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Ogier wins fifth WRC title

The championship ends at the dirt road Kennards Hire Rally Australia which is based in Coffs Harbour on 16 – 19 November.

 Courtesy of Red Bull Racing

 

Frenchman into second on all-time list after FIA World Rally Championship win.


A finely-judged third place at Dayinsure Wales Rally GB guaranteed a fifth consecutive FIA World Rally Championship for Sébastien Ogier with the 33-year-old Frenchman moving to second in the all-time rankings behind nine-time champion Sébastien Loeb.

Victory for team-mate Elfyn Evans was his maiden WRC triumph, made all the sweeter as he achieved it on home soil. The Welshman became the first Briton to win the wet and muddy forest road event since Richard Burns in 2000.

Evans is the seventh different driver to win in a remarkably unpredictable season. He headed Thierry Neuville’s Hyundai i20 by 37.3sec after leading for virtually the entire four-day, 304.36km event. Ogier finished a further 7.9sec behind.

A tense last leg culminated at the Power Stage finale alongside Llyn Brenig reservoir. Title rival Thierry Neuville charged to fastest time to claim maximum bonus points, while Ogier crept into a points-paying position by 0.1sec to seal the title with a round to spare.

“I had big emotions on the finish line,” said Ogier. “It’s been a tough year and we’ve all had to work very hard. It’s so amazing to be champion with M-Sport World Rally Team.”

Evans’ victory offset the crushing disappointment of losing by 0.7sec to Neuville in Argentina six months ago in the third-closest finish in history.

“I’m very grateful to everyone who has stuck by me through all these years. A lot of people have supported me and this win is for them,” said the 28-year-old former British champion.

To seal a remarkable weekend for Ogier and Evans, their M-Sport team lifted the manufacturers’ title for the first time since 2007. Their privately-run squad toppled three of the world’s biggest car companies after finishing on the podium on every round to date.

Andreas Mikkelsen did his best to relegate Ogier to assist team-mate Neuville. The Norwegian overhauled Jari-Matti Latvala to finish fourth, 4.6sec off the podium. Latvala struggled with the handling of his Toyota Yaris and finished half a second behind.

The championship ends at the dirt road Kennards Hire Rally Australia which is based in Coffs Harbour on 16 – 19 November.

Leading positions
1. E Evans / D Barritt GBR Ford Fiesta 2hr 57min 00.6sec
2. T Neuville / N Gilsoul BEL Hyundai i20 + 37.3sec
3. S Ogier / J Ingrassia FRA Ford Fiesta + 45.2sec
4. A Mikkelsen / A Jaeger NOR Hyundai i20 + 49.8sec
5. J-M Latvala / M Anttila FIN Toyota Yaris + 50.3sec
6. O Tänak / M Järveoja EST Ford Fiesta + 1min 02.3sec

Championship positions
1. S Ogier 215pts
2. T Neuville 183pts
3. O Tänak 169pts

 

Post photo:

Elfyn Evans (GB), Thierry Neuville (BEL), Sebastien Ogier (FRA) celebrate the podium during FIA World Rally Championship in Deeside, Great Britain on 29.10.2018

 

Courtesy of Red Bull Racing

 


 




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Ogier closes on fifth crown

Ogier has been unbeatable in the muddy forests of Dayinsure Wales Rally GB for the past four seasons.

 

M-Sport chase two titles in British forests at penultimate 2017 WRC race.

 

 

Sébastien Ogier stands on the verge of a fifth consecutive FIA World Rally Championship title in Britain this weekend.

Ogier has been unbeatable in the muddy forests of Dayinsure Wales Rally GB for the past four seasons.

A record fifth victory would secure another drivers’ title and complete a dream double on home soil for M-Sport World Rally Team.

It would also clinch a first manufacturers’ crown since 2007 for the privately-run British squad over the might of three of the world’s biggest car firms.

“This could be a very special event for the team but we can’t think too much about that. We just need to focus on enjoying the rally and delivering the best performance we can,” said the Ford Fiesta driver.

