You may, or may not, know that the Monte Carlo Rally is currently underway. But given the lack of a British TV deal for the WRC, I’m going to go with most people not being aware that the 81st running of the most famous rally is going on right now.
Growing up, rallying was a big deal in our house. My Father had spent many occasions trampling through the woods at night to watch headlights, followed by taillights of cars competing on the RAC Rally. I personally have frozen myself silly, been showered with gravel/mud/water and drank coffee from a flask, watching rally cars fly past a few feet away. Compared to other forms of motorsport, rallying always was the one you could get closest to.
I grew up in the McRae era, watching that famous blue and gold Subaru Impreza being driven on, and beyond, the limit of physics and sanity. In later years, I watched the dominance of Tommi Makinen and the all-conquering Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution. Then, a certain Frenchman came along, and my love for rallying stalled.
You cannot argue with Sebastien Loeb’s ability; winning nine WRC World Championships is an extraordinary achievement. But his single dominance of the sport for the best part of decade, coupled with shorter rallies, shorter stages and loss of major events killed my passion for the WRC. Perhaps what annoyed me most, was Loeb’s dominance in a car that didn’t even have a real road version. There was never a 4WD, 300bhp, Citroen Xsara or C4, compared to the countless Imprezas and Lancers offered for sale.
But this year, my interest in rallying has been turned up a notch, chiefly due to the arrival of this:
Admittedly, I am slightly biased – it’s a Volkswagen, and it’s sponsored by Red Bull – but I reckon the Polo R WRC is one of the best looking motorsport creations for some time. It also has a strong chance of winning the title this year, given that Volkswagen Motorsport are the only full-factory team competing in the 2013 WRC season.
EngageSportMode will be backing the VW Polo R WRC this season; it’s just a shame it won’t be watching it on TV.