2019 World Rally Championship

Posted: September 6, 2019 1:32 PM - 9939 Hits

FIA Junior WRC Championship Rookie Award prize announced

Posted: September 6, 2019 1:32 PM

An exciting new prize has been created for the 2019 FIA Junior WRC Rookie Award. The highest placed rookie in the 2019 FIA Junior WRC Championship will receive a prize of €15,000 to go towards their 2020 FIA Junior WRC campaign.

The same prize will be available for the winner of the 2020 Rookie Award, to contribute to their budget for the 2021 FIA Junior WRC Championship.

A driver is only eligible for the Rookie Award if they have entered no more than two WRC events prior to the start of the 2019 season.

Should the 2019 FIA Junior WRC Rookie Award winner emerge as the 2019 FIA Junior WRC champion, after the double points paying round of Wales Rally GB, the prize fund will be awarded to the second highest placed Rookie.

Heading into the final round of the championship, Tom Kristensson currently leads the Rookie Award and the FIA Junior WRC Championship. If Kristensson wins the FIA Junior WRC Championship, every 2019 FIA Junior WRC driver eligible for the Rookie Award has a mathematical chance of winning the prize fund for the 2020 FIA Junior WRC Championship.

FIA Junior WRC Championship Manager, Maciej Woda: “As the FIA Junior WRC Championship will be continuing with the same format for the next two seasons, I am pleased to announce a prize that will serve as an incentive for drivers to continue to develop their rallying careers with FIA Junior WRC. The Rookie Award prize is €15,000 to go towards the highest placed FIA Junior WRC Rookie’s 2020 FIA Junior WRC budget. We have had some very impressive Rookies in FIA Junior WRC this season. It is no mean feat for a driver to take to WRC stages for the first time in their career and put in competitive times, we have decided this deserves a significant acknowledgement. For drivers aiming to win the FIA Junior WRC Championship, it is quite common to spend two years in the championship and use the first year to learn the WRC event format and stages. This fund will help the most impressive FIA Junior WRC Rookie to put their budget together in what is a very difficult and challenging market as they aim for championship glory.”

PHIL SHORT, FIA JUNIOR WRC SPORTING SUPERVISOR, TO RETIRE

Posted: July 22, 2019 7:01 AM

After over a decade of service to WRC’s various young driver championships, Phil Short, FIA Junior WRC Championship Sporting Supervisor, will retire at the end of the season.

Short has been a cornerstone of FIA Junior WRC and its various guises for 11 years, providing essential guidance to over 100 young drivers including the likes of Ott Tänak, Elfyn Evans, Hayden Paddon, Craig Breen, Pontus Tidemand and Gus Greensmith.

His experience in international rallying extends to almost half a century and has made him one of the most knowledgeable members of the sport. Starting in 1970 he had a successful international co-driving career, claiming 17 international victories, before moving onto team management. Seeing even greater success as a team manager for various marques, including Ford and M-Sport, Short supervised nine world drivers’ titles and seven manufacturers’ championships.

Aside from his role as a co-driver and team manager, he has also acted as an advisor, supervisor and steward. He will leave his current position at the end of Wales Rally GB 2019, the final round of 2019 FIA Junior WRC in October.

Maciej Woda, FIA Junior WRC Championship Manager, said:
“On behalf of everybody at FIA Junior WRC Championship and M-Sport Poland, I would like to extend a huge thanks to Phil for his unrivalled dedication to Junior WRC and it’s different forms in the last 11 years. Phil has been there for so many talented young rally drivers and co-drivers, offering them crucial advice and guidance at the start of their careers. Some of these drivers have gone on, or are certainly on their way, to incredible success in international rallying and Phil is definitely owed thanks for that. “His eye for detail and almost infinite knowledge bank that he has developed through his experience in a variety of roles throughout his career will be greatly missed in the Junior WRC service park along with his never-ending kindness and good humour. Phil, I certainly hope to see you at a rally or two next year and in future years and please know that you are always welcome in Junior WRC or at M-Sport Poland.”

Phil Short, FIA Junior WRC Sporting Supervisor, said:
“For the past 11 years I have supervised the young driver championships on WRC –including Junior WRC, working for FIA, M-Sport and M-Sport Poland. It has been a pleasure and a privilege to work with a good number of very talented young drivers. I calculate well over 100 promising drivers, not to mention a similar number of talented co-drivers, have passed through my hands over those 11 years. I always take pleasure in seeing those guys & girls obtain the success they deserve – in whatever theatre of the sport – in subsequent years. I don’t claim to have ‘discovered’ these prodigious talents, but I hope I have been instrumental in giving them help, advice, guidance and support along the way.

“My mind is very much a rallying one, and I feel I may still have something to offer, while hopefully doing something not quite as stressful as supervising 14 enthusiastic young drivers and their dedicated co-drivers. It has been my pleasure to work with senior FIA Officials, WRC Event Organisers, Teams, Tyre & other suppliers, Sponsors, TV, Radio & Print Media and all the other enthusiastic people involved in the sport of rallying. I hope our paths will cross again before too long.”

Takamoto Katsuta to compete in WRC class with Toyota Yaris WRC

Posted: June 28, 2019 5:37 PM

TOYOTA GAZOO Racing is accelerating the 2019 activities of the TOYOTA GAZOO Racing Rally Challenge Program, which supports young drivers competing in the tough global arena of rallying.

As the 2019 season reaches the half-way mark, Takamoto Katsuta has so far competed on seven rounds in the WRC2 class of the FIA World Rally Championship with an R5 car, claiming one victory, on Rally Chile. In addition, he scored two wins from two starts in the Finnish championship with the Yaris WRC, and has been steadily improving himself.

Considering Katsuta’s growth in the first half of this season, the planned activity for the second half of the season has been revised. He will join the top category with a Yaris WRC in round 10, Rally Germany, and round 13, Rally Spain, with the goal of continuing his growth as a WRC driver. Contesting these two WRC events in the top class as part of his training, Takamoto Katsuta is contributing towards the final aim of Toyota in its challenge to develop a Japanese WRC driver.

Tommi Mäkinen - Program Supervisor
"Takamoto has made some big steps already this year. In his WRC2 program, he has shown very good progress with his driving and his consistency. He also handled his first rallies in the Yaris WRC in the Finnish championship very well. Because of this, we are sure that he is ready to make the next step up already. We waited to finalise his programme for the end of the season, to see how he was progressing, and it is great that we can already add these two events in a World Rally Car in the world championship. We know that these will be very challenging rallies – Takamoto has no experience of competing in Germany, and Spain is tough as it’s a mixed-surface event. So we are not setting any targets in terms of results: the main priority will be for him to continue learning and to develop his driving."

