Thursday, January 03, 2008

2nd Annual Cypress Trees Awards: Best Racing Car Of 2007

Ford Focus RS WRC 06

Ford has finally won the manufacturer's championship - and rightfully so. They stepped away from the pride and elitism the company has shown since the 1966 GT40 and enlisted the help of Yamaha. They stuck with their superb 4 Wheel Drive system. They showed incredible honesty by admitting that they couldn't tune their engine properly, but could get the power on the road best. This is what racing needs. It needs multi-billion dollar teams to admit mistakes and shortcomings. Who cares what the sponsors think - everybody makes mistakes.

The car does not look the best of the WRC cars, but the teams decision to swallow their pride and hire out major portions of development is a step towards making WRC as exciting as Le Mans. The WRC has faced more challenges than F1, but they still produce a great show. Why? Because of teams like Ford pulling stunts like this, and actually pulling it off. And not only pulling it off, but trouncing their opponents: 212 points to Citroën's 183, a single non-podium race (Portugal - and Subaru deserved that podium), four drivers f(Marcus Grönholm, Mikko Hirvonen, Jari-Matti Latvala, and Henning Solberg) in the top eight with Marcus and Mikko in the top three and Matthew Wilson at 11th, and only two retirements the entire season for the Ford team and five for Stobart. That is unheard of. And if those two retirements didn't happen to Grönholm in races 14 and 15 he would have had that championship. Okay, that may just be the huge Grönholm fan in me talking but still, that car is splendid. And I never thought this award would go to an American car.

YouTube Links:
Hirvonen onboard in Japan
Grönholm in his last race
Grönholm onboard in the snow in Norway

Runner Up: Peugeot 908 RC
Check ALMS Fan for a write-up of why and for the award Best Racing Moment of 2007.

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