Our exclusive Rally Monte-Carlo and 2013 WRC Preview


Can the 2014 M-Sport Ford Fiesta WRC take it to the rest for the 2014 Championship?  It will be tough! (Photo: M-Sport)
Can the 2014 M-Sport Ford Fiesta WRC take it to the rest for the 2014 Championship? It will be tough! (Photo: M-Sport)
Here we take a look at the 2014 WRC season that kicks off this weekend at Rally Monte Carlo. There are 14 WRC cars on the entry list and while some will join later in the year – including a rumoured 1/2 season for Haydon Paddon, we take a look at the runners that will be at Rally Monte-Carlo and assess their chances for the rally and the 2013 season.


Sebastien Ogier has sounded an ominous warning to his WRC rivals ahead of next week’s Rallye Monte Carlo, declaring that his Volkswagen Motorsport team is “well prepared” for the defence of its FIA World Rally Championship titles.

Our View: Malcom Wilson said that Ogier is favouite to win every rally and after his 2013 form, it is hard to disagree. The team is superstong and has the same squad as from their title winning season. Latvala and Mikkleson will also be super quick and we should see some 1-2-3s from them if things go their way. If Hyundai gets it right, VW won’t have it all their own way, otherwise they are unbackabe winners. They didn’t beat Loeb last year at Rally Monte, but were best of the rest with Ogier.


For the first time since it began competing in the WRC, Citroën Racing has completely changed its driver line-up from one season to the next. Two DS3 WRCs are competing on behalf of the Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team. They will be driven by the crews Kris Meeke/Paul Nagle (no.3) and Mads Østberg/Jonas Andersson (no.4).

Our View: The once dominant team have lost their star and the corporate focus is surely on the WTCC. In addition they have two unproved talents in the WRC despite obvious success and talent shown in other categories. This will be a long year for the team and we hope that Ostberg can find the form he had in 2012 where he took a win M-Sport in Portugal. The DS3 will be entering its fourth season, perhaps at the end of its competitive cycle. They should beat M-Sport but they may struggle to overcome VW and Hyundai.


Mikko Hirvonen: “We need to see what happens, but a podium will definitely be in my mind. This season will be a little different, and I think we can look to take a few risks in the beginning. We need to see what happens, but I am here to be competitive and if we can secure a podium finish it would be a very good result for us.”

Our View: Hirvonen is back at home and will be rapid where it will be a learning year for Evans. The team needs a boost after losing the Qatar sponsorship and a winless 2013 season. One has to wonder if the car will have the pace for even podiums through the year – not their fault but a circumstance of new entries and their falling funding.


Michel Nandan “We have two very good drivers who have given the whole team a big boost. We all know that Thierry can achieve outstanding performance levels despite his young age, while Dani has a lot of experience in the WRC and at Rallye Monte-Carlo. I can definitely say that we have a very good mix.”

Our View: You can’t fault their approach. Their management, engineers and drivers are second to none, it will just be a case of if they have it right straight away. Neuville is as fast as anyone out there and Sordo is a tarmac ace. Can they pull a VW and win their first season out? Maybe, if not we predict they will finish second behind the Germans.

Other major runners

Martin Prokop

Martin Prokop: “The World Championship gets a new impetus as the new manufacturer Hyundai jumps on the board, the same as Volkswagen did last year. Although the competition will be major again, we are confident enough to defend the results from this season and finish again at the top 10.

Our View: A top result of 4th last year proves his pace. He is getting a lot quicker but this one will be tough. Points will be dependent on how the factories go.

Robert Kubica

Success is often found in compromise, and a daunting task awaits the Formula One race winner as he gets to grips with both his new machinery and the changeable conditions on offer. Of course there are few individuals whose dedication and passion are as high, and Kubica will be keen to make the most of his debut – gaining experience and confidence with each new kilometre.

Our View: One to keep an eye on. The WRC2 Champion is basically in a factory Ford, perhaps better funded than Hirvonen and Evans. M-Sport needs him to perform. We think he will bin it or be a chance for a podium.

Brian Bouffier

Our view: A very rapid driver, unlucky not to get a Hyundai seat. This year he is in a Ford (pictured above in a Citroen). Like the IRC Monte in the past, if he gets it right he could pull a surprise. The IRC winner in 2011 is one to keep an eye on.

Francois Delecour

Our View: The 1994 winner still loves rally. He has done a few rallies over the past few years but probably will only pick up a few points if it goes well.

Jaroslav Melicharek

Our View: A WRC class runner in national competition, he ran once in WRC in 2013 but in a Group N car in Spain. He should be there to learn and the results should reflect that.
By Sam Tickell, January 2014

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