleground all set with the warriors from the top three Indian car makers to challenge each other on the level playing field, the results are going to be tracked with great enthusiasm. If you thought that was all in the competition, then you can check the 50 confirmed entries with numerous Gypsy's & even a Maruti Suzuki Swift & a Mitsubishi Evo X.

So that was all about the EXTREME competition for the cars & trucks. There are about 30 confirmed entries on two wheels, and three more on quads [Polaris]. However, the notable riders from India & Austria are thin in the list, but Bangalore boy & TVS factory rider C.S.Santhosh is entered in a Honda CRF, so the intensity in the competition cannot be ruled out.

More details can be found the official site here. Entry list here. This rally-raid event is known for the worst attrition rate, with less than 25% of competition making across the finish line. If the roads, weather conditions are put on the blame, then the altitude sickness surely tops the list. So let us see who champs out this tough one..

From Austrian team of last year's competition.

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Rallye de France, Alsace - Round 11, WRC [2012]

Eleventh round of the 2012 WRC season is just a couple of days and the heat of the competition is distinctive. All the three current manufacturers are keen into the competition and they are gearing up with their fleet of cars with the best of their crew to give their best shot at the superbly scenic rally stages that is closely watched across all the borders. It is also important to the home team/manufacturer Citroen to give their best, although they have their best men doing their  job really well for nearly a decade or more.

Ford & Mini want to beat their rally home's rival at their homeland to make a mark, but they have to try a little harder than they prepare until Loeb is behind the wheels. We all know [if not, now] that Loeb wouldn't be in for full WRC 2013 season & would be concentrating for their WTCC debut in 2014. Well that is altogether a different topic to report & discuss and better dealt there.

The event will be based in the Alsace region which is typically fast through the vineyards, villages & forests which more or less looks similar to the Rally Deutschland stages. 64 cars entered in the rally competition list, with 22 special stages totaling to 404.14 competitive kms, it is going to be a tough rally for competitors and great fun to spectators.

A lot of testing happened by most of the top 10 drivers, below are the video of the testing that happened last week.

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Toyota Returns to Rallying with Vitz a.k.a. Yaris - Homologated in R1B category..

Toyota Japan have homologated the Toyota Vitz (otherwise known as Yaris) into the R1B category, just a few days before the 5th round of APRC championship this year. The intention is to bring new drivers into the sport with its low costs, while future plans include higher spec R2 and R3 versions. We also look forward to the S2000 and WRC spec cars from their factory stable too.

This interview with Mr M Kohno, Group Manager Planning for Toyota Racing Development outlines the companies plans and the car's current specification prior to running as Double-Zero car at 2012 APRC Rally Hokkaido.

Hope this is going to be good and more than just support, so that there would be more healthy and exciting competition in this mostly unspoken sport.
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Sliven Rally - IRC [2012]

Bulgarian round, 11th in this IRC season was nothing short in success and was put up with great fight till the finish. Missing of the top manufacturer teams didn't stop the rest of the entries from giving up that fighting spirit and was filled with lots of drama and enticing scoreboards. 

Todor Slavov was awarded Colin McRae Flat Out trophy for the fight he put up with the top teams despite with the lesser capable car. He was handed over the trophy by the IRC manager, Jean-Pierre Nicholas.

Nicolas along with Gilbert Roy of Eurosport and Colin's father Jimmy McRae are in the judging panel who announce the winner and explain why they were chosen.

The top three positions was decorated by Bulgarians Dimitar Iliev & codriver Yanaki Yanakiev won the event in their Skoda Fabia S2000. "I can not tell you how happy I am. This was a very tough rally for us and it was hard to keep pushing in every stage, especially in SS Stara reka. There was a lot of fraction there. I want to thank my whole team for this great victory. There were lots of incidents because the stages are very difficult. It was very slippery and next year we should take care of that", excited Iliev said.

Petar Gyoshev & Dimitar Spasov in their Peugeot 207 S2000 took to the second place. "We are happy to make it to the final. It was a very tough rally for us. I congratulate all my competitors! I hope next year we will do better", was what Dimitar had to say.

Ignat Isaev, co-driver Milen Iliev finished overall third in their Evo-IX. Krum Donchev & do-driver Petar Yordanov with their Peugeot 207 S2000 finished third in the S2000 category.

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All-time Top 5 +NEWS