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FIA World Rally Championship / 2017-2019 WRC car

July 10, 2015

The principles of the technical and homologation regulations for the 2017-2019 WRC car were approved by the World Motor Sport Council. The intention behind the new regulations is to produce a car with a far more dynamic and distinct appearance that exhibits character and diversity. The highlights are:


– Powered increased to 380hp
– 36mm maximum diameter for the turbo restrictor
– Maximum 2.5b absolute turbo pressure


– Free zone defined around the body shell of the production car to create a maximum WRC car width of 1875mm and greater overhang front and rear
– Geater freedom on the lateral parts of the front bumper, with potential for additional aero devices ahead of the front wheels. Openings may also be cut-out on the fender surface
– Bigger and more visible fixed rear wing

The overall weight of the car will be reduced by 25kg, there will be a return to an electronically-controlled centre differential and the overall homologated length of the car must be greater than or equal to 3.9 metres.


Tommi Mäkinen leads Toyota Gazoo Racing´s WRC return in 2017

July 7, 2015

Toyota GAZOO Racing has determined its team structure leading up to Toyota’s return to the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) in 2017.

Toyota President Akio Toyoda will serve as team chairman while Tommi Mäkinen*, a celebrated WRC veteran, will be offering his expertise as team principal. With comprehensive oversight from Mäkinen, who holds four drivers’ titles over his 18-year WRC career, the team will strengthen its vehicle development capabilities and work toward 2017.

Team name

Toyota GAZOO Racing


Yaris WRC (length: 3910 mm; width: 1820 mm)

Team chairman

Akio Toyoda

Team principal

Tommi Mäkinen

Message from Team Chairman Akio Toyoda:

Whenever I’m behind the wheel, I always think: “it is the road that makes the car.”

For Toyota to make ever-better cars, we have to get a feel for all the kinds of roads that are out there.

Rallying requires us to drive on the very roads our customers use every single day, and I believe it is the perfect training activity, ultimately helping us to strengthen our products.

As the pinnacle of rallying, WRC is the best way to experience roads all over the world—that’s why Toyota is returning to the championship. And I am very happy and excited to have Tommi Mäkinen heading up our WRC team.

I first met Tommi in 2013. At that time he was my instructor, helping me improve my driving technique. In the end, he taught me a lot more; he showed me the appeal of rallying and the relationship between vehicle development and rallying.

Tommi has abundant experience and fresh ideas for vehicle development, both of which will be valuable assets to us. After talking to Tommi, I felt: “I want to work with him; I want him to help us make better cars,” and that’s how I came to ask for his support with this project. With Tommi behind us, Toyota will forge ahead with our return to WRC and also our efforts to make ever-better cars.

Rallying allows both participants and spectators to feel the enjoyment of cars, and it encourages car manufacturers to hone their skills. We have been away from WRC for a long time as a manufacturer. I have huge respect for the manufacturers, drivers, team members, and fans that make this wonderful competition what it is, and I’m thrilled to bring Toyota back to WRC. Please join me in supporting Toyota GAZOO Racing.

Akio Toyoda

*Over an 18-year career spanning from 1985 to 2003, Tommi Mäkinen, won 24 WRC rallies. During his career at Mitsubishi, accomplished a remarkable four consecutive WRC drivers’ titles (1996 to 1999). He also achieved impressive results after moving to Subaru World Rally team in 2002, prior to his retirement from WRC the following year.


Hyundai Motorsport confirms fourth car for Poland, Germany, France and Great Britain

May 13, 2015

• Hyundai Motorsport will run a fourth Hyundai i20 WRC car in four events in 2015 – the rallies of Poland, Germany, France and Great Britain
• The fourth car will be driven by Dutchman Kevin Abbring and his British co-driver Sebastian Marshall, the team’s official test crew
• Running under Hyundai Mobis World Rally Team, the opportunity will give Abbring valuable experience and emphasise the team’s commitment to nurturing young WRC talent.

Hyundai Motorsport has today confirmed it will run a fourth Hyundai i20 WRC car in four events of this year’s FIA World Rally Championship (WRC); Rally Poland, Rallye Deutschland, Rallye de France and Wales Rally GB.

The team’s test driver Kevin Abbring and his co-driver Sebastian Marshall will take to the wheel of the #10 Hyundai i20 WRC in all four events as part of Hyundai Motorsport’s commitment to supporting rising talent in the competitive WRC environment.

The duo previously competed at Rally Sweden back in February stepping into the #20 Hyundai i20 WRC for Hayden Paddon who, in turn, was substituting for an injured Dani Sordo in the #8 car. Abbring will now line up alongside Sordo, Paddon and Thierry Neuville, at Rally Poland at the end of June for the first of four contracted events in 2015.