Takamoto Katsuta
"First of all, I would like to thank everyone who has supported me. Since I switched to rallying four years ago, I have worked hard to be world rally champion in the future. There have been many good moments, but also frustrating ones. Now, I can take a big step forward with support from many people around me. However, I have not yet reached my end goal: I'm just standing on the start line. I am gaining valuable experience step-by-step in the Yaris WRC. I will develop myself consistently, rally-by-rally, to fight in the top category in the near future. I still have so much to do to make my dream come true, but I am sure I can make it. Thank you in advance for your strong support. "

Driver Profile - Takamoto Katsuta
Born in Aichi, Japan on March 17, 1993. Katsuta drove in his first kart race at the age of 12 and at age 18 he won the Formula Challenge Japan (FCJ). He placed second in the F3 series at age 20, and since 2014 he has competed in F3 in addition to notching his first JN5 class win in the eighth round of the Japanese Rally Championship. In the seventh round of the 2017 FIA World Rally Championship (Italy), he took his first podium by finishing third in the WRC2 class. In 2018 he won Rally Sweden, the second round of FIA World Rally Championship in the WRC2 class. In 2019 he won Rally Chile, the sixth round of FIA World Rally Championship in the WRC2 class, and he made two wins in Finnish Rally Championship with Yaris WRC.

STRONG ENTRY FOR 2019 FIA JUNIOR WRC CHAMPIONSHIP

Posted: January 25, 2019 3:00 PM

The FIA Junior WRC Championship has attracted another strong entry and 13 all-new EcoBoost-powered Ford Fiesta R2s will line up for the start of the season at next month’s Rally Sweden.

The exciting 2019 line-up sees drivers representing 10 countries across three continents, and the competition is expected to be stronger than ever as they do battle for one of the biggest prizes in motorsport – ownership of a brand-new Ford Fiesta R5 expected to launch this summer and 200 competition tyres from Pirelli.

A number of familiar faces are back and more determined than ever – not least Sweden’s Dennis Rådström who was last year’s runner-up with two victories to his name.

Estonia’s Ken Torn proved he has the speed to win and will be looking for more of the same, as will Germany’s Julius Tannert who puts his experience to good use in pursuit of a return to the top-step of the podium.

Italy’s Enrico Oldrati and the UK’s Tom Williams are keen to show their progress over the past 12 months, and Romania’s Raul Badiu is returning for a full season having enjoyed his taster at last year’s Rally Turkey.

The 2018 FIA European Under 27 Junior Champion and Vice Champion are stepping up to the world stage – Latvia’s M?rti?š Sesks and Sweden’s Tom Kristensson both signed up for the year.

Jan Solans – younger brother of 2017 Champion Nil Solans – is confirmed having secured six wins out of six on his way to the Junior R2 Championship title in Spain.

Estonia’s Roland Poom joins the ranks having finished second only to Torn in last year’s Estonian Junior Championship, and Nico Knacker makes his WRC debut after competiting in his native Germany.

Two competitors from outside Europe are also signed up – Fabrizzio Zaldivar from Paraguay and Sean Johnston from the United States. Zaldivar will be making his debut outside South America next month, whereas Johnston started his career in Europe last year.

The championship is still taking entries for the following rounds in Corsica, Italy, Finland and Wales and all those interested are encouraged to contact Micha? Mo?dzierz (mmozdzierz@m-sport.co.uk).

FIA Junior WRC Championship Manager, Maciej Woda, said:

“It’s fantastic to see such a strong entry for this year’s FIA Junior WRC Championship and I can’t wait to see what this year’s crop of talented young drivers are capable of.

“With 13 crews from 10 different countries and three different continents, the championship has retained its global appeal and we have more national and European champions within our ranks than ever before!

“I’m extremely proud of the all-new EcoBoost-powered Ford Fiesta R2 that we launched at the end of last year, and I’m thrilled to have 13 of these fantastic new cars lined up on the start line in Sweden.

“These young guys are going to have a lot of fun behind the wheel of this car, and the prize is bigger than ever – ownership of one of the very first Ford Fiesta R5s which is due to launch in the summer as well as a generous tyre package from Pirelli.

“We’re in for another thrilling season and I can’t wait for the action to get underway. I expect the competition to be more competitive and more exciting than ever, and there’s still time for further drivers to get involved so I’d encourage any interested parties to get in touch without delay!”

FIA Junior WRC Championship entries:

    Raul Badiu (ROU)
    Sean Johnston (USA)
    Nico Knacker (GER)
    Tom Kristensson (SWE)
    Enrico Oldrati (ITA)
    Roland Poom (EST)
    Dennis Rådström (SWE)
    M?rti?š Sesks (LAT)
    Jan Solans (ESP)
    Julius Tannert (GER)
    Ken Torn (EST)
    Tom Williams (GBR)
    Fabrizzio Zaldivar (PAR)

WRC Promoter seals improved broadcast deal with BT Sport

Posted: January 18, 2019 6:45 AM

British & Irish motorsport fans will enjoy increased television coverage of the FIA World Rally Championship in 2019 after WRC Promoter extended its partnership with broadcaster BT Sport.

The popular Pay TV network has agreed a multi-year deal and will significantly step up its live coverage from all 14 rounds.

BT Sport will screen all WRC TV’s programmes across its various platforms, featuring live action, a pre-event magazine show, nightly highlights and post-rally review.

All will be repeated and it will also include archive shows in its programming plans.

Britain, which hosts the popular Wales Rally GB (3 - 5 October) as the championship enters the decisive final three rounds, is set to be one of the WRC’s hotspots in 2019.

Viewers will be keen to follow the title-chasing exploits of spectacular Ulsterman Kris Meeke and co-driver Seb Marshall, who have signed to drive a Yaris World Rally Car with reigning manufacturers’ champions Toyota Gazoo Racing.

Welshman Elfyn Evans returns alongside new co-driver Scott Martin with Cumbrian-based M-Sport Ford World Rally Team. They drive the Fiesta World Rally Car which has won the drivers’ title for the last two seasons in the hands of Sébastien Ogier.

Also in action for M-Sport Ford will be rising star Gus Greensmith. The Manchester driver will contest the WRC 2 Pro support category in a Fiesta R5 and will also make his World Rally Car debut in Portugal in May.

BT Sport has broadcast WRC since 2014 and boasts an impressive sports portfolio which includes other top-level motorsport, Premier League and UEFA Champions League football and Premiership rugby.

Simon Green, head of BT Sport, said: “Our new and extended partnership means that from this year we will be showing even more exhilarating action from the WRC, which is fantastic news for BT Sport’s motorsport fans.”

M-SPORT FORD CONFIRM GREENSMITH AND PIENIAZEK FOR WRC 2 PRO

Posted: January 12, 2019 4:23 PM

M-Sport Ford World Rally Team will field a two-car team in the FIA World Rally Championship’s all-new WRC 2 Pro series this year, with a pair of EcoBoost-powered Ford Fiesta R5s for Gus Greensmith and Lukasz Pieniazek.

M-Sport and Ford are known for fostering young talent, and this new series allows the team to further advance the careers of two exciting young drivers – Greensmith and Pieniazek each contesting 10 events with the Fiesta R5; while Greensmith also takes to the wheel of the Ford Fiesta WRC at Rally de Portugal with the possibility for further outings throughout the year.

Greensmith is one of the United Kingdom’s most promising up-and-coming talents and made a name for himself whilst progressing through Ford’s Ladder of Opportunity.

