Why Neuville’s Two Crashes May Have Put Him In The Perfect Position

Photo Credit: WRC.com
  • Alvin Kato

    Interesting article. I do agree with the theme about Neuville being mentally strong but to say that Rally Deustchland is Seb’s weakness is a bit too much of a generalization. Ogier’s won that event for 2 years in a row and is a master of Panzerplatter, if we are headed to Germany and the championship is on the line, my money would be on Ogier and not Neuville.
    But then again these are just my thoughts ;)

    • Jason Anthony

      Maybe last year, yes… But the Fiesta is no Polo, and Seb will have to work a lot harder than he needed to with VW. There is no doubt that Seb’s dominance has been neutered a bit by his machinery this season.

      • Dar

        If VW were still in it I would agree with Alvin but since Seb is effectively at a high-end privateer with M-Sport, I would probably give the nod to Neuville as well. I agree that the Fiesta is certainly making Seb work a lot more this year than he has had to in the past, which is great to watch. It’s funny seeing him have to deal with these things that the majority of the other drivers have had to face year after year on teams other than Citroen (in their hayday), and VW (with the largest budget of any of the manufacturers) when their name wasn’t Seb. The VW departure has put this season on a more level playing field than the WRC has seen since the early 2000’s. It has been wonderful, and much more engaging, to watch/follow.

        • Alvin Kato

          ha ha good points. I hope you are not an ‘Ogier hater’ though. The man has had to work for all his wins over the past couple of years so am sure he’s eager to get back to winning ways. MSport say they’ll resolve these issues so let’s see how Argentina goes, in my mind I still think of all the other drivers as dead men because Ogier never gives up, so far its the car that’s been letting him down all season long, from Monte with the 40 second spin, Sweden with another spin, Mexico with another spin and Corsica with the hydraulics issue. Interestingly he’s been on the podium every time.
          I think the other drivers should be wary, once he gets those car and confidence issues sorted then everybody else is effectively –> a dead man :)

          • Dar

            I’m about as much of a “Ogier hater” as it seems you are an “Ogier fanboi” ;)

            And if you mean “work” for all his wins, do you mean constantly bitch about the running order? He’s surely worked at that the past few years. As if he didn’t have enough of an advantage already being on the team with the highest budget (by a significant margin).

          • Alvin Kato

            ha ha you are a definite Ogier Hater mate ha ha and a huge one at that :D

            I was one initially but I got ticked off with the charity wins drivers were getting because Ogier was sweeping the road for 2 days which left him with no chance for winning.

            And let’s be honest that rule was stupid. You don’t punish a kid for being smart and acing all the tests because he’s success is making the others look bad, do you?

            Also why does everyone whine about VW’s money? Its their money and there’s no cap on amount spent. Toyota also has a lot of money this year so how about we get some people whining about that as well?

            Bottom line the best driver should win, and in VW and Ogier’s case he was the best driver and had the best car so it was very unfair to block him from winning because he was too good. And thats about as much of an Ogier fan boy that I am :)

          • Dar

            Anyone calling other drivers’ wins “charity” wins is definitely a huge fan boy or Mr. Ogier. I believe we may have had this discussion before.

            I agree that he was the best driver those seasons, but that doesn’t make him any more likeable. He, just like Loeb, comes off as a robotic unemotional dick. I prefer drivers that show emotion and make us regular folks at home feel like driving a world rally car is the insane privilege/opportunity that it is. Both Loeb and Ogier are amazing drivers, they’re just not very engaging people.

            Bottom line…he won the championship in 2013,2014, 2015, and 2016. It
            doesn’t sound like he was “blocked from winning” much at all.

            As for VW’s money, I agree that it is theirs to spend and they should do with it what they want. The problem was that there was no other manufacturer during their reign spending the same amount of money so it didn’t quite add up to a fair competition. Part of the problem was that manufacturers weren’t willing to enter the series because they knew that there was little point to the exercise if they didn’t have a budget to match or exceed VW’s.

            This has been the most competitive season in over a decade, and I for one am just slightly more happy than sad that VW had to depart. If Ogier wins driving a Ford, that will be awesome for Ogier, but even more so for Malcolm Wilson and M-Sport. If M-Sport can somehow win the Manufacturers Championship it will be historic.

