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Veiby with a Citroën C3 R5 for Wales and Spain

September 21, 2018

It will be an exciting end to the 2018 season for Ole Christian Veiby, as he will compete in a Citroën C3 R5 at Wales Rally GB and Rally Spain, aiming for a podium in the WRC2-championship.

– Three years ago, I drove in to 2nd overall in the JWRC with a Citroën DS3 R3T, so I have good memories with Citroën. I’m really looking forward to work with Citroën again, and very pleased this opportunity came. Can’t wait to test the car and to get to know the team, Ole Christian explains.

The young Norwegian have performed well in the WRC2 championship with Skoda, both as a works-driver and as a privateer. The 22-year-old have shown he is among the strongest contesters in the WRC2. Together with co-driver Stig Rune Skjærmoen, he has already secured multiple podiums in the championship, with the Rally Poland victory in 2017 as one of them. To prepare for the upcoming event and to get to know the Citroën C3 R5, Ole Christian and Stig Rune will carry out two test-days.

– As I have no chance now to fight for victory in the WRC2 championship, the timing is perfect to move on and try something different. A championship podium is within reach, and our aim is to try for that. I will be nominated by the team in the championship and will be able to score points in both Wales and Spain, Ole says.

– I’ve heard a lot of positives regarding the C3 R5. Tempestini took second with the same car in Turkey last week, that surely proves the car is strong and competitive. It’s a positive thing for me to get experience behind the wheel in another car, even more when I get to learn from a team who also competes in the WRC, says Ole.

Roy Snellingen, Sporting Director in Even Management, is thrilled that Ole Christian now gets to drive the Citroën C3 R5.

– It’s very exciting news that Ole Christian now have the chance to compete in a Citroën for both Wales and Spain. This also goes well with our development plan and the aim to be top 3 in the 2018 WRC2 championship. We have seen that the Citroën C3 R5 is competitive both in the WRC2 and in the WRC. In a long-term perspective, the target for Ole is to compete in a WRC-car. He now has valuable experience as a works-driver for Skoda Motorsport, and he has also been part of the teams development work for the current R5. This is good experience to continue to build on. Ole Christian is a young and talented driver, who is starting to rack up quite some experience in the championship, and we are now looking forward to seeing him take some new steps to become an even better athlete.

Ole Christian have competed on 3 events as a privateer, and 4 events this year as a manufacturer-driver at Skoda Motorsport. – It’s been an adventure so far with the Skoda team, and I’m very pleased with all what they have thought me. I want to say thank you to everybody in the team for believing in me, and I wish them all the best for the rest of the season!



WRC comeback with Volkswagen: Petter Solberg to drive the new Polo GTI R5 in Spain

September 20, 2018

* 2003 world rally champion returns to the scene of his last WRC rally
* Three world champions in one rally: Sébastien Loeb, Sébastien Ogier and Petter Solberg
* Debut for the new Polo GTI R5 for customer sport only planned outing as works team

He’s back! 2003 champion Petter Solberg (N) returns to the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) with the Volkswagen Polo GTI R5. Solberg and co-driver Veronica Engan (N) will compete in the WRC 2 class at the Rally Spain in Catalonia from 25 to 28 October. Six years after his last rally in 2012, the Norwegian will make his comeback in precisely the same place, at which he called time on his rally career. Solberg, who drives a Polo for his PSRX Volkswagen Sweden team in the FIA World Rallycross Championship (WRX), will briefly change fields. The new Polo GTI R5 will make its competitive debut at the Rally Spain, which will be the car’s only outing with the Volkswagen works team. The racing car will then be run by customer teams in national and international championships, in accordance with R5 regulations.

“The opportunity to make a WRC comeback with Volkswagen is a unique one, and I was very happy to accept the offer,” said Solberg. “When I drove the car in January in Sweden, I didn’t want to stop. Everything about the Polo GTI R5 worked from the very beginning. I am really looking forward to the Rally Spain. I always used to like the combination of gravel and asphalt. It will obviously be a special feeling to return to the place I brought the curtain down on my rally career back in 2012. It will be a fantastic reunion with the WRC Family, but one with a professional background. I obviously want to get the R5 Polo off to a good start with a good result.”

Volkswagen Motorsport Director, Sven Smeets: “Petter is a true rally hero. We have already experienced his passion and professionalism working alongside him in World Rallycross. To give everything, always 110 per cent is Petter’s trademark. He has tested the Polo GTI R5 and has always been one of our preferred candidates for the debut of our new customer sport car. It is fantastic that he will drive the R5 Polo in Spain. Everyone in the team is looking forward to the rally and to working with Petter and his team-mate Eric Camilli.”