Having made his mark in two-wheel-drive Fiestas, Greensmith stepped up to the Fiesta R5 and was quick to develop rally-winning pace – securing four WRC 2 podiums last year and holding a commanding lead at Rally de Portugal before being forced to retire.

The ambitious Brit is keen to secure his maiden victory this year and aims to demonstrate his potential when taking to the wheel of the top-specification Fiesta in Portugal – going head-to-head with the world’s best drivers and scoring points for the M-Sport Ford World Rally Team.

Greensmith will be joined by new co-driver Elliott Edmondson this year – a young Brit who he sat alongside in 2015 and who also has experience of the top-specification Fiesta having co-driven for Elfyn Evans on test last year.

Piloting M-Sport’s second Fiesta R5 in the WRC 2 Pro Championship, Pieniazek is keen to expand his skillset and further the career which started in his native Poland back in 2014.

Securing a number of class victories on his way from grassroots to international rallying, Pieniazek spent two years in the FIA European Rally Championship and finished third in the ERC Junior category before progressing to the world stage.

Spending the last two seasons contesting a full campaign in the FIA World Rally Championship’s premier support series, the Pole secured his maiden WRC 2 podium with second place at last year’s Rally de Portugal.

Pieniazek is ready to take the next step in his career and will use M-Sport’s knowledge and experience to his advantage.

Greensmith will start his 2019 campaign at Rallye Monte-Carlo; Pieniazek will make his debut with the Cumbrian squad on the snow-covered stages of Rally Sweden.

Gus Greensmith said:
“I’m really proud to be driving for M-Sport Ford in WRC 2 Pro, and even prouder to be making my WRC debut in the team’s third Ford Fiesta WRC at Rallye de Portugal. M-Sport Ford is made up of highly motivated individuals and it’s a privilege to learn and work alongside them.

“I’ve been a part of the M-Sport family for a while now, and you can feel the direction and motivation of the team. It’s where I wanted to be and where I’ll have the best opportunity with the best programme to progress as a driver in 2019.

“I’m also pleased to have Elliott [Edmondson] alongside me this year, and believe it could be a successful long-term partnership between us.

“I came close to a maiden WRC 2 win a couple of times last year, and that’s something I am not willing to let pass me by in 2019; and with a new Fiesta R5 on the way this summer, I’m sure we’ll have a fantastic package to deliver the results we’re all aiming for.

“But the highlight of my year will undoubtedly be Rally de Portugal, and it’s a dream come true to be making my WRC debut. I am very grateful to M-Sport for giving me this opportunity, and to my family who have supported me from the very beginning so that one day I would be able show my potential on the world stage.”

Lukasz Pieniazek said:

"This is another step forward in my rally career and I am excited to join the M-Sport family. Thanks to their knowledge and great experience, I believe I will be able to reach the next level as a rally driver. We have a great programme in our calendar and I can’t wait to kick off the season.”

Team Principal, Richard Millener, said:

“We’re really excited by the new WRC 2 Pro Championship and keen to see what both Gus and Lukasz can do as they progress the next phase of their respective careers.

“Gus has been with us for a number of years and during that time we’ve seen him develop rally-winning pace alongside a more consistent performance. He was rewarded with four podiums last year and came close to securing a maiden win on more than one occasion – something I don’t think is too far away.

“It will also be really interesting to see what he can do when he gets behind the wheel of the Fiesta WRC in Portugal. He tested the car at the end of last year and we’re proud to give another young driver this opportunity at the very highest level.

“Lukasz is working with us for the first time this year but we’re aware of his performances – following his progress as we do with all young drivers who show promise coming through the ranks.

“With two years in WRC 2 already under his belt, he’s ready to take the next step and is determined to learn as much as he can to improve both on and off the stage.

“There’s a lot of experience at M-Sport and we’re keen to share that with Lukasz as he develops his skills as part of the M-Sport family.”

M-SPORT FORD REVEAL 2019 LIVERY AT AUTOSPORT INTERNATIONAL

Posted: January 10, 2019 6:30 AM

M-Sport Ford World Rally Team has revealed a striking new livery ahead of the 2019 FIA World Rally Championship. The eye-catching EcoBoost-powered Ford Fiesta WRC will be entrusted to Elfyn Evans and Teemu Suninen throughout the 14-round season and displayed at Autosport International over the next four days.

The livery reflects the fact that 2019 will be an important year for M-Sport as a business. The automotive industry standard M-Sport Evaluation Centre is due to launch later this year and the silhouette of the state-of-the-art test track is vividly incorporated in the design.

The photogenic nitrous blue colour scheme last used in 2016 returns to the palette and the team’s valued partners are well represented.

Ford Motor Company’s long-standing financial and technical support is highlighted with the signature Blue Oval on the bonnet and side panels, while the ‘Powered by EcoBoost’ global trademark remains proudly displayed on the tailgate and rear wing.

MS-RT branding remains – promoting the company’s bespoke range of road-going vehicles that draw inspiration from M-Sport’s award-winning competition cars.

Established partners Castrol and Michelin also retain a strong presence, as do the team’s valued trade partners – all of whose commitment has been integral to the Cumbrian squad’s continued presence in the FIA World Rally Championship.

Managing Director, Malcolm Wilson OBE, said:

“Next year is going to be an important year for M-Sport, and that is reflected in this new livery. We have a number of new projects coming up, including the launch of our Evaluation Centre and it’s fantastic to see the test track proudly displayed on our Ford Fiesta WRCs – two projects I’m immensely proud of merged together in this eye-catching new design.

“Support from our friends and colleagues at Ford, MS-RT, Castrol and Michelin is well represented as well as our valued trade partners – and I would like to take this opportunity to thank them all as we simply wouldn’t have been able to continue in the FIA World Rally Championship without their support.”



M-SPORT AND ZF TEAM UP FOR 2019

Posted: January 4, 2019 5:41 PM

M-Sport Ford World Rally Team are pleased to confirm a new partnership with ZF for the 2019 FIA World Rally Championship.

The team started development work with the German company last year and will have exclusive use of ZF’s WRC shock absorbers from this year's season opener at Rallye Monte-Carlo.

The continued development of the EcoBoost-powered Ford Fiesta WRC remains the team’s top priority, and this new partnership is expected to further enhance the performance of the top-specification Fiesta.

Chris Williams, Head of Rally Engineering at M-Sport, said:

“Our development work with ZF has been going well and we’re looking forward to having them as part of the team this year. Our focus is on the continued development of the Ford Fiesta WRC and I’m hopeful that we will be able to make further gains alongside this new and valued partner.”

Norbert Odendahl, CEO of ZF Race Engineering, said:

“ZF has a long and very successful history in rally sports. Our new partnership with M-Sport as one of the leading teams in WRC history will certainly help us promoting our brand and expertise in off-road racing. We are looking forward to an exciting and successful season together.”

Hyundai Motorsport announces WRC management change

Posted: January 2, 2019 4:07 AM

Hyundai Motorsport has announced a change to its senior management for the forthcoming 2019 FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) season, with Team Principal Michel Nandan departing the company after six years.

