The man most in demand after Ford’s WRX exit

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Ford is backing out of World RallyX

The afternoon of October 4 2017 was pivotal for next season’s World Rallycross Championship. Within a matter of hours, Peugeot and Ford laid out their future.

In short, Peugeot is staying, Ford is not.

While uncertainty has hung over Peugeot’s rallycross future in recent months, all indications pointed towards Ford remaining in World RX. Although Ken Block’s Hoonigan Racing Division hadn’t had the second term it intended, on the back of winning three events with the Focus RS RX in 2016 and finishing third overall in both the drivers’ and teams’ championships, Block admitted to Motorsport News in August that focus had already shifted to developments for 2018.

Ford’s departure is a big shame for World RX, but the move has also thrown a curveball into the driver market. Norwegian Andreas Bakkerud, who has scored all but one of the Hoonigan squad’s 11 podiums since the start of 2016, is at the end of a two-year contract but had been expected to be retained for 2018.

However, now a free agent, the 26-year-old is one of the most desirable drivers in the paddock. It would be mightily surprising if his phone hasn’t been ringing off the hook in the last week.

Bakkerud has won with every Supercar team he has raced for in his career (LD Motorsports, OlsbergsMSE and Hoonigan) in cars with a variety of technical specifications. Assuming that Peugeot will maintain Red Bull backing, the same going for Mattias Ekstrom’s EKS squad if it continues next year, as a Monster Energy athlete an energy drink clash may play a part in Bakkerud’s next move.

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With no Ford backing, where does Bakkerud head next?

Despite a Monster link with Petter Solberg’s PSRX team, World champion Johan Kristoffersson is expected to remain with Solberg next year and even if he didn’t, Bakkerud and Solberg are hardly the best of friends. While they have been competitive in 2017, Bakkerud is unlikely to move to either MJP Racing or STARD, squads that don’t have works-support, the latter also requiring budget to obtain a seat.

There are murmurs in the paddock of potential new teams, but there is a confirmed new outfit that has the ‘correct’ energy drink ties and is in need of rallycross experience. Guerlain Chicherit’s GCK squad will campaign a pair of Prodrive-built Renault Megane Supercars next season. While Prodrive clearly knows all about creating title-winning equipment, an experienced rallycross driver who has already helped to develop cars would be a big asset.

GCK needs to learn the discipline too, and while Chicherit continues to progress as a driver, a proven winner alongside him would be a significant boost. Bakkerud and his spotter, Dave Mansfield, are just the package that GCK needs to get up to speed quickly and Bakkerud’s full-of-life outgoing personality could fit Chicherit’s bill perfectly.

World RX star Bakkerud ponders WRC2 for 2018 after Ken Block’s exit

By Hal Ridge – Autosport

World Rallycross Championship event winner Andreas Bakkerud is interested in trying the World Rally Championship’s WRC2 class after Ken Block’s Hoonigan Racing Division team’s RX exit left him drive-less.

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Bakkerud had expected to remain with Block’s Ford Performance-backed squad for a third term next year, but Hoonigan announced last month it was withdrawing from World RX.

Though 26-year-old Norwegian Bakkerud is still focused on becoming World RX champion, he is eyeing a season in WRC2 to hone his skills if he cannot find an alternative RX seat.

He has links with WRC champion team M-Sport as it built the Ford RX car.

“I’ve spoken with almost every team [in World RX], and not many of them know what they are doing next year yet,” Bakkerud told Autosport.

“We’re still in November, next season doesn’t start until April, so it’s still a little early to get anything signed or ready, but we are definitely working on it.

“I’m looking at everything, and looking at myself and what I can improve.

“For me, fighting against [Sebastien] Loeb, Petter [Solberg] and Mattias [Ekstrom] in World RX, they are not only great drivers but they are very good at setting up cars.

“I’ve actually been wondering about calling [M-Sport team principal] Malcolm Wilson to speak about doing a full season of WRC2 next year and wait for the right time for me in rallycross.

“I’m considering everything right now.”

Bakkerud sampled a Ford Fiesta R5 rally car for the first time at Castle Combe’s Rally Day in September.

“Rallying would be good because of the seat time, to help me get better on my weaker sides,” he said.

“But staying in rallycross is my main aim; I want to drive in the full world championship, but it needs to be on certain terms.

“I need to find a winning team that has the same goals and targets as me, and also be looking to electric rallycross too.”

The double European RX Super1600 champion believes he is yet to have the best car at his disposal in World RX, and had been talking about a long-term deal with Block’s Ford-supported squad before it withdrew.

“I haven’t been in a 100% winning car, yet. I think we had a very good car with OlsbergsMSE back in 2014, but I wasn’t ready,” said Bakkerud.

“Driving a lot of cars that haven’t been 100% ready, I’ve learnt a bunch and I think that’s one of my strong sides, that I can drive a car that’s not 100% to its limits very quickly.

“It’s a shame [Ford withdrew] really because I think it’s small stuff we could have done to be able to win, but we just didn’t have enough time to improve and to show it. But I think the base is very good.”

“Me and Ken were speaking about five to 10 years, we spoke about a long-term contract.

“I really want to stay in rallycross, so it was a big disappointment that I’m not going to continue with Ken Block.”

Designing onboarding experiences that increase employee retention

Designing onboarding experiences that increase employee retention:

For many companies, the most pressing goal when designing onboarding experiences is to get new hires trained on their job and company procedures as quickly as possible so they can hit the ground running. From the employee perspective, however, this approach may not align to what they really need and want. Of course, new employees want to learn how to do their jobs and do them well. But they also want to feel welcomed and part of a team, while also looking ahead to opportunities for growth. As we design onboarding experiences, it’s important to take a holistic view of the employee’s experience, meeting the needs of both the organizations and the employee.