Ogier holds a 37-point lead over team-mate Ott Tänak with the British fixture and next month’s final round at Kennards Hire Rally Australia (16 – 19 November) remaining. Thierry Neuville is a further point behind.

The permutations are complex but to keep the championship alive until Australia, Estonian Tänak must score at least seven points more than Ogier this weekend while Hyundai Motorsport’s Neuville must take eight more.

It’s a tough task against a driver who has been so dominant in Wales for the last four years.

Ogier also has the advantage of starting first in Friday’s opening leg, a position which secures the best grip on the muddy tracks.

He added, “It’s one of the most challenging rallies of the year and there is a real art to judging the grip levels through the forests. It’s an event that takes a while to get to grips with, quite literally, but I have to say that I now feel at home on the Welsh stages.”

A fifth drivers’ title would promote Ogier to second in the all-time rankings. However, he would still be some distance behind Sébastien Loeb, who won nine in a row between 2004 and 2012 and will be in Britain to follow the fortunes of his fellow countryman.

The battle for the manufacturers’ title is simpler. If one of M-Sport’s three nominated drivers – Ogier, Tänak or Elfyn Evans – finishes in Britain, irrespective of the overall position, it will secure the four points that are required.

“It’s hard to find the words to describe just what a momentous achievement we are on the verge of securing this week,” said team principal Malcolm Wilson.

“But it’s not done yet and we cannot forget just what a challenging event Wales Rally GB can be. The changeable weather, unpredictable grip and long days make it one of the most demanding events of the year.”

The Deeside-based rally starts on Thursday evening and finishes on Sunday afternoon after 21 speed tests covering 304.36km.


 

Courtesy of Red Bull Racing

 

 


 

 

 





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Andreas Mikkelsen joins Hyundai

Andreas Mikkelsen joins Hyundai to drive I20 WRC car for final three 2017 rounds.

 

Andreas Mikkelsen joins Hyundai to drive I20 WRC car for final three 2017 rounds.

 

Andreas will partner Thierry Neuville and Dani Sordo at next month’s RallyRACC Catalunya – Rally de España (5 – 8 October), with Hayden Paddon dropped for the mixed surface encounter.

Hyundai said its lineup for Dayinsure Wales Rally GB (26 – 29 October) and Kennards Hire Rally Australia (16 – 19 November) would differ from Spain but did not provide details.

It is likely Paddon will return, with Sordo missing out. Team principal Michel Nandan acknowledged the decision to make changes was not easy, but necessary in an effort to rekindle its manufacturers’ title hopes. Hyundai trails M-Sport World Rally Team by 64 points after poor performances at the most recent rounds in Finland and Germany.

“Discussions with Andreas have been ongoing since he was out of a drive but we had nothing to offer him, as our lineup was fixed,” he said.

“However, with us losing ground, we decided to re-evaluate the situation. We had an open discussion with all three of our crews and informed them of our decision to make this adjustment.”

Mikkelsen lost his full-time seat when Volkswagen Motorsport left the WRC at the end of 2016. He tested with Hyundai in Portugal in April, but speculation he would join its lineup soon after came to nothing.

Instead, he joined the Citroën Total Abu Dhabi squad, ushering in several updates to the troubled C3 car and driving three rallies, culminating in second place at last month’s ADAC Rallye Deutschland.

It is believed that Mikkelsen joining Hyundai for the final three rounds was conditional on being offered a longer-term deal for next season.

“It is a great team with some very talented people, and the Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC has proven itself to be a winning car on every surface,” he said.

“I had the chance to test on gravel earlier this year. I had a really positive feeling, which I am sure we will find again in these last three events of the season. My aim is to do all I can to help the team in the manufacturers’ championship.

“I have a great belief in them and the car, so I am super excited. Anders (co-driver Jaeger) and I are ready for this and we hope it will be the start of something more long-term.”


 

Post photo - Courtesy of Red Bull Racing

Andreas Mikkelsen (NOR) performs during FIA World Rally Championship 2016 Finland in Jyvaskyla on July 28, 2016


 




 


 

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Sébastien Ogier claim his fourth straight Monte-Carlo win

Sébastien Ogier start to defence WRC title with fourth straight Monte-Carlo win.