Nandan joined the newly established Hyundai Motorsport GmbH in January 2013 as the company began its involvement in the WRC. Since its competitive debut at Rallye Monte-Carlo in 2014, the team has amassed ten victories and finished as runners-up in the Manufacturers’ Championship on three consecutive occasions.

Hyundai Motorsport extends its sincerest thanks to Michel for his significant contribution to the team’s growth and development over the past six years, and wishes him all the best for the future.

With a proven record as Customer Racing Manager, Italian Andrea Adamo will take on the new role of Team Director, heading up Hyundai Motorsport’s WRC activities with immediate effect, in addition to his existing duties with the i20 R5 and i30 N TCR programs.

M-SPORT FORD WORLD RALLY TEAM ANNOUNCE PLANS FOR 2019

Posted: December 21, 2018 11:35 AM

Following detailed negotiations with team partners, M-Sport and Ford are pleased to announce their intention to register for the 2019 FIA World Rally Championship with a multi-car entry for the EcoBoost-powered Ford Fiesta WRC.

Elfyn Evans returns to the squad for a fifth season at the highest level and will be joined by proud Cumbrian co-driver Scott Martin who reconnects with the team that started his international career back in 2004.

Teemu Suninen also returns to the team for a third season and will contest all events with a top-specification world rally car for the first time in his career. The young Finn will also be joined by a new co-driver in the form of fellow Finn Marko Salminen.

The team will be supported at Rallye Monte-Carlo and Rally Sweden with a third manufacturer entry for Pontus Tidemand. The Swede has a long history with M-Sport and Ford which started with victory in the 2013 FIA WRC Academy – one year after new team mate Evans.

Tidemand took to the wheel of a top-specification Fiesta and fought for a podium position at Rally Sweden in 2014, but this will be his first time behind the wheel of a new-generation world rally car to which he brings undoubted speed and a desire to succeed.

A further change to support the team on a day-to-day basis will see Richard Millener step up to the role of Team Principal – allowing Malcolm Wilson to devote more time to the commercial side of M-Sport as a business.

M-Sport Managing Director, Malcolm Wilson OBE, said:
“It has been a bit of a rollercoaster over the last few weeks – from the elation of winning the FIA World Rally Championship for Drivers and Co-drivers with Sébastien and Julien to their emotional farewell – and we have been working night and day to put together the pieces that go into making a team for 2019.

“As I speak we still don’t have 100 percent of the details in place, but because of the huge amount of development work that has been going on behind the scenes; I felt that we had to make a commitment to see the hard work out on the stages. Working in collaboration with our partners in Europe and the US, every element has been reviewed and updated.

“The continued financial and technical collaboration with Ford has been pivotal in pushing us forward, and together we are working on a new and improved ‘ladder of opportunity,’ which began with the recently launched Ford Fiesta R2 earlier this month. We have always said that WRC is our shop window, and the development work we do at the highest level filters down to improve every step of the ladder.

“Next year is going to be a very important year for M-Sport. We have a number of new projects coming up including the launch of our Evaluation Centre at Dovenby Hall. We will continue to spread the net and work with existing partners – safeguarding the roles we have and taking advantage of any new opportunities that arise.

“We rely on the support of the whole WRC community to piece together the missing pieces, but we are confident we have the tools to do a good job and so we are making the decision to push forward and work through the challenges as they arrive!”

TOYOTA GAZOO Racing Rally Challenge Program TOYOTA GAZOO Racing Confirms Activities for 2019

Posted: December 19, 2018 5:43 PM

TOYOTA GAZOO Racing is pleased to announce a 2019 activity for the TOYOTA GAZOO Racing Rally Challenge Program, which supports young drivers competing in the tough global arena of rallying.

TOYOTA GAZOO Racing launched the Rally Challenge Program in 2015 and, in autumn 2018, the company selected Takamoto Katsuta as its driver, with the aim of enabling the program to take the next step to participate in the WRC. In 2019, Katsuta will intensify his training with the goal of becoming a Japanese WRC driver; he will accumulate experience by participating in a greater number of FIA WRC2 events at the wheel of the R5 rally car, while he is also scheduled to participate in the events of the Finnish Rally Championship in the Yaris WRC. Daniel Barritt will be Katsuta’s co-driver for 2019.

? Tommi Mäkinen?Program Supervisor?
Katsuta’s development has been very impressive during the three and a half year period that he has been with us. Now we are moving on to the next level with an extensive program in WRC2 as well as by taking the opportunity to get used to the WRC car in two Finnish Rally Championship events. The targets for coming season are for Katsuta to understand the importance of consistency and balanced work in long WRC events, build confidence, learn to deal with the pressure, and step up to the level of a WRC professional. In Rally Monte Carlo his main target is to get comfortable with driving again after the break and also to restart his relationship with his co-driver, Daniel Barritt. They used to drive together at the beginning of the program, so they know each other but we will not put pressure on them in Monte. The collection of WRC2 championship points will start from Sweden, where Katsuta took his remarkable win last year.

? Takamoto Katsuta:
I am extremely grateful to Marko Salminen, who has been my co-driver for two years. We battled through countless difficult times together, and I have been able to progress to where I am today because of him. From next season, I will once again pair up with Daniel Barritt, whom I drove with in 2016. Daniel has decided to take on the challenge of once again rallying alongside me, and I am excited to show him how much I have improved over the last two years. The Rally Challenge Program has been strengthened, and so an even more rigorous world awaits me. However, I am determined to push myself to the limits, and I am confident that I will be able to grow significantly. Next season will help me prepare for the future, and I will do my utmost to ensure that I compete in every rally to the best of my ability and use each event as a stepping stone to the next.

Hyundai Motorsport fine-tunes its WRC line-up for 2019 - Loeb for 6 Events

Posted: December 14, 2018 4:27 PM

Hyundai Motorsport has confirmed that Dani Sordo and Sébastien Loeb will join its 2019 FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) campaign, representing a strong signal of intent from the Alzenau-based team.

As part of a two-year contract, nine-time champion Loeb will compete in six rounds of the 2019 season in a Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC alongside long-time co-driver Daniel Elena, starting with Rallye Monte-Carlo in January.

The Frenchman registered his 79th WRC victory in spectacular fashion at Rally de España in October, his first since 2013. He will get his first taste of the Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC prior to Rallye Monte-Carlo, the opening round of the 2019 WRC season.

For Sordo, a one-year contract extension to run eight events into 2019 will mark his sixth consecutive season with Hyundai Motorsport. The Spaniard, alongside co-driver Carlos del Barrio, scored five top-five results in seven starts in 2018, including two podium finishes. Their precise programme for next season is still to be defined but will commence at Rally México in March.

Loeb and Sordo, who were previously WRC team-mates for four seasons from 2007-2010, will join Thierry Neuville and Andreas Mikkelsen on the team’s driver roster for 2019. Hyundai Motorsport also has an open dialogue with Hayden Paddon to discuss options for his involvement with the team into next year.

