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Spain - 13-16 Oct 16

Posted: October 16, 2016 3:33 AM - 3420 Hits

Round 12 - 2016 World Rally Championship

Live Results (Spain 2016) Also available at: rally-base results
Radio: WRC All Live Audio Stream
News: www.wrc.com
Event Website: Rally Spain (Catalunya)

First stage each day - Irish/UK Times
Shakedown - Thu - 07:00
SS1 Thu - 17:06 (Super Special)
SS2 Fri - 09:08
SS8 Sat - 07:10
SS16 Sun - 06:24

Ogier closes on fourth WRC title

Posted: October 13, 2016 5:10 AM

Sébastien Ogier has a second chance to wrap up a fourth successive FIA World Rally Championship title this weekend at RACC Catalunya - Rally de España (13 - 16 October).

The Frenchman and co-driver Julien Ingrassia took a step closer to securing the 2016 crown with victory at the last round in Corsica, but podium finishes there for Andreas Mikkelsen and Thierry Neuville kept the three-way fight alive.

Now, as the championship reaches the only mixed surface round of the season, Ogier and Ingrassia have the first chance to seal the deal regardless of how their rivals fare - with two championships rounds remaining.

Ogier's Volkswagen team-mate Mikkelsen lies 68 points adrift in the drivers' standings. Neuville is 83 points behind but still has a mathematical chance of catching up.

In order to claim their fourth title, Ogier must collect 16 points this weekend - by finishing at least third and scoring one point on the Power Stage. Having laid the groundwork on recent events, Ogier isn’t feeling any pressure.

“Our goal was to establish a good position in the title race at the asphalt rallies in Germany and France. We could not have been more successful in this regard, taking two wins in a row," he said.

“We have taken a good step towards winning the title and can relax a little as we look ahead to the coming rallies, as we no longer need so many points to secure the title."

While Spanish victories in 2013 and 2014 prove Ogier has what it takes to win, his shocking 11th hour crash in 2015 showed nothing can be taken for granted.

Ogier said: "Last year I made a mistake on the final stage, the Power Stage, which cost us victory. I promise that will not happen again this year. However, I am not in Spain to make amends for that mistake. The opportunity to win the 2016 world championship is motivation enough for me.”

Volkswagen also has a chance to wrap up its fourth manufacturers’ title. The trophy would be destined for Wolfsburg if Volkswagen scores at least 20 points more than Hyundai.

RACC Catalunya - Rally de España gets underway on Thursday afternoon with a spectator stage in the centre of Barcelona. Three full days of competition follow on roads in the hills above the Costa Daurada.

Three title opportunities for Volkswagen at the Polo R WRC’s 50th start in the World Rally Championship

Posted: October 11, 2016 4:41 AM

Three title opportunities at the Polo R WRC’s 50th outing in the World Rally Championship – Volkswagen lines up at the Rally Spain fully focused and brimming with optimism. Come the end of round 11 of 13 in this season’s FIA World Rally Championship (WRC), Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (F/F) could be crowned champions in the Drivers and Co-Drivers’ Championship for the fourth year in a row. Team-mates Andreas Mikkelsen/Anders Jæger (N/N) are best placed to stop them. However, the winners of last year’s Rally Spain trail the defending champions by 68 points in second place in the overall standings.

As well as strong opposition from Hyundai, Citroën and M-Sport-Ford, the third Volkswagen duo of Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila (FIN/FIN) will also have their sights set on victory in Spain – after three runner-up finishes in a row, they are the only Volkswagen crew yet to win in Catalonia with the Polo R WRC. Volkswagen could also get its hands on the title in the Manufacturers’ World Championship. To achieve this, however, they would be dependent on other results going their way.

The Rally Spain, which features 321.08 kilometres against the clock, spread over 19 special stages, is a one-off in the World Rally Championship – it is the only race held on both gravel and asphalt.

