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Sweden - 12-15 Feb 15

Posted: December 21, 2015 10:31 AM - 3302 Hits

Round 2 - 2015 World Rally Championship

KUBICA AND PROTASOV SET FASTEST TIMES ON RALLY SWEDEN

Posted: December 21, 2015 10:31 AM

For the first time since Pirelli's return to rallying last year, two different privateer drivers have set fastest stage times with Pirelli tyres on the same event ? underlining the capacity of the Italian rubber to give privately-entered drivers the chance to compete against factory teams.

On stage six of Rally Sweden, Ukrainian driver Yuriy Protasov ? in only his fourth event in a World Rally Car ? went fastest of all: his very first stage win at World Rally Car level, having previously won the Ukrainian championship in 2008.

Protasov proved that his speed was no fluke by setting a top-three stage time on day two, even though his team is a truly private effort. As a result, the 30-year-old Ford Fiesta RS WRC driver claimed the first points finish of his career, in a well-deserved ninth overall.

Also on Saturday, Robert Kubica - the star of the Monte Carlo Rally - went fastest on stage 17, in his RK World Rally Team Ford Fiesta RS WRC. However, a technical issue meant that he picked up a penalty that put him outside the points in the final classification, despite a strong and mistake-free performance in Sweden.

The highest-placed Pirelli driver was Ford Fiesta privateer Martin Prokop, who continued his strong run of results on Pirelli rubber by finishing eighth. This ensures that Prokop is currently the highest-placed privateer driver in the championship, with 12th overall.

Five Pirelli-equipped drivers also finished in the WRC2 points on Rally Sweden, highlighting the competitiveness of Pirelli's products at every level in rallying, despite having far fewer entries than other tyre manufacturers.

The Sottozero Ice, which is only used on Rally Sweden, contains 384 studs with Tungsten tips that protrude seven millimetres and weigh four grams each, in accordance with the regulations. These are locked into the tyre (preventing stud loss) in a unique vulcanisation process patented by Pirelli. The WRC tyre comes in 205/65-15 size, so that it can be mounted on the same rim as used for gravel tyres, with only one type of tyre now allowed for Sweden.

Although Sweden is renowned for ice and snow conditions, occasional warm weather meant that some of the stages were damaged, with gravel and rocks showing through the surface. Despite this, the Pirelli tyres managed to maintain the majority of their studs and give drivers the confidence they needed to push hard even in suboptimal conditions.

After scoring his first WRC points, Protasov said: ?I'm very happy with this result and our performance on this rally. The Pirelli tyres were definitely a big help to me: as a private driver, we were able to beat the factory teams by winning a stage, which was a very big satisfaction. Now I hope we can improve even more in the future.?

Pirelli senior tyre engineer Matteo Braga said: ?Having two different private drivers set fastest stage times in Sweden was a significant achievement: it really shows how our tyres can help to make a difference. Congratulations to Yuriy, Martin and also to Robert, who should have taken a points finish here as well after a great drive. We're pleased with the performance and behaviour of the Sottozero Ice tyre in Sweden, which was a useful step from last year. And thanks to a strong performance in the WRC2 class as well, it's clear that these tyres are well adapted to every different type of machinery.?

The next round of the World Rally Championship is Rally Mexico, held in Leon from 5-8 March. This will mark the first appearance of Pirelli's latest Scorpion gravel tyres this year.

DMACK Seals Convincing 1-2 WRC2 Victory In Sweden

Posted: December 21, 2015 10:29 AM

The Drive DMACK World Rally Team took a stunning 1-2 victory at Rally Sweden today after Jari Ketomaa and Kaj Lindstrom controlled the event from the start as the team began the defence of its WRC 2 Teams world title.

Team-mates Eyvind Brynildsen and Anders Fredriksson cruised home in second to see the untouchable DMACK crews finish nearly three minutes ahead of a competitive field of WRC 2 drivers. It was the best possible start for both crews as they lit up the frozen Swedish stages and set a blistering pace all weekend on the debut of DMACK's all-new winter rally tyre.

