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January 14, 2020


Hyundai ready to defend manufacturers’ title in 2020

January 13, 2020

On the eve of a brand-new WRC season, we have outlined our desire to compete for the manufacturers’ and drivers’ titles. Rallye Monte-Carlo (January 23-26) will be the first test for our team as we look to defend our honours following a successful 2019 season.

“We had a highly rewarding year across all areas of our business, including our first WRC title,” said our President Scott Noh. “It is a significant and meaningful achievement, and something on which we want to build. For 2020, we hope to compete for both titles, fighting for victory at each round. I believe we have strong potential, not least with our new-look driver line-up.”

Impressive line-up

We will compete with four regular crews in our seventh WRC season. Defending drivers’ champion Ott Tänak and his co-driver Martin Järveoja will join Thierry and Nicolas for a season-long campaign, contesting all of the scheduled rounds. Dani/ Carlos, and Sébastien/Daniel will share a third car throughout the season.

“We have arguably one of the strongest crew line-ups in WRC,” commented our Team Principal Andrea. “It is a reflection of Hyundai’s reputation in international motorsport that we are able to attract such a calibre of talent. I, for one, am tremendously focused on what the coming season will bring.”

Crew numbers for the season will be #6 Dani/Carlos; #8 Ott/Martin; #9 Sébastien/Daniel; #11 Thierry/Nicolas.

New territories, same targets

A new-look WRC calendar will see Hyundai Motorsport venture to new territories, including rounds in Kenya (July), New Zealand (September) and Japan (November).

The performance level and versatility of the Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC was significantly improved in 2019, as the team secured wins on tarmac (Corsica), gravel (Argentina/Sardinia) and mixed surface (Spain). We know we will have to redouble our efforts in order to maintain the upper hand, and to mount a fight for both titles.

Thierry and Nicolas scored a trio of victories on their way to second in the 2019 drivers’ title, continuing a fine run of form as one of our longest-serving crews.

“We head into 2020 motivated by the team’s manufacturers’ title and more determined than ever to push for the drivers’ championship,” said Thierry. “We have shown ourselves to be quick, consistent and resilient in the face of challenges; we want to make the most of our years of experience and reward the hard work of the entire team with a title double.”

First impressions, lasting memories

2019 WRC drivers’ champion Ott and fellow Estonian Martin will make their debut at Rallye Monte-Carlo as they aim to defend both their title and ours.

“I have had some time to settle into my new home at Hyundai Motorsport, and I have certainly received a warm welcome,” said Ott. “I feel we are already heading in a good direction. The team has already demonstrated its capability by winning the manufacturers’ title. My first impressions of the car have been very positive, and I am convinced, together, we can compete for the titles this year.”

Spaniards Dani and Carlos secured their first victory for our team at Rally Italia Sardegna last summer. They will take part in selected rallies to support our manufacturers’ campaign this season.

“To have the opportunity to continue my WRC career with Hyundai Motorsport is very special,” said Dani. “We have shared many happy memories over the years, including our victory in Sardinia ´19 – a day that I will never forget! Each new season is like a fresh start. We will just take our events one by one, aiming to get the best out of ourselves and the car.”

Nine-time world champions Sébastien and Daniel embark on their second season with us in 2020, as they share a third i20 Coupe WRC.

“I had a very enjoyable first season with the team in 2019,” said Sébastien. “We were able to make some improvements during the year which we hope to use to our advantage during 2020. There are some interesting new events on the calendar, so I look forward to some classic routes and some new challenges.”


TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team at Tokyo Auto Salon to launch the WRC 2020 season

January 10, 2020

The TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team is launching its 2020 campaign at the Tokyo Auto Salon (January 10-12), with its all-new driver line-up of Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia, Elfyn Evans/Scott Martin and Kalle Rovanperä/Jonne Halttunen presented together with the Toyota Yaris WRC in front of many Japanese fans.

This is the first time that the team has started its year in Japan, launching a season that will conclude in November with the country’s first FIA World Rally Championship round since 2010.