Titles, theories, temperaments: how it stands in the Drivers’, Co-Drivers’ and Manufacturers’ Championships

What must Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia do to hold the destiny of the world championship title in their own hands? The defending champions must finish at least third and score one point on the Power Stage, in order to claim their fourth WRC title, regardless of how their closest rivals, team-mates Andreas Mikkelsen and Anders Jæger, fare. As well as the two Volkswagen duos, Thierry Neuville/Nicolas Gilsoul (B/B, Hyundai) also have an outside chance. Should Ogier/Ingrassia score one point in Spain, or Neuville/Gilsoul fail to pick up maximum points, then the three-time champions would be out of reach of the pair currently third in the overall standings. In this case, the 2016 world rally champion would be guaranteed to be a Volkswagen driver.

The Manufacturers’ Championship has also come down to a duel between Volkswagen and Hyundai. The trophy would be destined for Wolfsburg with races still to come, if Volkswagen were to score at least 20 points more than Hyundai.

It’s all about the mix: gravel and asphalt demand quick changeovers

Through the coastal mountains of Catalonia and the central Catalan basin at rally speed, sometimes on gravel, sometimes asphalt – the Rally Spain is the only rally on the WRC calendar with a mixture of surfaces. While Friday’s special stages are all held on gravel, the cars will predominantly be on asphalt roads on Saturday and Sunday. The driver who can switch quickly from one rally mode to another will have a big advantage here. 115.90 kilometres of special stage are on loose ground, 205.18 kilometres against the clock are on hard asphalt.

The most intense service of the year – a new car in 75 minutes, please

1,348 components to be replaced in 13 modules – the Volkswagen mechanics face what is probably the most intense service of the year on Friday evening. When gravel mode is replaced by asphalt mode, the Polo R WRC is transformed from a “long-legged” gravel car to a low-lying asphalt racer. The 318-hp four-wheel drive car is fitted with new front and rear axles, giving it chassis components from the asphalt set-up, different brake discs and pads, and new spring/damper units. There is some good news for the mechanics, however: instead of the usual 45-minute flexi service, the Volkswagen team this time has 75 minutes to complete the service.

Olympic flair, world architecture and stately buildings: magnificent backdrop for start of rally

For the third time since 2014, the Rally Spain will open with the “Barcelona” spectator stage at the site of the 1992 Olympic Games at the foot of Montjuïc. The route for the spectacular opening stage on Thursday evening passes the terraced grounds of the 1929 International Exposition and within a few metres of Mies van der Rohe’s world-famous German Pavilion, which is regarded as an architectural icon.

Happy stomping ground for Volkswagen – milestones, one-twos and title celebrations

The Rally Spain is one of Volkswagen’s very favourite rallies: the Polo R WRC made its 25th WRC appearance here two years ago, and the chefs are already hard at work preparing a cake with 50 candles on it for this year’s outing in Spain. The Volkswagen team has also celebrated winning world championship titles here in the past: the Wolfsburg-based carmaker won its first Manufacturers’ title here in 2013, while Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia completed a successful defence of their Driver and Co-Drivers’ Championship one year later. And there was also a special victory to celebrate last year: in 2015, Andreas Mikkelsen claimed his maiden WRC victory. Few rounds of the World Rally Championship could hold fonder memories than Spain does for Volkswagen.

Quotes ahead of the Rally Spain

Sébastien Ogier, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #1
“Our goal was to establish a good position in the title race at the asphalt rallies in Germany and France. We could not have been more successful in this regard, taking two wins in a row. We have taken a good step towards winning the title and can relax a little as we look ahead to the coming rallies, as we no longer need so many points to secure the title. The Rally Spain is an event that is driven on both asphalt and gravel – the only race with different surfaces within the same rally. That is why I like this round of the World Rally Championship so much. I was very successful there in 2013 and 2014. Last year I made a mistake on the final stage, the Power Stage, which cost us victory. I promise that will not happen again this year. However, I am not in Spain to make amends for that mistake. The opportunity to win the 2016 world championship is motivation enough for me.”

Jari-Matti Latvala, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #2
“The Rally France was a tough weekend for me. We have looked very carefully at why that was the case, and have drawn our conclusions. We are now looking ahead to the Rally Spain – a rally I really enjoy, and where I have finished runner-up for the last four years. Good results like the ones I’ve enjoyed in Spain obviously help you to look ahead again after a challenging rally like I had last time out. You must pay particular attention to the Recce in Spain, and ensure that the pace notes are even more accurate than usual. Only a few changes have been made to the route, so there is no need to make drastic changes to the pace notes. The special stages in Spain are also shorter than in France, which suits me. All in all, I’m very motivated to do well at the Rally Spain. After my previous results there, this is an event I really want to win.”