After being edged out of victory on the final stage last year, flying Finns Ketomaa and Lindstrom were hungry for a win and used DMACK's DMG-ICE tyre to blitz the opposition on the opening day in their Autotek-run Ford Fiesta R5. Norwegian Brynildsen and Swede Fredriksson put their home advantage to good use as they traded times with Ketomaa on day two at the wheel of a Fiesta RRC.

Round two of the FIA World Rally Championship, Rally Sweden is the only winter event of the season and was the opening rally in the two-car Drive DMACK World Rally Team's 2015 campaign. The challenge of tackling the frozen forest roads is immense with tyres required to find incredible levels of traction in the extreme conditions.

DMACK used the event to successfully launch a new version of its DMG-ICE studded tyre, which was immediately on the pace of its Michelin and Pirelli counterparts. The tyre company's technical team may be small but it had a firm focus on delivering a number of structural improvements including a new construction and rubber compound, while retaining the unique V-shape tread pattern which works well in loose snow.

However, the most significant improvement came from the new metal studs. Each tyre features 384 metal studs to bite into the ice and DMACK's focus on evolving the stud, alongside a more robust studding system, really paid dividends. The improved stud retention allowed Ketomaa and Brynildsen to lift the pace and handed them an edge over the other WRC 2 competitors.

The snowy action was played out over four days and blasted off with the popular Karlstad super special stage held in front of a packed stadium of energetic fans. But it was when the action moved to the fast, flowing forests of Norway and Sweden on Friday that Ketomaa stamped his authority.

He opened up a comfortable gap by the end of day one and controlled the lead right through to the final stage near Hagfors this afternoon.

Dick Cormack, DMACK managing director, said:
"This incredible result is the culmination of a huge effort from our modest technical team and input from Yongtai in China. DMACK may not have the resources of other tyre manufacturers but the passion and determination to succeed runs throughout the company at every level. I believe it's our biggest win in WRC so far and a real defining moment for DMACK, proving our winter tyre is capable of matching and edging ahead of the other tyre manufacturers. Jari and Eyvind have delivered an incredible pace this weekend so well done to them also."

Jari Ketomaa said:
"I'm so pleased to get this result here in Sweden, it's a fantastic feeling. Everyone at DMACK has worked hard on this new tyre and now it all pays off. We pushed hard on the first day to build a lead and controlled it from there. The pace was hot and we were forced to drive pretty quickly all weekend but it was also a very enjoyable rally. When everything works here, the car, the tyres, driver and co-driver, then the stages are so much fun."

Eyvind Brynildsen said:
"My aim was to come here to try and win so it's a little disappointing to finish second but helping DMACK get a 1-2 is really good. I've driven the whole rally without any mistakes and the speed was very good when everything was going well. Overall it has been a tough but enjoyable rally with a great result at the end."

M-SPORT FIGHT BACK TO STRONG FINISH IN SWEDEN

Posted: December 21, 2015 10:26 AM

M-Sport World Rally Team's Ott Tanak and Elfyn Evans showcased the determination that will see them go far at this weekend's Rally Sweden. Overcoming earlier issues, the pairing recovered strongly to secure fourth and sixth place overall.

Having lost 20 seconds caught in a snow bank on the first forest stage (SS2), Tanak and co-driver Raigo M?lder spent much of the weekend rebuilding their confidence amidst the worst of the road conditions.

Refusing to give up the fight, the Estonians combined a never-up-give attitude with flashes of speed. The pairing posted the second fastest time through the second pass of yesterday's Hagfors Sprint (SS17), and remained as determined as ever to finish the event.