The appearance at Tokyo Auto Salon also coincides with the world premiere at the show of the new GR Yaris, which incorporates technology and knowledge gained from competing in the WRC.

The TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team is entering the fourth year of its successful return to the WRC, having claimed the drivers’ and co-drivers’ titles in 2019 to add to the manufacturers’ crown won in 2018. The Toyota Yaris WRC continues to constantly evolve, with new developments for 2020 including a reduction in weight as well as an upgraded engine.

With its new drivers providing an exciting mix of speed, experience and youth, the team fully intends to fight on all fronts once again, beginning at Rallye Monte-Carlo on January 23-26.

Tommi Mäkinen (Team Principal)
“It is great to be in Japan to launch our season with our new drivers. We are really looking forward to the WRC returning to Japan this year, so it is nice to start the season here together with lots of Japanese car fans. On the outside, our car looks similar to before, and we are mostly keeping the same package that was strong in many different conditions last year. But we are always working to make some small improvements to make it even better, and we will go into this season with a lighter and more powerful car. I am confident that our talented new drivers will quickly feel comfortable and that we can aim high again this season.”


WRC Action for the Citroën C3 R5 in 2020

January 9, 2020

Citroën Racing is to continue competing in the FIA World Rally Championship in association with its leading C3 R5 customers, beginning with this month’s Rallye Monte-Carlo and concluding in November in Japan after taking in many of the WRC’s classic fixtures. This stepped up programme with the C3 R5 will see development of the car – which has been ongoing since 2018 – continue in order to provide customers with an increasingly competitive car.

PH Sport’s Mads Østberg and Yohan Rossel will benefit from official backing from Citroën Racing and its partners Total and Michelin on respectively eight and six rounds of this year’s FIA World Rally Championship, with the French youngster enjoying additional support from the FFSA (Fédération Française de Sport Automobile). Nicolas Ciamin and Eric Camilli will also have assistance for the Rallye Monte-Carlo. Including private entries, a total of six C3 R5s are poised to start the 87th running of the WRC’s winter classic.

Citroën Racing will be providing support for promising Frenchman Yohan Rossel, winner of last season’s French Rally Championship at first attempt in a C3 R5. As victor of the 208 RALLY CUP in 2018, Yohan earned a full campaign in his national series in 2019 and ended up clinching the crown on his home event, the Critérium des Cévennes. For 2020, the 24-year old will be part of the Equipe de France FFSA squad and will take part in six WRC3 events with the aim of learning and producing consistent performances. Co-driven by Benoît Fulcrand, his programme will kick off with the Rallye Monte-Carlo, before switching to gravel in Portugal, Italy and Finland, and concluding with Rallye Deutschland and Rally GB.

Mads Østberg and his co-driver Torstein Eriksen, who will team up with the French pair at PH Sport, have a calendar of eight WRC2 outings. The Norwegian is already familiar with the car following a season in WRC2 Pro in 2019 which he wrapped up with a class victory in Catalonia. Mads has considerable experience of the World Rally Championship thanks to a career spanning more than 10 years. In 2020, the Scandinavian pair has set its sights on the WRC2 title and will contest the same six events at Yohan Rossel/Benoît Fulcrand, along with trips to Sweden and Japan.

The entry for the 2020 Rallye Monte-Carlo features four other C3 R5s, including one for Nicolas Ciamin who also plans to travel to six WRC3 rounds this season. The list continues with Yoann Bonato who made a considerable contribution to the car’s development in collaboration with Citroën Racing’s technical department. He is targeting a programme of several rallies this year, although the exact choice has yet to be settled. Eric Camilli, who topped the WRC2 class (since renamed WRC3) in Catalonia last autumn, will also drive a C3 R5 on the Rallye Monte-Carlo, as will the outgoing Spanish champion Pepe Lopez.

The above French and Norwegian crews all attended a recent week-long test organised in the French Alps by Citroën Racing to help finetune their preparations for the Monaco classic which promises to be as fiercely fought as ever this time around.