Sébastien Loeb said: “I am delighted to announce that Daniel and I will compete in six WRC events for Hyundai Motorsport in 2019, beginning with Rallye Monte-Carlo. Winning at Rally de España this season re-ignited my desire to continue competing at the very front of WRC. Joining Hyundai will give us a fresh challenge and one that I can’t wait to tackle. I have been impressed with the team’s approach and their determination to succeed. They were firmly in the title fight this season and I feel that I can bring a lot to them, together with Thierry, Andreas and Dani. The Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC is a proven rally winner, and as a crew we know can still be up there with the best, so 2019 promises to be an exciting season!”

Dani Sordo said: “Hyundai Motorsport has really become a special team to me, so I am pleased to remain part of the WRC line-up. We have built some good memories over the years, and, alongside Carlos, I felt that 2018 was one of my most competitive seasons. We know that when things work in our favour we can really be strong contenders. It is important for us to learn from the difficult moments and come back stronger – that’s the aim for 2019. We have an exciting crew line-up with Sébastien coming on board. He brings an immeasurable amount of experience which will be a huge benefit to the entire team as we move forward.”

Team Principal Michel Nandan said: “Sébastien’s announcement is hugely important for Hyundai Motorsport, and we’re overjoyed that he has agreed a two-year contract. Sealing a deal with someone of his immense talent and calibre shows that we are an attractive and competitive proposition in the FIA World Rally Championship. Ultimately, our goal is to win the WRC title. We believe we have the package to achieve that, and our composition of crews for 2019 will perfectly reflect that ambition. We are also happy to retain the services of Dani for another year, extending a positive working relationship that dates back to 2014. With Thierry and Andreas already on the books for next season, we have an exciting mix of personalities and a complementary line-up. We are also still in talks with Hayden to see how we can work together into 2019. He is a great talent and a tremendous ambassador for Hyundai NZ, leading various motorsport projects.”

INTRODUCING THE ALL-NEW FORD FIESTA R2

Posted: December 4, 2018 4:23 PM

M-Sport Poland are proud to introduce the all-new EcoBoost-powered Ford Fiesta R2 – the first car designed to the FIA’s latest R2 regulations, and the first car to be fully designed and developed at the team’s state-of-the-art facilities in Krakow.

Based on the road-going Ford Fiesta ST-Line which is manufactured at Ford’s Cologne facility, M-Sport Poland has worked in conjunction with the Ford Motor Company who provided significant financial backing for the programme.

The development of the latest edition of the Fiesta R2 extends the partnership of both companies in maintaining an effective ‘Ladder of Opportunity’ and the new R2 retains a strong pedigree – sharing its platform with one of the world’s best-selling small cars.

As one of the first rungs on the Ladder, the Fiesta R2 has spent the past 10 years launching the careers of some of rallying’s most popular names – Ott Tänak, Elfyn Evans, Craig Breen and Pontus Tidemand all spending time and honing their skills behind the wheel of the little Fiesta.

Despite a complete redesign, the all-new Fiesta maintains the same philosophy and will form the basis for next year’s FIA Junior WRC Championship – continuing M-Sport and Ford’s commitment to supporting the sport’s future stars.

Designed from a completely clean sheet of paper, the new Fiesta R2 shares little with its predecessor and the team were inspired by the championship-winning Ford Fiesta WRC and its design.

Engine performance has been significantly improved, as have the transmission and suspension. In fact every element has been rethought and improved to produce a car that performs to M-Sport Poland’s exacting standards.

The turbo charged 999cc Ford EcoBoost engine delivers 200 HP at 6,500 RPM and the new Sadev five-speed sequential gearbox can be adjusted across three different ramps.

The new suspension includes Reiger dampers which are three-way adjustable on the front and two-way adjustable on the rear. Eibach springs compliment with the option of hard or soft, and there is also an optional anti-roll bar to further enhance the set-up options.

Further information can be found in the Technical Specification, and orders can be placed as of today with delivery estimates dependant on deposits received.

All those interested in sales advice should contact kkozdron@m-sport.co.uk, and all media enquiries should be directed below as usual.

Maciej Woda, Board Member M-Sport Poland, said:

“The all-new Ford Fiesta R2 is a massive step forward and something everyone at M-Sport Poland is extremely proud of. It’s the first car to be fully designed and developed here in Krakow, and a tremendous amount of effort, passion and enthusiasm has gone into making this project as successful as possible.

“Sharing information with the engineers and designers back in Cumbria, we’ve been inspired by the success of the championship-winning Ford Fiesta WRC and every component has been designed to make this new car as strong and as innovative as possible within the regulations.

“But the main philosophy of the Fiesta R2 remains – giving the stars of the future the perfect platform with which to hone their skills and show what they can do in the early stages of their careers. The all-new Fiesta will therefore form the basis of next year’s FIA Junior WRC Championship, and I’m looking forward to seeing what the next generation can do behind the wheel.”

Confirmed - Seb Marshall to co-drive for Kris Meeke

Posted: December 4, 2018 4:29 AM

"Hi everyone,

Thanks for your patience over these past few weeks. I know things have gone a bit quiet since we did those early tests in the Toyota Gazoo Racing WRC Yaris - but that’s because the team has been concentrating on Rally Australia and bringing home the rally victory and the manufacturer’s title.

Things are falling into place nicely for 2019 now, though, and things are going to begin again for me in earnest, so it’s good timing that we’ve announced today that my co-driver for 2019 will be Seb Marshall.

As I mentioned when the Toyota deal was confirmed, I owe a great debt of thanks to my former navigator Paul Nagle. He and I went through highs and lows together, and he was a terrific companion over those times. I’ll always treasure our victories together in Argentina, Portugal, Finland, Mexico and Catalunya.

Next year represents a fresh challenge for me, though, so it’s a blank sheet of paper, with a new guy reading the pacenotes. I’ve actually known Seb for quite a long time, in fact, and we all know he’s right up there at the level.

The priority is to build up that relationship between us in the car, of course, and that’ll start in competition terms in Monte Carlo. But we’ll have a fair bit of testing beneath us by the time we get to that point, and that will help. So I’m very pleased he’s joining me, and I’m confident for the future.

Thanks, as always, for your support."

Kris



MEET THE TEAM BEHIND THE 2019 FIA JUNIOR WRC CHAMPIONSHIP

Posted: November 20, 2018 3:53 AM

Following the success of the 2018 FIA Junior WRC Championship, M-Sport is pleased to announce further information about next year’s series with a ‘Meet the Team’ session for prospective competitors.

Similarly to last year, M-Sport Poland are delighted to invite all prospective Junior WRC drivers to meet some of the key personnel as well as having opportunity to visit the team’s state-of-the-art facility in Krakow.

Interested drivers will also benefit from a chance to get to grips with the new one-litre EcoBoost Ford Fiesta R2 with tuition from former FIA Junior WRC Champion, Nil Solans.

The event is scheduled to take place on 5th and 6th December – meeting the team and learning how the Junior WRC operates on the first day, before transferring to Kielce racing track to gain experience behind the wheel of the new Fiesta R2.