Their determination paid off. Keeping their heads down and their Ford Fiesta RS WRC clear of the pitfalls synonymous with the Swedish stages, the Estonians prospered where those around them faltered to bring home a strong result for the team. v
In the sister M-Sport Fiesta RS WRC, Evans and co-driver Daniel Barritt displayed a vast increase in speed from this time twelve months ago ? proving that they have the pace to challenge within the top-five on snow.

Were it not for an encounter with the snow banks through the second pass of R?jden (SS8) which cost them almost two minutes to the leading pack, they would have been within sight of a podium position. Despite ruing Friday's error of judgement, Evans found himself in an intense battle for sixth place on the final stage of the rally (SS21). Locked in a thrilling duel with Kris Meeke, the Welshman came out on top ? winning the battle of the Brits, claiming sixth place overall and propelling himself and Barritt into sixth place in the FIA World Rally Championship driver and co-driver standings.

Ott Tanak (4th) said:
"I'm really happy to have come away with fourth position. We struggled in the beginning ? the road position wasn't great and I made a little mistake early on. After that we weren't really in any sort of a battle so we just had to play it smart and stay on the road ? and here we are with a really strong result.

"It was good to regain the confidence. Now we can look to build the speed step-by-step and when we have a strong feeling we can push a bit more. A few more rallies like this and we can look to up the pace so that is really good for the future. I am sure that we can be stronger as the season progresses."

Elfyn Evans (6th) said:
"It's been an event of two halves. We made a mistake which cost us a lot of time on Friday and we struggled to find the confidence at times, but generally I think we've learnt a lot and we were able to show some pretty good pace towards the end.

"We only do one snow rally a year and this is only my second so it all bodes well for the future. I'm really pleased with the progress we were able to show here and I think we've proved our potential on this surface. On the whole, I think we did a good job.

"I actually enjoyed it a lot more than I thought I would and we had a great battle with Kris [Meeke] today. From yesterday afternoon onwards I really enjoyed the driving. We had a good feeling in the car and everything just came together as it should."

Team Principal, Malcolm Wilson OBE, said:
"It was fantastic to see Ott [Tanak] and Elfyn [Evans] fight back to what was a strong result for the team. It's fair to say that neither felt particularly comfortable at the beginning of the event, but they never gave up. They've both got a real determination and we saw it here again.

"They are also both very intelligent drivers. They knew their limits, and were able to stick to them for the most part. They've both learnt a tremendous amount this weekend and I was particularly impressed by how much progression Elfyn was able to show on what is only his second ever snow rally.

"It all bodes well for the future and after this result I am sure that they will both head to Mexico with their confidence that little bit higher."

ADDITIONAL M-SPORT DRIVERS

Yuriy Protasov (9th) said:
"This is a really good result for us. The stages were really fast and tricky and we didn't have everything right all of the time, but when it was good, it was really good ? and it was great to score my first fastest time. We have learnt so much and we are really happy."

Henning Solberg (13th) said:
"It's not been the best Rally Sweden for us. We've had a few issues throughout the event but I promise you that we will come back stronger!"

Pontus Tidemand (5th WRC2) said:
"It started so well but unfortunately we made a mistake on SS7 that cost us more than five minutes and any chance of fighting for the victory. After that it was just a case of driving as fast as we could and enjoying the fantastic Swedish stages.

"We have to take every positive that we can away from this weekend. I think we proved that we have good pace and everything apart from the mistake was perfect. If you took away that mistake then the result would have been really good so we just need to focus on that and move on to the next one."

Citroen Racing

Posted: December 21, 2015 10:20 AM

This morning's final leg of Rally Sweden featured three timed stages. Fourth overall at the start of the day, Mads Ostberg ran into trouble on Lesjofors. He lost control of his DS 3 WRC, got stuck in a snow bank and it took him over five minutes to get going again.

He dropped down to tenth overall, whilst his team-mate Kris Meeke moved in the opposite direction. Ninth overall as he left parc ferme, the Briton was up to eighth after SS19 and was seventh by the end of SS20.

