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  Home > Seasons > Season 2013
The king is dead, long live the king
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WRC world champion of 2013 is Sebastien. Again? Yes, but this time last name was Ogier, not Loeb. Having spent 2012 at Volkswagen to develop the new car and driving all rallies in Super2000 Skoda, Sebastien was back with vengeance. Officially, team set their targets low and hoped for podiums in 2013, wins in 2014 and title in 2015. As it turned out, they got all of this in one season.

At Monte Carlo, everyone was expectant and eager to see how new car and team would turn out. When Ogier scored fastest time on first stage of the season, he proved that car had potential but given that Monte is a very specialized rally, not much was read into his eventual second position. Then came Sweden and first win, which still could be a lucky one. Ogier and VW proved that it was not luck but skill and pure speed when they won next two rallies as well, catapulting into a handsome lead in championship. That lead gave Ogier chance to relax and his style to relax was to win more rallies and, in the end of, the championship title.

Even before the season began, it was clear that WRC would get to crown a new champion as reigning champion Sebastien Loeb would contest only four events before retiring for good - even though it was speculated that this number would increase. Because of this, 2013 could be Hirvonen's chance to finally take the title and quite many thought that he was favourite to the title. After all, he was four-times championship runner-up and driving for the multiple championship winning team.

Despite rolling in Sweden, one of his favourite rallies, season had barely started and in next two rallies came a pair of second places and things were looking good again. But those were his best finishes of the season and everything that could go wrong for Mikko, almost invariably did so, meaning that in the end he barely managed to beat teammate Sordo for fourth place in the championship. Sordo drove for main Citroen team only when Loeb wasn't there and was replaced by Meeke for Australia. Even so, he almost beat Hirvonen in championship table, greatly thanks to his first win which he finally scored in Rally Deutschland.

Then there was Ford. As official support had been withdrawn at the end of 2012, M-Sport Ford continued privately with Qatar money and proven car but with unproven young drivers. Ostberg was the most experienced one while Novikov was known to be fast but accident-prone. In second Qatar team was one Belgian Thierry Neuville. Having driven for Citroen Junior team in 2012, he only had one full season behind him and thus it was a great surprise when he began to outpace just about everyone. Apparently Fiesta WRC suited him very well and in his newly found form, Thierry claimed very impressive second in the championship, which prompted Hyundai to sign him for 2014.

Changes
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In the championship structure, old Production and S2000 Championships were dropped and replaced by WRC-2 and WRC-3. These were not exactly direct replacements as WRC-2 more or less combined both PWRC and SWRC, being open to both A2 and A3 cars. Thus it was no wonder that it attracted healthy number of entrants and though not always hotly contested, is worthy of it's Championship recognition.

WRC-3, which is 2WD category only, was more of an oddity. There were no less than five rallies where there were no entries at all in this category and in every rally there were less than ten finishers, meaning that every finisher scored points. Whether this is down to newness of the category or it's downright lack of appeal remains to be seen in the coming years but for 2013, it should have been a Cup, not a Championship.

In calendar, the only change besides event order was rotation of New Zealand out and Australia back in.

New cars
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The new car of the year was Volkswagen's Polo R WRC. And what a car it was, finishing second in it's first rally and winning in it's only second rally. Though not as successful as likes of Citroen C4, Lancia Stratos or Lancia Delta S4 (which all won their first rally), that's still a record that is shared by legendary Audi quattro back in 1981.

Admittedly, Volkswagen is a big company with potentially tremendous resources and all of 2012 to test and develop their car so it was no surprise that their car would be good. But good enough to challenge and beat Citroen that had dominated WRC for years? Car was not only fast but also very reliable, suffering only from slight hitches in early season.

Sebastien Ogier
(Click picture to see larger version in a pop-up window)
2013 FIA World Champions: Sebastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia Click picture to see larger version in a pop-up window
Drivers scoring their
first win
  D. Sordo Castillo (Deutschland)
first drivers' point
  B. Bouffier (Monte Carlo)
  S. Wiegand (Monte Carlo)
  E. Lappi (Portugal)
  E. Evans (Sardinia)
  R. Kubica (Sardinia)
  N. Quinn (Australia)
  R. Dumas (Alsace)
first stage win
  J. Hanninen (Monte Carlo)
  B. Bouffier (Monte Carlo)
  A. Mikkelsen (Acropolis)
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