The World Rally Championship is always exciting to watch but in recent years, the dominance of Sebastien Loeb has made it feel as predictable as Formula 1 in the Schumacher years.
But this season is shaping up to be radically different with two new drivers in particular getting a lot of attention – and a win for Mikko Hirvonen at the opening round in Sweden.
Hirvonen is the biggest tital rival for Loeb, but has sometimes lacked a little bit of bravery and composure to take a victory at every opportunity – but this year things look different as he was able to build and hold a leader in Sweden that forced Loeb to admit he was settling for second place in the closing stages and there was nothing he could do about the Finn. As always both lead drivers were followed by their teammates, with Ford’s Jari-Matti Lattvala in third and Citroen’s Daniel Sordo in fourth.
But outside of the top ten in Sweden was a driver at the centre of media attention as Kimi Raikkonen, the 2007 Formula One World Champion, made his full WRC debut for Citroen. And despite finding the going particularly difficult, he made the finish and should be an interesting wildcard – particularly as his experience grows.
Image from Dez&John3313 on Flickr – used under CC Licence.
And there was also a very interested spectator in Sweden – Amercian rally and drift superstar Ken Block, who will debut in the Corona Rally Mexico, which runs from 5-7 March, 2010.
Want to know why Block is as famous on Youtube as he is in the motorsport world?
Not only is Block pretty charismatic (check out the official Monster World Rally team website), but for videogame fans, there’s also the fact the team is sponsored by DiRT2, the latest in the legendary Colin McRae series.
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So will Block’s talent convert into a decent result? Can Raikkonen learn quickly enough to make an impact? Will Hirvonen continue his good start or will Loeb regain control? And that’s not to mention the likes of former WRC champion Petter Solberg, who has a full factory spec car for this year.