Former Super Mod
- Aug 11, 2016
Round One of the AOR Rally league season three will take place in Monte Carlo, where the slippery surface will provide a tough test for the drivers in both the Pro and World Championships.
The Monte Carlo Rally is set in the alpine mountains of Western Europe, which is known for its icy tarmac roads and perilous drops throughout the course. This makes the Monte Carlo notoriously difficult to complete at all, let alone to set a quick time. Last season there were twenty four drivers unfortunate enough to fall victim of the harshness of the Monte Carlo Rally out of eighty one, working out at over a quarter of the drivers in total. Interestingly, none of these drivers qualified for the World Championship at the end of the season, highlighting the calibre of the tier one drivers.
The specific course selected for the drivers to complete this season is the Vallée descendante course. It is much tighter than the Pra d'Alart course which was run last season, which means that there should be the added potential for driver errors- especially during the high speed sections of the course. Essential to the Monte Carlo Rally is the feeling the driver has in the car with the grip levels on the road, and the drivers will have to keep immense concentration to react to the changing surfaces that the Monte Carlo event offers on DiRT Rally. Mercifully, the more modern cars that the drivers will have at their disposal this season should help to combat the changing surfaces with increased mechanical grip compared to the Group A cars of last season.
Last season it was the imperious @Nico who managed to claim the victory in Monte Carlo, and he will be returning this season among all of last season's challengers to defend his title for the second successive season. The challenger that was able to get the closest to him in the championship was @EpilepticToast , the victor of the final rally of the season in Wales. Here follows an interview session with the Canadian driver about the upcoming season and Monte Carlo Rally.
Q- After taking second place in season two with a win at the final round in Wales, what does it take to be successful in AOR DiRT?
A- To be successful in AOR's Dirt Rally league, I'd say you obviously need full concentration/ no distractions on every stage and also fair bit of practice for testing blind corner limits. With the format being a 6 stage sprint rally each round, it is often about staying on the very edge of the car's capabilities without mistakes if you hope to place well in this competitive league. It really helps to identify notorious rally ending areas within the stages so that you can back off a bit in these places if necessary. I sometimes go on recces in the 60's cars and pickup on small details at a slower speed if the location isn't familiar.
What challenge will the more modern 2000s cars provide comparative to the older Group A cars ran last season?
The modern 2000's cars are in general much easier to drive than Group A cars but they require a different style to be fast with. They generally feel much more "floaty" on the suspension which helps in some of the locations but can feel a bit strange and unstable in others. In the group A Lancia it was often input induced oversteer that really helped corner speed, if you do too much of that in the 2000's though you start scrubbing corner speed so it is helpful to keep the back end more in line. From the limited driving I've done in them, I prefer the Focus to the Citroën for now as the Citroën takes quite a while to get comfortable with while the Ford is great out of the box, however the Citroën does seem to be a bit faster once broken in.
Last season you finished 20 seconds off the lead in fourth at the Monte Carlo rally, how do you rate your chances of moving on to the podium this season with different stages to complete?
I think I need to work on my tarmac skills a bit more to be hopeful of any improvement on that result in Monte from S2, understeer often catches me off guard on the tarmac stages so it will be key to have a predictable feeling car here. I look forward to trying the other route of stages this season, hopefully they will have a nice flow to them also.
What rally are you looking forward to the most this season and why?
Definitely Rally Sweden, I love those snowy stages no matter what class of car it may be. It's always enjoyable with the ice sliding and a real thrill surrounded by the narrow snowbanks. Wales would have to be close behind after that awesome victory last season though.
Hopefully we'll be able to see a lot more from Epileptic Toast throughout the season, as he hopes to mount a championship challenge to @Nico and his other rivals. One place we’ll surely see lots more from him is the new highlights videos. In case you missed it, season three of the AOR DiRT league will now be featuring highlights of each event on @FisiFan91's YouTube channel. They will feature the important action from the World Championship, a round up from the Pro Championship, and the most spectacular crashes of the event. These highlights are going to be commentated by @Ali Kidd , who has commentated most noticeably for the PS4 F1 S12 Belgian GP, as well as many qualifying comparisons from the PS4 and XB1 leagues too. Ali is a driver in the Pro Championship, and here's what he had to say about this opportunity, and the upcoming season:
"I’m really looking forward to commentating. There’s some seriously good driving talent on show, particularly in the World Championship, so hopefully the highlights do those guys justice. Obviously rally isn’t the biggest form of Motorsport compared to F1 and so on, but the response to the AOR leagues has been insane with so many sign-ups, so there should be a fairly sizeable audience. Driving wise I think the Pro Championship will be a massive challenge. It is nice to see a tiered system so I’m competing against people who are roughly my ability rather than racing against complete aliens. It’s a different challenge to the F1 leagues so I’m looking forward to it."
The World Championship for season three will be featuring team managers, to give a more competitive and professional feel to the league. This feature was announced during season two, and now we can finally announce the list of drivers and teams that will form the World Championship with their respective team managers. There are eighteen drivers, who have been separated into six teams. Each team will score points from all drivers participating at each event, which will keep the league as competitive as possible. The teams were selected by the team managers in an algorithm that was designed to keep the teams as fair as possible.