Yohan Rossel (WRC3):

“I am thrilled to be continuing my adventure with PSA Motorsport with backing from the FFSA [Fédération Française de Sport Automobile]. Thanks to Citroën and Peugeot one-make championships, we have managed to work our way up the ladder and we now have the good fortune to be embarking on our first full world-class season with help from Citroën, Total and Michelin. We have so much to learn and our aim is to stay clear of trouble and finish well at the end of the year. I am delighted to be teaming up with Mads. His experience of the world championship will clearly be a big help, especially on the Monte Carlo where tyre choice is such a big challenge. I won the two-wheel drive class on this event last year and I’m looking forward to seeing what it’s like with four-wheel drive!”

Mads Østberg (WRC2):

“It’s great to be continuing with everyone in the team. We worked hard on the car’s development last year, with the main evolutions notably concerning its brakes, suspension and engine performance. That should give us a certain edge in 2020. Along with Torstein, our aim is to win as many rounds as possible and claim the title. I am very happy that our cooperation with Citroën is continuing and it’s nice to be joining forces with Yohan. It’s always positive to have a team-mate. I can hardly wait for this year’s Rallye Monte-Carlo to get the season under way. We will do our absolute best to come away with a strong result.”

Didier Clément (Customer Competition Manager, Citroën Racing and Peugeot Sport):

“Last season, our ongoing work on the C3 R5 allowed us to notch up numerous wins. For 2020, our objectives are to keep up the development momentum, step up our involvement in the sport’s leading national and international championships and provide our drivers with the means to shine in the C3 R5. The Rallye Monte-Carlo has long been an iconic event for Citroën and we are very glad to have the benefit of the experience and speed of Mads Østberg who will team up with the talented Yohan Rossel. They are joined on the entry list by four other drivers who are just as ambitious and competitive as them. We are obviously pleased with the strong interest the C3 R5 has generated and we are eager to see it perform on this prestigious but also exacting rally.”


Yohan Rossel

2014: 1st, Citroën Racing Trophy Junior (DS3 R1)
2015: 3rd, Citroën Racing Trophy (DS3 R3)
2016: 1st, Citroën Racing Trophy (DS3 R3)
2017: four rounds of the FIA World Rally Championship (DS3 R5)
2018: 1st, 208 RALLY CUP (Peugeot 208 R2)
2019: 1st, French Rally Championship (Citroën C3 R5)

Yohan Rossel’s 2020 programme (WRC3):

Monte Carlo (January 23-26), Portugal (May 21-24), Italy (June 4-7), Finland (August 6-9), Germany (October 15-18), Great Britain (October 29-November 1)

Mads Østberg

127 WRC starts
18 WRC Podiums, 1 win
2007-2011: 1st, Norwegian Rally Championship
2011: 2nd, Rally Sweden
2012: 1st, Rally Portugal
2013: 6th, WRC Drivers’ standings
2014: 5th, WRC Drivers’ standings with Citroën Racing (DS3 WRC)
2015: 4th, WRC Drivers’ standings (eight podium finishes) with Citroën Racing (DS3 WRC)
2018: Citroën Racing (C3 WRC) – 2nd, Rally Finland
2019: 2nd, WRC2 Pro vice-world championship (C3 R5) – 1st, Rally Sweden, Argentina and Catalunya

Mads Østberg’s 2020 programme (WRC2):

Monte-Carlo (January 23-26), Sweden (February 13-16), Portugal (May 21-24), Italy (June 4-7), Finland (August 6-9), Germany (October 15-18), Great Britain (October 29-November 1), Japan (November 19-22)


Adrien Fourmaux set for WRC2

January 3, 2020

French talent Adrien Fourmaux will team up with M-Sport Ford this year – taking to the wheel of the EcoBoost-powered Ford Fiesta R5 MkII for a campaign in the FIA World Rally Championship’s premier support series, WRC 2.