On the Power Stage, Kris continued to push. Involved in a scrap for sixth place with Elfyn Evans, he span midway through the stage but managed to hold onto seventh position. Mads Ostberg set the third fastest time on the final stage to collect a bonus point for the Drivers' Championship, in addition to the one he scored for finishing tenth overall.

In the WRC3, Ole-Christian Veiby won the category in his DS 3 R3-MAX. The Norwegian now leads the two-wheel drive championship.

QUOTE, UNQUOTE

Yves Matton (Citroen Racing Team Principal):
"The racing incidents, the handful of technical problems we had and the mistakes made by our drivers mean that the result is a long way off the targets set by the team at the start. We'll take a closer look at what happened at this event in order prepare for Rally Mexico as effectively as possible. Everyone is still very motivated. And it?s just the start of the season!"


Mads Ostberg: "We are going to turn our attention very quickly to Rally Mexico. We have to hold onto the positive aspects from Sweden and forget the rest. But even with our problems, we were capable of fighting for a podium spot here."

Kris Meeke:
"In Sweden, you have to be very clean through the stages, but I got caught out a few times. Nevertheless, winning a stage on only my second appearance here on the snow is a fairly encouraging sign. My pace has improved significantly compared with last year. I feel comfortable in the DS 3 WRC. I have to keep doing the same thing and cut out the errors. In Mexico, we have to get to the end of the rally without any mistakes."

Results

Posted: December 21, 2015 10:17 AM

1. Sebastien Ogier / Julien Ingrassia (Volkswagen Polo R WRC) 2:55:30.5
2. Thierry Neuville / Nicolas Gilsoul (Hyundai i20 WRC) +6.4
3. Andreas Mikkelsen / Ola Floene (Volkswagen Polo R WRC) +39.8
4. Ott Tanak / Raigo Molder (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +2:26.0
5. Hayden Paddon / John Kennard (Hyundai i20 WRC) +3:31.5
6. Elfyn Evans / Daniel Barritt (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +3:53.0
7. Kris Meeke / Paul Nagle (DS3 WRC) +4:05.8
8. Martin Prokop / Jan Tomanek (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +4:26.0
9. Yurii Protasov / Pavlo Cherepin (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +5:32.2
10. Mads Ostberg / Jonas Andersson (DS3 WRC) +6:50.9

M-SPORT SEARCH FOR SNOW IN SWEDEN

Posted: February 7, 2015 6:31 PM

M-Sport World Rally Team’s Elfyn Evans and Ott Tänak will tackle another specialist event next week as the 2015 FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) ventures to Rally Sweden. The team will be hoping for a classic snow rally in which their young charges can make the most of what could be an advantageous road position.

As the only full-snow event on the calendar, the Swedish fixture offers a unique challenge but the compacted ice and snow also offer a surprising level of traction. As the tungsten-tipped steel studs of Michelin’s X-ICE NORTH 2 tyres bite through the soft snow to capture grip on the hard ice below, the EcoBoost powered Ford Fiesta RS WRCs can reach tremendous speeds making this wintery event one of the fastest rallies of the year.

There is however a real art to driving on snow. The grip may be higher than expected, but the crews are still required to adapt their driving style – selecting different braking points, driving within the ‘lines’ and guiding their cars through corners by leaning on hard-packed snow banks.

The Swedish winter can also affect the outcome and optimum road position significantly. Following a harsh winter with recent snowfall, the cars ahead are forced to sweep the road which allows those behind to better capture grip on the ice below. But following a milder winter, gravel starts to appear through the ice which puts those further down the field at a disadvantage – the exposed gravel damaging the studs which can result in a considerable loss of traction. Scandinavian drivers have historically prospered at this event – their knowledge of winter rallies providing an advantage. By contrast, next weekend will mark only the second ever snow rally for Evans who hasn’t had a lot of down time since the previous outing in Monte-Carlo. Between meeting the Redbull UK family – including mountain biker Danny Macaskill – and conducting a two-day test ahead of the Swedish event, Evans has also been instrumental in the testing and development of the new-evolution Fiesta RS WRC.

