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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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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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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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Blancpain GT Series Calendar

Top photo from: https://www.blancpain-gt-series.com/gallery?filter_season_id=7&filter_meeting_id=75&filter_text=#gallery-24

Top photo from:
https://www.blancpain-gt-series.com/gallery?filter_season_id=7&filter_meeting_id=75&filter_text=#gallery-24




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