Petter Solberg returns to his rallying roots

Solberg returns to the WRC from the WRX for a weekend. This sees the Norwegian return to his rallying roots. Between 1998 and 2012, he made 188 appearances in the World Rally Championship – with Toyota, Ford, Subaru and Citroën. In 2003, Solberg won the world championship title with Subaru, ending the season just one point ahead of eventual record-breaking champion Sébastien Loeb and third-placed Spaniard Carlos Sainz. He remains the last nordic world rally champion. In 2009, 2010 and 2011, Solberg competed in the WRC with his own team. He then spent one final year as a works driver with Ford in 2012. Solberg claimed 52 podium results in the World Rally Championship, 13 of them victories. The Rally Spain marks Solberg’s first rally with Volkswagen, and his debut in an R5 car.

Three world champions in one WRC rally for the first time for eight years

Solberg is the third world rally champion set to drive at the 2018 Rally Spain, where he will line up against reigning champion Sébastien Ogier and the returning Sébastien Loeb. As such, the last three men to win the title will all compete in Spain – albeit in different classes. The last time three world champions raced at the same event was the 2010 Rally Finland (Loeb, Solberg, Kankkunen).

Solberg and Volkswagen in the WRX – an extremely successful combination

After switching from WRC to WRX, the 43-year-old won the Drivers’ title in both 2014 and 2015. Volkswagen Motorsport and Petter Solberg’s PSRX team announced a partnership at the start of 2017. This has proven to be a winning combination: the team took the Team title and was behind the world champion, Johan Kristoffersson (S), in its very first year. Volkswagen is responsible for the development and technical preparation of the two Polo R Supercars, while PSRX Volkswagen Sweden looks after the logistics, on-site running of the car, and the marketing side of things. Solberg remains the only driver to have won the Drivers’ title in two different FIA world championships.

The Solberg dynasty: drifting and full throttle are in the blood

Solberg originally wanted to be a painter – however, he gave up his training place for motorsport. The rally pedigree within his family tree is evidence of the fact that speed is in his blood. “Mr. Hollywood” comes from an extremely successful dynasty of rally drivers: his parents both successfully took part in Autocross races. His brother Henning Solberg recently claimed the best result for an R5 car in the overall standings at the Rally Turkey – sixth place – and can also look back on an eventful WRC career. When Petter married his wife Pernilla, the Solbergs joined forces with the Walfridsson family – already an established name on the Rallycross and rallying scene. Pernilla was long regarded as one of the best female rally drivers in the world. It is no wonder then that their son Oliver has already enjoyed great success as he follows in his parents’ footstep – including in the FIA Baltic Rally Trophy and the Latvian and Estonian Rally Championship.

Already part of the family: Veronica Engan in the co-driver seat at the Rally Spain

The choice of co-driver for the Rally Spain was an obvious one. Veronica Engan has competed alongside son Oliver in various R2 rallies since 2017, and is virtually a member of the family. The 34-year-old can point to roughly 150 starts with Nordic rally drivers, including Eyvind Brynildsen (N), Marius Aasen (N), Johan Kristoffersson (S), Bernt Kollevold (N) and Anders Grøndal (N). Her career started in 2003, since when she has 27 WRC and seven WRC 2 rallies to her name. Her best result came in 2009, when she finished seventh alongside Mads Østberg at the Rally Italy on Sardinia.

Petter Solberg’s career at a glimpse
Date/place of birth: 18 November 1974 in Askim (N)

Career highlights
2003: 1st place FIA World Rally Championship (WRC)
2002, 2004 and 2005: 2nd place FIA World Rally Championship (WRC)
2010: 3rd place FIA World Rally Championship (WRC)
2014, 2015: 1st place FIA World Rallycross Championship (WRX)

WRC statistics
188 rallies, 52 podium finishes (13 wins)
459 stage wins
852 championship points


LIVE! Rally Turkey (September 13/16)

September 12, 2018

WRC 2018 Rally Turkey -> Timetable, Previews, Results, Photos, Videos etc. CLICK HERE!



Three more years for Thierry Neuville and Nicolas Gilsoul

September 12, 2018

Ahead of this weekend’s round of the WRC in Turkey, we have announced a new three-year contract with Thierry and Nicolas that will see the Belgians remain with our team until the end of the 2021 season.

The announcement reaffirms our commitment to the WRC and to Thierry/Nicolas, who have scored many memorable victories with our team since 2014.

Among the crew’s highlights were our 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 excitement over the years including two of the closest winning margins of all time. They triumphed by just 0.7-seconds in Argentina 2017 and by exactly the same gap in Sardinia earlier this season.

“I am really happy to sign a new three-year contract with Hyundai Motorsport,” said Thierry. “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. There is a fantastic family atmosphere and I get on very well with my team-mates. 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. ”

Our Team Principal Michel added: “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. 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.”

Thierry currently 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.

Michel continued: “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.”


Eric Camilli at the wheel of the Volkswagen Polo GTI R5 for rally debut

September 11, 2018

The first driver duo has been confirmed for the debut of the GTI R5 – Volkswagen will compete at the Rally Spain (25th–28th October) with Eric Camilli/Benjamin Veillas (F/F). The 200 kW (272 PS) 4×4 will celebrate its rally debut at the only FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) race to take place on asphalt as well as gravel. This is the sole works appearance scheduled for the Volkswagen Polo GTI R5, before it begins to participate in domestic and international championships for customers.