PROGRAMME: 5TH DECEMBER

    14:00: Arrive at M-Sport in Krakow.
    Meeting with key team members.
    Introduction to the FIA Junior WRC Championship.
    Tour of M-Sport’s new facility in Krakow.
    17:00: Transfer to Kielce.
PROGRAMME: 6TH DECEMBER
    08:00: Opportunity to drive the Ford Fiesta R2 with tuition from Nil Solans.
In order to register your interest for this programme, please send your contact details to Michal Mozdzierz (mmozdzierz@m-sport.co.uk) on or before 22nd November for confirmation by 26th November

2019 FIA JUNIOR WRC CHAMPIONSHIP CALENDAR REVEALED*

Posted: November 9, 2018 4:49 PM

Following the success of the 2018 FIA Junior WRC Championship, the calendar for 2019 will continue to challenge the world’s most promising young drivers on a variety of surfaces – the stages of Sweden, Corsica, Sardinia, Finland and Wales all testing the stars of the future.

Like this year, the five-round season will get underway on the ice and snow of Rally Sweden before the crews are put through their paces on asphalt – endurance being the name of the game at the legendary Tour de Corse.

Gravel plays a key role at rallying’s highest level, and three loose-surface events will close the season and decide who claims one of the biggest prizes in motorsport – a brand-new Ford Fiesta R5 complete with a generous support package to contest the 2020 WRC 2 Championship.

Rally Italia Sardegna kicks off the gravel action in June, followed by the famous jumps of Rally Finland – an event every rally driver wants to win. The grand finale will then be hosted by Wales Rally GB – testing the Junior crews on some of the most changeable grip levels and challenging conditions that the world stage has to offer.

Working alongside the FIA, M-Sport Poland have devised another demanding and varied calendar that puts focus on all of the attributes needed to compete at the very highest level of the sport.

Anyone interested in more information about how to register for next year’s FIA Junior WRC Championship should contact Micha? Mo?dzierz at mmozdzierz@m-sport.co.uk

FIA Junior WRC Championship Manager, Maciej Woda, said:

“We’re delighted to announce next year’s calendar which will continue to test the FIA Junior WRC Championship crews in every aspect of the sport. Once again, the championship will be contested over five events, and I’d like to welcome Sardinia and Wales back to the Junior WRC family.

“Snow, asphalt, gravel, sprint stages, endurance stages, freezing temperatures, sweltering temperatures, you name it, next year’s season has it, and I’m sure we’ll see another very worthy champion at the end of the year.”

2019 FIA Junior WRC Championship Calendar*

    Rally Sweden (14-17 February)
    Tour de Corse - Rallye de France (28-31 March)
    Rally Italia Sardegna (13-16 June)
    Rally Finland (1-4 August)
    Wales Rally GB (3-6 October)
*Calendar subject to final approval by the FIA.

2019 FIA WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP LAUNCHING AT AUTOSPORT INTERNATIONAL

Posted: November 8, 2018 1:03 PM

Change of Co-Driver for Kris Meeke.

Posted: October 17, 2018 4:28 AM

TOYOTA GAZOO Racing confirms WRC driver line-up for 2019 - Meeke to join Tanak and Latvala in driving the Yaris WRC

Posted: October 17, 2018 4:21 AM

TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team is pleased to confirm its driver line-up for the 2019 FIA World Rally Championship season, when it will again enter three Toyota Yaris WRC models on every event.

Ott Tänak will continue to drive the Toyota Yaris WRC next year alongside co-driver Martin Järveoja after joining the team of the 2018 season, during which they have already won on four occasions and are challenging for the drivers' championship.

Jari-Matti Latvala will also stay with the team. The experienced Latvala and co-driver Miikka Anttila have been a key part of the team since its debut in Monte Carlo in January 2017. They scored the first podium of Toyota's WRC return on the very same event, and the first victory just a few weeks later in Sweden. Latvala has achieved four podiums so far this year, including three in the last four rounds.

Joining Tänak and Latvala in the line-up for 2019 will be Kris Meeke. The Northern Irishman is recognised as one of the quickest drivers in the WRC, claiming five rally wins since 2015. Meeke, whose co-driver will be confirmed at a later date, will join TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team to form a fast and experienced driver line-up.

Esapekka Lappi and co-driver Janne Ferm will leave the team following the conclusion of the 2018 season. The pair made their debut in the top category of the WRC with Toyota on Rally Portugal last year, and soon scored their maiden victory at Rally Finland. This season they have taken three podium finishes so far, contributing to the team's current position in the lead of the manufacturers' championship. TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team would like to thank Esapekka and Janne for their hard work.

Quotes:
Akio Toyoda (Team Chairman)
“To Esapekka Lappi and Janne Ferm: Thank you for battling together with us as part of our team over the last two years. Your victory at last season's Rally Finland was outstanding. We were all truly impressed. With your youthful exuberance, Esapekka, you have provided the team with immense motivation. At this year's Rally Finland, I was able to witness first-hand how much you value your fans, and how much you are loved by them. I am full of gratitude to you for strengthening TOYOTA GAZOO Racing's bond with its supporters.

Co-driver Janne, you were always joking, lightening the mood, and energizing our team. If I hear hearty laughter coming from a rival team's tent at WRC rallies next year, it will be reassuring to know that both you and Esapekka-our former partners-are flourishing.

I have no doubt that next season Esapekka and Janne will again make us stronger-this time as our rivals. It excites me to think that we will once again have an opportunity to energize the WRC together. Until then, however, let us make sure we fight for this year's championship to the very end! TOYOTA GAZOO Racing will continue with its efforts to create ever-better cars so that, until the very last stage of the very last rally, both of you will be able to demonstrate your full potential.

Finally, to Kris Meeke, who will join our team from next season: I have great hopes that with your vast experience you will help make the Yaris WRC even better. When you first step into the Yaris WRC, please let us know what you think. Under the leadership of Team Principal Tommi Mäkinen, we will ensure the Yaris WRC can be driven with even greater peace of mind. I trust you will look forward to the start of next season with great excitement.”

Tommi Mäkinen (Team Principal)
“We are all very excited to have Kris joining us here at TOYOTA GAZOO Racing. We know that he is very fast, but he also brings a lot of experience. His technical understanding is at a really high level and I believe he can provide new knowledge and ideas to help us in our aim to keep making the Yaris WRC better.
I am also very pleased that Jari-Matti will continue to be part of our team. He has done some brilliant work for us and has recently been regularly on the podium again, which has been very important. Together with Ott, who has proven that he is absolutely one of the fastest drivers right now, I think we have a very strong line-up for next year, with three drivers who are all quick, experienced and can win rallies. I believe we will again have a strong team to fight for both the drivers' and manufacturers' titles.
Lastly, I am very sorry to see that Esapekka has decided to leave us for a new challenge, but we all wish him the best of luck for the future.”

Kris Meeke
“It's a huge pleasure and honour for me to become a Toyota driver. I'd like to thank Akio Toyoda, Tommi Mäkinen and the entire Toyota team for their faith in me. Three years ago, we first discussed the possibility of me joining the team, and I'm so happy that it's finally happened now.
The performance of the Yaris WRC speaks for itself, but the team spirit here is incredible at every level, also with the Japanese culture of honour and respect. I can't wait to get started. I've got no particular objectives other than to enjoy my driving again and help Toyota to win a championship.
The very first championship that I won was actually when I was aged 16 and co-driving for my brother on our local road rally championship. We clinched that title in a Toyota Corolla, so for very many reasons, it feels incredibly good to be here. I can't think of a better place to be.”

