By the way, I’m not as familiar with WRC as I am with F1 and other series; how do Neuville and Sordo compare? I’ve seen these names before, but how do they compare against the current champ, Ogier? Will there actually be some legit competition for Ogier, or is WRC just beginning a new era of Sebastien domination (i.e. will Ogier just do what Vettel does and predictably win)?
Neuville was 2nd in the WRC last year for an M-Sport (Ford) team that had much less resources available to them than the Volkswagen team that Ogier and Latvala race for. Sordo is a tarmac specialist in the vein of Gilles Panizzi, but he’s not utterly incompetent on dirt and snow. Neuville could easily be a multi-time champion in the years to come if Hyundai can deliver the goods, as he is still very young. Sordo…he can win you a rally or two for your team, that seems to be his upside, which is still better than most.
I would expect Neuville to stay in touch with Ogier, but Ogier will probably win everything again. I would only expect Neuville to win a rally if Ogier makes a mistake or if he strings together a fantastic rally.
That said, dominance doesn’t make rallying boring, probably because it’s not circuit-based and the cars look spectacular regardless of their position. It doesn’t matter if they’re first or one hundred and first – they look awesome running along a narrow ribbon of tarmac with an exposed cliff face on one side and a fifty-metre drop on the other.
@prisoner-monkeys No doubt. I don’t typically watch full rallies, I try to get WRC highlights whenever possible, but they’re not always readily available. When I do watch rally videos, however, I’m scared just from watching; F1 drivers may have balls to drive that fast, but WRC drivers need to have balls of steel since the whole rally surface is constantly changing, and a mistake could mean a large tumble down a hill, or into a tree, etc. which is really no longer a problem in F1.
Even when Loeb was winning all the time, watching him on highlights or other videos, it’s truly amazing to see him drive. I remember watching a video of him doing Argentina, it looked like part of the rally was just on a mountain (i.e. you will be rolling for hours if you go off the narrow road) and the speed he took through corners, jumps (!), etc. was mindblowing. So like you said, if Ogier wins, it’s not quite as undramatic as when Vettel wins on track.