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Green light up to and including 2019: Volkswagen extends WRC involvement

June 10, 2014

Volkswagen commits its future to rallying: the Volkswagen Board has decided on a long-term involvement in the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) and given the green light for a continuation of its commitment to the series up to and including 2019. Volkswagen made its first appearance at the pinnacle of rallying with the Polo R WRC in 2013 and immediately won all three titles – Driver, Co-Driver and Manufacturer – at the first attempt. This season, the works team is still unbeaten and leads the World Championship.

The FIA World Rally Championship is a very good platform for Volkswagen to demonstrate the efficiency, dynamics and reliability of its cars to a global public,” said Dr. Heinz-Jakob Neußer, Volkswagen Board Member for Technical Development and the man responsible for the brand’s motorsport programme. “The series is more closely oriented towards the technology used in the latest production vehicles than any other world championship, and based on the kind of real conditions that our customers all over the world experience on a daily basis. Furthermore, millions of people are passionate about this spectacular sport. The close interaction between the production and motorsport development departments at Volkswagen, the sporting contest with our direct rivals in various markets, and the huge potential for marketing in the media led to our decision to commit to a long-term involvement in the World Rally Championship.”

Volkswagen Motorsport Director Jost Capito was of course very happy with the decision: “The Volkswagen Board’s decision to commit to the FIA World Rally Championship until 2019 makes us very proud. Volkswagen has never implemented a long-term motorsport programme on this scale before,” said Capito. “This faith is a huge motivation for our entire team not to rest on its laurels for a single second, but to continue to show the same degree of passion, determination and commitment to ensure we remain successful in the World Rally Championship.


Hyundai Motorsport announces Brian Bouffier as 2014 Test Driver

April 28, 2014

- Hyundai Motorsport integrates French driver Bryan Bouffier into its test driver line-up
- Bouffier will join the team on several development tests ahead of the 2015 season throughout the rest of this year
- The team also announces its participation in Rallye Antibes Côte d’Azur next month – part of the French Rally Championship – where Bouffier will drive the Hyundai i20 WRC on tarmac in a competition environment.

Hyundai Motorsport has announced today that French driver Bryan Bouffier will join the team again as part of its 2014 test driver line-up. Bouffier previously contributed to the young Alzenau-based team in the development of the Hyundai i20 WRC last year ahead of its return to the FIA World Rally Championship.


The Frenchman’s skills and capabilities will be used by Hyundai Motorsport in a number of development tests ahead of 2015 which will be carried out in parallel to the series of pre-event WRC rally tests.

Hyundai Motorsport also takes the opportunity to announce its participation in Rallye Antibes Côte d’Azur – round four of the French Rally Championship, which will mark Bouffier’s 2014 debut with the team. The participation to the French event will be used as an opportunity to test the Hyundai i20 WRC on tarmac in preparation for the asphalt rounds of the WRC later this year.

Hyundai Motorsport will enter one Hyundai i20 WRC test car at Rallye Antibes Côte d’Azur with the aim of acquiring valuable mileage and data in a competitive environment on tarmac. The event offers the advantage of allowing the participation of WRC cars and it fits well in the team’s busy testing and rallying schedules.

Team Principal Michel Nandan said: “We are happy to welcome Bryan back into the team after the great job he did with us last year. We have been talking for a while now and we decided that he definitely deserved another opportunity. He will be with us in various development tests throughout the year as we prepare for 2015 and I’m sure that once again he will help a lot. We decided to participate in Rallye Antibes Côte d’Azur next month to do some mileage on tarmac and test some components for the second half of the season in a competitive environment rather than in a traditional test session. Having won Rallye Antibes before and being a French tarmac rally specialist, Bryan was the obvious choice for this event which we will treat the event as a test for collection of data to continue the development of the Hyundai i20 WRC.”