(Via Kineo blog)

3 critical must do’s for a modern L&D department

3 critical must do’s for a modern L&D department:

If we’ve said it once, we’ve said it one hundred times – technology is changing, and it’s taking the elearning industry with it. As improvements and upgrades continue to be made to existing tools, and new tools are becoming available, L&D pros are beginning to pivot their goals to take elearning to the next level. To quote the late department store magnate John Wanamaker, “half my advertising is wasted, I just don’t know which half.” Until now, L&D pros have found themselves in a similar position – knowing that something is working, but not being able to measure what, exactly, that is. Now, however, with advances in analytics, reporting, and tools such as xAPI, L&D pros are able to home in on the performance and activities of learners to pinpoint modules and tools that are generating success, or that could use a bit of tweaking.

(Via Kineo blog)

Apple announces App of the Year, Game of the Year and Best of 2017 top charts

Apple announces App of the Year, Game of the Year and Best of 2017 top charts:

Apple has announced its Best of 2017 apps and games, this year utilizing the Today cards in the iOS 11 App Store to feature the winners. Apple says its app of the year for iPhone is Calm, a meditation and sleep app, and Splitter Critters is 2017’s iPhone game of the year. Apple says the title ‘radiates imagination and originality’.

For iPad, Apple has chosen Affinity Photo, the desktop-class photo editor, and the game Hidden Folks. It has also announced most popular apps, music, movies and more …

more…

(Via 9to5Mac)

The Best Gear for Holiday Hosting

The Best Gear for Entertaining this Christmas:

The Best Gear for Holiday Hosting

When family and friends arrive for longer stays, you’ll need a few extra supplies—especially if the spares you keep in the back of the linen closet are worn, or not sturdy enough for pint-sized guests. Keeping a few key comforts on hand will give your guests the independence to make themselves at home. We’ve collected some of our favorite bed, bath, and kitchen gear to help you anticipate common houseguest needs and make your home feel more inviting. Our picks reflect hundreds of hours of research and testing, and we’ve focused primarily on budget-friendly options. You probably don’t need everything on this list, but covering the basics will allow you and your guests to focus on what matters: spending time together.

(Via Wirecutter: Reviews for the Real World)

The Best Thunderbolt 3 and 2 Docks

The Best Thunderbolt 3 and 2 Docks:

The Best Thunderbolt 3 and 2 Docks
Photo: Michael Hession

After doing more than 40 hours of research and hands-on testing of 10 Thunderbolt 3 docks with more than $7,000 worth of high-end gear, we’ve determined that the best Thunderbolt 3 dock for Mac or PC owners who are looking to expand their Thunderbolt-equipped computer’s array of inputs and outputs—or just to make plugging in and unplugging more convenient—is Plugable’s Thunderbolt 3 Docking Station (officially named the TBT3-UDV). Most docks have a similar array of ports that perform identically, but our pick has five USB-A ports, more than any other dock except for our runner-up (which also has five), and a small footprint if you stand it vertically; it can charge a 13-inch MacBook Pro at full speed and is the most affordable full-featured dock you can buy.

(Via Wirecutter: Reviews for the Real World)

First look: Amazon Prime Video for Apple TV launches on tvOS App Store

First look: Amazon Prime Video for Apple TV launches on tvOS App Store:

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Six months after being announced, Amazon Prime Video for Apple TV has debuted on the tvOS App Store, meaning subscribers will be able to view hits like "The Man in the High Castle," "The Big Sick," "Catastrophe," and "The Grand Tour" on Apple’s latest set-top boxes.

(Via AppleInsider – Frontpage News)

Spied: Two Jaguar I-Pace prototypes undergo testing

Jose Altoveros / Carpix for AutoIndustriya.com | December 06, 2017 09:52

Jaguar continues testing on upcoming all-electric I-Pace

Jaguar’s much anticipated first all-electric vehicle, the I-Pace, has once again been spotted undergoing road tests. This time however, there are two prototype units testing near the Nurgburgring. Unsurprsingly, both test mules still sport the green camouflage it was wearing before, hiding its production body.

 

Compared to the first time our spies saw the I-Pace, it appears as though not much has changed. The styling of the I-Pace has overall remained faithful to the concept previewed earlier. Curiously however, one prototype does have some wires dangling in front of the lower air intake. Furthermore, almost a half of it’s front bumper is covered by a different coloured camouflage.

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At the side, we do see some differences between the two prototypes. One was wearing larger, possibly 20-inch, wheels, Meanwhile, the other test mule was seen wearing smaller diamater wheels fitted with high profile tires. Not much can be said about the rear of both I-Pace test mules as they are still covered in camouflage. We do get a glimpse of the rear’s vent on the prototype with rougher camouflage. 

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The I-Pace is said to feature a 90-kWh battery pack capable of over of 500km of range on a single full-charge according to the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC). 90 minutes of charging with the 50-kW DC charger will already fill the battery up to 80-percent. Power comes from two electric motors which deliver a total of 400 PS. This allows the I-Pace to accelerate from 0-100km/h in just 4 seconds.

It was anticipated that I-Pace would make its possible debut before the end of 2017. However now that 2017 is about to come to a close, it’s earliest debut could be at the North American International Auto Show or at Geneva next year.