ESAPEKKA LAPPI JOINS CITROEN TOTAL ABU DHABI WRT!

Posted: October 17, 2018 4:19 AM

Keen for its line-up to feature two leading crews next year, Citroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT is delighted to confirm that Esapekka Lappi and his co-driver Janne Ferm will join its works team in 2019, alongside Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia.

True to its tradition of putting its faith in young drivers and supporting them to the top of the sport, Citroën Racing has chosen the most promising youngster in the WRC in Esapekka Lappi. The 27 year-old Finn has emerged in the last few seasons as a future champion and already has an impressive competitive record for someone with such limited experience (40 starts in the world championship, 19 of which in a WRC). It was in 2012, at Rally Finland, that Esapekka first made his mark on the world scene when, for long periods, he more than held his own against a certain Sébastien Ogier in the same class. After claiming the Finnish Rally Championship that year, winning all seven rounds, he continued his gradual improvement, becoming European champion in 2014 and securing the WRC2 title in 2016. Since the 2017 Rally de Portugal, where he made his WRC debut, Esapekka has continued to impress, also establishing himself as a "Flying Finn", yet another talented driver from a country that has long punched above its weight in the world of rallying. His maiden win at his home round in Finland last year, in only his fourth outing in a WRC, further cemented his growing reputation. This season, he has once again confirmed his undoubted pace, showing consistency and speed on all surfaces (3rdin Sardinia, Germany and Wales). In fact, he currently lies fourth in the championship, behind three drivers who are fighting it out in one of the most closely-contested title races in years. All of which suggests that with Janne Ferm, his co-driver since 2010, the pair will be perfectly complementary to Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia, the first crew announced for next year's line-up. A powerful combination of experience and youth, the Ogier-Lappi pairing is unquestionably impressive and will be tasked with winning on all surfaces from 2019.

WHAT THEY SAID

Pierre Budar, Citroën Racing Team Principal

"We were keen to sign up two very competitive crews for next year and the arrival of Esapekka is therefore excellent news! Putting faith in young drivers has long been hard-wired in the DNA of our brand and Esapekka certainly has the ideal profile. Talented, determined and focused, he should form both a complementary – and formidable – pair with Sébastien. We feel there is still more to come from him, so we'll be doing what we can to get him in the best possible shape to help him continue his impressive rise through the ranks."

Esapekka Lappi

"Obviously, I'm delighted to be joining the team and to be the future team-mate of Sébastien. It’s a good opportunity for me to keep developing. After having learned many things from Jari-Matti Latvala last year, and from Ott Tänak this year, I'll have everything it takes to be even better if I also manage to draw inspiration from Seb! I'm convinced that the car has a lot of potential, as does the team, which has a long history and lot of experience in the WRC. The fact that Pierre clearly wanted to recruit me also counted a lot when it came to making my decision. It's also going to be a great challenge, trying to win together."

Chile steps up to expanded 2019 WRC calendar

Posted: October 12, 2018 3:49 PM

Chile is an exciting addition to an enlarged 2019 FIA World Rally Championship calendar announced in Paris on Friday.

The 14-round calendar retains all 13 rallies from 2018 and gives an increasingly global look to the world’s most prestigious motorsport series for production-based cars, with five events outside Europe.

Chile becomes the 32nd country to host the WRC since the championship was launched in 1973. Event representatives celebrated its inclusion as live news transmissions were broadcast to the country from the French capital.

The gravel fixture is based in Concepción on 9 - 12 May and forms the second half of a spectacular double-header with Argentina, adding to south America’s burgeoning portfolio of world-class motorsport.

The calendar is the largest since 2008 and was approved by the FIA’s World Motor Sport Council.

WRC Promoter managing director Oliver Ciesla welcomed Chile to the championship, its promotion following the return of Turkey to the 2018 series after an eight-year absence.

“We pursue a strategy to further globalise the championship by incorporating more events outside Europe. Turkey successfully brought a WRC footprint back to the Asian continent and Chile will prove an equally worthy addition to the 2019 calendar,” he said.

With an eye to the future, candidate events are scheduled in Japan and Kenya to gauge the readiness of both countries for a calendar place.

“This year’s candidate rally in Chile achieved a very high level. The colour, passion and intensity of back-to-back rallies in Latin America, a region whose booming motorsport imprint provides great potential to further increase fan interest, will generate further impetus to the WRC.

“We’re currently experiencing a surging demand from countries worldwide to join the WRC, which is a clear indication of its increasing popularity. We want to continue to develop the series over the next years and explore important new markets,” added Ciesla.

As is traditional, the 2019 championship opens on the ice-covered Alpine roads of Rallye Monte-Carlo on 24 - 27 January. It again closes on the gravel tracks of Rally Australia on 14 - 17 November, the event where 2018’s title fight is likely to come to a thrilling conclusion next month.

There are several minor date changes in the middle section of the calendar to accommodate the addition of Chile, including later slots for Portugal and Italy.

Championship Rounds

Posted: October 12, 2018 3:44 PM

  1. Monte Carlo - 24-27 Jan 19
  2. Sweden - 14-17 Feb 19
  3. Mexico - 7-10 Mar 19
  4. France - 28-31 Mar 19
  5. Argentina - 25-28 Apr 19
  6. Chile - 9-12 May 19
  7. Portugal - 30 May-2 Jun 19
  8. Italy - 13-16 Jun 19
  9. Finland - 1-4 Aug 19
  10. Germany* - 22-25 Aug 19
  11. Turkey - 12-15 Sep 19
  12. Great Britain* - 3-6 Oct 19
  13. Spain* - 24-27 Oct 19
  14. Australia* - 14-17 Nov 19
* = date subject to confirmation

Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT - SEBASTIEN OGIER GOES BACK TO THE TEAM WHERE IT ALL BEGAN!

Posted: September 28, 2018 2:19 PM

Determined to challenge for victory from next year, Citroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT is particularly pleased to announce that five-time world rally champions Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia are to rejoin the team in 2019.

Ten years ago, at the 2008 Wales Rally GB, Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia, then the newly-crowned Junior World Rally Champions, made a stunning debut in the C4 WRC as they won the opening test – claiming their first WRC stage win in the process – and led the race until SS5. With the 2018 edition of the British round next up on the calendar, the timing could not be better to announce the return of the five-time world champions (2013 to 2017) to Citroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT, the team where it all began! Indeed, it was in overalls adorned with the famous chevrons that the two Frenchmen claimed their first world title in the Junior class, in the C2 Super 1600, and their first WRC stage win. They also scored their first WRC podium with Citroën (runners-up at the 2009 Acropolis Rally in the C4 WRC) and their maiden overall win (2010 Rallye de Portugal in the C4 WRC). After demonstrating their exceptional talent in the brand's Junior Team, they quickly confirmed their promise when joining Citroën's works team (2010 Rally Finland), making an active contribution to the manufacturers' titles won in 2010 and 2011. In securing the services for 2019 onwards of a crew that is challenging for a sixth consecutive world title this year, the team led by Pierre Budar has confirmed its relentless determination to aim even higher in future with a C3 WRC that has already claimed two overall wins and six podium finishes. Resolutely focused on the challenge of becoming world champion with a third different marque, which also boasts a great history in world rallying, Sébastien is convinced by the potential of the car and the determination of a team that he knows well. Driven by their mutual desire to work together again, they are looking forward to adding to a joint record that already features seven overall wins. Just before the start of the 2018 Paris Motor Show (4-14 October), where the C3 WRC will be on display, the reunion of the French crew and team is great news for fans, who are undoubtedly already looking forward to the start of next season at the 2019 Rallye Monte-Carlo (22-27 January)!