Abbring had a highly promising debut at Rally Sweden, finishing 11th overall after a valuable learning weekend in tough conditions. He picked up a manufacturer point for the Hyundai Motorsport N entry, and will be keen for more in his next four events, in which he has previous experience.

He secured his first Junior World Rally Championship (JWRC) win in Poland in 2009, becoming the youngest ever JWRC round winner in the process. He has taken part in three previous Rallye Deutschland events, including his first ever WRC round in 2007 in a 4×4 Group N car. Corsica will make a welcome return to the WRC this year, an event that Abbring contested as part of the European Rally Championship (ERC) in 2014, finishing third overall and top R5 car. In GB, he took category win in 2011 in his first attempt at the rally and also took part the following year. These credentials will undoubtedly provide solid foundations for the young Dutchman.

Hyundai Motorsport Team Principal, Michel Nandan commented: “We are pleased to confirm Kevin’s participation in four WRC events – Poland, Germany, France and GB – in the remaining part of this season. Along with Sebastian, he did a good job in Sweden stepping into the car, with a very professional approach and enthusiastic attitude. These four events will offer Kevin the chance to gain more experience as a WRC driver and to further enhance our aims at nurturing young driving talent in the WRC. We want to give Kevin the chance to compete at the highest level and to grow his skills against the most competitive drivers in WRC.”

Kevin Abbring commented: “I am excited to be returning to WRC and happy to be part of the Hyundai Motorsport’s line-up at four events starting with Poland. From a driver’s point of view, testing is nice to get a rhythm and a feeling for the potential of a car, but there is no substitution for competitive rallying. It feels like a long time since Sweden and I’m looking forward to being back. The experiences of Rally Sweden were useful to get an idea for how the team works during a rally weekend but I’ve been working with the team for a long time now, so it really feels like family. Poland is one of the events where I have some of the best memories, having won there in JWRC in 2009. There is a big passion for motorsport there and an incredible atmosphere, so I am glad to kick off my next four WRC events with Rally Poland.”


A “new look” DS 3 WRC in Portugal!

May 7, 2015

The DS 3 WRCs of the Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team will be sporting new livery at Rally de Portugal (21-24 May). The unveiling of the car’s new visual signature coincides with a redesigned front end, which delivers greater aerodynamic efficiency.

A few days after Citroën Racing’s 94th win in the World Rally Championship, the DS 3 WRC has undergone some significant changes. The most visible of these modifications concerns the livery of the cars driven by Kris Meeke/Paul Nagle, Mads Østberg/Jonas Andersson and Khalid Al Qassimi / Chris Patterson.

Visually, this “new look” DS 3 WRC features unprecedented design codes, combining Polar White, Perla Nera Black and Aluminium Grey with newly-designed geometric shapes to create an appealing new signature. The overall appearance is given a more dynamic feel with touches of fluorescent green below the headlamps, around the bumper-mounted air outlets and on the rear spoiler.

In line with the unique style offered to every DS 3 customer, the Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team drivers were able to customize the roof of their own World Rally Car: white for Meeke, grey for Østberg and red for Al-Qassimi.

Combining business with pleasure, Rallye du Portugal will also see the introduction of some significant aerodynamic improvements.

An initial series of upgrades were made to the DS 3 WRC for Rallye Monte-Carlo: a new turbocharged 1.6-litre direct injection engine derived from the Citroën C-Elysée WTCC, semi-automatic gearbox controls, a rear spoiler with vertical winglets and a redesigned rear suspension. All of these changes have proven effective as the team has enjoyed a good start to the season in which it has recorded three podiums, including a win in Argentina.

In Portugal, the next phase of the upgrades will be introduced with a new front end, featuring a totally redesigned bumper and wings, which aims to improve the aerodynamic performance of the car by lowering drag and increasing downforce.

“Citroën Racing hasn’t stopped working on the development of DS 3 WRC since the current regulations were introduced in 2011,” reiterated Yves Matton, Citroën Racing Team Principal. “If you take the new features unveiled in January and this second batch, this is the most significant upgrade since the DS 3 WRC was first homologated. We’ve already seen that the work of the teams is bearing fruits. So to that extent, the recent one-two at Rally Argentina has just made everyone even more motivated! The aerodynamic upgrades introduced here should help us to keep improving. Confirmed during wind tunnel and pre-event testing, the gains achieved in terms of drag coefficient and downforce are significant. For the 60th anniversary of the Brand, we also felt it was important to share the values of DS through a new graphic identity. So far, the reactions of the people who have had a sneak preview of the car have been extremely positive. We hope our supporters also like this new signature!”