Bouffier and co-driver Xavier Panseri are three-time Polish Rally Champions and clinched the French Rally Championship in 2010. In addition to their strong performance at the iconic Rallye Monte-Carlo this year, the pair also won the event when it was part of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge in 2011 and dominated the legendary Tour de Corse (European Rally Championship) in 2013. The Frenchman’s vast experience as a test driver and previous involvement with the Hyundai Motorsport make him a perfect addition to the team’s current line-up.

Bouffier commented: “I’m really happy to be again a part of the Hyundai Motorsport team. We had a very cooperative collaboration in 2013 and I’m glad we can continue it throughout this year as well. I will be joining some of the team’s development tests during this season and I will do my best to help them to prepare for the 2015 season, bringing my experience and knowledge and giving the team the most detailed feedback possible. I’m also grateful to be given the opportunity to drive the Hyundai i20 WRC at Rallye Antibes, an event I won back in 2006 and where I enjoy driving every time I go there. The aim is to do some good mileage on tarmac and give the team as much feedback as possible for the remainder of the season.”

Based in the French Côte d’Azur, Rallye Antibes gets underway on the weekend of 30-31 May featuring some of the roads of Rallye Monte-Carlo. The itinerary includes 12 special stages – six repeated twice – totalling 212km of competitive kilometres.


Hyundai Motorsport adds Hayden Paddon to its driver line!up

February 27, 2014

- Hyundai Motorsport signs New Zealand driver Hayden Paddon to its WRC team
- Paddon and his co-driver John Kennard will drive a Hyundai i20 WRC car entered by Hyundai Motorsport N
- The 26-year-old will drive seven rounds of the 2014 FIA World Rally Championship starting with Rally Italia Sardegna and including Rally Australia.

Hyundai Motorsport has today revealed that New Zealander Hayden Paddon will join the team at selected rounds of the 2014 FIA World Rally Championship (WRC), starting with Rally Italia Sardegna in June.

The 26-year-old will be flanked by his compatriot John Kennard and will be behind the wheel of a Hyundai i20 WRC which will be entered under a separate entry of Hyundai Motorsport N. The duo will join Hyundai Motorsport for seven rounds of its maiden championship including Rally Australia in September where they will join the main team’s drivers Thierry Neuville and Chris Atkinson, who has already been confirmed to drive the #8 Hyundai i20 WRC at that event.

Paddon, who won the FIA Production car World Rally Championship in 2011, will have his first taste of the Hyundai i20 WRC in April. Currently residing in Frankfurt, the talented Kiwi is already familiar with the Alzenau-based team having visited the team’s factory recently. Although travelling independently, he will be wishing the team well when he attends Rally Mexico to recce the event.

Paddon said: “I’m really proud to be joining Hyundai Motorsport for seven events of the FIA World Rally Championship this year. It is an incredible opportunity to be part of the team in these very exciting times. It’s a chance that we are ready for and are going to work very hard to make the most of to meet the targets and objectives and help the team continue to develop towards 2015. Same as the team, I am here to learn my way through WRC and to succeed in the end. It is also a fantastic opportunity for me to work and learn alongside some very experienced people within the team and of course the other drivers.”

Team Principal Michel Nandan commented: “As a manufacturer investing in the World Rally Championship, Hyundai Motorsport aims to support the champions of the future. For this reason we decided to engage one more car at selected WRC events under the entry Hyundai Motorsport N. Hayden is one of the very talented drivers on the WRC scene at the moment and we will support him as much as we can to reach the highest level possible. We are very pleased to welcome him and John to our WRC adventure and we look forward to seeing them in action at the wheel of the Hyundai i20 WRC in a couple of months’ time.”