WHAT THEY SAID

Pierre Budar, Citroën Racing Team Principal
"This excellent news is first and foremost about people embarking on a journey, a human adventure, united by the desire to write a new chapter together in our history. I'm obviously delighted to welcome Sébastien and Julien back into the fold! The fact they are joining us is an incredible boost for the whole team. Everyone is going to be even more motivated than ever. We're already pulling out all the stops to make sure our second stint working together adds to our great history in the sport and showcases the Citroën brand. We feel good!"

Sébastien Ogier
"I'm really enthusiastic about the prospect of taking on this new challenge with Citroën. In fact, I can't wait, especially as I haven't forgotten that this is the team that first gave me the opportunity to compete in the world championship. There were various factors that influenced my decision. I really like the idea of working again with people with whom things went pretty well a few years back and I'm also excited by the chance to try and pull off the challenge of becoming world champion with a third different manufacturer. And although I'm not taking anything for granted, I am convinced that the car has definite potential and I have great faith in the people at Satory."

Hyundai Motorsport and Thierry Neuville extend contract for three years

Posted: September 12, 2018 4:57 PM

Hyundai Motorsport GmbH and current FIA World Rally Championship leader Thierry Neuville have signed a new three-year contract, which will see the Belgian remain with the team until the end of the 2021 season.

The announcement reaffirms Hyundai Motorsport’s commitment to the WRC and to Neuville, who has scored many memorable victories with the team since 2014. It also extends the partnership between Neuville and co-driver Nicolas Gilsoul, who have proven to be a formidable force in WRC in recent seasons.

Among the crew’s highlights were Hyundai’s first-ever WRC podium in Rally Mexico 2014 and leading an historic 1-2 victory on home soil in Germany, having spectacularly rolled their car into the vineyards in shakedown.

The pair has provided more tense moments over the years including two of the closest winning margins of all time. They triumphed by just 0.7-seconds in Rally Argentina 2017 and by exactly the same gap in Rally Italia Sardegna earlier this season. Since 2014, Neuville and Gilsoul have scored nine wins, 26 podiums and 129 stage wins, building up a reputation as one of WRC’s most potent partnerships.

Ahead of this weekend’s Rally Turkey, Neuville holds a 23-point advantage in the drivers’ championship, and is ready to help Hyundai Motorsport to its most competitive season to date in WRC with the team also leading the manufacturers’ table by 13 points.

Thierry Neuville said: “I am really happy to sign a new three-year contract with Hyundai Motorsport. We have improved a lot in recent seasons, and it has always been my target to build continuity for my career by remaining with this team. Since 2014, we have shared many special moments together, as well as working through some more difficult times. Our debut victory together in 2014 remains a highlight, and we have since taken more wins together. There is a fantastic family atmosphere and I get on very well with my team-mates. This is very important to me. Alongside Nicolas, who has played a key role in our successes, our focus is on completing this current season in the strongest way possible, aiming to secure the titles. From there, we will continue to build, hopefully, to an even brighter future with Hyundai Motorsport.”

Team Principal Michel Nandan said: “We are delighted to extend our relationship with Thierry and Nicolas for a further three seasons. They have both played a crucial role in building up the Hyundai Motorsport WRC programme over the past five years, helping us to many important milestones along the way from our maiden victory in Germany 2014 right up to our current championship battle. As we build towards an exciting conclusion to this year’s WRC, with drivers’ and manufacturers’ championships still delicately poised, it is important for us that we can already look towards 2019 and beyond. Thierry and Nicolas have proven to be outstanding ambassadors for Hyundai on the global motorsport stage, and they are very well respected – in and outside of our team. We are pleased to continue working with them over the coming years.”

Stats and Highlights since 2014

    61 WRC events for Hyundai Motorsport up to and including Rallye Deutschland ‘18
    9 WRC wins (Germany ’14, Sardinia ’16, Corsica ’17, Argentina ’17, Poland ’17, Australia ’17, Sweden ’18, Portugal ’18, Sardinia ’18)
    29 WRC podiums (including team’s first-ever WRC top-three in Mexico ’14)
    129 stage wins (most in one event: nine in Sardinia ’16 and Poland ’17)
    735 championship points

M-SPORT POLAND TO CONTINUE FIA JUNIOR WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP IN 2019

Posted: July 27, 2018 8:07 PM

The FIA Junior World Rally Championship will continue to be managed by M-Sport Poland in 2019. Operating on an arrive-and-drive basis with identical one-litre EcoBoost Ford Fiesta R2s, the popular series will continue to provide a cost-effective platform for some of the world’s most promising young drivers to showcase their skills on the world stage.

Pirelli remain onboard as a loyal and valued partner and the championship will include five rounds on a variety of surfaces. The best four points finishes count towards the championship, and double points will be awarded at the season finale. Additional points for each stage win also remain on offer – encouraging the competitors to push throughout the entire weekend.

The calendar will be confirmed before the end of the year and one of the biggest prizes in motorsport remains up for grabs – ownership of a brand-new Ford Fiesta R5 with free registration into the 2020 WRC 2 Championship as well as a generous tyre package from Pirelli.

This year saw an impressive 15 crews from 12 different countries register for the championship, and M-Sport Poland are keen to see the high levels of attendance and talent continue into their ninth year of running a one-make Fiesta series on the world stage.

Next year’s selection is open to drivers born on or after 1 January 1990 and competitors will have their chance to follow in the footsteps of previous champions such as Sébastien Loeb, Dani Sordo, Sébastien Ogier, Craig Breen and Elfyn Evans – all of whom went on to succeed at the sport’s very highest level.

FIA Junior World Raly Championship Manager, Maciej Woda, said:
“We’re delighted that the FIA has chosen M-Sport Poland to continue managing the Junior World Rally Championship in 2019. It’s excellent news for us and our partners – and very rewarding for the team who have worked extremely hard to deliver a strong and competitive championship. The competition this year has been incredible. We’ve witnessed some extremely close-fought rivalries – and seen some real stars of the future – and we’ll be working hard to see that continue next year.”

Pirelli Rally Activity Manager, Terenzio Testoni, said:
“Supporting young drivers has always been at the heart of Pirelli’s motorsport philosophy, especially in rallying. The result is at least one factory driver in every World Rally Championship manufacturer team this year who has got to where they are with the help of Pirelli. This is a legacy we are determined to continue into the future, so it was a natural decision for us to continue to partner with M-Sport Poland and the FIA Junior World Rally Championship into 2019.”






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