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LIVE! Wales Rally GB (October 26/29)

October 23, 2017

WRC 2017 Rally GB -> Timetable, Previews, Results, Photos, Videos etc. CLICK HERE!

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Kris Meeke to drive Citroën Xsara WRC at Rally Legend!

October 19, 2017

Featuring an incredible line-up of cars and drivers, the 15th Rallylegend will be held on 19-22 October in the Republic of San Marino.

Billed as a tribute to the late Colin McRae, this year’s event will see Kris Meeke drive the Citroën Xsara WRC of his former mentor.

Photo: FREDERIC LE FLOC’H

Known for their love of motorsport, Italian fans have an almost religious reverence for the men and machines that forged the history of the World Rally Championship. It was in this context that Rallylegend was created, an event gathering an exceptional line-up every year. This year is no exception, with more than 140 cars expected in San Marino.

The 2017 event is billed as a tribute to the late Colin McRae. World Champion in 1995 and works driver of a Citroën Xsara WRC in 2003, the Scot left an indelible mark on the history of motor racing. His no-holds barred style of driving – which earned him the nickname McCrash – and the series of video games bearing his name made Colin a legend in the world of motorsport. Unfortunately, he died tragically on 15 September 2007 in a helicopter accident close to his home.

As well as being remembered by Citroën Racing staff as a kind and generous man, Colin McRae also played a vital role in the career of Kris Meeke. “I was a huge fan of his when I was young,” recalled the recent winner of Rally de España. “When I was 16 years old, I saved up to go and see him drive at Rally Catalunya. I then started working as an engineer in the M-Sport design office. But I wanted to be a driver and I was able to make my dreams come true when I won a young rally star competition. My first season didn’t go amazingly well, but Colin noticed me and took me under his wing. He helped me to improve, and then to get into the FIA Junior WRC. Even now, he’s probably the person to whom I am still the most indebted.”

At Rallylegend, Kris Meeke will pay tribute to his former mentor by driving his Citroën Xsara WRC. At the event, his gravel crew driver Derek Brannigan will be alongside him as co-driver: “Apart from the emotional side of it, it’s always a joy to drive this car. It was produced in 2003, but it is still incredibly consistent and fast. Above all, my aim will be to show the fans who come to remember and pay tribute to Colin a good time.”

On Sunday, after the rally itself is finished, Kris will be taking part in “Colin’s Parade”, which will feature several former World Champions. Sébastien Loeb will also be taking part in the event, driving a Citroën C4 WRC.

Source:
int-media.citroen.com

Ott Tänak named as TOYOTA GAZOO Racing driver in 2018

October 18, 2017

TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team can confirm that Ott Tänak will drive the Yaris WRC from Rallye Monte-Carlo next year, together with his co-driver Martin Jarveoja. The 30-year-old Estonian, the winner of two rallies so far this season, has been one of the outstanding performers on the 2017 FIA World Rally Championship. TOYOTA GAZOO Racing WRT will enter its second season with three Yaris WRCs on every event, with Jari-Matti Latvala / Miikka Anttila and Esapekka Lappi / Janne Ferm completing the driver line-up.

Kaj Lindström, currently co-driver for Juho Hänninen, is taking on a new role as sporting director for the team, starting from Rally Australia this year. With this revised line-up, TOYOTA GAZOO Racing WRT will continue its challenge into the 2018 season.

Quotes:
Tommi Mäkinen (Team Principal)
“We’re delighted to have secured the services of Ott, having had our eyes on him for a while. He represents the perfect blend of youth and experience, together with the right sort of mental attitude that means he will fit into our team very well. Like the Yaris WRC, Ott has exceeded all expectations this year, so I’m sure it will be a strong partnership with both speed and consistency on all surfaces. I’d also like to congratulate Kaj on his new role. One of my favourite memories of my own driving career is our win in Monte-Carlo together; from this, and the experience of working with him since, I know that Kaj is the ultimate professional and he is sure to be a strong asset as we continue our team’s development. Finally, I would like to express my thanks and appreciation for everything that Juho has done for us. He will always be a member of our family, and has played an important part in taking us to where we are today.”