Itinerary of Neste Oil Rally Finland 2014

February 18, 2014

Rally Map

Thursday, 31 July

Laajavuori Shakedown at 8.00 – 4,19 km

SS1 Lankamaa 1 at 16.08 – 23,47 km
SS2 Jouhtikylä at 17.21 – 10,40 km
SS3 Lankamaa 2 at 19.07 – 23,47 km
SS4 Harju 1 at 20.30 – 2,20 km

Friday, 1 August

SS5 Pihlajakoski 1 at 09.18 – 14,10 km / Vetomies & Nelivetomies
SS6 Päijälä 1 at 10.26 – 23,00 km / Vetomies & Nelivetomies
SS7 Kakaristo 1 at 11.24 – 20,50 km / Vetomies & Nelivetomies
SS8 Painaa 1 at 12.42 – 7,49 km / Vetomies & Nelivetomies
SS9 Pihlajakoski 2 at 15.56 – 14,10 km
SS10 Päijälä 2 at 17.04 – 23,00 km
SS11 Kakaristo 2 at 18.02 – 20,50 km
SS12 Painaa 2 at 19.20 – 7,49 km
SS13 Harju 2 at 20.30 – 2,20 km / Vetomies & Nelivetomies

Saturday, 2 August

SS14 Mökkiperä 1 at 08.08 – 13,50 km / Vetomies & Nelivetomies
SS15 Jukojärvi 1 at 09.06 – 21,90 km / Vetomies & Nelivetomies
SS16 Surkee 1 at 10.43 – 14,95 km / Vetomies & Nelivetomies
SS17 Himos 1 at 12.11 – 4,45 km / Vetomies & Nelivetomies
SS18 Leustu 1 at 12.44 – 11,00 km / Vetomies & Nelivetomies
SS19 Mökkiperä 2 at 15.20 – 13,50 km
SS20 Jukojärvi 2 at 16.18 – 21,90 km
SS21 Surkee 2 at 17.55 – 14,95 km
SS22 Himos 2 at 19.23 – 4,45 km
SS23 Leustu 2 at 19.56 – 11,00 km

Sunday, 3 August

SS24 Ruuhimäki 1 at 9.25 – 7,10 km
SS25 Myhinpää at 10.43 – 23,10 km
SS26 Ruuhimäki 2 (Power Stage) at 13.08 – 7,10 km

(Subject to change.)


Twelve of the best for Drive DMACK Fiesta Trophy

February 10, 2014

Twelve competitors from 11 countries will battle it out over the five-event Drive DMACK Fiesta Trophy to win a prize drive in the 2015 FIA World Rally Championship.

After receiving 24 registrations from across the globe, the organiser’s final selection is set to give the series a healthy mix of raw talent, close competition and a real world-wide feel.

The list sees drivers from across Europe, the Middle East, Russia and North America. The high caliber of talent is outlined with competitors like Yeray Lemes, Jose Suarez and Sander Parn, who finished second, third and fourth on last year’s FIA Junior World Rally Championship. They are joined by French ace Quentin Gilbert, the UK’s Tom Cave, who stunned with fastest WRC 2 times on Wales Rally GB, and Finn Max Vatanen – son of the legendary 1981 world rally champion Ari Vatanen.

The oversubscribed contest has been pitched as a cost-effective entry level to world rallying and gives crews the opportunity to battle it out on both gravel and asphalt rounds using identical M-Sport-prepared Ford Fiesta R2s on DMACK tyres.

The winner will come away with a remarkable full seven-round WRC 2 campaign using’s M-Sport popular Ford Fiesta R5 in the Drive DMACK World Rally Team.

The trophy will get underway with Rally Portugal on 4-6 April.

The confirmed drivers are:

Nicolas Amiouni, 24, Lebanon
Tom Cave, 22, UK
Ghislain De Mevius, 25, Belgium
Quentin Gilbert, 24, France
Szymon Kornicki, 31, Poland
Yeray Lemes, 26, Canary Islands
Sander Parn, 21, Estonia
Allan Popov, 27, Russia
Nils Solans, 21, Spain
Jose Suarez, 23, Spain
Leo Urlrich, 28, Canada
Max Vatanen, 23, Finland

Dick Cormack, DMACK managing director, said:

“The Drive DMACK Fiesta Trophy is set to be an exciting series and the huge prize on offer is sure to bring some close competition over the season. The list of drivers we’ve got is impressive and shows the true global attraction that the initiative has had. It’s encouraging that DMACK can help so many talented drivers get proper WRC experience.”

