“Here We Go Again”

And so following the briefest of breaks, it all kicks off again – who said the motor racing season starts in Melbourne in March?

This weekend saw the FIA European Rally Championship {note 1} and the Dakar Rally start in Austria and Peru respectively, while the Roar Before the 24 got the green light at Daytona International Speedway.

Back in the UK, things roll into gear with Autosport International beginning on Thursday and opening for the public on Saturday and Sunday {note 2}.

On Thursday, the first endurance race of the year begins with a GT spectacular for the Dubai 24 Hour Race at Dubai Autodrome. The twice around the clock event has steadily grown in stature in recent years and is becoming a signature event for the early weeks of the year.

In nine days time, the WRC season commences with the famous Monte Carlo Rally, although worryingly there does not yet appear to be a television deal in place for the WRC in the UK, parts of Europe, USA or Australia.
Eyes will be on Red Bull and FIA to see what their rebuild plans are for the WRC; however one must realistic – this is going to be a very slow build.

By the way, there were some stories floating around on Friday and Saturday regarding a possible move for Nico Hulkenberg to Red Bull for the 2014 Formula One season. That’s a nice thought and theoretically could be a good move; however the story is most likely garbage {note 3}.
It appears to have stemmed from comments by Helmut Marko, where he spoke of approaching Nico Hulkenberg to join the Red Bull junior team; however the young racer had by that stage already solidified plans with his own sponsor Dekra.

With Webber on a one-year contract – an arrangement he has apparently preferred for several years – someone has decided to add two and two. We may never know what answer that person came up with, but it was concluded that Hulkenberg must be Webber’s replacement.
Dr Marko has recently made stinging comments about Webber, but this really is not that unusual and besides Webber does not do his deals with Marko; he does them with Red Bull Dietrich Mateschitz and his staff.

I have never claimed to be an expert on these matters, nor do I work in Formula One, but I do know bullshit when I see it and am very familiar with the exponents of such nonsense.
This isn’t to say that it might not happen, but claiming that it’s a done deal based on Marko looking at Hulkenberg in 2007 is frankly silly. In other words, it was a very slow news day.

Meanwhile, one of the chaps serving coffee in Dublin Airport looks scarily like James Calado. There will not be a picture, but if you want, here’s a shot of some hot chocolate {note 4}.

Off season? What off season?

{note 1}
In a fabulous late burst, Jan Kopecký saw off Bryan Bouffier in the final two stages of the Jänner Rally. Kopecký was some 25 seconds adrift of Bouffier with just over 50km’s remaining; however treacherous conditions and a top level drive saw Kopecký take the victory by 0.5 seconds at the line. Fabulous stuff.

{note 2}
There will be more coming up on the upcoming Autosport International Show during the week.

{note 3}
Some Formula One news distributors are just full of sh*t.

{note 4}

© Leigh O'Gorman
© Leigh O’Gorman

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