Currently reading: World Rally Championship 2009
Relive the season

Five rounds in to this year's World Rally Championship all bets were off. Sebastien Loeb had won every event at the wheel of his Citroen C4 WRC, and looked to be cruising to another world title.

Not so fast. If anyone needs reminding how quickly fortunes can change in the WRC, they need look no further than this year's title fight, which was settled on the final round after an unexpected fightback by Mikko Hirvonen and Ford.

World Rally Championship 2009 season in pics

After those five wins, Loeb didn't take another victory for six months. He made uncharacteristic errors and crashed out of events, suffered tyre problems and was excluded on one occasion. Suddenly, his competitive life was tougher than ever before.

The final event, Rally GB, became a two-way dash for the crown, with the winner of the event sealing the drivers' title (Citroen wrapped up the manufacturers' crown with greater ease).

Loeb delivered again - but it was enthralling stuff, as Hirvonen finally emerged as a credible challenger, to the extent that only one other man won an event, Ford's Jari-Matti Latvala.

What a shame, then, that such a gripping battle was so poorly served with television and general media coverage. The WRC's promoters do appear to be addressing this aspect, but progress is slow and painful.

The decision not to adopt Super 2000 style machinery immediately may be the only way of keeping Citroen and Ford involved in the long-term, but - for now - the success of the rival Intercontinental Rally Challenge (IRC) in attracting manufacturers and coverage is seriously undermining the WRC's status as the premier rally series.

Just as the sport could do with a new champion to add some spice (not that anyone can blame Loeb for being the class of the field), so it could do with some added razzmatazz.

World Rally Championship 2009 season in pics

Drivers' points1 Sebastien Loeb 932 Mikko Hirvonen 923 Dani Sordo 644 Jari-Matti Latvala 415 Petter Solberg 356 Henning Solberg 337 Matthew Wilson 288 Sebastien Ogier 249 Federico Villagra 1610 Conrad Rautenbach 9

Manufacturers' points1 Citroen Total World Rally Team 1672 BP Ford World Rally Team1403 Stobart M-Sport Ford Rally Team 804 Citroën Junior Team 475 Munchi's Ford World Rally Team 23

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AndyRAC 27 December 2009

Re: World Rally Championship 2009

One of the problems is that to the general media and public, Motorsport is F1! Just look at the coverage of F1 on TV/Radio/Papers, apart from MotoGP very little else Motorsport is shown on Terrestrial. And that is a problem, only the dedicated fans know where the other Motorsports are shown.

As for Rallying, well the powers that be have continually shot themselves in the foot regarding rules, regs, rally formats, etc Meaning that what used to be a 'must see; sport is now nothing but. Manufacturers aren't going to join a sport with little media exposure, are they?

kcrally 27 December 2009

Re: World Rally Championship 2009

theres very litlle sport of any kind on terrestial tv. 99% of sport of any kind is on pay for tv channels, and motorsport is no exception.

73henny 27 December 2009

Re: World Rally Championship 2009

I used to be an rally fan but for me the excitment has gone. It used to be filled with road cars modified to rally. So you could go and buy a replica in the local dealship. The cars you mention above - Citroen don't make a 'hot' C4 let alone a 4wd version. Ford's Focus RS is 2wd so the connection between road and rally has gone, and they are the only 2 teams with a chance of winning a rally. Back in the McRae - Makinen - Sainz etc era the drivers' were flamboyant - now they're all dour.

The cars are over-engineered now. Mitsubishi & Subaru knew what they were doing when they left.