The Welshman made his winter debut behind the wheel of the top-specification Fiesta last year and, despite retiring on the final stage, he and co-driver Daniel Barritt gained good experience of the route. Combining that experience with the wealth of knowledge gained at their pre-event test, the pairing will be looking to improve both their speed and performance next week.

Tänak has just one more year of experience, but the Estonian is somewhat more confident on snow. Making a celebrated comeback to the WRC last year, he and co-driver Raigo Mõlder were running as high as third overall and finished in an impressive fifth place.

In fact the Estonians’ impressive performances of late warranted a visit to the Estonian Prime Minister. Tänak and Mõlder were amongst a number of their compatriots invited to visit the head of state in celebration of the country’s budding motorsport prospects.

Despite his recent recognition, Tänak won’t be going all out for the podium next week. The Estonian will focus on his own event, but his speed and potential mean that he should not be ruled out of a strong result – no more so following a successful two-day test in the lead-up to the event.

Elfyn Evans said:
“I haven’t got a massive amount of experience on snow, but I do enjoy it. It’s unique and different – a new challenge – and I think that’s what I like about coming back here; even if I’m not a massive fan of the cold!

“There’s something of a score to settle after last year and I really want to finish this event. We made a fairly solid start 12 months ago, but there was a lot of scope for improvement. Our priority will be to ensure that we show that improvement and do the best job we can.

“The driving style that you need to adapt here is different to any other round. The feeling isn’t a million miles away from driving on gravel, but there are certain techniques that are very specific to driving on snow. We’ve not mastered them all yet, but we’re working on it!

“One of the challenges of this event can be vision. When there is fresh snow everything is white and that makes it particularly difficult to read the road ahead. The conditions can also be quite changeable. If there is a good ice base then the grip levels are fairly high, but sometimes it can be variable which is really tough for the drivers.

“I’m looking forward to the challenge and I can’t wait to get out there and hopefully show a marked improvement from last year.”

Ott Tänak said:
“I’ve only done this rally twice before so I am not as experienced as some of the other drivers, but it is definitely one of my favourite events in the championship. The stages are so fast and flowing and really smooth so it’s always a lot of fun to drive in Sweden.

“We aim to have a clean, fast run and to most importantly enjoy it. The conditions look really nice at the moment so I hope that it stays like this. I think the key is to have a good test and get a good feeling before the rally. If we can be relaxed and get into a good rhythm early on then it could be a good event for us.

“The snow banks can provide quite a lot of support – although you have to be careful not to lean too hard – and there is also a lot of grip from the studded tyres. But the lines are very narrow and that’s arguably the most difficult part. You need to make sure that you stay in the lines and go with the flow because if you find yourself on fresh snow, outside of those lines, it’s really slippery.

“I’m really looking forward to next week. It’s a real adrenaline rush driving these fast stages and I can’t wait to get out there and have some fun!”

ADDITIONAL M-SPORT DRIVERS

Eight Ford Fiesta RS WRCs have been entered alongside three Ford Fiesta RRCs, eight Ford Fiesta R5s and one Ford Fiesta S2000.

Joining Evans and Tänak in the M-Sport service area are Henning Solberg, Yuriy Protasov and local hero Pontus Tidemand.

Piloting a Fiesta RS WRC Solberg is a welcome sight at any FIA World Rally Championship event, but the Norwegian will be accompanied by his loyal band of supporters next week and could well spring a few surprises having claimed a stage win with the top-specification Fiesta last year.

Protasov also makes a welcome return to the Fiesta RS WRC. The Ukrainian will be looking to develop his skills further – challenging for a top-ten position in the process.

