Status Quo means all to play for in Ireland for WRC With the top two competitors in the World Rally Championship (WRC) failing to score any points in this weekend's Rally Japan, the pressure is well and truly on to seal the Driver's Championship...
Status Quo means all to play for in Ireland for WRC
With the top two competitors in the World Rally Championship (WRC) failing to score any points in this weekend's Rally Japan, the pressure is well and truly on to seal the Driver's Championship at Rally Ireland, which kicks off in only 19 days.
Four points separate BP Ford's Marcus Gronholm of Finland and French reigning World Champion Sebastien Loeb of Citroen. When Gronholm's car went off the road on Friday's first Leg suffering roll-cage damage that left him unable to complete the event, Loeb looked set to take the ten winning points to go into Rally Ireland six ahead of his rival. But a misread pace-note on the second leg of the event led to Loeb and Co-Driver Daniel Elena swiping a tree with the rear left wing and sliding down a bank, unable to get their car back on the stage and incurring time penalties as a result.
What this means for Loeb is that he must win the final two rounds of the Championship in Ireland and Wales to be in with a chance to take the title. The main beneficiaries of this battle are likely to be Irish rally fans, as the Citroen and Ford teams go head to head -- Loeb to retain his Championship crown and Gronholm, who announced his retirement last month, to secure the title in his final year competing in WRC.
Action on the cross-border stages of Rally Ireland commence with a Super Special Stage at Stormont in Belfast on Thursday 15th November, followed by three days of Special Stages on the roads of the north-western counties of Fermanagh, Tyrone, Sligo, Leitrim, Roscommon, Cavan and Donegal. The event's Headquarters and Service Park are based in Sligo.
-credit: rallyireland.org or