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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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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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2017 World Rally Championship live on Red Bull TV

The daily show from Friday to Sunday will be available to watch entirely free of charge on www.redbull.tv, via your mobile, laptop or smart television, or on the dedicated Red Bull TV app, available both for iPhone and Android.

 

With non-stop action on snow, mud, tarmac and gravel, the FIA World Rally Championship radiates automotive adrenalin – and next year it will be seen for the first time live on Red Bull TV. The ground-breaking premiere takes place on Rallye Monte-Carlo in January, ushering in a new era of unique coverage from Red Bull TV.

Red Bull TV will be broadcasting live on Saturday from each event and will host three stunning new daily shows that feature all the action as it happens, including a unique highlights round up. Co-presenting the action will be some of the biggest personalities in motorsport, lending a unique perspective to every rally. The first guest will be former F1 and Le Mans driver Mark Webber in Monaco.

The daily show from Friday to Sunday will be available to watch entirely free of charge on www.redbull.tv, via your mobile, laptop or smart television, or on the dedicated Red Bull TV app, available both for iPhone and Android. Next year’s programmes promise a fresh and exciting approach to the World Rally Championship, as the sport itself enters a new era with more powerful and radical-looking cars, as well as new manufacturers entering the series.

The spectacle is going to be mind-blowing as the drivers fight for tenths of a second from Monte-Carlo to Australia over the 13 rounds of the championship. And Red Bull TV will be there to capture all the drama, from temperatures of minus 25 degrees centigrade in Sweden to plus 35 in Mexico. There will be dedicated presenters, news, interviews, features and gossip, setting new standards in WRC broadcasting.

Every Friday on each rally, a 20 to 30-minute highlight show will be broadcast at 10pm (CET) that rounds up all the action from the first leg of each event, with an intro and latest news direct from the service park – exclusive to Red Bull TV.

Saturday brings more live action than has ever been seen before, with two shows. The first will run at midday for 75 minutes, featuring a live stage for viewers to follow the action in real time from both inside and outside the cars. At 10pm (CET) there will be another 20 to 30-minute show, with all the highlights of the day.

Sunday evening hosts a comprehensive wrap-up show lasting 30-40 minutes, presented from the service park and recounting all the events that have taken place throughout the event. All these shows will also be available to watch on-demand on Red Bull TV once the rally has finished.

Nine-time World Rally Champion Sebastien Loeb, a long-time Red Bull athlete since 2008, commented: “It’s really exciting to know that the WRC will be broadcast on Red Bull TV next year! So fans can have a chance to see the best coverage of some of the rallies when it suits them, which is really great. There’s always this exciting feeling around Red Bull because they do things differently and I’m sure that this will be the case for the new TV programme as well.”

The broadcast package put in place by Red Bull TV for the WRC will include a number of special features and ways of presenting that haven’t been seen before, making viewers feel closer to the high-octane action than ever.

The 2017 World Rally Championship gets underway in just five weeks with Rallye Monte-Carlo: the oldest and most prestigious event in the sport that forms a baptism of fire for the new generation of World Rally Cars – as well as a stunning premiere for Red Bull TV’s WRC coverage.

The first dedicated WRC programme to go out on Red Bull TV is scheduled for Friday 20 January 2017 at 10pm (CET), summarising the action so far on the Rallye Monte-Carlo.

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Volkswagen to leave WRC

Volkswagen have confirmed from 2017 their commitment to the FIA World Rally Championship is coming to an end as they start realigning their motorsport programme.

Look back at Seb Ogier’s best wins as VW end WRC commitment from 2017.

Volkswagen have confirmed from 2017 their commitment to the FIA World Rally Championship is coming to an end as they start realigning their motorsport programme.

Last weekend, they won their fourth manufacturer’s title in a row with the VW Polo competing in 51 rallies, winning 42 of them, with 621 best times in the special stages. No other car in the history of the World Rally Championship has a better success rate.

Frank Welsch, Member of the Board of Management responsible for Technical Development, said: “We far exceeded our sporting goals in the WRC. I want to give our heartfelt thanks to our drivers and co-drivers for their outstanding achievements.”

