Tuesday, April 26, 2011

RSI: Fast privateers

A question from Anders in the comments section which deserves special attention:

"When 2011 WRC season started in Sweden this year a bunch of companies (including mine) helped PG Andersson to rent a Fiesta. Now when the regulations was changed and the WRC teams did not have the same ability to change stuff and give privateers different stuff than the works cars we all felt that this could be a big chance to upset the big works tema drivers. Antony, do you think PG and Mads Ostberg was given the "exact" same cars as Mikko and Jari-Matti ? Or maybe I should ask, what big differeces were there?"

Obviously, as I am no longer involved at all in the sport, I cannot answer this.  

Nevertheless, I have seen from the results that the performances of Östberg and Andersson were very, very good. I would say they were unusually fast for privateers, and Sweden was a perfect place to see this because both Östberg and Andersson have pretty much equal experience of this type of rally as the two factory drivers.  I believe that their raw speed came as a surprise to the management.  

From what I have seen in the past, surprise performances like Östberg's are not taken as a good thing by the team management.  In front of the camera it's all smiles but behind closed doors the tone is something else.  The team has committed itself to it's official drivers for the long run and are most likely not happy if a privateer comes and takes points away from their lead drivers, who have the objective of fighting for the driver's Championship.  Not mentioning the diverted media attention and all the difficult questions the boss has to answer regarding his lead drivers suddenly having trouble against lesser ones as far as status is concerned.  

The subsequent lack of reliability and performance seen from privateers in the later events is a clear indication to me that things have already been adjusted.  I would not be surprised if Sweden was the first and last time we'd see a privateer drive consistently faster than officials this season.


  1. I think Sweden 2011 was before they had time to make a customer mapping, and that was why they were so fast. We will never see that again unfortuately, since now they have, and the customer cars have started their 'normal' behaviour !!
    must be frustrating as he** !!

  2. Perhaps another interesting question:
    Will privateers turn down Ford for giving them uncompetitive cars AFTER this season?

    The current situation where Mads Ostberg can stand on the podium is good for the sport. If they stop giving him a car to achieve that and the media starts to turn their heads away from WRC again (because it is again a championship with only a few title contenders) Ford looses potential future sponsors and maybe even their customers. Then Ford's situation has become worse than before.

    It's sad though that Ford can't see profit by giving privateers better cars - just imagine if a privateer steals points from Citroen.

    Will this consequence result in WRC establishing a separate privateer ranking (as WTCC)?

  3. Translation from Ostbergs report from Rally Jordan:


    "The engine software isn't optimized , so the car is slower than the others on the fast stages."

    My guess, there has been made a map evolution for the Fiesta WRC, and only the works cars has got it.

    There is a saying in my local motorsport club: "All brits are crooks until proven otherwise....".

    According to other sources, its the same with the french teams, so this is definitively a big part of the "sport".

    Its a good thing these issues gets some attention, however i dont quite see that it will lead anywhere besides getting dropped from the M-Sport christmas card list.