Finally, Värmland resident Tidemand kick starts his WRC 2 campaign behind the wheel of an M-Sport prepared Fiesta RRC. The Swede has the speed and talent to challenge for victory on all surfaces but, with the home crowd behind him, he could well produce something special next week.

New Tyres And New Team For DMACK In Sweden

Posted: February 7, 2015 6:30 PM

Next week’s Rally Sweden, round two of the FIA World Rally Championship, sees two firsts for official tyre supplier DMACK as it begins its WRC 2 teams title defence.

The winter event is the first of the season for the Drive DMACK World Rally Team with Finn Jari Ketomaa and Norwegian Eyvind Brynildsen scoring points for the champion squad. Ketomaa and co-driver Kaj Lindstrom were WRC 2 runners-up last year in Sweden after a dramatic final stage battle and have their sights firmly set on going one better next week.

Meanwhile Brynildsen and Swedish co-driver Anders Fredriksson are hoping for a little local advantage after tasting success already this season in the Norwegian national championship. They tackle the event, as a one-off appearance for Drive DMACK, in a Ford Fiesta RRC while Ketomaa is piloting a Fiesta R5 – both cars maintained on the event by Autotek.

With Rally Sweden such a specialised challenge, DMACK has been consistently learning each year and will run its new specification studded tyre for the first time. The all-new DMG-ICE retains the same V-style tread pattern, which is so effective in loose snow, but boats a number of structural improvements to deal with frozen gravel and ice.

The new tyre benefits from an evolved stiffer compound, upgraded construction, new-style metal studs and a modified studding system – all with the aim to improve grip and traction on ice and rutted gravel roads. Each tyre boasts 384 metal pins, each protruding 6.5mm, in a bid to bite into the ice and deliver remarkable grip.

The conditions in Sweden are some of the most extreme in the whole championship and those challenges reflect heavily on tyres. Temperatures can regularly dip as low as minus 20 degrees and in recent years the scarcity of snow has meant exposed gravel and rutted roads have ripped studs from the tyres. The high speeds, however, demand precision so drivers must cleverly manage tyre allocations and ensure they have enough studs left to remain competitive.

The event is the only snow rally of the season and opens with a popular blast around Karlstad’s trotting track, which attracts thousands of fans, on Thursday evening. Much of Friday’s action takes place in Norway with a remote service, while Saturday and Sunday stages are based around the service park at Hagfors. Crews will tackle 21 timed stages and 308km of competitive action.

Dick Cormack, DMACK managing director, said:
“Rally Sweden is a hugely demanding event for tyres but we took a lot of technical information from last year and have implemented some key performance improvements for this rally. We achieved a huge amount last season and we’ve all been working hard to ensure DMACK remains at the forefront of WRC 2.”

Jari Ketomaa said:
“We had a good performance last year on this rally when the conditions were very tough and I’ve been working with DMACK on some specific improvements to the tyre for this year. I’m looking forward to the rally and glad to be back helping DMACK to achieve hopefully even more success in 2015.”

Eyvind Brynildsen said:
“Rally Sweden is a key event for me and we certainly go there aiming to fight for a win. We’ve already completed some snow rallies this season and have another 150km with a rally in Norway this weekend. This is my home round of the WRC so I’m hoping for some local support as it’s going to be a big fight with other drivers like Pontus Tidemand and Jari Ketomaa.”

SNOW AND ICE FOR THE DS 3 WRCS

Posted: February 7, 2015 6:28 PM

Snow, ice and even more snow! Over the last few weeks, the Hagfors region has enjoyed perfect wintry weather conditions. Very cold temperatures followed heavy snowfall to create a thick layer of icy snow on the roads. And more recent snowfall has consolidated the white covering just a few days from the start.

It is a long time since conditions for the Rally Sweden have been so promising. If the situation doesn’t change in the coming days, the surface should remain consistent throughout the event. The studs will therefore become less worn and all the fans will be treated to a great show!

