WRC Live Radio
Presenter: Becs Williams
Before I get underway, can I just check something?
Is everyone OK after Rally Germany? Got over the final day drama? The shock of the leading two drivers not making to the end of the day? Plus the world champ going off the road, twice during the event? Hyundai taking their first win, Thierry his maiden victory & Pontus Tidemand sealing victory in WRC2 on the final stage?
Oooooookay then, lets move onto the next one.
Australia, destination for the WRC for what will be round ten (10? Only three more after this then…). Coffs Harbour plays host to the majority of jet-lagged personnel who will be heading to its golden shores.
Coffs is a very welcoming place, although I note today that in the name of ‘media opportunity’ the rally organisers have tried desperately to petrify our WRC stars, - by wrapping snakes around them, encouraging crocs to snap at them and have no doubt left a shark swimming in their bath tub back at the hotel for later.
Luckily for Chris Atkinson, he is more than used to this kind of lark. He posted by far the best tweet on the matter….
Wild animals aside, this part of Australia has a lot to offer, especially in terms of weird and whacky stage names. The drivers can expect to tackle the likes of ‘Wedding Bells’ which is the power stage and relevant to two drivers who have recently tied the knot, Seb Ogier and Mads Ostberg. There must be something in the air!
This weekend will see Volkswagen try once again to seal the deal in the manufacturers championship. They had the opportunity at home in Germany but events conspired against them. Here in Australia, they need to maintain a lead of 129 points to make them uncatchable and therefore champions. They need to score just 5 points to do this. Sounds simple doesn’t it? Remember Germany? Hmm.
The drivers championship is also hotting up too, not only in WRC with the three VW drivers all still able to scoop the honours, but in WRC2 also. There you will find the top five drivers separated by 9 points. Bertelli, Tanak, Protasov, Kruuda, Ketomaa.
There is a lot to get excited about this weekend. After Rally Germany imploded for many drivers they are now ready to bounce back with steely determination.
One of those drivers is Jari-Matti Latvala. I spent some time with him ‘en route’ to Australia in the lounge at Singapore airport. It was the first time I had seen him since the ‘vine drama’ and I wasn’t sure whether to bring up the subject or not. Luckily I didn’t have to, Andreas Mikkelsen waded in and tested the water for me.
Jari-Matti was very relaxed and philosophical about it, he had already put it waaaay behind him. Of course he had analysed what happened, but it was in no way going to affect him. He said he ‘had been looking forward to Australia since Rally Germany ended’.
One final anecdote before I give you our on air times. When you enter Australia you have to fill out a rather scary immigration form which asks you a lot of questions including ‘What is your job’.
When Andreas Mikkelsen handed his form to the immigration officer and he read ‘Rally Driver’ he asked him, ‘Were you the one who drove through a vineyard?’ Andreas laughed and said ‘No that was him!’ and pointed directly to Jari-Matti!
At least Jari-Matti was in good company. Neuville, Ogier, Bouffier…plus many more had an excursion into the vines! Glass of wine anyone?
OK then, onto the big weekend. Big for the reasons I have listed above but also because it is the last event for George Donaldson (and his ‘tentacles of perception’) with WRC Live. George will be massively missed and we will make sure that his final hurrah as a reporter is a blast.
To truly honour all that is Australia and George I invite you to join us throughout the weekend in whatever time zone you find yourself in. Can you really afford to miss a nanosecond after the drama of Germany?
Here are the Australian times AEST
Friday 12th Sept - 9am
Saturday 13th Sept - 8am
Sunday 14th Sept - 745am
These are for CEST - Central Europe
Thursday 11th Sept - 0100
Friday 12th Sept - 0000
Saturday 14th Sept - 2345
These are BST - United Kingdom
Thursday 11th Sept - 0000
Friday 12th Sept - 2300
Saturday 14th Sept - 2245
These are EDT - East Coast America
Thursday 11th Sept - 1900
Friday 12th Sept - 1800
Saturday 14th Sept 1745
These are PDT - West Coast America
Thursday 11th Sept - 1600
Friday 12th Sept - 1500
Saturday 14th Sept - 1445
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