 

Frenchman begins WRC title defence with fourth straight Monte-Carlo win.

Sébastien Ogier eased through the final leg in the mountains above Monaco to claim his fifth Monte success in total by 2min 15.0sec in a Ford Fiesta World Rally Car.

It was a dream debut for the Frenchman with the M-Sport World Rally Team, for whom this was a first win since November 2012.

Jari-Matti Latvala finished second in a Toyota Yaris on the Japanese manufacturer’s return to the WRC after a 17-year absence.

Final day engine problems for Ott Tänak denied M-Sport a one-two as he slipped to third, a further 42.8sec behind.

Ogier took the lead late on Saturday’s penultimate leg when event-long leader Thierry Neuville broke his Hyundai i20 Coupe’s suspension after an impact.

With a comfortable gap, Ogier took no risks through the final snow-hit speed test over the famous Col de Turini.

“I was hoping to win but to take it from the first rally, after only one month together and with so little preparation, feels really amazing,” he said.

“The conditions didn’t make our life easy this weekend, starting first in the snow on day one and finishing with more and more snow.”

Latvala struggled to find a good rhythm initially but changes to his car’s set-up revitalised the Finn.

Third overnight became second when Ott Tänak dropped time with a broken ignition coil pack in his Fiesta and Latvala sped by.

With no service, Estonian Tänak worked furiously to make repairs and did enough to hold onto third, fending off Dani Sordo’s i20 Coupe with a spirited downhill drive to the finish of the last special stage in falling snow.

Craig Breen finished fifth in a Citroën DS 3 with Elfyn Evans completing the top six in another Fiesta.

The Welshman won three stages on Saturday to offset a disappointing start when he dropped several minutes in snow and ice.

More snow and ice are in store for competitors at the second round next month. Rally Sweden is based in Torsby on February 9-12.

Sebastien Ogier (FRA) competes during the FIA World Rally Championship 2017 in Monte Carlo, Monaco on January 21, 2017

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New WRC era is ready for blast-off in Monte-Carlo

The 2017 WRC will generate more TV content than ever. Over 12,000 hours were broadcast globally in 2016 to a cumulative audience of over 700 million people and this season offers even more for fans.


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The build-up and fever pitch expectation is almost over as this week’s Rallye Monte-Carlo (19 – 22 January) heralds the start of one of the most keenly-anticipated FIA World Rally Championship seasons in memory.

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Dynamic new-look World Rally Cars will echo through the mountains of the French Alps as four of the world’s biggest automotive manufacturers begin the fight for supremacy in motorsport’s toughest championship for production-based cars.

The 13-round series spans four continents in an 11-month global tour, encompassing extreme temperatures that can reach a scorching 35°C in Sardinia and plunge to a bone-chilling -25°C in the harsh Swedish winter.

Much is new for 2017, and WRC Promoter managing director Oliver Ciesla believes the powerful and aggressive cars, developed from a blank sheet of paper to upgraded regulations, will be the stars of the show.

“Our fans are going to love the 2017 WRC! Footage from pre-season testing shows just how exciting these new cars are. A more macho appearance and increased performance will bring smiles to fans’ faces, whether they are watching stage side or on television,” he said.

“There’s a hugely positive feeling throughout the WRC family as we head into the season. The series boasts big names from the automotive industry, and it’s a compliment to the championship’s development that they have chosen to showcase their cars in an environment that offers global visibility from January to November.

“What is so great is the feeling of unpredictability about 2017 because nobody knows which teams, which cars or which drivers will shine. New rules, such as the start order and revised Power Stage points, have been put in place to ensure down-to-the-wire competition and I’m sure we will see many thrilling battles,” he said.

The Teams
Toyota, the world’s biggest selling car manufacturer, returns to the WRC after a 17-year absence. The Japanese giant is joined by multiple champion Citroën, which is back after a year’s sabbatical. Ford, in the guise of the British M-Sport team, and Hyundai, runners-up in both the drivers’ and manufacturers’ series in 2016, complete a stellar line-up.

