After watching Speed's coverage of Sardinia last night I'm thinking this WRC season is best summed up with "French Driver, French Car, French Tires" (I bet the only folks chanting 'F---ing Michelins' like Rebecca and I did prior to Cog last year are the Peugeot troops).
I'll be amazed if either Marcus or Petter can put a crimp in Sebastien's charge to a second straight title the way things are playing out so far this season. He's precise, smooth and fast as hell without looking like he's going as hard as either Gronholm or Solberg. Had Citroen's management given him the green light in the UK two seasons ago Seb could be vying for his third straight!
Where DID that youngster who was 'only good on tarmac' go? ;-)
Why does Ford seem to be so uncompetative? Ok, they are finishing 5th. But they should have the resources ($$) equal to all their competition combined. Does the Focus just suck? Are Gardemeister and Kresta just that much less talented?
I have to express the opposite view point -- Ford is doing tremendously well given a (very) old car, low budget and less seasoned drivers.
Look at it this way, we know Marko can drive, and he is still getting bested by drivers with less experience in his old car. (I am sure Marko has had a tinge of regret at switching camps, that is until the pay check arrives...)
I am also inpressed with Gardimiester, I expected him to wreck 3 or 4 cars by now, he has really stepped his game up, more in staying on the course than being fast, but the speed is coming with the consistency. (I give Malcom Wilson Credit for being an amazing coach.)
The most unfortanate part of the story will be 2006 and 2007 without the French teams. It will be most likely a Subaru, Ford Story which will be nice, but not as impressive as beating 6 other manufacturers.
It will also be interesting to see where the best drivers end up -- there will be 4 top drivers next year looking for seats. I am sure some will go to ford and some to Mitsubishi, but it is also likely someone will be left out in the cold.
So far a good season, I am hoping Petter can keep it competitive, Granholm can always be a spoiler. And if Marko learns to drive the car, and Duval can keep it on the road they'll throw a wrench into the works too.
>Why does Ford seem to be so uncompetative? Ok, they are
>finishing 5th. But they should have the resources ($$) equal
>to all their competition combined. Does the Focus just suck?
>Are Gardemeister and Kresta just that much less talented?
Ford is running a car that hasn't been touched from a development perspective in over a year, they aren't even making more than subtle set up changes, all the engineers are primarily on the new car.
Take a very very capable car if properly backed capable of winning at any time in the hands of a good driver and pull all the development out of it and put in second string drivers and viola.
The focus was the best car nobody thought was great last year. Only bested by the ultra expensive xsara and the highly polished imprezza. Had Marko not had his shunt that threw his game off he probably could have beat Petter in the overall drivers standings last year, atleast I think so. Ford will be very competitive with some better drivers next year come Cyprus, Finland, or Argentina.
Ford is so mediocore this year becauase they don't have a top level driver or continued development on the focus.
Cyprus = "French Driver, French Car, French Tires" yet again. Speed TV offered an interesting comparison animation showing how Loeb's in-easy/out-hard, late apex style was paying off with more than just low stage times.