A round-up of the stories that are making the news in the WRC today:
Will four-time world rally champion Tommi Makinen [pictured] compete on Neste Oil Rally Finland? Quite possibly, but he’s teasing the details. Yesterday, a cryptic picture appeared on the Tommi Makinen Events Facebook page, showing the 49-year-old in overalls next to the words ‘Champ is Back’ and the date and logo of Rally Finland. But that’s all.
Rally Finland organisers have a history of funding World Rally Car drives for previous champions – most recently sorting a Ford Focus RS WRC for Juha Kankkunen in 2010. However this morning they claimed to know nothing about Makinen’s plans. Makinen too is giving little away. In an interview with Finnish broadcaster MTV3 last night he said: “Let's see, we'll see. Time will tell. I cannot give it any more comments.”
Sebastien Ogier’s co-driver Julien Ingrassia will miss Volkswagen’s pre-event test for Rally Germany after hurting himself falling off a bicycle. Ingrassia injured his collarbone when he came off his mountain bike during a training session in Corsica. The Frenchman will undergo surgery this week.
Ogier said: “It is obviously not good news, but the most important thing is that Julien gets well soon. We have already spoken over the phone, and he sounded confident that he will be with us at the Rally Finland.” French Rally Championship regular
Nicolas Klinger will sit in for Ingrassia at next week’s tests around the Trier region.
Sebastien Loeb is making final preparations before his attempt to smash the course record at the Pikes Peak Hill Climb in Colorado this weekend. The nine-time World Rally Champion was fastest in both qualifying sessions this week in his Peugeot 208 T16, which has more power on tap than a Formula One car. On Sunday Loeb will attempt to beat the existing Pikes Peak “Unlimited” category record of 9 minutes, 46.164 seconds. Watch it live here on Sunday from 1600hrs CET.
Junior WRC driver Murat Bostanci is hoping lessons in violent combat will give his rally programme a boost from Rally Finland. The Turk has started kickboxing under the instruction of 1996 world kickboxing champion Ramazan Beyazkaya. "Kickboxing trains both body and mind,” explained Bostanci. “It improves reflexes, coordination, physical capacity and durability, which are all very important for a rally driver, especially in very fast challenging rallies, like Finland the next round of the Junior WRC."