The Cars
Aggressive, loud and moody – they are the new lightweight World Rally Cars that will battle for tenths of a second on dirt, asphalt, snow and ice.

They are bigger everywhere with larger bumpers at the front and rear and extended door sills which increase the width and provide increased safety. Larger aero devices, and more of them, including a huge spoiler and diffuser at the rear and a front splitter add to the ‘bulldog’ look.

Beneath the bonnet a wider restrictor on the turbocharger increases power from the 1600cc direct injection engine to 380PS. Electronic trickery in the form of an active central differential gives drivers a helping hand in balancing their cars.

The Drivers
The biggest news of the short end-of-year break was the decision of four-time world champion Sébastien Ogier to sign for M-Sport, for whom he will carry #1 on the doors of his Fiesta WRC. The Frenchman is joined by rising star Ott Tänak and Elfyn Evans.

Toyota has opted for an all-Finnish line-up of Jari-Matti Latvala, Juho Hänninen and Esapekka Lappi, while Citroën has chosen the youth of Craig Breen and Stéphane Lefebvre to join lead driver Kris Meeke.

There are no changes at Hyundai which has kept faith with its strong 2016 squad of Thierry Neuville, Hayden Paddon and Dani Sordo.

The Rallies
The championship comprises the same 13 demanding rounds as in 2016, but the order has been given a reshuffle. Corsica moves forward from September to April to provide a better balance of gravel and asphalt rounds. Monte-Carlo opens the season and Australia provides the finale.

Two rallies have changed their structure. Rally Sweden will operate around a central location at Torsby, while ADAC Rallye Deutschland has a new base at Bostalsee in northern Saarland.

Television
The 2017 WRC will generate more TV content than ever. Over 12,000 hours were broadcast globally in 2016 to a cumulative audience of over 700 million people and this season offers even more for fans.

The Sunday lunchtime rally-ending Power Stage programme, now established as a firm fixture across all rounds, will increase from 60 to 90 minutes. It will feature more interviews, extended coverage of the podium ceremony and reaction to the final result from the service park. Also new for this year is another regular live stage on Saturday afternoons.

Watch every stop of the WRC live on Red Bull TV this season. 


 

 

How will defending champion Seb Ogier perform in his first race for M-Sport?

Thu-Sun, Jan 19-22 – Text, photos & videos – Live on Red Bull TV

Mon, Jan 23 – Behind the scenes round up.

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Ogier clinches fourth Rally GB win

“The main target this weekend was to be manufacturers’ champion,” said Ogier.

Sébastien Ogier led from start to finish to triumph at the Dayinsure Wales Rally GB.

The Frenchman withstood final day pressure from Ott Tänak to win the penultimate round of the FIA World Rally Championship by 10.2sec and secure the manufacturers’ title for Volkswagen.

Ogier clinched a fourth consecutive drivers’ crown at the previous round in Spain.

Thierry Neuville finished third in a Hyundai i20, a further 1min 25.2sec behind. His fourth consecutive podium gives him a 14-point advantage over Andreas Mikkelsen in their fight for the runners-up spot heading into next month’s finale in Australia.

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It was Ogier’s first gravel road win of the campaign and the Frenchman has led for every single kilometre of the British fixture since the start of the 2013 event.

The fog and mud of the first two days eased to leave better conditions today, although the six forest speed tests in north Wales, covering 52.08km, were no less slippery.

Ogier, driving a Polo R, started with a 33.8sec lead but couldn’t match Tänak’s pace. The Estonian won all six stages in a Ford Fiesta RS to close in. A broken intercom and puncture earlier in the rally cost Tänak vital time, but second matched his career-best result.

“The main target this weekend was to be manufacturers’ champion,” said Ogier. “I’m not world champion without the team’s hard work and it was great to take the title with a victory once again. It wasn’t easy and I was able to ease off in the last few stages, but not so much.