Like Evans and Greensmith before him, Fourmaux is a perfect example of Ford’s ‘Ladder of Opportunity’ in action, and his career also highlights the close links between M-Sport and the FFSA (Fédération Française du Sport Automobile) – both ardent supporters of young talent.

After winning the renowned Rallye Jeunes series in his native France, he progressed behind the wheel of the Ford Fiesta R2T National as part of the French Junior Championship – finishing third in his debut year before going on to claim the title with five victories in 2018.

Stepping up to the world stage in 2019, the 24-year-old contested three rallies with the Fiesta R2T19 but his standout performances came when tackling five WRC 2 events at the wheel of the Ford Fiesta R5 – securing second place on his debut at Rallye Monte-Carlo and third at Wales Rally GB.

Catching the eye of many around the service park, Fourmaux is now ready to continue his development and M-Sport Ford are keen to encourage the talent and potential of another ambitious youngster.

Partnered by Belgian co-driver Renaud Jamoul, the Frenchman will get his season underway at the season opener in Monte-Carlo; and details of a second M-Sport Ford Fiesta R5 MkII will be revealed at next week’s Autosport International Show at Birmingham’s NEC in the United Kingdom.

Managing Director, Malcolm Wilson OBE, said:

“We’ve been working closely with the FFSA for the past three years, and Adrien’s progress really does embody that collaboration. Since winning Rallye Jeunes he has quickly progressed – almost exclusively with the Fiesta – and it’s great to see him fully integrated into the team this year. This is only his second season at this level, but I fully expect him to keep on impressing!”

Team Principal, Richard Millener, said:

“I’ve not worked with Adrien before, but I have been following his progress and there’s no doubting his speed and potential behind the wheel. This will be an important season for him with much still to learn, but I look forward to working with him and think we could see him challenging for the top results on a number of events. He’s ready to make his mark, and we plan to give him everything he needs to do that.”

Adrien Fourmaux said:

“I’m really proud to be representing M-Sport Ford in the WRC 2 Championship this year – especially as it comes just three years after my Rallye Jeunes victory and first ever rally. Over the past 25 years many French drivers have started their careers with the opportunities the FFSA built with Rallye Jeunes – and it gave me the chance to discover this fantastic sport.

“Now I will be collaborating with M-Sport Ford – a team well known for their support and development of young drivers. I really want to succeed – both for myself, but also for people like Michelin and Yacco who have helped and supported me since the very beginning. This year I will contest a lot of rallies which I already know – and I hope that knowledge will help me challenge for the top results.”


Young and ambitious team for M-Sport Ford in 2020

January 2, 2020

Esapekka Lappi will join forces with Teemu Suninen and Gus Greensmith this season as the M‑Sport Ford World Rally Team put youth at the head of their FIA World Rally Championship campaign.

Taking to the wheel of the EcoBoost-powered Ford Fiesta WRCs, the three drivers have an average age of 25 and will be led by a similarly young and ambitious team – the average age of the engineers just 30, and Team Principal Richard Millener a mere 35 years young!

As a proven rally winner, Lappi will lead the team alongside compatriot co-driver Janne Ferm. The Finns last took to the wheel of a Fiesta in 2012 when they stormed to Finnish Championship success with a clean-sweep of victories behind the wheel of the Ford Fiesta S2000. Eight years later, the popular duo are now regularly challenging for top results on the world stage.

Securing their maiden win on home soil in 2017, Lappi and Ferm have gone on to secure seven FIA World Rally Championship podiums and claimed the runner-up spot on three occasions last year. Competitive on all surfaces, the Finns have speed in abundance and the team are keen to see what they can do when reunited with the Blue Oval.

Teemu Suninen and Jarmo Lehtinen continue their partnership as the young Finn contests his second full season at the sport’s highest level. Developing at pace, Suninen made his world rally car debut in 2017, secured his first podium in 2018, and led his first rally in 2019 – so the team are eager to see what he can do in 2020.

