WRC »

Q&A: Tony Mason - EXCLUSIVE.

by Rob Wilkins


TO HEAR THE INTERVIEW IN FULL WITH TONY MASON: CLICK HERE


1972 RAC winning co-driver, Tony Mason was once again at the Castle Combe Rallyday event in the UK last month and on stage interviewing the assembled stars for the viewing public. Crash.net Radio managed to catch up with the former Top Gear star and got his thoughts on that event and the WRC in general, prior to the recent two WRC asphalt events in Catalunya and Corsica...



Crash.net:
Tony, you have been involved with the Rallyday event now for a number of years. Just how much has it come on since the first one back in 2001?

Tony Mason:
Immensely. The first one was pretty good and the guys that run it - Darin Frow and Jo and Brian Stubbings, put in a phenomenal amount of work. It is like an amateur organisation - it is not a great company organising it. The first one was very, very efficiently run and everything else. It was a bit smaller and it wasn't supported by such stars names in terms of manufacturers or drivers. But it was really very good from the beginning and each year it has just moved on a few steps more. Since then we have attracted such immense names, like one of the guests today, Hannu Mikkola - the greatest driver ever in the world of rallying. He is here and each year we have had the Waldegard's, the Blomqvist's and all the Swedes and Finns and of course two years ago we had dear Colin McRae. We have always had lots of very good guests and it is getting better every year without doubt.

Crash.net:
What have you made of the WRC this year, because at the moment there is quite a close battle going on for the title between Marcus Gronholm and Sebastien Loeb?

TM:
It certainly is and the last rally, which was in New Zealand, Marcus beat Sebastien by only three tenths of a second, which is unheard of really. It was a tiny, tiny margin - it was like Formula 1 nearly, tenths of a second. It is tight. There are five events still to go and three of them are tarmac and two of them are gravel, which tends to put it slightly in Loeb's favour because he is a tarmac specialist originally - although both of them are very adept at both skills. It is going to go right to the end. It is exciting because it will probably be in Britain on the Wales Rally GB that the result of the World Rally Championship is decided, which it has been in several other years and it offers a really good thing for Britain.

Crash.net:
Gronholm has announced he is going to retire at the end of this season, will that make him extra determined to try and take his third world title?

TM:
I think it will. Now he has announced his retirement I think he will go very, very strongly to go out on a high and to be world champion three times, which he would like to do. He has done it twice so far. So yes - and of course Sebastien Loeb has won it three times but he wants to do it four times. I hope Marcus does win it in the Ford. I really do, because I am a Ford man of course, as you know from my background in world rallying. I hope he wins it and as he is retiring it would be very fitting and nice should he do.

Crash.net:
Do you think Mikko Hirvonen is ready to step up and lead the BP Ford WRT?

TM:
He is a good driver and he has come on immensely well this year. I think Marcus has helped him quite a lot. He has put in some good performances and if he got the position of being the number one driver he would probably raise his game a little bit. It is a difficult though and I have to say on the results and on the times this year, Gronholm and Loeb have been a step above everybody else. But yes, I think he could carry the team.

Crash.net:
Who do you think Ford are considering to replace Gronholm?

TM:


Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Tony Mason and Matthew Wilson
Matthew Wilson, Stobart Ford Focus
Tony Mason on stage at the Rallyday 2006
Tony Jardine and Amy Williams. Wales Rally GB 2013
Tony Jardine and Amy Williams. Wales Rally GB 2013
Tony Jardine and Amy Williams. Wales Rally GB 2013
Tony Jardine and Amy Williams. Wales Rally GB 2013
Sebastien Ogier. Group B Audi Quattro A2. Castle Combe. Rallyday 2013 [Pic credit: Andy Crayford - Crayfordmedia.com]
Sebastien Ogier. Group B Audi Quattro A2. Castle Combe. Rallyday 2013 [Pic credit: Andy Crayford - Crayfordmedia.com]
Sebastien Ogier. Group B Audi Quattro A2. Castle Combe. Rallyday 2013 [Pic credit: Andy Crayford - Crayfordmedia.com]
Castle Combe. Rallyday 2013. [Pic credit: Andy Crayford - Crayfordmedia.com]
Castle Combe. Rallyday 2013. [Pic credit: Andy Crayford - Crayfordmedia.com]
Sebastien Ogier presents the inaugural `Brian Stubbings Spirit of Rallyday` Trophy to Castrol`s Donald Smith. Castle Combe. Rallyday 2013 [Pic credit: Andy Crayford - Crayfordmedia.com]
Sebastien Ogier presents the inaugural `Brian Stubbings Spirit of Rallyday` Trophy to Castrol`s Donald Smith. Castle Combe. Rallyday 2013 [Pic credit: Andy Crayford - Crayfordmedia.com]
Rob Wilkins interviews Sebastien Ogier. Castle Combe. Rallyday 2013 [Pic credit: Andy Crayford - Crayfordmedia.com]
Sebastien Ogier and Olympic skeleton Gold Medallist Amy Williams MBE. Castle Combe. Rallyday 2013 [Pic credit: Andy Crayford - Crayfordmedia.com]
Phil Collins. Castle Combe. Rallyday 2013 [Pic credit: Andy Crayford - Crayfordmedia.com]
Stig Blomqvist. Castle Combe. Rallyday 2013 [Pic credit: Andy Crayford - Crayfordmedia.com]

Start the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register before adding your comments.

Although the administrators and moderators of this website will attempt to keep all objectionable comments off these pages, it is impossible for us to review all messages. All messages express the views of the poster, and neither Crash Media Group nor Crash.Net will be held responsible for the content of any message. We do not vouch for or warrant the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any message, and are not responsible for the contents of any message. If you find a message objectionable, please contact us and inform us of the problem or use the [report] function next to the offending post. Any message that does not conform with the policy of this service can be edited or removed with immediate effect.




© 1999 - 2014 Crash Media Group

The total or partial reproduction of text, photographs or illustrations is not permitted in any form.