ŠKODA launches new Fabia R5

April 15, 2015

Green light: the new ŠKODA Fabia R 5 celebrates its debut on the world’s rally tracks. ŠKODA Motorsport will contest three elite rally championships this year. Fans can see the new high-tech four-wheel drive Fabia R 5 in action in the WRC 2 category of the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) and the Czech Rally Championship (MČR). The new car hoping for victories will also contest the FIA Asia-Pacific Rally Championship (APRC) during the course of the season. New recruited Swedish super talent Pontus Tidemand will represent ŠKODA in the prestigious championship, with the final being held in the core market of China. Asia-Pacific Champion Jan Kopecký (CZ) and European Champion Esapekka Lappi (FIN) will also take the wheel for the ŠKODA Motorsport works team – now in the new Fabia R 5.



​”We are delighted that the International Automobile Federation, the FIA, homologated our new ŠKODA Fabia R 5. Now we want to see how competitive our new rally car is,” said ŠKODA Motorsport Director Michal Hrabánek. He is hoping that the new Pontus Tidemand/Emil Axelsson (S/S) team will be a breath of fresh air: “We already have the Asia-Pacific champion and the European champion driving for us, who have both delivered strong performances over the past few years. In Pontus Tidemand and Emil Axelsson we have added another very talented duo to ensure we have an even better standing for the future.”

Former Junior World Rally Champion Tidemand and his co-driver will contest the APRC for ŠKODA. His season gets underway with the rally in New Zealand from 17 to 19 April – initially in the Fabia Super 2000. Jan Kopecký’s victory in ŠKODA’s core market of China clinched the title hat trick in the APRC in the Fabia Super 2000 for the Czech car manufacturer last year. “I am really looking forward to the new challenge. I am proud that my name has been added to the list of drivers for a brand as successful as ŠKODA,” said 24-year-old Tidemand, regarded as one of the most talented rally drivers in Europe.

Esapekka Lappi, who is the same age, achieved something sensational when he won the European title in 2014. Alongside his co-driver Janne Ferm, this year he will compete with the world’s elite in selected races in the WRC 2 category of the FIA World Rally Championship. ŠKODA Motorsport makes its return to the WRC at the Rally Portugal from 21 to 24 May in the new ŠKODA Fabia R 5, after a break of almost two years.

Skoda Fabia R5

“We can’t wait for our first race in the new Fabia R 5. We are excited about the new car, it’s something really special,” said Lappi. “We are delighted to return to the WRC top tier.” Also in the new rally car, Jan Kopecký/Pavel Dresler will primarily compete in the Czech Rally Championship, which gets underway with the Rally Šumava Klatovy on 24/25 April.

“I am delighted that we are able to show off the new ŠKODA Fabia R 5 and what it’s capable of to the fans in our home country,” said Kopecký. Like Pontus Tidemand, he will also make selected appearances in the WRC 2 during the course of the season. The rally old hand believes that the Fabia R 5 will be an instant success: “We have tested the new car extensively. I am convinced that our team of many international engineers has done a great job.”

After an extensive inspection, the highest authority in motorsport, the International Automobile Federation (FIA) gave the new ŠKODA Fabia R 5 the green light on 1 April. The Fabia R 5 is based on ŠKODA’s spectacular new production Fabia and is the successor of the Fabia Super 2000, which went down as the most successful rally car in the 114 years of ŠKODA Motorsport’s history. The Fabia Super 2000 has picked up almost 50 national and international titles in total since 2009, in part due to the successful customer programme.

The new ŠKODA Fabia R 5 is to continue the success story. The new high-tech construction is fitted with a 1.6 litre turbo engine, as stipulated by the FIA regulations. That is a significant difference to the two-litre naturally aspirated petrol engine of the Fabia Super 2000. The new car with four-wheel drive also makes use of a sequential five-speed transmission and McPherson struts. As stipulated by the regulations, the car weighs at least 1,230 kilogrammes. To ensure that everything fits together perfectly, the ŠKODA Motorsport team has invested 15 months in intensive development since the start of the project. The aim is the reward on the rally tracks around the world.