Volkswagen Motorsport Director Sven Smeets added: “Of course, we regret the departure from the WRC very much – as this was the most successful chapter in the Volkswagen brand’s motorsport history. The team has done great things.”

As the German giants confirm the end of an astonishing run for four-time champion Sebastien Ogier and his Polo R WRC, we look back and pick five of the best wins from the last four years.

1: Rallye de France, October 2013

For the first time ever at a WRC race, the Power Stage would run before the main event. Ogier had the chance of a lifetime, to be a world champion before the rally had even begun. All he needed was one of the three Power Stage points on offer and he did it by placing third around a Strasbourg street stage. What he did after was even more amazing – he won the rally proper! Distracted and head all over the place, Ogier ran as low as fifth for much of day one. Refocused and back in the fight, he drove magnificently through the weekend, despite some horribly wet, challenging conditions. Third with a day to go, he took a commanding win and celebrated all over again.

2: Rally Mexico, March 2015

This one Ogier definitely couldn’t win. Not a hope. In the words of the champ: “My rivals would have to be very bad for me to even come close to the podium.” This was the first hot gravel rally since the FIA changed the rules and told the championship leader he had to run first on the road for the first two days. Third after a typically spectacular opener around the streets and through the tunnels of Guanajuato, Ogier’s mood was particularly despondent on the eve of the rally proper. Not for long. Noticing a slight drop in overnight temperatures, Ogier gambled on soft tyres for the first morning. They worked a treat and his innate ability to drive the car straighter than anybody meant he returned to service with rubber to spare. Naturally, he won the rally he was never meant to win.

3: Rally Sweden, February 2013

An obvious one it might be, but it was also a very, very special one: Ogier’s first win with Volkswagen. A couple of weeks before, at the Monte Carlo Rally, the Polo R WRC had broken cover and set fastest time on its first ever competitive special stage in the World Rally Championship. Ogier was second in the principality. A good start turned great, however, when the Frenchman took a brilliantly controlled win on the snows in Sweden. “I knew the car was good, but I asked myself: ‘How good is it?’ Now I know,” said Ogier. The Polo was impeccable and Ogier just as good on the way to a very satisfying victory over Sebastien Loeb’s Citroen.

4: Rally Sweden, February 2015

Heavy snow on the second day was supposed to rule Ogier out of the fight this time. His Volkswagen was turned into a high-speed snow plough, clearing the road for his rivals behind him, but the championship leader refused to give in and clung to the coat tails of the guys ahead. Going into the final day, he pushed as hard as he’s ever pushed in a rally and arrived at the start of the last stage just three seconds behind his Volkswagen team-mate Andreas Mikkelsen. Aided by a minor Mikkelsen mistake, Ogier won. Fact is, given the conditions he’d had to drive through earlier in the rally, he shouldn’t have been anywhere near the fight for the win. A lesser driver would have thrown the towel in much earlier. “I’m really proud of this one,” beamed Ogier, once he’d finished bashing the steering wheel of his Polo to demonstrate the fact.

5: Rallye Deutschland, August 2015

Volkswagen’s first failure on its home rally raised a smile, even among the team. Ogier and his Polo R WRC had won pretty much everything before them. But coming to the birthplace of the all-conquering car, it went south on the first full day when Ogier damaged the steering and was forced to retire. Twelve months later it was much worse, with the champion hospitalized after two monster crashes in as many days. Still no home win for Volkswagen. When Ogier arrived in 2015, there was real and genuine pressure for him to perform. The Volkswagen board would be making the trip, as usual, from Wolfsburg to Trier and this time they wanted something to smile about. Ogier delivered in superb fashion, with the result never looking in doubt.

Andreas Mikkelsen (NOR) performs during FIA World Rally Championship in Deeside, Great Britain on 27  November 2016

Andreas Mikkelsen (NOR) performs during FIA World Rally Championship in Deeside, Great Britain on 27 November 2016

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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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Mattias Ekström is the 2016 FIA World Rallycross Champion

Petter Solberg:
Congratulations to the new FIA World RX Champion Mattias Ekström and his team. Well done!