Malcolm Wilson OBE, M-Sport managing director, said:

“It is fantastic to see such a talented line-up for the first Drive DMACK Fiesta Trophy and I am delighted that we can reveal the final 12. Of course it is a real shame that we cannot accommodate all 24 applicants. The level of interest was extremely high and far surpassed all of our expectations. That said, I am confident that we have devised the best possible championship and that a very exciting competition lays ahead.”

Tom Cave said:

“I am incredibly excited by the prospect of contesting the 2014 Drive DMACK Fiesta Trophy. When it was announced, it was clear that this was the prime option for us this year. The series looks to be a superb concept – each rally runs over the full three days so we don’t lose any of the experience that the final day offers.”

Quentin Gilbert said:

“We chose the Drive DMACK Fiesta Trophy as the cost is low and it means we can do a championship which has a very exciting prize. The mix of events is really good with fast gravel, rough gravel and asphalt rallies so it really is a good decision and one which I’m really looking forward to.”

Max Vatanen said:

“This is the best option for a young driver like me to get real WRC experience and progress my career. The competition will be intense but we will have the opportunity to impress people and aim for the fantastic prize drive. Comparing the cost to take part and the prize on offer it’s definitely the best option.”


WRC2 Programme for Gilbert with M-Sport

February 5, 2014

Quentin Gilbert and Renaud Jamoul, who kicked off their 2014 season with victory in the WRC3 in the Monte Carlo Rally, increase their programme in the world championship. With backing from M-Sport they will race in four to six WRC2 rallies in a Ford Fiesta R5.

Since his win in the 2009 FFSA Rallye Jeunes Quentin Gilbert’s career has followed a consistent upward trend. In 2011, he was in the top 3 in the French Junior Championship; then he won the Citroën Racing Trophy the following year and came second in the Citroën Top Driver in 2013. The driver from the Vosges is drawing ever nearer to the summit with an almost-complete world championship programme, which will begin in Rally Mexico (6-9 March).

Quentin and his co-driver, Renaud Jamoul, will be racing for the prestigious British M-Sport team. They will be at the start of Rally Mexico, the third round of the world championship, in a Ford Fiesta R5 entered in the WRC2 category. It will be the same story in Argentina, Sardinia and Great Britain, as the main aim is to find the money to help them take part in the Australian and Spanish rounds.

“My very first contact with M-Sport goes back to the summer of 2012 when the Echappement magazine organised a test with Jari-Matti Latvala’s Ford Fiesta WRC,” remembers Quentin. “At the time Malcolm Wilson promised to keep an eye on how I was doing. But I didn’t think I’d be racing for his team two years later!”

The M-Sport management’s good opinion was reinforced by Quentin’s times in the last Rally Great Britain, and they have come up with a programme to help him to continue learning and show his potential in a competitive car. “The little experience I’ve had at the wheel of an S2000 or a WRC really boosted my determination to change to a four-wheel drive car. The step up in terms of budget was a big one. But thanks to the continued support of my partners and the efforts of the team, I’m quite simply delighted that my dream has come true! I can’t wait to get behind the wheel of the Fiesta R5, which already showed its level of performance last year with Elfyn Evans, who was the only driver able to match Robert Kubica’s DS3 RRC.”

M-Sport Managing Director, Malcolm Wilson OBE, said: “I first met Quentin [Gilbert] back in 2012 and have been following his progress ever since. He has already proven himself as a very talented young driver and I am looking forward to seeing how he develops throughout the year.

“M-Sport has always been proactive when it comes to nurturing young talent, and I am happy that we were able to find the perfect deal for Quentin. Taking to the wheel of the [Ford] Fiesta R5 in such a variety of events will enable him to really fine-tune his skills: and I certainly wouldn’t be surprised if we saw some very impressive performances from him in 2014.”