2015 Calendar

FIA World Rally Championship 2 (WRC2)

Rally Monte Carlo 22/01/–25/01/2015
Rally Sweden 12/02/–15/02/2015
Rally Mexiko 05/03/–08/03/2015
Rally Argentina 23/04/–26/04/2015
Rally Portugal 21/05/–24/05/2015
Rally Italia 11/06/–14/06/2015
Rally Poland 02/07/–05/07/2015
Rally Finland 30/07/–02/08/2015
Rally Deutschland 20/08/–23/08/2015
Rally Australia 10/09/–13/09/2015
Rally France 01/10/–04/10/2015
Rally Spain 22/10/–25/10/2015
Rally Great Britain 12/11/–15/11/2015

Czech Rally Championship (MČR)

Rallye Šumava Klatovy 24/04/–25/04/2015
Rallye Český Krumlov 22/05/–23/05/2015
Rally Hustopeče 19/06/–20/06/2015
Rally Bohemia 10/07/–12/07/2015
Barum Czech Rally Zlín 28/08/–30/08/2015
Rally Příbram 02/10/–04/10/2015

Asia-Pacific Rally Championship (APRC)

Rally Whangarei – New Zealand 17/04/–19/04/2015
Rally New Caledonia – New Caledonia 15/05/–17/05/2015
Rally Queensland – Australia 19/06/–21/06/2015
Rally Malaysia – Malaysia 14/08/–16/08/2015
Rally Hokkaido – Japan 18/09/–20/09/2015
Rally China – China 30/10/–01/11/2015


FIA gives green light to new Fabia R5

April 8, 2015

​​International Automobile Federation FIA homologates ŠKODA’s new rally car.​

​​Milestone for ŠKODA: the highest authority in motorsport, the International Automobile Federation FIA, has given the new ŠKODA Fabia R5 the green light. Following its successful homologation, the new rally car can now continue the Czech automobile manufacturer’s 114-year motorsport success story on the rally routes of this world. The Fabia R5 is based on ŠKODA’s new production Fabia and is the successor to the Fabia Super 2000, which went down in history as the most successful rally car in the history of ŠKODA Motorsport.

“We are delighted that the International Automobile Federation FIA has given us the green light. Now we can prove just how good our new rally car is in the race series,” said ŠKODA Board Member for Development Dr. Frank Welsch. “When working on the third generation production Fabia, which enjoyed an extremely successful start, we incorporated some of the genes from our rally cars and developed the most emotional Fabia ever. Conversely, the production model now formed the basis for the new Fabia R5.”

ŠKODA’s new rally car is pure high-tech. In compliance with FIA regulations, the ŠKODA Fabia R5 is equipped with a 1.6-litre turbo engine. That is a considerable change from the two-litre induction engine in the Fabia Super 2000. Furthermore, the new four-wheel drive car also features a five-speed sequential gearbox and McPherson struts. The weight of the car is at least 1,230 kilograms, as stipulated in the regulations. Since the start of the project, ŠKODA Motorsport has invested 15 months of intense development work to fine-tune the car and ensure that the ultra-modern components interact perfectly.

The homologation process is a long and complex procedure, which requires close cooperation with the International Automobile Federation FIA and is made up of several parts. In recent months, the new ŠKODA Fabia R5 has been subjected to a comprehensive approval process, which has now ended successfully with the approval from the FIA. “We are happy that we now have the homologation from the International Automobile Federation FIA under our belt,” said ŠKODA Motorsport Director Michal Hrabánek. “The development of our new rally hope was a tiring process and a major challenge for the entire team at ŠKODA Motorsport, to whom I would like to say a big thank you.”

Top drivers such as Asia-Pacific champion Jan Kopecký (CZ), European champion Esapekka Lappi (FIN), rally legend “Fast” Freddy Loix (B) and multiple Austrian champion Raimund Baumschlager (AT) provided valuable input during the development of the new rally car. In the run up to the homologation, about 10,000 kilometres of testing were completed on a wide range of roads and conditions, including in the Czech Republic, Austria, Germany, Italy, France, Greece, Spain and Finland. Whether in icy cold or bright sunshine, on asphalt, gravel or snow – the ŠKODA Fabia R5 successfully passed every test.

There is already great interest in the new ŠKODA Fabia R5 from customer teams. After all, the successor – the ŠKODA Fabia Super 2000 – was a guarantee of titles. In the 2014 rally season, ŠKODA completed a hat-trick of titles in the Drivers’ and Manufacturer championships in the FIA Asia-Pacific Rally Championship (APRC), while the champion in the FIA European Rally Championship (ERC) was a ŠKODA works driver for the third time in a row. The list of success achieved last year also includes five national titles. With a total of almost 50 international and national titles in six years, the ŠKODA Fabia Super 2000, which made its first appearance in 2009, is the most successful project in the company’s 114-year motorsport history.

