Mark Webber definitely wants to come back to WRC next year

Mark Webber definitely wants to come back to WRC next year

Mark Webber

Mark Webber was a guest reporter for Red Bull TV once again in 2017. This time the former Formula 1 and Porsche driver was at Rally Italia Sardegna and witnessed Ott Tänak win his first victory.

After that, the Australian shared his opinion on the race with his hosts.

“I had a fantastic time in Sardinia as Red Bull TV guest reporter. I was only there for a few days, but we managed to pack a lot into it. This was the first time I have ever been to the island, so it was exciting to discover some new territory.”

Mark Webber“First impressions? It’s a beautiful place…but very dry. It’s pretty harsh for driving, but the coastline is absolutely spectacular. I got a great view because we did a bit of stand-up paddling on Thursday. You can see just how clear the water is all the through to the bottom and it was amazing to look at some of the old buildings: wrecked castles that are still in place.”

“Once the rally started we were really busy, but another amazing experience I had was getting a quick drive in a Lancia Delta Integrale with Miki Biasion, who was World Rally Champion in 1988 and 1989”

“It was fantastic to experience a car that’s really formed a part of the sport’s history: proper old-school.”

“Both myself and Miki drove it around Alghero, the town where the rally was held. It was a proper bit of kit, which used to be driven by Didier Auriol. There’s a great old-school feel to that car: you drive along and at first it doesn’t feel like there’s that much power, then suddenly – bang! It’s all there. Believe it or not, that was actually the first time I’ve driven a rally car, so to do it in such an iconic car was very special. The most amazing thing about that car was that it was so competitive for so long, and it’s an era that I love: I was growing up in the 1980s and that was the period when I first became interested in motorsport, so great memories…”

“And I’ve got to say, we certainly picked a good one for the live stage on Red Bull TV!”

61“SS13…unlucky for some”

“I was standing by the side of the road when Hayden [Paddon] came past with the back of the car on fire: what can I say? This was a great opportunity for him but he was unlucky and made a mistake: that’s just the luck of the draw sometimes. And then he had another accident on the final day: a tough event for the crew, definitely.”

“Look, he wasn’t the only one. Kris Meeke came into the rally as one of the favorites but he was out on the first day. It looks like it’s a narrow window on the Citroen, it looks very hard to get on top of. And then it starts to spiral, then there’s another crash, and of a sudden, the momentum and inertia are out of the whole program on your side of the garage so to speak, for Kris.”

64“Every driver goes through these things”

“You need to be a strong character, clearly. Really look back at how did he get himself in this situation, in a positive way. They obviously believed in him at the start of the season. So clearly there is something there which needs to be tapped into, the speed and the talent. The rally, for me, is such a driver formula because there’s just so many opportunities between the driver and the co-driver to make an error. And mind management is an important part of that, in terms of how you come back from negative situations.”

“Ott Tänak didn’t really make any mistakes: he had a great run and that’s how he won. He’s come close before but this one was really deserved. He took the rally lead on our live stage and you could see from watching him there just how on he was. Very clean, very neat, very controlled. That’s two wins for M-Sport on the trot now, so they’ve clearly come up with a car that can do the business.”

“The stage winner on our live stage was Esapekka Lappi. He’s obviously made the most of the opportunity to step up to the main category from WRC2, so fair play to him. I think he benefited from a bit of road sweeping at the start. But he got it done when he needed to. I’m sure we’ll be seeing more of him.”

“Most of all these cars are just amazing to watch”

“It’s obviously not quite at the level of the Group B era. Then the cars were at their fiercest. But it’s still very, very rewarding for drivers, who’ve got something to hang on to again. The noise: they just sound sensational. It’s a nice tonic in this modern era of motorsport where there’s generally a lot of restrictions on things to make them slower and safer.”

“It’s been amazing to be a guest reporter for two rallies this year. I don’t think I’m going to have time to do anymore this season. But I definitely want to come back next year. Something I’d also like to do now is trying a rally car for myself on a stage. The blast up the seafront in the Delta doesn’t count! I’d love just to go to a pretty straightforward stage and have a real feel for the cars: they’re awesome.”