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Tag: World Rally champion

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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Renault Clio R3Ts ready for the challenge of Rallye Monte-Carlo

“We are delighted to compete in the Rallye Monte-Carlo with a line-up of four Renault Clio R3Ts, driven by the 2016 winners of the Clio R3T Trophy”, commented Sylvain Alanore, Team Manager”

Renault Sport Racing Team has four Renault Clio R3Ts taking part in the 2017 Rallye Monte-Carlo, the opening event of the World Rally Championship (19-22 January). Winners of the Clio R3T Trophy in 2016, Charles Martin (France), Cédric Althaus (Alps), Luca Panzani (Italy) and Surhayen Pernia (Iberia) all have the chance to shine at one of the world’s most famous and iconic rallies. Despite their differing experiences, they are all determined to produce their best in the WRC, whilst showcasing the qualities of Clio R3T on a demanding event.


Four drivers line up at the start of the Rallye Monte-Carlo to compete on behalf of the Renault Sport Racing Team: Cédric Althaus, Charles Martin, Luca Panzani and Surhayen Pernia. Winners of the Clio R3T Trophy in their respective areas in 2016, they have all been rewarded for their performances last year with a drive in the opening round of the World Rally Championship, in a Renault Sport-backed Clio R3T.

“We are delighted to compete in the Rallye Monte-Carlo with a line-up of four Renault Clio R3Ts, driven by the 2016 winners of the Clio R3T Trophy”, commented Sylvain Alanore, Team Manager, Renault Sport Racing Team. “These four drivers all produced fine performances throughout the 2016 season and this rally provides them with the perfect opportunity to show what they can do. We selected four teams to prepare the cars but Renault Sport Racing will be lending both its sporting and technical management expertise. The competitors will all be driving a Clio R3T with the same technical specifications, with the upgrades delivered at the end of last season, following on from our involvement in WRC 3.”

As all four were winners – in their area – of the Clio R3T Trophy last year, they will doubtless be keen to prevail here, whilst also looking to work as a team. “We’re here to provide as much support as possible, and help them to set fast times. None of the drivers has an advantage; they all have the same chance to shine,” confirmed Sylvain Alanore. “The target is that the Clio R3T is as competitive as possible, so ideally we will be trying to share as much information as we can. Everyone feels proud to be here: Renault Sport Racing, presenting the winners of its brand cup at such an event, the teams, preparing their cars and the crews, who will be competing officially on behalf of Renault Sport Racing.”

Of the four drivers, Cédric Althaus is the man with the most experience at the Rallye Monte-Carlo. Alongside co-driver Jessica Bayard, he will be competing here for the third time, his best result to date being a runner-up spot in the R2 category. “I’m absolutely over the moon to be able to experience this event with a major manufacturer!”, commented a delighted Althaus, winner of four out of five rounds in the 2016 Clio R3T Alps Trophy. “I can’t wait to work with the other crews and the Renault Sport team managers. I know that this event is about driving talent, but you also have to use your head. I really like the Clio R3T. Things just clicked with it about halfway through last season and I love competing in difficult conditions. I’m really looking forward to it.”

Charles Martin – who will compete alongside co-driver Matthieu Duval – also enjoyed an impressive 2016 season, winning five out of six rounds in the Clio R3T France Trophy. Although he has a wealth of experience in the two-wheel drive category, this will be his first outing at the Rallye Monte-Carlo. “I have to say it’s a little bit nerve-racking, as I’ve never driven in wintry conditions. But I have been watching a lot of videos from previous editions. I’m also counting on the shakedown to help me get used to the handling of the tyres. The length of the rally doesn’t worry me – quite the opposite, in fact, as that will help me to get my bearings. In ideal circumstances, I’d love to finish first among the Clio R3Ts.”

Surhayen Pernia, alongside co-driver Rogelio Penate, will also be one to watch. Winner of the Clio R3T Iberia Trophy with three victories, the 27 year-old has been competing in rallying for ten years. This, however, will be the Spaniard’s debut appearance at Monte-Carlo, having never competed outside of the Iberian Peninsula. “Making it to the end would feel like a victory for me, because it’s a very demanding rally,” he noted. “It’s a dream-come-true for me to be competing in a works Renault, it’s the first time that this has happened to me. But I will feel very much at home because I will be with the same team during service. Lastly, we’ll need to find the right balance between speed and caution. We don’t know the conditions but we’ll try to learn as quickly as possible. Winning the battle of the Clio R3Ts would be a big plus!”

26 year-old Luca Panzani is the youngest of the four competitors competing on behalf of the Renault Sport Racing Team. Winner of four rounds in the Clio R3T Italy Trophy, he is very eager to set off on the roads of the south of France leading to the Principality of Monaco, alongside co-driver Federico Grilli. “It’s a dream for every rally driver! Monte-Carlo, the WRC, and with a works drive, this kind of opportunity doesn’t come along every day,” reiterated the enthusiastic Italian. “I am determined to do well, even if everything will be new to us. We’ll do our very best alongside these more experienced crews, in order to thank Renault for the opportunity they have given us.”

After the shakedown held in Gap on Wednesday, 18 January, the drivers will kick off the rally proper with two long stages on Thursday evening. The next day, the competitors will cover more than 160 kilometres against the clock, with two loops of three stages. On Saturday, drivers will continue to make their way to Monaco with five stages covering more than 121 kilometres. Sunday will see the conclusion of the event with two loops of two legendary stages, Lucéram and La Bollène Vésubie.

 

 

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Sainz forced out of Dakar

Former champion rolled into ravine on brink of taking Dakar Rally 2017 lead.

Former champion rolled into ravine on brink of taking Dakar Rally 2017 lead.

 

 

Carlos Sainz has been forced to withdraw from the Dakar Rally after pushing too hard in the battle for the lead following early stage navigation problems.

The 2010 winner was just three miles from the end of the Jujuy-Tupiza stage in Bolivia when he suffered the ravine roll.Even though two-time World Rally champion Sainz and co-driver Lucas Cruz managed to get their Peugeot 3008DKR to the service bivouac, the damage proved too much to repair in time for Friday’s stage.

Sainz, who incurred pain in his lower back during the accident, explained: “It is obviously devastating to have to retire. We had been running at a good pace since the start of the rally in the PEUGEOT 3008DKR which is a real improvement over last year’s car.
“I am so disappointed that I won’t be able to reap the benefit of its potential.
“We had lost so much time at the start of the stage – we had to recover, and recover, and recover.

“And when you take so many risks, these things can happen.”

 

Sainz joins fellow high-profile casualties such as double winner Nasser Al-Attiyah and reigning motorcycle champion Toby Price of Australia.

Carlos Sainz (ESP) of Team Peugeot Total races during stage 03 of Rally Dakar 2017 from Tucuman to Jujuy, Argentina on January 4, 2017

Carlos Sainz (ESP) of Team Peugeot Total races during stage 03 of Rally Dakar 2017 from Tucuman to Jujuy, Argentina on January 4, 2017

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