Wednesday | 03 Jun 2020

WRC+ Focus: The new kid on the block

With Sébastien Loeb opting not to go for a tenth-straight world title in 2013, the door was wide open for a new world champion to be crowned. The question was, who? This week’s WRC+ Focus has the answers, with the 2013 season review.



Following a decade at the pinnacle of the WRC, Frenchman Loeb had announced in 2012, whilst on the way to securing his ninth title, that he would be scaling back his WRC programme for the following year, only opting to compete in some of his favourite events: Monte-Carlo, Sweden, Argentina and France.

The question then, on everyone’s lips coming into the season was, who was the heir apparent to take over Loeb’s mantle? On paper, it appeared that it would be a battle between two Finns – Jari-Matti Latvala and Mikko Hirvonen.

Since 2008, Latvala had finished fourth or better in every championship, while Hirvonen’s remarkably consistent run of season-ending podium finishes stretched back even further, finishing third or better every season since 2006, with the exception of one small blight in 2010, when he finished sixth.

However, there was another factor that also needed consideration – the new kid on the block – the Volkswagen Polo R WRC, piloted by Sébastien Ogier, who like a fine stallion, had been chomping at the bit to get behind the wheel of the new car after a one-year wait.

Watch the 2013 season unfold in the 2013 Season Review.