IRDC Committee Meeting & AGM

The Annual General Meeting of the club will take place at 11:00 am Saturday 26th November in the Media Centre at Castle Combe Race Circuit Wiltshire. Post Code SN14 7EY. The AGM will be followed by a committee meeting to discuss the club calendar and other plans for 2017.
All members are welcome to attend and prospective new members should contact Membership Secretary Alun Morgan:-
For more information please contact Ken Davies - Press & Media 07532 477192

23rd November, 2016

Mikkelsen Wins 2016 Rally Australia

Andreas Mikkelsen claim victory on Rally Australia for Volkswagen, the last WRC rally for the German manufactirer. The Norwegian had led the final round of the 2016 WRC season throughout, but under increasing pressure from Sebastien Ogier and Hyundai's Hayden Paddon. Mikkelsen started the final morning just 2 seconds ahead of Ogier and having increased his lead to 2.6s on Sundays first stage, Mikkelsen then watched it increase to more than 20s when Ogier spun on SS20 and Paddon hit a bank which shredded his left-rear tyre.
He topped SS21 to end the Sunday morning loop firmly in command, then drove sensibly on the two stages that ended the rally to win by 14.9s. Powerstage winner Ogiers error was not severe enough to do any damage to his race result but Paddons dropped him from third to fifth behind his two Hyundai team mates but he took fourth back from Dani Sordo by 1.6 seconds before the end of the rally, with Neuville comfortably holding third.
Behind the trio of Hyundais Mads Ostberg was a lonely sixth for the M Sport team, which ended the rally with one Fiesta running after Eric Camilli rolled out of seventh on the final morning and the Frenchmans mistake promoted Ott Tanak to seventh in the M Sport customer Fiesta run by the D MACK team. This also allowed Skodas Esapekka Lappi to clinch the WRC2 title with a top eight finish on a rally he had dominated his class in, finishing more than four and a half minutes clear.
The third VW of Jari Matti Latvala made it back to ninth after his victory bid ended on the opening morning when he hit a bridge on the first stage and after damaging his suspension had been clawing back time and positions since.

Pos ..... Driver ..... Team ..... Car ..... Gap
1. Andreas Mikkelsen, A.Jager Volkswagen Motorsport 2h46m05.7s
2. Sebastien Ogier, J.Ingrassia Volkswagen Motorsport 14.9s
3. Thierry Neuville, N.Gilsoul Hyundai Motorsport Hyundai 1m12.6s
4. Hayden Paddon, J.Kennard Hyundai Motorsport Hyundai 1m26.7s
5. Dani Sordo, M.Marti Hyundai Motorsport N Hyundai 1m28.3s
6. Mads Ostberg, O.Floene M-Sport World Rally Team Ford 1m41.5s
7. Ott Tanak, R.Molder DMACK World Rally Team Ford 3m04.3s
8. Esapekka Lappi, J.Ferm Skoda Motorsport Skoda 7m32.3s
9. Jari-Matti Latvala, M.Anttila Volkswagen Motorsport 7m56.9s
10. Lorenzo Bertelli, S.Scattolin FWRT s.r.l. Ford 8m00.1s

2016 Drivers Championship Top Ten Final positions

Pos .... Driver .... Points
1. Sebastien Ogier 268
2. Thierry Neuville 160
3. Andreas Mikkelsen 154
4. Hayden Paddon 138
5. Dani Sordo 130
6. Jari-Matti Latvala 112
7. Mads Ostberg 102
8. Ott Tanak 88
9. Kris Meeke 64
10. Craig Breen 36

20th November, 2016

Slender Austialian Lead for Mikkelsen

Volkswagen team mates Andreas Mikkelsen and Sebastien Ogier are separated by just two seconds going into Volkwagen's World Rally Championship finale. Mikkelsen had started the afternoon 13.6 seconds ahead of Hyundai driver Hayden Paddon with Sebastien Ogier another three seconds adrift.
Mikkelsen then hit trouble on SS 16 although being quicker through the first split than Ogier but dropping 9.2s to his team-mate after suffering a bent clutch pedal that was touching the brake, which allowed Ogier to close to just 2.8s off the rally lead, trimming by another second with fastest SS17 time before Mikkelsen, who stopped on the road section after SS16 to work on the car, hit back on the second running of the superspecial to close the loop with a two-second margin.
Paddon third, but the Hyundai driver is 12 seconds behind Mikkelsen with five stages to run on Sunday and was left to lament worse tyre wear than the Vws. Behind the top three, Thierry Neuville's hold on fourth position became much more secure as Mads Ostberg's challenge faded. M-Sport Ford Fiesta driver Ostberg faded over SS15 with set-up issues and dropped behind the third Hyundai of Dani Sordo on SS16. Esapekka Lappi's WRC2 lead is almost four minutes as the Skoda driver closes in on the class title.

Top Ten Positions after SS18:

Pos .... Driver .... Team .... Car .... Gap
1. Andreas Mikkelsen, A.Jager Volkswagen Motorsport II Polo 2h15m06.2s
2. Sebastien Ogier, J.Ingrassia Volkswagen Motorsport Polo 2.0s
3. Hayden Paddon, J.Kennard Hyundai Motorsport Hyundai 12.0s
4. Thierry Neuville, N.Gilsoul Hyundai Motorsport Hyundai 33.8s
5. Dani Sordo, M.Marti Hyundai Motorsport N Hyundai 59.2s
6. Mads Ostberg, O.Floene M-Sport World Rally Team Ford 1m00.6s
7. Eric Camilli, B.Veillas M-Sport World Rally Team Ford 1m21.7s
8. Ott Tanak, R.Molder DMACK World Rally Team Ford 2m19.9s
9. Lorenzo Bertelli, S.Scattolin FWRT s.r.l. Ford 4m56.6s
10. Esapekka Lappi, J.Ferm Skoda Motorsport Skoda 5m22.7

19th November, 2016

VW Withdraws from WRC

Unable to justify continuing to spend on a multi million pound motorsport budget to go rallying when the diesel emissions scandal is costing Volkswagen billions is cited as the reason that the German manufacturer has decided to pull the plug on its WRC programme from the end of the 2016 season. The well structured Hanover company can invariably stand the cost but it is actually an issue of their perceived public image depicting jubilant drivers in designer Volkswagen overalls spraying champagne over the adoring crowd.

Since it arrived in the WRC for the 2013 season Volkswagen has won twelve titles and been good news for the championship and rally fans and their withdrawal will mean ramifications for the WRC on loosing one of its most enthusiastic supporters and investors. When, in 2011 Volkswagen announced its decision to contest the world championship, it gave the WRC a massive boost at a time when the series really needed good news. One of the world's biggest and best car manufacturers testing its mettle in rallying and the company has worked tirelessly to improve not only its own image, but the image of the WRC.

What then for its current drivers? Team leader Ogier could see this break as the natural conclusion to his successful career given that he always said he doesn't intend to stay forever and is known to be unhappy and frustrated with the rules and regulations. If he stays he would find a drive in the championship, most likely with his former employer Citroen, who although having three drivers for next season would have scope within driver contracts to accommodate another top name.

There's also a mutual admiration between Malcolm Wilson and Ogier and they talked about a possible deal towards the end of 2011 and have remained close ever since. It would be interesting to see the world champion spend a season in the ever improving Ford Fiesta RS WRC. As for Jari Matti Latvala and Andreas Mikkelsen, it would seem that Toyota, Citroen or M-Sport are their only escape route for 2017 but anything is possible and smaller privateer teams could be a solution. All this kicks off just at a time when the WRC driver market looked signed, sealed and delivered for next season!

7th November, 2016

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