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Ten things to do at Rally GB this weekend

  1. Rally GB

    “Due to the possibility of live ammunition in the undergrowth, spectators must not, under any circumstance, walk to any other locations than those advised.”

    Fast cars, driving gods, and the very real possibility of stuff blowing up… This weekend’s Rally GB is about as Top Gear as it gets.  The final round of the epic 2011 WRC heads off from Cardiff tomorrow night and it’s all to play for amid the forests, trails, and yes, firing ranges of Wales – and will be running a live blog from deep in the Welsh forests. Make sure you join us.

    Sebastien Loeb of Citroen heads Mikko Hirvonen of Ford by eight points. There’s a seven point margin between first and second but, tantalisingly, there’s another three for the fastest time in Sunday’s closing POWER stage - and Hirvonen for one thinks its will go down to the wire.

  2. Rally GB

    Wales Rally GB will also be the first time the Mini WRC team has competed in the UK and don’t forget in this, its development year, a Mini has come within six seconds of victory.

    And it’s your last chance to see Kimi Raikkonen in a WRC car before he turns his Citroen DS3 in the direction of Didcot for a seat fitting at Williams and Ken ‘The Monster” Block before he heads back to doing what he does best, making the second-best car-related videos on YouTube.

    It’s going to be a tense weekend – here are the ten things to look out for. If you can’t make it, the race is live on ESPN and, if you’re in Wales, S4C.

  3. Rally GB

    Prostrate yourself at the altar of Sebastien Loeb

    Michael Schumacher’s the greatest competition car driver ever, right? Not if you’re French. Sebastian Loeb has already matched Schumi’s tally of seven titles and this weekend he is going for his eighth — IN A ROW. Only Mikko Hirvonen’s Fiesta stands in his way. If he finishes ahead of Hirvonen, he’s champ. If he doesn’t, well it’s a bit more complex. Team mate Sebestian Ogier has matched him for wins this year, and looks to be on the verge of eclipsing the master…

  4. Rally GB

    Come over all Life on Mars…

    Okay, so it’s not Roger Clark in an Escort RS1600. It’s not even Colin McRae in a Focus WRC. But it is a Ford, and there’s something reassuring about a muddy Ford rally car. Mikko Hirvonen’s Fiesta WRC doesn’t just look good, it’s fast too, winning twice this year and is still very much in the fight. Ford will be playing the team game, the works Abu Dhabi team looking to put fellow Finn Jari-Matti Latvala between Hirvonen and Loeb. If that’s how it finishes, Hirvonen will end Loeb’s seven-year streak.

  5. Rally GB

    Don’t expect best behaviour from Sebastien Ogier

    Yes, the other Sebastien. Product of the Citroen Junior team and promoted to the official works team in 2011 alongside Loeb, who he rapidly set about beating. There’s no doubt Ogier is a now as quick as Loeb, something the master has struggled to deal with this year. Still, Ogier - no longer in contention for the title - has promised to support Loeb in his title bid. But then he can say that, as the rumour is that, having lost le cocque fight at Citroen, he’s off to Ford in 2012.

  6. Rally GB

    See Ken Block. Not always fastest. Always most sideways

    Anyone who witnessed Ken Block on Lord March’s lawns at the Goodwood Festival of Speed this summer will testify he’s even more electric in the flesh that in his own ‘Gymkhana’ videos (or the time he freaked James out in America). Like Kimi, the Rally GB is the swansong for Block and his magnificently lurid ‘Monster’ Fiesta. The first American to compete in the WRC, and the first to score points. Four of them. The only four he’s scored so far. Still, we love you Ken.

  7. Rally GB

    Pretend you’re in Monte Carlo…

    Suddenly it’s 1964 all over again and there’s a Mini, flat-out, sideways, fighting with cars it has no business to fight with. On the basis of the Mini Countryman’s shakedown year, Mini is back in the WRC in no uncertain terms: a first win in France was just six seconds away. Official TG hero Kris Meeke and team-mate Daniel Sordo (plus two semi-works cars) are still more comfortable on tarmac than mud, but for Meeke and Mini this is home ground. Sort of.

  8. Rally GB

    Say ‘Nakemiin” to Kimi Raikkonen…

    Well, that’s how Google translate tells us the Finnish say ‘goodbye’. Kimi’s WRC odyssey ends this weekend, whether he signs for Williams and a F1 comeback or not. It hasn’t been the greatest success; not bothering to turn up in Australia was a new low. Or was that running into the back of Henning Solberg on the Rally of France? But look, he’s still Kimi Raikkonen, 2007 World Champion, a man who used to command $50mllion a year (a lot of it now spent).

  9. Rally GB

    Keep an eye on car Number 11

    Here’s a wild card. If there’s anyone out there who can spoil the party for Loeb and Hirvonen it’s Petter Solberg. He’s a four times winner of Rally GB; a record he shares with Hannu Mikkola, the man who was ‘firing up the Quattro’ when DCI Gene Hunt was still on the beat. Solberg has been the fastest of the non-works drivers this year and fancies his chances. He loves it when it’s rainy and muddy. And rain and mud is what Wales is all about, isn’t it?

  10. Rally GB


    Just ask Carlos Sainz, the greatest rally driver of all time until Sebastien Loeb opted to give up a promising career in gymnastics. On the 1998 Rally, having seen off title rival Tommi Makkinen’s Evo drop on the first day, Sainz was cruising to victory. Until 500 yards of the finish line when his Toyota broke down. Then there was 2001, when the much-missed British duo of Colin McRae and Richard Burns fought it out until our Colin crashed his Focus and Richard and his Evo took the title.

  11. Rally GB

    Tune in for a monumental finish

    It could all come down to the second shortest stage on the rally. It’s just 4.36km, and kicks off just after noon on Sunday. The final, Power Stage — Monument — carries bonus points; 3 for fastest time, 2 and 1. Loeb leads Hirvonen by eight points, Hirvonen will narrow that to just one point if he’s leading Loeb in second when they arrive at Monument on Sunday. We don’t need to do the maths for you. If you’re not planning to go to Wales, then at the very least follow our blog from the forests. And if you turn your telly over from the Abu Dhabi GP at 1.00pm – about the time Martin Brundle will be meeting the VIPs on the grid – you’ll be able to watch.

  12. Rally GB

    And if you do none of the above….

    At least watch this film and buy a T-shirt. You’re very missed Richard.

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