11 Sep 09
As WRC TV's stage end reporter, Julian Porter spends more time speaking to the drivers than anybody during a WRC event. That's why he's known as 'The Guru'.
Wrc.com caught up with Julian after he returned from Repco Rally Australia, to get his unique take on the event and to find out what he had learned from the rally.
Lesson 1: Citroen CAN slip up
"They might have won four manufacturers' titles and have helped Loeb to five drivers' titles, but the Citroen team's post-event reprimand from the FIA proved that when it comes to making mistakes, they're just as vulnerable as anybody else. Rallying is a high-tech sport, with cars and teams bristling with the latest computer systems, but alongside that are some basic old-school processes, and it looks like Citroen were caught out by one of these.
"Team boss Olivier Quesnel said a simple administrative mistake was to blame for the mismatching anti-roll bar link. If it goes on to cost Loeb the championship then it could be one of the most expensive admin errors in WRC history."
Lesson 2: Sebastien Ogier is the real deal
"Sebastien Ogier is finally showing the sort of talent and promise that Citroen recognised in him during his 2008 Junior championship winning season. Last year he made only one mistake - a crash in Spain - but the start of his six round 2009 WRC programme was littered with mistakes. By the middle of the season some people were wondering what Citroen had seen in him. But in the second half of the season, with his programme confirmed rally by rally, he seems to have sorted himself out.
"A podium in Greece was a turning point, but Australia - his 18th World Championship Rally - was probably more important for him because he was on the pace of the big boys on a pure gravel rally. He made full advantage of an advantageous seventh position in Friday's start order, then did a brilliant job on Saturday when he was second on the road. The team have said that they want to keep hold of him for next year, which will probably mean another season in the Junior squad. If they don't keep him, I think someone else will snap him up.
"Next up is Spain, and on asphalt he remains largely unproven. He's only done Ireland so far and that was hard to evaluate because it was only was his second time in a World Rally Car and the rain made conditions extremely tricky. Spain will be a very important rally for him. If it goes well, he could cause Mikko some problems."