Going back to if Red Bull Media House have done the deal or not, There logo appeared at the end of the official WRC preview program that was broadcast last night & everyone related to the WRC are acting as there the promoter so regardless of if anything has been signed it seems they are the official promoters of the series now.
While there is still no TV deal in the UK, HBS are producing an event preview show, Daily highlights & an event review for every round. These are been broadcast elsewhere around the world & if you know where to look will likely be able to find them online for download.
Today was the Shakedown of the first rally of the year, and it produced quite a surprise. Young Belgian Thierry Neuville in the Qatar Ford World Rally Team Fiesta set the pace with a time of 2m 26.1s (although this number has varied from different sources, this is the correct time. WRC.com seems to have messed it up as well), ahead of second place Sebastien Loeb by 2.6 seconds. Then it was another Ford of Evgeny Novikov, a tenth of a second off of Loeb, followed by Hirvonen and Latvala.
However, these times shouldn’t be taken as a perfect representation of pace, seeing as the stage was run on a short, open field style course. Think of it as the Barum Czech rally in the snow, quite different from the narrow roads in the mountains that they will face tomorrow.
I feel sorry for the rest of the field. They’re being shown so clearly, that even though one of them will be called “2013 WRC Champion”, they still cannot hold a candle to this Frenchman. Loeb is incredible.
Ogier already said that he will not try to make up time to Loeb, as he is thinking about the championship. So, this basically is Loeb’s to lose – if he can keep it on the road, I see no problems for Loeb winning his seventh Monte Carlo rally.