The first team is going to be an official AOR team, managed by moderator and DiRT co-ordinator @The Genius. Team AOR features an all Nordic line up, featuring @Lamoracke79, @Nitramsen, and spear headed by last season’s third overall, @Banz . Banz was able to pick up a win at the Swedish rally in season two, and showed great consistency to remain within the top five finishers throughout the season. Lamaracke was able to claim a PB tenth at the Monte Carlo Rally, but will want to be more consistently quick this season after dropping as low as 58th in the results at times. The final driver Nitramsen did show some good consistency, claiming a personal best 21st at Finland and never out of the top forty throughout the season. This combination of drivers managed 558 points last season, which will make them a competitive outfit in season three.
Next is a team ran by a driver in the World Championship, who will be featuring as the highest ranking season two driver in his team. This team is Ford Motorsport, managed by DiRT co-ordinator @Race Fanatic. The other drivers in this team are @AddictivePenguin and @Jarod. Both Race Fanatic and Addictive Pengiun were consistently towards the front of the order last season, and have both shown enough pace for podium results in season three, with a fourth place for Penguin in Finland and a third place for Race Fanatic at Monte Carlo. Jarod is a strong third driver for Ford Motorsport, shown by three top twenty positions in rallies last season. At 683 total points scored for last season, Ford Motorsport can be considered one of the favourites for success this season.
Like the previous team, the team leader is racing for his own team, although he is the second highest ranked driver from season two in his team. This team is Japp Motorsport, managed by DiRT co-ordinator @Tigerkart_22. Their lead driver is @C-FOGARTY, and the team is completed by @RC Waltcynt. Both C-Fogarty and Tigerkart were on the fringes of the top ten throughout last season, both able to break through on occasion, with two PB results of 6th for C-Fogarty and a singular 10th for Tigerkart in Greece. RC Waltcynt was less consistently at the pace of his new teammates, but did manage a personal best 14th at the Monte Carlo Rally. Over the course of season two a total of 489 points were scored by these drivers, which is the lowest of the six teams. However, various DNS results were scored by these drivers last season, which will give them hope of more points to come in season three.
The team managed by the co-ordinator @DemoN F1 will be ran as a tribute to a rally legend, named McRae Rally. This team features the only champion of the AOR Rally league’s history, @Nico. Unquestionably, his presence makes this team a contender for the constructor’s title with his incredible and unrivalled record of results from past seasons. Alongside Nico will be @JordanMcGonigal and @Edwinsimo, who both showed good consistency during season two, with a PB result of 20th and 24th respectively for both drivers in the final rally at Wales. 699 points were amassed b McRae rally during season two, the highest of any World Championship team, with amazingly 564 of them points coming from Nico.
The next team is pessimistically called Team Lamp Post, managed by the final DiRT Co-ordinator, @RBOS_00 . His team consists of @EpilepticToast, @TRL Axeman and @alexukr. As you now know, Eplileptic toast was second overall last season, having claimed a win at Rally Wales. TRL Axeman was a regular high scorer in around the top twenty, and managed an 11th position in Greece. Whereas alexukr was a little less consistent, but did manage an 18th position in Monte Carlo. Alexukr’s progress will be interesting this season, as he makes the switch to using Playstation VR to complete each event. During season two, the team lamp post members claimed 687 points, which is particularly close to the McRae Rally team. Could we see a huge constructor’s battle here?
And finally, we have the only team not managed by a co-ordinator, but by volunteer @VBR Swift. His team is named VBR E-Sport, and he will himself be driving for his team, alongside @tha_Sup3rN0va and @JasonMcrae. Supernova secured a best 4th position at Greece last season, and never left the top fifteen. Swift managed to stay within the top twenty all season too after joining from round two, with two sixth place results. Jason McRae had a slow start to last season, but found form in the final three rounds, and managed to claim an 8th position in the final event at Wales.
So far, all of the five teams to announce their car choice for the forthcoming season have selected to opt with the Ford, which could indicate that there is a slight performance difference between the two cars, or the drivers feel more comfortable with the characteristics of the Ford. The remaining team to announce their team is the official AOR team, which will be announcing their selection via the official twitter account soon!
It looks set to be a very eventful and exciting round one and season for the new World Championship, but now it’s time to give the Pro Championship some of the limelight!
With 79 sign ups to the Pro Championship, the bragging rights look set to be hotly contested this season, as the race to acquire a super license is reset. The majority of the drivers have selected the Subaru for this season, similarly to season two, but there is still a large number of drivers competing that have selected the Ford. Favourites in the Pro Championship this season are likely to be the contenders that joined during season two, which didn’t give them enough time to acquire a super license. This is true for @Sisuvoima10 , who managed to claim second position in the Tarmac rally of Germany, which could bode well for him in Monte Carlo. There are various drivers in the Pro Championship that will be looking to improve their pace and/or consistency throughout this season, which is evident by looking at the results table from season two by observing the way in which drivers obtained their points. @DemoN F1 for instance managed to claim all of his points with an 11th place at Monte Carlo, before embarking on a horrendous run of results.
If anything, the talent of the Pro Championship drivers are a compliment to the World Championship drivers, but throughout the course of the season the Pro Championship drivers will have the potential to be chosen by the World Championship team managers as a wildcard to race for their team.
So now it’s time for the action to commence, as we embark on the most exciting season of the AOR Rally league yet in Monte Carlo. There’s still time to sign up to the Pro Championship in time for the first round, and the sign ups will be open over the entirety of the season.
You can find the main discussion threads for the World Championship and the Pro Championship via these links.