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ERIKSSON WINS GERMANY RX AS EKSTROM CROWNED 2016 CHAMPION

 

 

Sweden’s Mattias Ekstrom has been crowned the new FIA World Rallycross Champion after scoring enough points at today’s German RX round to secure him the title with one round of the World Championship still remaining. Olsbergs MSE driver Kevin Eriksson took the Germany RX win, claiming his first every victory in the FIA World Rallycross Championship presented by Monster Energy. Petter Solberg finished second, while fellow Norwegian Andreas Bakkerud claimed the third podium spot.

Driving for his own EKS rallycross team, Ekstrom finished fifth this weekend and is now 30 points ahead of last year’s World RX Champion Solberg in the drivers’ standings. Even if Ekstrom does not complete the final round of the Championship in Argentina, a maximum score for Solberg would only draw the Norwegian level and Ekstrom would still win on countback of victories.

“This is probably the best day in my whole motorsport career – it feels like I have electricity running through my whole body,” grinned the new rallycross champion, Ekstrom.

He continued: “I have a lot of amazing memories: from winning the Swedish Touring Car Championship back in 1999, my first DTM title in 2004, my Race of Champions win against Loeb in Paris, and also against Michael Schumacher in 2007, then my second DTM title.  Now I’m the new World RX Champion and this feeling beats it all because when I started EKS from scratch less than three years ago, this was my dream.  I have always wanted to go to an FIA prize-giving ceremony and now I finally can.  This is a huge effort for my family, the team and all the guys who have worked to make this happen.  To become an FIA World Champion is what I have always wanted and it is the best feeling in the world.  Obviously, I owe a lot of gratitude to my employer, Audi Sport. My bosses gave me permission to compete at the Estering in order to maximise my chances of winning the title. That couldn’t be taken for granted, and I’m very thankful for this. I hope that by clinching the big trophy, I was able to put a smile on their faces.”

Today’s event was won by Sweden’s Kevin Eriksson who started on the second row of the grid of the final.  Solberg was fastest to the first corner which awarded him the Monster Energy Super Charge Award, but Eriksson stunned his competitors as he pulled off a sideways move from the outside and managed to take the lead, which he retained for the rest of the race.

“I am speechless,” explained Eriksson, who has become the seventh different winner in World RX this year.  “I saw Petter lead off the start and planned to stay behind him but then I saw an opportunity to go on the outside and hoped for the best. Somehow it worked! I felt I had really good speed throughout the weekend and to beat these guys you need to be driving at your very best. This weekend, everything came together and we got the consistency I needed to take the win.”

Second-placed Solberg was first to congratulate Eriksson on his debut World RX victory.  “I am very impressed by Kevin.  He won the Swedish Championship last weekend and now he has gone one better and take his first World RX victory, which was very well deserved – especially when I had a clear line into turn one and my car is very good on the gravel.”

Solberg continued: “To be honest, I am sad that the Championship is over for me.  I have been fighting all year for my third World RX title and I hoped it would go down to the final round and the team were really motivated. It is so important for me to thank my amazing team – I may be the guy driving the car, but the car was so fast this weekend, I think one of the fastest on the track. I can only say thank you for all the hours they have spent in the last two weeks, making small changes which could make a difference for us. They have worked so systematically; second here is a great win for the whole PSRX team. Finally, Mattias is a very worthy winner, he has won a lot of races this year and been very consistent – big congratulations to him and to EKS.”

 

Your 2016 FIA World Rallycross Champion, Mattias Ekström

Hoonigan Racing Division’s Andreas Bakkerud was relieved to make it home in third place, after suffering from smoke inhalation for the duration of today’s final.   He took up the story: “I had exhaust fumes and smoke in the cockpit for all six laps of the final – I have never wanted to see the chequered flag so much in my life! Then in the middle of the race, I also lost my gear lever which made life even more difficult.”