<About Ott Tänak:>

Date of birth: 15 Oct 1987
Age: 30 years old
Nationality: Estonian
Highlights:
2008: Estonian Rally Champion
2009: Estonian Rally Champion
2009: First WRC rally
2010: European Pirelli Star Driver
2011: 2nd overall FIA SWRC Championship (3 wins)
2017: First WRC win, Rally Sardinia, second win in Rally Germany
WRC Statistics:
WRC starts 77, Victories 2, Podiums 10,
Points scored 379, Stage Wins 73

Source:
toyotagazooracing.com

M-Sport announce initial plans for FIA Junior WRC 2018

October 4, 2017

M-Sport are pleased to announce their initial plans for the 2018 FIA Junior World Rally Championship which is set to challenge the latest crop of candidates on every surface that the FIA World Rally Championship has to offer.

Following the same successful format as in previous years, the championship will be run on an arrive-and-drive format with M-Sport in Krakow supplying identical one-litre Ecoboost Ford Fiesta R2s.

Five events have been selected on snow, gravel and asphalt – providing a true test of the drivers’ ability on all terrain.

Rally Sweden
Tour de Corse
Rally de Portugal
Rally Finland
Rally of Turkey

For the first time since 2006, the season kick-starts on the snow-covered stages of Rally Sweden before venturing to the sealed-surface endurance tests of the Tour de Corse.

Three gravel rallies then follow at Rally de Portugal, Rally Finland and double points for the final round at the Rally of Turkey which is returning to the championship for the first time since 2010.

Featuring some the season’s most iconic rallies, the calendar also provides a better spread of events to simplify logistics for the potential competitors.

Once again, championship points will also be awarded for every fastest stage time so as to encourage the competitors to push throughout each rally – a formula which has traditionally resulted in a nail-biting fight to the finish.

Further details will be announced at Wales Rally GB and those interested in further information should contact Maciej Woda, mwoda@m-sport.co.uk

Maciej Woda said:

“We’ve worked really hard on our one-make series over the years and believe that we have established a successful and competitive format alongside the FIA. Next year, we want to take it a step further to introduce more diversity – something the introduction of all three surfaces allows.

“By making the final round a double header, it also encourages the drivers to push to the very last kilometre – as we have seen in recent seasons – and the eventual winner will have shown consistent speed on every surface.

“There’s no denying that the Junior World Rally Championship produces drivers that go on to compete at the very highest level. You just have to look at names like Loeb, Ogier, Sordo, Breen, Evans and Tidemand to know that this formula has produced drivers of the very highest calibre – and we’re hoping to find another one in 2018.”

Source:
m-sport.co.uk

Andreas Mikkelsen signs Hyundai for 2018 and 2019 WRC seasons

September 28, 2017

Ahead of his debut for our team at Rally de España, we have announced that Andreas Mikkelsen has signed a two-year deal for the 2018 and 2019 seasons.

The Norwegian will pair up with his co-driver Anders to compete in all rounds of the 13-event calendar next year in one of our i20 Coupe WRC cars.

“I am delighted that Hyundai Motorsport has offered me the chance to return to the WRC ‘properly’ with a full-time seat for 2018 and 2019,” said Andreas. “Even before my first rally with the team, I feel that I have settled in quickly. It is clear to me that I am joining a world-class team with realistic chances of fighting for both Drivers’ and Manufacturers’ Championships. I look forward to helping achieve these goals from Rallye Monte-Carlo next year, and making my own presence felt in the drivers’ title.”

Team Principal Michel Nandan was equally full of praise for our latest signing: “Andreas is one of those rally drivers who fits in quickly and just gets straight down to business. From the few times he has already been to visit the factory in Alzenau, his determination and professionalism have shone through. We are pleased to have him on board in a full-time capacity for two seasons.”

Andreas has already enjoyed his first taste of the i20 Coupe WRC in preparation for Spain. Michel said of his testing: “He has delivered us positive and useful feedback. He has also driven our i20 R5, which has further allowed him to integrate into all areas of our team. We can’t wait to see him in action as a Hyundai Motorsport driver in the final three events of this season, into next year – and beyond.”

Our existing crews of Thierry/Nicolas, Dani/Marc and Hayden/Seb will all remain under contract for 2018.

Source:
motorsport.hyundai.com

Jari Huttunen joins HMDP for 2018

September 27, 2017

Finn will compete at the wheel of a NG i20 R5

Finnish driver Jari Huttunen will join the Hyundai Motorsport Driver development Program (HMDP) and compete at the wheel of a New Generation i20 R5 in 2018. The decision comes at the conclusion of a careful selection process, during which candidates had to prove not only their pace in the car, but also their communication skills and technical knowledge.

