As predicted yesterday, the soon-to-be-renamed Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team has confirmed that Dani Sordo will join its squad in 2013, returning to the French brand with which he made his full-time debut in 2006 and drove with for five seasons until he was pushed out in favour of Sébastien Ogier at the end of 2010.
A lot of cobblers is now being talked about Sordo being the best man for the job. He isn’t. The Spaniard is a splendid fellow but he is an asphalt specialist in a series which, in 2013, has very few asphalt events scheduled.
The confusing thing is that Sébastien Loeb is also expected to be in the squad for the asphalt events on the calendar… and he is significantly faster than Sordo on paved roads. The only comfort must be that one or other driver will score valuable manufacturers’ points in Germany, France, Spain and Monte Carlo when the de facto team leader and loose surface specialist Mikko Hirvonen will struggle.
Nevertheless, in Mexico and Argentina it is sure that Citroën, Total and Abu Dhabi will reap a huge PR reward from having a driver in the squad who can speak in the native tongue. Spain might not have any money in its economy but Latin America does, so you can be sure that Sordo will be working hard.
It’s hard to put a value on these things, but if you want to know the value of the Citroën seat to a driver who can go fast on both gravel and asphalt, just ask Kris Meeke or Mads Østberg…