Andreas Mikkelsen, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #9
“The Rally Spain is unique and I have fond memories of it. After all, it was there that I celebrated my first victory in the World Rally Championship last year. I have few problems coping with the abrupt switch from gravel to asphalt. You have to be wide awake on Saturday morning when the surface changes. I managed that very well last year. However, I would like to be quicker on day one this time than I was last year. I lost too much time to the leaders in 2015. This year, I will really put my foot down on Thursday evening in Barcelona and on Friday, in order to avoid falling too far behind early on. If I can manage that, I am confident that I can repeat my victory in Spain again this year. That will be fantastic, as I need the points to defend second place in the championship. Victory would be a significant step closer to this goal.”

Sven Smeets, Volkswagen Motorsport Director
“The Rally Spain has always been good to Volkswagen in the past. We obviously have a lot of work to do if our goal is once again to wrap up all the WRC titles before the end of the season. The unique combination of gravel and asphalt seems to suit our drivers and co-drivers, particularly Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia. They have the opportunity to be crowned world champions here, regardless of other results. Anyone who knows them, will know that they would prefer to do this with a win. However, we are also well aware that the opposition has closed the gap this season, particularly on asphalt, and that we cannot take good results for granted. As a team, we must remain focused at all times at the Rally Spain if we want to win again. And we do want to win again.”

Number for the weekend: 50

The Polo R WRC is making its 50th appearance in the World Rally Championship at the Rally Spain. Time to take a look at its record so far: the world rally car from Wolfsburg has so far achieved 83 podium finishes, 40 of them victories, and has won exactly 600 of a possible 894 special stages. The Polo R WRC has occupied the top three spots at the end of 104 stages. Of the 49 Power Stages held so far, 37 been won by a Volkswagen driver. Bonus points, awarded to the top three on the Power Stage, have gone to Wolfsburg on 88 occasions. Together, the three Polo R WRCs have completed 46,075.46 kilometres against the clock, with an average stage length of 18.97 kilometres.

Welshman Osian chases DDFT world title in Spain

Posted: October 11, 2016 4:40 AM

Osian Pryce will aim to re-write rallying history next week, by becoming the first British driver ever to lift the coveted Drive DMACK Fiesta Trophy (DDFT) title in the World Rally Championship.

For aspiring junior drivers, the DDFT remains the most valuable prize on offer in the world championship with seven rounds of the 2017 series up for grabs in a state-of-the-art, turbo-charged, four-wheel drive Ford Fiesta R5.

Welshman Osian and his co-driver Dale Furniss have already landed two of those drives next season and they go to next week’s RallyRACC Catalunya-Costa Daurada (Rally of Spain) leading the championship and looking to land a further three prize drives.

Osian said:
“The way the championship is organised has changed for this year. In previous seasons the winner of the title took all seven drives, but this time the organisers have paired some of the rallies to spread the prize around. We took most points from Portugal and Poland, so we won the first one. Unfortunately, a small mistake in Finland cost me some points, but we were winning again last time out in Germany and that’s given me this great opportunity next week.”

A third DDFT win from five starts would be enough for Osian to be crowned champion, which would be comfortably the biggest moment of his career.

“This would definitely be the biggest win in my career,” said Osian, “this opportunity is just massive and something I’ve been working towards for such a long time.”

Next week’s Salou-based rally comes with the added complication of a mix of asphalt and gravel surfaces. Up until now the previous DDFT rounds have run solely on one or the other. That doesn’t worry Osian and Dale – they’ve won on gravel (Portugal) and asphalt (Germany) this season.

“I’m looking forward to driving the two surfaces,” said Osian, “it’s like getting two rallies in one. All I can do is go there and give it my best shot. Dale and I have prepared as well as we possibly could: we’ve done exactly the same as we have for the other rallies. Basically, if we go well on the rally and score well on the rally then the championship will follow. At the moment, the momentum’s with us – all we’ve got to do is keep it there!”

Osian takes a 14-point lead into the final round. Victory in Spain would mean him taking two drives for scoring more points than anybody in Spain and Germany and one extra drive for scoring more points than anybody across the whole season.

