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2019 World Rally Championship

Posted: November 9, 2018 4:49 PM - 3262 Hits

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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