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I prefer rally

by Justas (15 March 2004)


Swedish snow!
I had been planning to write about WRC (World Rally Championship) for a while now, especially after Pstonie did F1 a week ago. And what better time could there be to write about it than just after an Estonian driver, Markko Märtin, scores his third win on the first Mexican WRC rally? As a result, he now also shares the first place in the overall championship standings with a Frenchman, Sebastian Loeb.

Earlier, I used to be a big fan of F1, just like Pstonie here, except for the fact that I preferred Schumacher. I remember waking up at 5AM even for qualifications during some Eastern races, just to see them live. But eventually, it got boring. Also, I kept looking forward to an Estonian (Most likely Marko Asmer, a test pilot of Williams BMW) joining F1, but if that's ever going to happen, it'll take ages. And at the same time, Markko Märtin had been climbing the ladder of success at WRC. His first win came in the 2003 Acropolis rally in Greece, and was followed by another one a few months later in Finland. He made it fifth in the 2003 overall and the Ford team is looking forward to him becoming the world champion this year.

So why is WRC better than F1 (in my opinion)? The reasons are many:

1. Like I already said, they have an Estonian.

2. The competition is very intense. The four main teams - Ford, Citroen, Subaru and Peugeot - are almost equal. It's nearly always neck-to-neck till the last stage on the last day of the last rally. Also, there are much more than two drivers on each team, unlike F1's six main drivers in three teams, with others rarely getting a chance.


Try doing that in F1
3. It's much more spectacular. Instead of the F1 tracks, which all look the same, you get a big variety. There's gravel and tarmac, winter races and desert tracks, and often combinations. For example, the Monte Carlo rally, where you get snow at higher altitudes and tarmac below, so tyre choice is very important. And the driving - jumps, handbrake turns, water splashes... you never get that on F1, where the main attraction is high speed, which, although being more dangerous, is not really so groovy to watch.

4. No two-and-a-half-hour-straight sitting at the TV, waiting for something to happen. In WRC, they pick out the best bits and make video summaries. Meanwhile, you can keep checking for the results live from the website. The races are split to speed stages, which are scattered over three days, so you have a full-weekend WRC experience during every rally.

5. After Häkkinen left, there are no more Finnish guys with funny accents in F1 (Räikkonen just ain't the same). While in WRC, you get Marcus Grönholm, whose pronunciation beats even Häkkinen's by a landslide. Sebastian Loeb's English also sounds more like bad French. And the Nowegian, Peter Sollberg (World Champion 2003), likes to go berserk every once in a while, which is just as fun.

6. Mexico rally. Nachos for all!