“Ott was really flying. He was fast, very consistent and didn’t make any mistakes so it was a tough victory to get.”

Neuville overshot a hairpin this morning, but the Belgian held off team-mate Hayden Paddon by 19.5sec.

The normally aggressive Kiwi struggled in the mud, however overnight set-up changes made him more comfortable today.

Kris Meeke, driving a Citroën DS 3 for the final time, finished a subdued fifth with Dani Sordo completing the top six in another i20.

The championship concludes from November 17-20 with Kennards Hire Rally Australia, which is based in Coffs Harbour, New South Wales.

Sebastien Ogier (FRA) performs during FIA World Rally Championship in Deeside, Great Britain on 30 October 2016

Sebastien Ogier (FRA) performs during FIA World Rally Championship in Deeside, Great Britain on 30 October 2016

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BREAKING NEWS: Ogier claims fourth title

Sébastien Ogier clinched his fourth consecutive FIA World Rally Championship title with victory at RallyRACC Catalunya – Rally de España on Sunday afternoon.

 

The Frenchman secured his fifth victory of the year on the championship’s only mixed surface round to seal the crown in a Volkswagen Polo R with two rallies remaining.

Spain’s Dani Sordo, driving a Hyundai i20, led the four-day event initially but Ogier moved ahead once the rally switched from gravel to asphalt to win by 15.6sec. Thierry Neuville maintained his strong recent form to take third in another i20, a further 59.4sec behind.

Jari-Matti Latvala won the final live TV Power Stage to claim three bonus points in a Polo R. Ogier took two points for second while Sordo secured the final point.

Sebastien Ogier (FRA) performs during FIA World Rally Championship 2016 Spain in Salou , Spain  on 16 October 2016

Sebastien Ogier (FRA) performs during FIA World Rally Championship 2016 Spain in Salou , Spain on 16 October 2016

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Ogier closes on title with Corsica win

Sébastien Ogier closed on his fourth consecutive FIA World Rally Championship title.

Sébastien Ogier closed on his fourth consecutive FIA World Rally Championship title after a dominant drive to a maiden victory at the Che Guevara Energy Drink Tour de Corse on Sunday afternoon.

The Frenchman won the 10th round of the season by 46.4sec in a Volkswagen Polo R and requires 16 points from the next round in Spain to become only the fourth person to win four drivers’ titles.

Thierry Neuville maintained his strong form to finish second in a Hyundai i20 with Andreas Mikkelsen third in a Polo R, a further 23.6sec back after 390.92km of twisty and bumpy asphalt mountain road action on the Mediterranean island of Corsica.

Ogier stamped his authority on the rally by claiming a clean sweep of speed test wins in Friday’s opening leg. It enabled him to measure his pace through the final two days, when wet roads made conditions tricky, to secure his fourth win of the year.

“What I really wanted was to win this rally,” said Ogier, whose previous French victory was in Alsace in 2013. “It’s my first win in Corsica, on such a historic event. We showed strong pace on the first day and managed the rest of the weekend perfectly. The championship smells quite good for us.”

Neuville held second from midway through the opening leg, despite worries over his car’s handling. Mikkelsen was hot on his heels until improvements to Neuville’s differential enabled the Belgian to pull clear and climb to third in the drivers’ standings.

Mikkelsen was one of many to struggle with overheating tyres and brakes in the high temperatures but the Norwegian eased to his first podium since winning in Poland in July.

Latvala, who won in Corsica in 2015, finished a frustrated fourth. Brake problems hindered the Finn for the opening two days and it was only when new pads and changes to his Polo R’s set-up were introduced today that he felt comfortable in the stages.

Craig Breen excelled on his asphalt debut in a World Rally Car to finish fifth in a Citroën DS 3 ahead of New Zealand’s Hayden Paddon. Paddon, inexperienced on asphalt, was disappointed with his driving and promised to go ‘back to the drawing board’.

Kris Meeke won both Sunday’s tests, taking maximum bonus points in the live TV Power Stage, but finished 16th after crashing yesterday.

 

 

 


 

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