THE 2015-SPEC DS 3 WRC PUT TO THE TEST

A few days after making a successful debut at Monte-Carlo, the 2015-spec DS 3 WRC will be faced with another challenge in Sweden. The work on the car’s aerodynamics this winter will give it a significant advantage on these high-speed stages. The engine’s power will be fully unleashed and the drivers will also be able to use the steering wheel-mounted paddles for every gear change.

Featuring the revised rear suspension geometry, which makes the car easier to drive, the 2015-spec DS 3 WRC is significantly quicker and more efficient.

Having claimed podium finishes in Karlstad for the last four years, this is practically Mads Østberg’s home rally. Some of the stages held on Friday cross over the border into Norway and his co-driver Jonas Andersson is Swedish. Mads made his WRC debut in Sweden during the 2006 season, at just 18 years of age. Fourth in Monte-Carlo, he has a good opportunity to shine on the Värmland ice. And to prepare for the forthcoming WRC round as effectively as possible, he will be competing at the Finnskog Rally, the Norwegian Championship event, this Saturday, 7 February in the DS 3 WRC.

In the second car entered by the Citroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT, Kris Meeke has more limited experience here. With only one previous appearance at Rally Sweden in 2014, the Briton is less familiar with the snow and icy conditions than the vast majority of his rivals. His performances with the DS 3 WRC would nonetheless suggest he has real potential on this surface.

Five crews will be taking part in DS 3 R5s. Winner of the opening round of the FIA WRC2 Championship, Stéphane Lefebvre continues to learn about rallying at this level with his debut appearance in Sweden. The Frenchman has decided not to nominate this round as one of his points-scoring rallies. Competing in the WRC2 category, Anders Grondal will be one of the favourites. The Swedish drivers Robin Friberg and Thomas Thunström and the Estonian Karl Kruuda have also opted to drive in a DS 3 R5, but they are not competing in the championship. Meanwhile, after finishing on the podium on his first outing in the FIA Junior WRC, the Norwegian Ole-Christian Veiby will be trying to win the two-wheel drive category in a DS 3 R3-MAX.

QUOTE, UNQUOTE

Yves Matton (Citroën Racing Team Principal):
“The 2015-spec la DS 3 WRC was very quick on its competitive debut, collecting the majority of the stage wins at the Rallye Monte-Carlo. In Sweden, we’ll be beginning a new chapter. Although the setting is also decidedly wintry here, the conditions will be very different. This event is important for Mads Østberg. This is practically his home round, so he’ll be driving on very familiar roads and on a surface that he enjoys. After a test session, he will be taking part in the Finnskog Rally in Norway to prepare as fully as possible. Kris Meeke will be able to call upon the experience he acquired here in 2014. His aim will be to make the most of his potential with the support of the team.”

Mads Østberg:
“Rally Sweden is one of the key moments of my season. I really can’t wait to be there. The last few years have gone pretty well with a series of podiums, including third place last year in the DS 3 WRC. With the experience gained in 2014 and good preparations, I hope to do even better this time around. The new DS 3 WRC is very competitive. It should be a real asset in these conditions. Our starting position won’t give us a particular advantage or disadvantage. Running in fourth place, we know that it won’t be perfect but it won’t be a huge problem either, regardless of the conditions. After a very good rally in 2014, my goal is to fight at the front. This will be my first rally with the 2015-spec DS 3 WRC, so if I’m challenging for the win that would a great performance.”

Kris Meeke:
“I was a little bit disappointed after the Rallye Monte-Carlo because we had been quick, but we were unable to convert our competitiveness into a good result. It was nonetheless a very encouraging start. I really enjoyed my first outing in Sweden in 2014. The conditions weren’t perfect as we had fairly high temperatures, but it was still great to drive on these roads. You always have fun in conditions like these! However, as this is the only event on the calendar to be contested on snow, you need several years to acquire enough experience to be able to fight at the front. My realistic target here is to finish in the top five or six. I still need to learn and be consistent. I’ll be driving within my own limits, determined by my personal experience.”