Leaving no stone unturned, Osian has turned to arguably the world’s finest driver coach Rob Wilson for advice.

“I spent a day with Rob after Germany,” said Osian. “He’s a bit of a legend to be honest, he’s worked with lots of rally drivers and most of the world’s leading Formula 1 drivers. It really helped working with Rob, the basic message was about being as efficient as possible with the car.

“Basically, it’s about finding tenths of seconds. These rallies are so close between all the DDFT guys, every tenth of a second counts. One tenth could be the difference between getting a bonus point for a stage win or not and that bonus point could be the difference between scoring more points than anybody else or not. Score more points and you take the title.

“All it takes is a tenth of a second.”

Osian and Dale start the biggest rally of their lives in Barcelona on Thursday October 13.

M-Sport World Rally Team - FULL SPEED AHEAD TO SPAIN

Posted: October 11, 2016 4:33 AM

M-Sport World Rally Team’s Mads Østberg and Éric Camilli will continue their 2016 FIA World Rally Championship campaign next week – piloting their Ecoboost-powered Ford Fiesta RS WRCs at the popular Rally RACC Catalunya-Costa Daurada.

With just three days to prepare the cars for the Spanish fixture, the workshop at M-Sport‘s Dovenby Hall base has been a hive of activity – every department running like clockwork to ensure that all six competition cars are fully prepared for next week’s event.

All of this has been achieved whilst also conducting a comprehensive week-long test in preparation for the 2017 season. Testing is now in full swing and every department has been working at maximum capacity to complete all on-going projects.

But the team’s proficiency and time management is not reserved to the workshop. Unique to the championship, Rally RACC Catalunya encompasses both gravel and asphalt stages which require a full specification change in an extended 75 minute service on Friday evening.

Switching from gravel to Tarmac, a number of components are changed including the suspension, brakes, gearbox, rear differential, steering rack and cross members. All in all, this could take up to 12 hours on a standard road car, but the M-Sport team will have their fleet of competition Fiestas ready to rally in super-quick time.

Hoping to be equally as quick, Østberg is looking forward to a return to his roots on gravel. The Norwegian feels naturally at home on loose-surface events and will be keen to get into gravel mode as quickly as possible so as to challenge towards the head of the field.

Having implemented a new strategy to improve his asphalt driving at the previous outing in Corsica, Østberg will also be hoping to show further progress on the event’s sealed-surface stages.

Having contested the event on six previous occasions, the Norwegian has historically performed strongly in Spain but is yet to add a top-three finish to his repertoire. Having finished in fourth place on three separate occasions, Østberg is due a podium and should be on good form with last year’s winner, Ola Fløene, calling the notes.

In the sister M-Sport Fiesta RS WRC, Camilli and co-driver Benjamin Veillas enjoyed a confidence boost at last week’s Tour de Corse. Completing all of the stages unscathed, the pairing also saw an improvement in their pacenotes and showed good speed when pushing throughout sections of the ultra-long stages.

Having contested Rally RACC Catalunya as part of their WRC 2 campaign last year, the pairing showed good speed on the circuit-like asphalt – setting top times behind the wheel of their Ford Fiesta R5. This year, they’ll be looking to do the same in the championship’s top flight.

As the season draws to a close, the Frenchmen’s target is still to secure maximum experience by completing all of the stages, but one shouldn’t be surprised to see some quick times coming through from the ever-progressing pairing.

The M-Sport team will also run two additional Fiesta RS WRCs for Ott Tänak and Lorenzo Bertelli, as well as a pair of Fiesta R5s for Marius Aasen and Sander Pärn.

QUOTE, END QUOTE

Mads Østberg said:
“This is an event that I really enjoy, and we’ve done well there in the past. I’m really looking forward to getting back to gravel, and we learnt a lot in Corsica that we can transfer to the asphalt sections.

“This is a unique rally and we’ll need to get our head into gravel mode fairly quickly. That’s the key to this event – getting your head into gear and adapting to the right style for every surface change.

“After a week of learning in Corsica, we’ll be looking to put everything into practice next week. There’s still some work to do, but hopefully we can show some good progress on Tarmac.