Though all eight of the drivers (Emil Bergkvist, Gus Greensmith, Jari Huttunen, Karl Kruuda, Pepe Lopez, Pierre-Louis Loubet, Rene Mandel and Kalle Rovanperä) who tested the New Generation i20 R5 earlier this month impressed the watching members of the jury, it was ultimately a unanimous decision that Huttunen stood out from the group.

The 23-year-old has previously competed in Germany, where he won his class in six out of the seven events in 2016. In 2017 he moved into the European Rally Championship (ERC), campaigning an R2-specification car. Alongside his ERC exploits he also stepped up to R5 competition for the first time, entering two events this season.

In just his second start in the four-wheel-drive car he took victory in WRC2 at his home event, winning a majority of the rally’s stages ahead of a field of far more experienced drivers. It was this performance that initially caught the attention of Hyundai Motorsport and led to him being invited to take part in the HMDP selection process.

At the HMDP test in France he quickly impressed the watching members of Hyundai Motorsport’s management, overcoming his lack of experience at the wheel of an R5 car compared to many of the drivers he was competing against. Even in the slippery conditions that greeted the drivers during the test he was able to immediately show consistently strong pace on both the tarmac and gravel stages, despite the perceived disadvantage to his rivals.

The test days were designed to closely mimic the situation on World Rally Championship events. Each driver was given only two recce passes on each stage before running in the New Generation i20 R5. Their time in the car allowed them to adapt to the handling in the changing conditions on the road before beginning to discuss set-up changes with the Hyundai Motorsport engineers.

As well as his ability in the car his determination to succeed also shone though, not only during the test days, but also during the interviews that formed the first part of the selection for the HMDP opportunity.

Huttunen, will compete in selected WRC2 rounds next year in a Hyundai Motorsport entered New Generation i20 R5. He will also complete a program of tests throughout the season, in order to prepare fully for each event, and continue to progress his professional rallying career.

Jari Huttunen said: “It’s obviously a huge honour to be selected as the winning candidate for the Hyundai Motorsport Driver development Program. There were a lot of very talented drivers involved, with more experience than me, so to be chosen is a nice surprise. To be able to draw on the support from such a successful team will allow me to focus fully on my driving and training and continue to improve my performance behind the wheel. Though I only had a short time in the New Generation i20 R5 at the test I quickly felt comfortable and was able to push, even in the difficult conditions. Now I can concentrate on preparing over the coming months. I’m really excited for the year ahead.”

Hyundai Motorsport Team Manager Alain Penasse said: “We were very impressed by the level of all the candidates at the test. They each had a very professional approach, and left a good impression with myself and the other judges. What stood out about Jari was his determination. With only a few starts in an R5 car he had less experience than many of the other candidates, but was immediately competitive and consistent in the New Generation i20 R5 on both the tarmac and gravel stages. He is a clearly a very talented driver, and has enormous potential as a rally driver. With the support of the Hyundai Motorsport Driver development Program we are confident he can continue his rapid progress in the sport next season.”

Source:
motorsport.hyundai.com

FIA World Rally Championship 2018

September 21, 2017

The World Motor Sport Council approved an adjustment to the procedure following any “yellow card” received by an event organiser for safety issues. The “Rally Safety Task Force” will now be responsible for helping the concerned organiser and/or ASN to reach a satisfactory level of safety for the future.

The introduction of automated gearbox controls for R5 cars has been cancelled, due to the excessive cost of retrofitting on existing homologations.

The World Motor Sport Council accepted the provisional 2018 FIA World Rally Championship calendar, with 13 events including a return to the championship of Rally Turkey for the first time since 2010. They are:

28 January – Rally Monte Carlo
18 February – Rally Sweden
11 March – Rally Mexico*
8 April – Tour de Corse
29 April – Rally Argentina*
20 May – Rally de Portugal*
10 June – Rally Italia*
29 July – Rally Finland
19 August – Rally Germany
16 September – Rally Turkey**
7 October – Rally Great Britain
28 October – Rally Spain
18 November – Rally Australia*

*Subject to Event Promotion Agreement
**Subject to candidate event

Source:
www.fia.com