          • Alvin Kato

            In all likelihood anyone calling Ogier’s complaints about being forced to road clean for 2 days on a championship where most events are gravel based is definitely a huge hater of Mr. Ogier.
            And oh yes we’ve definitely had this discussion before.

            I don’t understand this strange affinity fans have with traits that can’t be quantified or defined. When you say “likable” what is the criteria for that? Do you want a posse party from Mr. Ogier and Mr. Loeb? A night bar crawling? What exactly do you mean by that?

            WRC has had mean drivers in the past some of whom you don’t assume to be so because social media never existed in the past. People like Sainz, were pricks sometimes, you can ask Armin Schwarz, Francois Delecour was an utter prick almost getting into public fights and confrontations with his team mates and team but nobody talks about that. It seems asking for fairness in this day and age means you are being a bleep. Unbelievable.

            Those emotions that you keep mentioning are the very reasons why the other drivers will never beat Mr. Ogier. Emotions cloud thinking and prevent focus, you can’t drive at your best if all you have left to hold on to at the start and end of a stage is a couple of blurry emotions. Jarri is too emotional, Kris is fast but gets emotional as well, Mads very emotional, Hayden emotional, Juho too erratic and emotional as well, Ott fast and emotional the list is endless.

            The only guy who is close to balancing his emotions and his skill this year is Thierry and look at how he’s progressing, very well and highly commendable given the mistakes he made earlier on.

            I don’t agree with your statement about VW’s budget being a hindrance to other manufacturers because Toyota signed up knowing full well that it would go head to head with VW. Hyundai also has a great budget and am sure they could raise it because they went head to head with other manufacturers back in the 2000s. Bottom line VW came to win and they showed it, they whooped every other teams candy asses and grabbed every win while they could. When you win so much and dominate every one from the former champs to the aspiring minions you become a target for haters and this hate is the reason most of you hate Mr. Ogier. Because he’s too good, and good is something most fans and other drivers will never be, so the vitriol just adds up. Its pathetic.

            I agree this season is competitive, but interestingly its competitive without any stupid road sweeping rule. That’s how competition should be, no one should be singled out because their skill makes the others look like amateurs. It is a competition after all.

            I hope MSport win as well. They have been at it for a while so they need that gold in their offices. Also you should know that when Ogier gets that Fiesta working right, it will be VW all over again, so I wonder if fans will start hate MSport with the same passion they hated VW…

      • Alvin Kato

        Speaking of the Fiesta, Jason, I guess you were right when you made a prediction of consistency issues for MSport earlier in the year.
        But as we saw in Corsica, Ogier can still nurse that car to the finish so its only a matter of time before he gains full mastery over it. When and if that happens, I am confident that all the other drivers should consider themselves dead men :)

        • Jason Anthony

          So we’ve never seen Ogier have to deal with a slightly dodgy car and consolidate to salvage what points he can. You are right… The fact that he is still able to hold on for podium finishes to lead the championship despite technical problems shows his skill. If/when the Fiesta gets sorted out, he will be tough to beat. The way I see it now though, Neuville is the only one who can capitalize on Ogier’s troubles at the moment. Meeke has pace, but not consistency… I see him just taking points off others at certain individual rallies, but not figuring in the championship battle this year.

          • Alvin Kato

            Right again you are Jason. Neuville is the main threat this year. And honestly that i20 is wicked! So far he’s the only one who’s been able to tame it despite having lesser testing time than the other drivers.
            You are right about Meeke, he’s fast just not consistent, but then again the season is far from over yet. Jarri is still second, hanging on by a thread and Neuville is close behind. If Ogier can rack up three more wins then it may a go a long way on settling the championship battle for this season. So lets just wait and see :)

  • Dagge

    I do not understand, the road order position rules from last year where the leader where sweeping the roads for 2 days is gone, there is no longer an advantage being low in the championship.

    • Jason Anthony

      You are right, there is less of an advantage, but it’s still there. With the rally 2 cars running first on the road on Saturday and the short mileage on Sunday, someone can build a lead big enough on Friday by using road position to hold for the rest of the rally

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