Reigning FIA European Rallycross Champion Kevin Hansen continued his fantastic form this season in the Peugeot 208 WRX Supercar to finish fourth overall in Germany. The 18-year-old commented: “It was nice to be back in the World Championship this weekend. The first day was a little difficult but I knew that our work had taken us in the right direction during Sunday morning’s warm-up. I don’t really know what happened in the final. The first turn was just crazy. Someone hit me and I ended up fourth, for the second time this year. With two fourth places and the European title in the bag, I am pleased with my season.”

Meanwhile, Volkswagen RX Sweden’s Johan Kristoffersson entered the event with a mathematical chance of taking the championship to the final round, which continued into the final, but a puncture on lap three while running fourth put him out of contention and he eventually finished the event fifth overall.  Solberg’s second-place finish has seen the Norwegian move back to second in the overall leaderboard – four points ahead of Kristoffersson.

Sixth place was taken by Ekstrom’s team-mate Topi Heikkinen.  The healthy points score taken by Heikkinen and Ekstrom this weekend has seen EKS extend its lead over Team Peugeot-Hansen in the Teams’ Championship by 17 points going into the final round of the season.

Elsewhere, America’s Tanner Foust started his second World RX event of the season with Volkswagen RX Sweden but was hampered by some minor problems on day one, which meant he did not qualify for today’s semi-finals.

Germany also marked the final round of the FIA European Rallycross Championship for both Super1600 and TouringCars, where both championships went down to the wire.  In the Super1600 Championship, Hungary’s Kirsztian Szabo won in his Skoda Fabia and took the 2016 title by one point over Denmark’s Ulrik Linnemann who finished third in Germany. Egor Sanin finished runner-up in today’s event.  In the overall standings, Kasparas Navickas ends the year third overall.

The TouringCar Championship proved just as close as Ben-Philip Gundersen triumphed over Sweden’s Magda Andersson by just one point. It was David Nordgard who won today’s event, followed home by Andersson and Anders Braten in third.  Third overall in the points at the end of 2016 is Fredrik Magnussen.

World RX Managing Director for IMG, Paul Bellamy, concluded: “Congratulations to Mattias Ekstrom who has become our new FIA World Rallycross Champion after forfeiting his first DTM race in over 15 years. Both Mattias and EKS have worked relentlessly since entering full-time in 2015 and for Mattias to have won in both DTM and now in rallycross proves what a natural talent he is behind the wheel.  To become World RX Champion is no easy feat – we have some of the best drivers in the world competing in our Championship. Well done to Kevin Eriksson and Olsbergs MSE who took the first win of the year, Kevin’s pace during today final was excpetional. Congratulations also to Krisztian and Ben-Philip who are our new Super1600 and TouringCar Champions – it was very exciting to see both Championships being won by just a point and just goes to show how competitive both these categories have become. On top of the exhilarating on-track action, we’ve also had a sell-out crowd in Germany this weekend and it’s always encouraging to see how popular our sport has become.”

The season-closer to this year’s World RX Championship will take place in Rosario, Argentina, at the end of November as rallycross returns to South America for the third year in a row.

Full results from Germany RX can be found on the following link:http://www.fiaworldrallycross.com/result/ger/2016


Championship Points

Driver PTS
Mattias EKSTRÖM 251
Petter SOLBERG 221
Johan KRISTOFFERSSON 217
Andreas BAKKERUD 210
Sébastien LOEB 194
Timmy HANSEN 174
Toomas HEIKKINEN 134
Timur TIMERZYANOV 104
Janis BAUMANIS 102
Robin LARSSON 95
Kevin ERIKSSON 91
Davy JEANNEY 86
Anton MARKLUND 66
Ken BLOCK 61
Kevin HANSEN 52
Niclas GRÖNHOLM 28
Tommy RUSTAD 4
René MÜNNICH 4
Peter HEDSTRÖM 1
Guerlain CHICHERIT 0
Gianluigi GALLI 0
Andreas STEFFEN 0
Cyril RAYMOND 0
Tanner FOUST 0
Joni-Pekka RAJALA 0
Alexander HVAAL 0
“M.D.K” 0
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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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