ŠKODA Motorsport Director Michal Hrabánek: “With the new ŠKODA Fabia R5, we want to follow on from the success we have enjoyed in recent years with speed and reliability on the rally routes of this world. Following the successful homologation, we can now initiate the next phase of the Fabia R5 project.”


TMG completes junior driver line-up

March 31, 2015

TOYOTA Motorsport GmbH (TMG) has completed the line-up for its junior driver development scheme, which aims to reveal future World Rally Championship (WRC) contenders.

Finland’s Teemu Suninen is the second member of the TMG programme for 2015, alongside France’s Eric Camilli, who was announced in January. Both will develop their skills in a variety of cars and events as they expand their rally experience.

Teemu, 21, has forged a reputation as a promising talent following his rally debut in 2013. He made his mark in the 2014 Rally Finland when, on his WRC debut, he won the WRC 3 class.

Eric, 27, is a relatively late starter in rallying but has already turned heads in one-make cups along with second place in the Junior class at Rally France last year. He also won the prestigious Rallye Jeunes FFSA driver search in 2012, following in the footsteps of recent French World Champions.

In addition to competing in WRC 2 and WRC 3, Eric and Teemu will test the Yaris WRC as they gain vital experience behind the wheel of a WRC car. Alongside the experienced duo of Stéphane Sarrazin and Sebastian Lindholm, they will push the Yaris WRC to its limits on a range of surfaces across Europe this year.

The programme also aims to develop the drivers’ existing skills in terms of personal fitness, communication, media relations and team work.

Yoshiaki Kinoshita, President: “We are delighted to have Eric and Teemu as part of the TMG junior driver programme this year. We’ve been working with both drivers since the beginning of the year and we have been very impressed. Both have huge potential in rally; they are extremely fast but also intelligent and methodical. These are qualities which are necessary to succeed in this discipline. We tested several young drivers late last year and Eric and Teemu both stood out as having strong potential so we expect to grow as a team together with them. It is an exciting time for all of us and we are looking forward to taking the next steps on our journey together with Eric and Teemu.”

Eric Camilli: “It’s fantastic for me to be a part of an organisation like TMG and I would like to thank them for the trust they have shown in me. The project is incredibly exciting and it’s a great opportunity for me, as well as for Teemu. I know I still have plenty to learn in rally and I think the TMG junior driver development scheme is the perfect way for me to gain more experience; not only in terms of driving but all the other aspects of being a WRC driver. I am fully motivated to make the most of this chance.”

Teemu Suninen: “I am very proud to join the TMG junior driver development scheme. TOYOTA has such a strong reputation and history in rally; it’s a great honour to be selected by TMG to be a part of their return. I can’t wait to get started; I will give my maximum to repay the faith shown in me. My target is to learn as much as possible, because I am still early in my rally career. I want to grow with the team and I’m looking forward to working alongside Stéphane, Sebastian and Eric. There is a positive and professional atmosphere within the team which is very motivating.”

Eric Camilli Profile

Born                         6 September 1987 in Nice, France

Lives                         Nice, France

Marital status             Single

Height                       178cm

Weight                       66kg

Hobbies                     Sport, mountain biking, music

Favourite rally            Rally Monte Carlo

Best achievement       Fourth place on 2014 Tour de Corse (top S2000 driver)


Twitter:                      @EricCamilli

Career History

2009    French Suzuki Cup: n/c (1 rally)

2012    Rally Jeunes FFSA winner

2013    French Rally Championship: 8th (2 wins, 4 second places in Citroen Junior class)

Member of FFSA driver academy

2014    Rally France (Junior WRC): 2nd

Tour de Corse (European Rally Championship): 4th (1st in S2000 class)

Volant Peugeot: 3rd (1 win)

2015    TMG Junior Driver Development Programme

Teemu Suninen Profile

Born                            1 February 1994 in Tuusula, Finland

Lives                            Jokela, Finland

Marital status                Single

Height                         184cm

Weight                         65kg

Hobbies                       Fitness training

Favourite rally              Rally Finland

Best achievement         WRC Finland – 1st in WRC3 class


Twitter:                       @teemusuninenrac

Career History

2009    Finnish Karting Championship (KF2 class): 2nd

2010    European Karting Championship (KF2 class): 3rd

Finnish Karting Championship (KF2 class): 1st

2011    SKUSA SuperNationals Kart Championship (KF2 class): 1st

2012    European Rallycross Championship: 8th in S1600 class (1 win)

2013    F-Cup, B-Junior Class: 1st

2014    Finnish Rally Championship, SM 3 class: 4th (1 win)

Fiesta Sport Trophy Finland: 1st

WRC3: 8th (1 rally, 1 win)

2015    TMG Junior Driver Development Programme



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