This also marks the first time an all-Finnish line-up has led the team since Mikko Hirvonen was partnered with Marcus Grönholm in 2006 and 2007, and Jari Matti Latvala from 2008 to 2011. Over those six years the Finns delivered two championships, 31 victories, 99 podiums and 592 stage wins; and M-Sport Ford are now looking forward to promoting the next generation of Flying Finns.

Joining the Finns in the third Ford Fiesta WRC on nine events are British talents Gus Greensmith and Elliott Edmondson. The Brits will get their season underway in Monte-Carlo before events in Mexico, Argentina, Portugal, Sardinia, Finland, Turkey, Germany and Wales.

The youngsters made a strong debut when they took to the wheel of the top-specification Fiesta for the first time last year – bettering the time of both Sébastien Loeb and Sébastien Ogier on their very first speed test; and the team are keen to see them continue their development at the highest level this year.

Managing Director, Malcolm Wilson OBE, said:

“We’re going back to our roots in more ways than one this year – fielding a young team and welcoming two sets of Finns back to the family. We enjoyed some fantastic results with Marcus, Mikko and Jari-Matti, and now I’m looking forward to seeing how the next generation of Flying Finns develop.

“But our core philosophy has always been the promotion and progression of young talent, and in Esapekka, Teemu and Gus we have three talented youngsters who are all capable of delivering some strong results.

“The team may be a young one, but they have the experience and ambition to go far – and I’m keen to see what they can achieve in 2020.”

Team Principal, Richard Millener, said:

“There’s a lot of potential in our 2020 line-up and our aim is to continue challenging for the top results. A rally win is the ultimate goal, and I think we have every chance of achieving that. Everyone is determined to deliver, and we can’t wait to get stuck in.

“Esapekka is a proven winner and there is no doubting his speed. He finished second three times last year so I’m looking forward seeing how he gets to grips with the Fiesta. And if it’s anything like the last time he got behind the wheel of a Ford then we’re in for one hell of a season!

“I think a lot of people will be keen to see what Teemu can do too. He and Jarmo work really well together and I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw them challenging for the top results on quite a few events this year.

“It’s also great to see Gus back with nine events in the Fiesta WRC. He had a really strong debut last year and he’s only going to get stronger and more confident as the season progresses. This is very much a learning year for him, but if I know Gus he’ll want to make his mark too!”

Esapekka Lappi said:

“I’m really looking forward to this new adventure and I’m excited to see what we can achieve. M‑Sport Ford has a real passion for rally and there were a lot of talented drivers available for this seat, so I’m very happy they put their trust in us – giving myself and Janne an opportunity to show what we can do in 2020.

“We start testing this week, and I’m really looking forward to discovering the Fiesta. The last time I drove a Ford we had a lot of success and it would be great to see that continue this year. I can’t wait to get started, and hope we can push for some strong results.”

Teemu Suninen said:

“I’m really grateful to Malcolm and the team for their belief in me. I feel as though I learnt a lot over the past 12 months, and I’m looking forward to seeing what Jarmo and I can do in 2020. Last year taught me that I need to give everything in all of the rallies if I want to reach the top results – and that’s what I hope to do this year.

“It’s also really great to be in a team with Esapekka because he was something of a hero to me in my childhood. When I started go-karting as a teenager in Finland, he was in the same team and winning the championship. Three years later I was able to do the same, and now we’re both in rally and both back in the same team!”

Gus Greensmith said:

“I have been waiting for this opportunity my whole life, and now I have it. I’ve progressed through M-Sport Ford’s, ‘Ladder of Opportunity,’ from R1, to R2, to R5 and now WRC. I owe a lot to everyone at M-Sport and Ford who has helped me progress as a driver, but there is still a lot more to come.

“The team may be young, but we’re all ultra-competitive and together I’m sure we can deliver some strong performances. During the off season I have made some big improvements to myself outside of the rally car. I have never been fitter, and I have never been faster, and when the light turns green for the first stage of 2020 I will be ready.”


December 2019 tweets

December 31, 2019