SWEDISH COURSE WITH A FORAY INTO NORWAY

After two days of reconnaissance on Tuesday and Wednesday, the drivers will get into their race cars on Thursday, 12 February between 8am and 11.30am for the shakedown held in Råda, next to Hagfors.

The ceremonial start will be held on Thursday evening in Karlstad, followed by a 1.9-kilometre super special stage. The crews will then complete a long road section to Hagfors, where they will spend the night.

After morning service at 7.05am on Friday morning, the crews will tackle two loops of four stages in Sweden with Torsby (14.76km) and then in Norway with Röjden (18.73km), Finnskogen (20.76km) and Kirkenaer (7.07km). Cars will only be authorized to changes tyres during the midday break. The leg will conclude with a second run on the Karlstad super special stage before the cars return to the Hagfors service park at 8.41pm.

On Saturday, four stages identical to those used in 2014 will be completed twice: Fredriksberg (18.15km), Rämmen (22.76km), Hagfors Sprint (1.87km) and Vargåsen (24.63km), with the famous jump over Colin’s Crest. These eight timed stages will be separated by a thirty-minute midday service.

The final leg, during which the running order will use the overall standings of the rally, from the lowest to the top-ranked P1 and P2 drivers, will feature three stages: first of all Lesjöfors, then two runs on Värmullsasen. The second of these will serve as the televised Power Stage, at 12.08pm. The rally is scheduled to finish at 3.00pm in Karlstad.

Entry List

Posted: January 24, 2015 10:49 AM

Hyundai Motorsport confirms driver line-up for Rally Sweden

Posted: January 10, 2015 11:12 AM

??After entering two Hyundai i20 WRC cars for Rallye Monte-Carlo later this month, Hyundai Motorsport will switch to a three-car entry for Rally Sweden in February in order to raise its game in the competitive FIA World Rally Championship (WRC).

Belgian crew Thierry Neuville/Nicolas Gilsoul and Spaniards Dani Sordo/Marc Martí will continue behind the wheel of the #7 and #8 Hyundai Shell World Rally Team cars respectively. Hayden Paddon will take part in his first event of the year at Rally Sweden, driving the #20 Hyundai i20 WRC alongside compatriot co-driver John Kennard, as the Kiwi crew remain with the team this year in an expanded role.

Hyundai Motorsport carried out a preparatory test in Sweden in mid-December with Neuville and Sordo each driving two days in the Hyundai i20 WRC. Paddon will test the car for one day during the week prior to the rally, with the Belgian and the Spaniard also getting some extra time in the Hyundai i20 WRC with a half-day test each.

Neuville has started Rally Sweden three times in the past, with some encouraging results and performances - including a fifth place in 2013. Both Sordo and Paddon have competed in Rally Sweden in the past but this year's event will give both drivers the opportunity to accumulate more experience in snow conditions.

With a strong trio of drivers, Hyundai Motorsport aims to use all the experience and information gathered from its debut season in 2014 to make improvements at each rally on comparative performance levels and to get closer to the leading WRC competitors.

Neuville, Sordo and Paddon will be Hyundai Motorsport's main line-up for the coming season and they will take the start of all events unless announced otherwise.

Team Principal Michel Nandan commented:
"As we saw last year, having three cars on WRC events is very positive and helps us to develop our Hyundai i20 WRC more rapidly. Overall, I think we have a good line-up for Sweden with Thierry, Dani and Hayden. Despite our drivers not being surface specialists, they have proven to be consistent in Sweden in the past and I'm sure we will see some interesting performances from them this year. Thierry and Dani had a pre-event test in December for Sweden which helped them to find a reliable set-up for the event; we know it's a tough event and we want to be as prepared as possible."

Rally Guide Available / Event Website

Posted: November 23, 2014 5:37 PM






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