“If everything works in our favour, I see no reason why we can’t be challenging towards the head of the field, especially on gravel.”

Éric Camilli said:
“It’s a busy month for us. After the Tour de Corse we had a few days at home to make our preparations for Spain, and then it was straight into testing. There are no words to describe this new car – it is absolutely fantastic and it’s a big pleasure to work with the team as we make our preparations for 2017.

“Corsica was a very important event for me and I believe that the combination of that and this week’s test will help us in Spain. Not only did we complete all of the stages without a mistake, but we also had some competitive split times and my pacenotes were the best that they have been all year!

“We’ve learnt a lot in a very short space of time, and we plan to continue that in Spain. I’ve only been there once before, but I really like the circuit-like Tarmac stages. We set some very good times on that surface last year. It will be a completely different story going head-to-head with the WRC drivers this time around, but we’ll certainly give it our best.

“The target is to have another clean rally, but if we’re feeling comfortable, I think it’s possible to show some good speed – just like we did last weekend.”

Team Principal, Malcolm Wilson OBE, said:
“With only three days to get the cars turned around for Rally Spain, the workshop has been a hive of activity. Credit has to be given to every single member of our team at Dovenby Hall. This is an exceptionally busy time and everyone has put in 110 percent to ensure that everything runs like clockwork.

“Next week’s event is unique to the championship – the only rally to run both gravel and asphalt stages – and I know that Mads is looking forward to getting back to his roots on gravel. We know how competitive he can be on that surface, and we’ll be hoping that he can build on everything he learnt on asphalt in Corsica.

“Éric contested this event as part of his WRC 2 campaign last year and set some very impressive times on Tarmac. We’ve also seen a big improvement in his gravel performance throughout the year, so this could be a good event for him. As we approach the end of the season, it is important for him to complete all of the stages, but I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw some good times coming through from him too.”

Craig Breen excited about dual surface challenge of WRC Rallye de España.

Posted: October 11, 2016 4:08 AM

lready buoyed by signing a contract in the past week with Citroen Racing for the next two seasons, Abu Dhabi Total World Rally Team driver Craig Breen returns in quick succession to the World Rally Championship and heads to the Costa Daurada holiday resort of Salou for his fifth outing behind the wheel of a Citroen DS3 WRC. Run by PH Motorsport the Abu Dhabi Total WRT will enter three cars on this occasion, Kris Meeke, Craig and Khalid Al Qassimi.

Having already scored his first WRC podium finish in Finland this year Craig will be very much hoping that after his fifth place result in Corsica recently that he will be right on the pace with his rivals again this time out. His fifth appearance at the event this is a happy hunting ground for Craig. It is the rally where he scored his first points in the WRC and in 2012 he finished sixth overall driving a Super 2000 car clinching the SWRC title.

With a mixed surface shakedown stage and the ceremonial start on Thursday, Craig and his co-driver Scott Martin head north to the streets of Barcelona where the roads there will draw thousands of spectators to a tricky 3.2km special before the weekend properly gets underway. Friday’s action is mainly gravel but asphalt sections on the long Terra Alta test will add an extra challenge. Four morning stages are repeated in the afternoon, the day only broken by a tyre fitting zone in the middle and then it’s back to Salou where the cars will be transformed into asphalt racers ahead of the second and third legs which are entirely asphalt. Saturday a mix of roads used in the opposite direction last year will be split by a mid-leg service and ends with the now regular test along Salou seafront. Sunday features just two loops of two tests, ending with the live TV Power Stage.

Speaking ahead of the event Craig said,
"It’s great to be starting to prepare for the next event already. And especially since my promotion to Citroën works driver for 2017 and 2018 was announced in between times! Rally de España is a mixed-surface event and the stages are very different to those we had in Corsica last week, so we'll have the chance to build up even more experience. It's an event that I know well and that will help me to improve in a World Rally Car. At this stage of the season, I feel confident both on quick gravel roads and on tarmac. So I should be able to use all the knowledge I've acquired and switch from one surface to the other in a relaxed frame of mind. I'm looking forward to being in Spain because I know there'll be a lot of Irish fans there to cheer me on!"

You can keep up to date with Craig’s 2016 season by visiting www.craigbreen.com or www.citroenracing.com

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