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skr
Taken from http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/96263

QUOTE
Mikko Hirvonen will join long-time championship rival Sebastian Loeb at the Citroen team next year, it was confirmed on Wednesday.

The 31-year-old Finn had been competing with Ford in the World Rally Championship since the 2003 season, having scored 14 wins in total.

Hirvonen has finished runner-up to Loeb in the championship three times over the past four years.

The Finn will replace Sebastien Ogier at Citroen, the Frenchman expected to be confirmed at Ford.

"Initially contracted until December 2013, Citroen Racing has finally decided to finish their collaboration with Sebastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia at the end of the 2011 season," Citroen said in a statement.

The French car maker said Hirvonen has signed a two-year deal until the end of 2013.



I would've loved for Hirvonen to win the title with Ford this year, but in fairness, Hirvonen hasn't really performed as well as he should this year.. Most of the rallies were battles between Loeb, Latvala, and Ogier.. Latvala had to give up his place to Hirvonen 3 times in a row.

Would Loeb still be the #1 driver? I think Ogier has a better chance of racing for the win in Ford than he did in Citroen.. Latvala is quick too. This will make for an interesting 2012 season for sure.
tune
I think it will be a very interesting season indeed. I'm not surprised Ogier has left, he didn't take the team orders very well, as he had a chance at the title himself I can see why, but you have to be graceful in that situation and prove yourself to have the maturity with your talent. At least he will have a proper chance to race Loeb now.

As much as I admire Loeb, I would like to see Latvala win the title, he has that McRae element about him, always completely gunning for it.

Hopefully one to watch for next year will be Ott Tanak, pretty impressive run at Rally GB on his first full WRC event; his onboard footage looked like he was absolutely on it.
skr
With Ogier, his gracefulness (or lack thereof) may not bode well with Ford, wouldn't you reckon?

I mean Ford has been notorious for maximising its #1 driver, also. It seems like Ford's making Latvala their #1, which forces Ogier to be #2..
tune
Yeah you could be right there, but I think Ford will put their eggs into whichever basket has the best shot at being at the top of the championship standings, so I guess it's down to him to put himself in contention if he wants it that way.
clarkma5
I think this is Citroen's way of saying that Ogier was kind of a snot tongue.gif Team unity and morale is really important for making that last little step that makes the difference between winning and coming in second, and I think Ogier was disrupting that. Hirvonen/Loeb really hurts my head though...they've been opponents for so long, so nip and tuck over the years, that seeing them work together just fucks with me.
clarkma5
And part two of all this, Ogier moves to VW: http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/96401

Who comes into Ford to replace Hirvonen then, Wilson? Solberg? Ostberg? Hanninen?
moe
Solberg! Though I do love seeing him drive as an independent. Not that I've been watching much WRC...which I really need to start doing.
skr
Solberg definitely deserves a works drive. It would be sad to see his privateer team dissolve though.

Looks like we won't be seeing Ogier for a year.. He's actually one of my favorites.
Synesthesia
Ogier with VW sounds great to me, it should be a nice start for VW (I am really enjoying seeing Sordo perform so well in the first outing with Mini). Hirvonen and Loeb at Citroen is quite strange, I agree. Citroen is probably happy with this since I think their performance with complement eachother nicely. But I don't really care about Citroen, I want to see Hirvonen with the championship! He's probably less likely to do this with Citroen (unless there's something awesome about Hirvonen + the DS3) and he doesn't really seem to be getting better... Latvala, on the other hand, I'm excited about. It would be great to see Solberg on the team with him (if that's what he wants)--Ford would at least have the best personalities biggrin.gif. It sure better not be Wilson. Maybe one of the new rising stars.
tune
Interesting. Personally I would like to see Ostberg or Tanak in the second works Ford. They have good roots in bringing up new stars - Martin, Duval, Gardemeister, Hirvonen, Latvala.
skr
WRC is starting to thrive again.. I love it. All this new talent, "new" works teams coming back into the sport, and this past season's Power Stage stuff makes WRC super exciting to watch..

I'd like to see Juho Hanninen take the Ford seat.
clarkma5
QUOTE(skr @ Nov 23 2011, 11:58 AM) *
Looks like we won't be seeing Ogier for a year.. He's actually one of my favorites.


http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/96431

He'll be doing 2012 in a Fabia, apparently. So he'll be there, just in the S-WRC.
RallyCat909
Malcolm Wilson said a few years ago that Petter will never be in a Ford works car. His launching of a Focus into the Finnish forrest in 2000 was something Wilson could never come to terms with.
clarkma5
QUOTE(RallyCat909 @ Nov 25 2011, 06:26 AM) *
Malcolm Wilson said a few years ago that Petter will never be in a Ford works car. His launching of a Focus into the Finnish forrest in 2000 was something Wilson could never come to terms with.


If Wilson can't let that go after 12 years in order to get someone of Solberg's caliber into the car, especially after his really strong run of form in the last couple seasons (honestly I think Petter's never been better) then he's an idiot. And I don't think someone as successful as Wilson is that much of an idiot.
Synesthesia
QUOTE(RallyCat909 @ Nov 25 2011, 09:26 AM) *
Malcolm Wilson said a few years ago that Petter will never be in a Ford works car. His launching of a Focus into the Finnish forrest in 2000 was something Wilson could never come to terms with.


Excuse my ignorance biggrin.gif but why was Malcom so furious with Petter over this particular crash?
RallyCat909
My understand of Petters time at Ford RallyeSport was that Petter was a young, arrogant smartass and it didn't sit well with Wilson. The incident in Finland was the icing on the cake for Wilson and Petter took ill of it.

Clarkman, I agree with you. But up to now Wilson has passed on Solberg returning to a Ford more than once.
Synesthesia
QUOTE(RallyCat909 @ Nov 25 2011, 08:54 PM) *
My understand of Petters time at Ford RallyeSport was that Petter was a young, arrogant smartass and it didn't sit well with Wilson. The incident in Finland was the icing on the cake for Wilson and Petter took ill of it.

Clarkman, I agree with you. But up to now Wilson has passed on Solberg returning to a Ford more than once.


I guess I can see that! Thanks for the history lesson. biggrin.gif
tune
QUOTE(skr @ Nov 24 2011, 02:58 PM) *
WRC is starting to thrive again.. I love it. All this new talent, "new" works teams coming back into the sport, and this past season's Power Stage stuff makes WRC super exciting to watch..

I'd like to see Juho Hanninen take the Ford seat.


Power Stage is a great idea - all they need to do is cut out all this road order fixing BS at the end of Day 1/2, which I think they are doing for next year some how.

Juho Hanninen is a good talent, I would like to see him take on the WRC in a spec Fabia though.
clarkma5
Solberg to test Fiesta: http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/96731

Hey maybe Wilson listened to me smile.gif tongue.gif
skr
He even suggests an interest to concede into a helper role for the team to help JML win the title. Much respect goes to Petter. smile.gif
Synesthesia
Fantastic! I think they'll make a great team, both really positive and motivated personalities.
clarkma5
So Ford confirms Solberg as Latvala's teammate for 2012: http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/96752

Solberg/Latvala versus Loeb/Hirvonen? I'm gonna have to get back to watching WRC next year!
tune
QUOTE(skr @ Nov 24 2011, 02:58 PM) *
I'd like to see Juho Hanninen take the Ford seat.


That was a good shout, he's definitely got talent. Hope he features more in 2012.
RallyCat909
Wilson made a comment to AutoSport last week about bygones being bygones in reference to Petter. ;]
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