Now that Quentin and Renaud are on the list of entries for Rally Mexico, the pace is going to hot up! After Rally Sweden taking place this weekend, they will go to Dovenby Hall, M-Sport’s headquarters, to get to know the team better and have their first taste of the Ford Fiesta R5. “This announcement isn’t final, in fact it’s a new chapter that’s opening,” underlines Quentin. “Once again I’d really like to thank all those who’ve helped me climb the ladder. There are too many of them to mention, but they’ll recognise themselves!”


Hyundai Shell World Rally Team set for WRC debut at Rallye Monte-Carlo

January 10, 2014

- Just over a year since Hyundai Motorsport was set up, and with only six months’ testing, Hyundai Shell World Rally Team is ready for its WRC debut
- The young team is aiming to bring both Hyundai i20 WRC cars to the end of the tough Rallye Monte-Carlo and to acquire as much mileage as possible
- Thierry Neuville and Dani Sordo, who will spearhead the team’s maiden WRC event in cars 7 and 8, both completed a pre-event test ahead of Monte-Carlo.

In just over a year since its establishment, Hyundai Motorsport is ready to join the ranks of the competitive FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) next week with two Hyundai i20 WRC cars entered into the prestigious Rallye Monte-Carlo, round one of the 13-rally 2014 WRC season.

The Alzenau-based Hyundai Shell World Rally Team will line up against experienced opposition in the gruelling Monte-Carlo event with just six months of testing under its belt &ndash a total of 8,000km amassed over 16 test sessions in Europe. Rallye Monte-Carlo will therefore act as a continuation of the team’s impressive learning curve as it adapts to the rigours of the WRC.

As a brand new entrant to the WRC, Rallye Monte-Carlo will mark the first appearance of the Hyundai Shell World Rally Team and the Hyundai i20 WRC in the series and will also herald the competitive debuts of Belgians Thierry Neuville and Nicolas Gilsoul, as well as Spaniards Dani Sordo and Marc Martí behind the wheel of their respective Hyundai i20 WRCs.

Rallye Monte-Carlo represents an enormous challenge for the nascent team being one of the trickiest and toughest rounds on the WRC calendar. Despite its inspiring achievements to date in preparing two Hyundai i20 WRC cars for competition in such a short space of time, the Hyundai Shell World Rally Team has set realistic objectives for the initial rallies of 2014: to accumulate as much mileage as possible with both cars and to gain valuable experience in competition. Each rally will mark another important step forward in the team’s ongoing development.

“We have established a young team of highly talented professionals at our factory for this moment,” said Team Principal Michel Nandan. “At Rallye Monte-Carlo, the huge amount of work that we have collectively carried out so far will be put into practice. This rally has been the first major target in our development schedule and finally we’re there it’s a hugely significant and special moment for us all. Of course, the &lsquoMonte’ is a complicated and unpredictable event to start with but it’s great to debut on such an iconic rally,” continued Nandan. “We have two very good drivers who have given the whole team a big boost. We all know that Thierry can achieve outstanding performance levels despite his young age, while Dani has a lot of experience in WRC and at Rallye Monte-Carlo. I can definitely say that we have a very good mix! We have not set any results targets because our first priority is to finish the rally with both cars, to learn as much as possible and to use that as a base to improve for the following events,” he concluded.

The Hyundai Shell World Rally Team prepared for the first event of the season last month with a week of testing in the French Alps with Neuville and Sordo sharing duties behind the wheel of the Hyundai i20 WRC. The Belgian and the Spaniard also completed an additional day of pre-event testing this week.

