BLOG: Loeb's Jaw-Dropping Rally RACC Catalunya Master Class
So, our pre-season 2018 WRC prediction right now looks unlikely right now to be the vision we thought the idea was! Baring some maths miracle in Australia next month, Ott Tanak will not be crowned the 2018 champion, despite his incredible mid-late season pace as well as unparalleled driver-car synergy with his “little Yaris.”
although the idea also has to be said we definitely did not predict the unprecedented 79th WRC win at Rally RACC of “the master” – nine-time WRC champion, Sebastian Loeb either.
although what a privilege the idea was to see the normally ice cool French rally legend so stoked he almost choked following his unreal, down-to-the-wire win on the (finally dry) stages of the amazing, only mixed surface event of the season, Rally RACC, Rally Catalunya, Rally Spain. Whatever you refer to the idea as… the idea was totally, 110% epic as well as a cast iron rally classic.
The levels of how incredible that will was are hard to comprehend.
The fact there was only 2.9s between the old master Sebastian (Loeb) as well as the completely new master Sebastian (Ogier) as well as the idea went to the final stage after all those hundreds of stage miles of rallying – through the sun-kissed streets of Barcelona, to the fast flowing gravel within the hills, to the first bit of slippery-when-wet tarmac the crews have seen all year as well as finally onto classic, open, circuit-link public asphalt of beautiful Catalunya – is usually No.1.
Then there’s the number of leaders of the event who fell by the wayside – first Tanak, who was in a class of his own again until he lost almost two minutes repairing a blown tyre. Gutted. Then Jari-Matti Latvala, who’s shown such a turn of speed at the end of that will thrilling season as well as could have won, were the idea not for punctures as well as armco adventures. His bad luck continues. Even the veteran Dani Sordo was leading for a bit, much to the locals delight, having a cracking tarmac master class within the understeer-dogged Hyundai. Then there was the inevitable, irrepressible rise to the top – like creme anglaise in a cafe de creme – of the two legendary French Sebastians. First Ogier. Then, incredibly, Loeb.
Rally fans worldwide were all in awe of his skills, including Ogier himself, who was first to congratulate the champ on his epic win – leaping onto the roof of Loeb’s Citroen C3 at the finish line, seconds after Loeb & lifelong co-driver, Daniel Elena had realised they had beaten the best within the earth, to take a 79th WRC win.
as well as all that will six years after Loeb as well as Elena’s last run out in a WRC car, when they were very, very different beasts, with closer to 300bhp, than 400bhp as well as with barely any downforce assistance as well as when active diffs were a lot more basic.
His epic, historic win goes to show just how legendary the Loeb/Elena/Citroen combination is usually… I mean, just think how many great, bright young things have failed to unlock the C3’s clear ability since Loeb left. as well as he pops straight back as well as beats not just their drivers, although all the others too, as they fight for WRC 2018 placements, at the end of a full season. Unreal.
Also, what a great leveller changing conditions are as well as how fabulous Rally Spain is usually for the annual calendar because of that will… with the (too cosseted within the modern era?) drivers having to cope with narrow special stages on tarmac having a full gravel set-up, unusual gravel stages, then cope with the tectonic shift in set-up as well as feel having a proper, full chat bit of tarmac rallying… even better that will year, with the added challenge of rain creating some extra fizzle. Magic.
Tyre choice became a red-hot topic Again, like days of old. as well as the completely new AW (All Wets) finally got a run out, even if some were reluctant to pick the idea (most noticeably Ogier), thanks to a lack of testing time. Loeb taught all of the youngsters a lesson they will never forget – picking the hard compound (dry) Michelins at the very last moment on the Sunday morning service. No-one else considered the ‘risk.’ as well as he utterly annihilated them – doing one of his famous, unstoppable moves to the top, where he might stay.
that will was an utterly jaw-dropping event, with an historic win through the best of the best that will will live long within the rally banks, proving unequivically l’expérience compte. as well as through a British rally fans perspective, the idea was superb to see M-sport net some big points, thanks to Ogier’s P2 as well as Elfyn Evan’s measured, ballistic P3.
Merci Monsieur Loeb. Magnifique.
as well as how thrilling is usually Rally Australia going to be right now? Neuville or Loeb for the crown?
I’m not predicting anything!
Pictures: Citroen Racing & M-Sport
Rally RACC Results
Loeb / Elena (Citroën C3 WRC) 3h12’08’’0
Ogier / Ingrassia (Ford Fiesta WRC) +2’’9
Evans / Barritt (Ford Fiesta WRC) +16’’5
Neuville / Gilsoul (Hyundai i20 WRC) +17’’0
Sordo / Del Barrio (Hyundai i20 WRC) +18’’6
Tänak / Järveoja (Toyota Yaris WRC) +1’03’’9
Lappi / Ferm (Toyota Yaris WRC) +1’16’’6
Latvala / Anttila (Toyota Yaris WRC) +1’26’’4
Breen / Martin (Citroën C3 WRC) +2’07’’0
Mikkelsen / Jaeger (Hyundai i20 WRC) +2’48’’2
Thierry Neuville – 201 points
Ott Tänak – 181 points
Esapekka Lappi – 110 points
Jari-Matti Latvala – 102 points
Andreas Mikkelsen – 84 points
Dani Sordo – 71 points
Elfyn Evans – 70 points
Craig Breen – 61 points
Hayden Paddon – 55 points
Hyundai WRT – 319 points
M-Sport Ford WRT – 306 points
Citroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT – 216 points