For Neuville &ndash who will drive Hyundai i20 WRC number 7 &ndash this year will mark his fourth participation at the &lsquoMonte’ as well as being his first event as a Hyundai Shell World Rally Team driver: “Nicolas (Gilsoul, co-driver) and I are really looking forward to embark on this new adventure with the Hyundai Shell World Rally Team and to tackle this first event with the team and the Hyundai i20 WRC. I can’t say that Rallye Monte-Carlo is one of the events I like the most. It is so difficult to find a good rhythm and it can be very easy to lose time with the wrong tyre choice. You can’t really predict what you’ll find around each corner there can be black ice and you can go off the road so easily with a small mistake,” said Neuville. “Our aim is to finish the event and get some good experience and mileage to further develop the Hyundai i20 WRC. We carried out some good testing ahead of the rally where we drove the car in very different weather conditions. Although it is very difficult to recreate the exact same conditions we will find on the event and to test everything, we will give it absolutely everything.”

On his seventh outing at Rallye Monte-Carlo, Sordo (Hyundai i20 WRC #8) will bring a wealth of past experience and a proven track record to the team in its debut event: “Marc (Martí, co-driver) and I are delighted to be starting this season with the Hyundai Shell World Rally Team on the team’s debut at Rallye Monte-Carlo. This is an event where I feel really comfortable and I have a very good experience on these roads although it’s such an unpredictable rally &ndash anything can happen depending on the weather conditions you find along the way. We want to finish this rally and give the team as much feedback as possible to continue the development work,” said Sordo. “We did a few days of testing with the Hyundai i20 WRC in December and one additional day this week. The first impression is positive although we all know there’s still a lot of work to do. The aim of the pre-event test was to get to know the car as much as possible in first instance but at the same time we had to find the best set-up for the event. Even though we joined the team officially only one month ago, we already have a good feeling about the team &ndash everyone is motivated, working hard and willing to do the best job possible,” the Spaniard concluded.

A classic in the WRC calendar, Rallye Monte-Carlo celebrates its 82nd edition this year with the first being held back in 1911. This year’s edition features the return of the event to the Haute-Alpes region with an itinerary that includes 15 stages, totalling 383.88 kilometres of competitive tarmac stages run over three days. The changeable weather means the stages are incredibly treacherous making tyre choice a fundamental key to success on this event. Crews will have 40 tyres available (plus five for Shakedown) – supplied by the team’s technical partner Michelin – to choose from among four different compounds. With no Rally 2 regulations – which allow restarting after a retirement on the following day &ndash Rallye Monte-Carlo will be an even trickier affair which requires drivers to be extremely careful as a single mistake could mean the end of the event.

Rallye Monte-Carlo gets underway on Monday, January 13 with the traditional Ceremonial Start in the Principality’s glamorous Place du Casino. However, the real action will start on Wednesday with the Shakedown followed by the first proper day of competition on Thursday.

Hyundai Shell World Rally Team Crews’ info
Hyundai i20 WRC #7
Chassis number: 002
Thierry Neuville
Nicolas Gilsoul
16 June 1988
5 February 1982
First WRC event
2009, Rally Catalunya
2007, Rallye Monte-Carlo
WRC starts
WRC podiums
WRC wins
Rallye Monte-Carlo starts
Rallye Monte-Carlo previous results
2011,2012,2013 – DNF
2007: 28th (8th group N), 2011: 36th (1st A6 class) 2012, 2013: DNF
Hyundai i20 WRC #8
Chassis number: 001
Dani Sordo
Marc Martí
2 May 1983
1 October 1966
First WRC event
2003, Rallye Catalunya
1992, Rallye Catalunya
WRC starts
WRC podiums
WRC wins
Rallye Monte-Carlo starts
Rallye Monte-Carlo previous results
2005: 15th (4th A6 class), 2006: 8th, 2007: 2nd,  2008: 11th, 2012: 2nd, 2013: 3rd
1997: 15th (2nd A7 class), 2003: 3rd, 2005: 15th (4th A6 class), 2006: 8th, 2007: 2nd, 2008: 11th,
1998,1999,2001,2004: DNF



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