When deciding on the driver line-up for the first of two cockpits for the Rally Spain, Volkswagen chose to rely on familiar resources. The Camilli/Veillas duo played a significant role in the development of the rally car, based on the new Polo, and the two drivers are held in high esteem by the four-time world championship-winning team thanks to their detailed feedback and analytical approach. Camilli/Veillas are no unknown quantity in the WRC 2 category, where the Polo GTI R5 will be competing in Spain: they were runners-up in the 2017 world championship with three podium finishes, including victory at the Rally Germany. In total, Camilli/Veillas have chalked up 31 stage wins in this category.

“Eric Camilli and Benjamin Veillas are an experienced team and did a valuable job during testing with the Polo GTI R5,” says Volkswagen Motorsport Director Sven Smeets. “It is the logical next step for them to take their WRC 2 experience into this competitive debut. Having Eric and Ben in the cockpit puts us in an excellent position.” The driver/co-driver line-up for the second Polo GTI R5 will be announced at a later date.

Eric Camilli: “When Sven Smeets and R5 project lead Jan de Jongh gave me the good news, it was a lovely, belated birthday present. I was delighted and am proud to be part of the team at this important premiere. After an intensive year of testing, it is great to be competing in the first rally with the Polo GTI R5 and I have plenty of motivation to do well. Ben and I will prepare diligently for the Rally Spain and hopefully we will be able to start the R5 Polo on its career path with a good result.”

Eric Camilli and the Polo – a long history

The intensive testing and the upcoming debut with the Polo GTI R5 do not represent Eric Camilli’s first meeting with the compact car. The Volkswagen Polo played an important role in the private life of the 31-year-old from an early stage. “My second car was a Polo. A used 2005 Polo IV Trendline with 64 PS, in silver,” explains Camilli. “Volkswagens are such reliable cars. And I like the design.” Camilli/Veillas drove around one third of the approx. 10,000 test kilometres with the Polo GTI R5. “The Polo GTI R5 has an impressive history and reacts very precisely when you are driving. I think that it is a very good R5 car – but we will only know for certain after the Rally Spain and the first head-to-head comparison with the very strong competition.”

Benjamin Veillas – return to the four-time world championship-winning team

The Rally Spain marks the return of co-driver Benjamin Veillas to the four-time world championship-winning team from Volkswagen. In the WRC era, the 40-year-old Frenchman was part of the spotter and weather crew for world champion Sébastien Ogier. Veillas has formed a team with Camilli since the Rally France on Corsica in 2014, celebrating six podiums in the WRC 2 category and one best stage time in the WRC top category thus far.

After the works debut: eight customer teams will receive 15 Polo GTI R5s

Customers, over to you: the competitive debut at the Rally Spain will be the first and only competitive appearance for the Polo GTI R5 before delivery of the customer sport racer begins at the Volkswagen Motorsport location in Hanover, from November onwards. In 2018/2019, 15 cars will be handed over to eight customer teams, who are planning to compete in numerous international and domestic rally championships according to R5 regulations.

Career in fast-forward – that’s Eric Camilli
Date/place of birth: 06 September 1987 in Nice (F)
Hobbies: Sport, especially running and trials

Career Highlights
2017: 2nd place in the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC 2), 1 win
2016: 11th place in the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC)
2014: 2nd place Volant Peugeot, 1 win
WRC 2 Successes: 17 rallies, six podiums (including one win), 31 stage wins, 144 championship points


TOYOTA GAZOO Racing Rally Challenge Program makes progress to get closer to WRC

September 11, 2018

TOYOTA GAZOO Racing Rally Challenge Program is making progress to the next phase in 2019, aimed at producing a WRC driver from the program. The program has been operated for three and half years with the cooperation of Tommi Mäkinen Racing since 2015. To move on to the next phase, Takamoto Katsuta has been selected as its driver. In 2019 the driver will continue gaining experience by mainly participating in WRC2 events, with some other elements to be added to the program as well (*). Katsuta will also participate in Rally Spain, the 12th round of FIA World Rally Championship in October 2018.

(*)Program details will be announced later.

Shigeki Tomoyama (President, GAZOO Racing Company)
I’m very happy to see that our crew has grown up a lot through the program. I appreciate the instructors and the team, who have given passionate coaching and support to them all the time. This program was started to help Japanese youngsters become world-class rally drivers. Since Toyota came back to the WRC, we have heard from many fans that they would love to see a Japanese driver behind the wheel of the Yaris WRC. I’m glad we are taking another step forward to achieve this goal by enhancing the program next year.

Jouni Ampuja(Chief instructor)
I’m very satisfied and proud about how Takamoto Katsuta and Hiroki Arai have improved their skills during the program. The selection wasn’t easy, as both drivers have the potential to reach a high level in rallying. However, at this point of the program we want to put all our efforts into one driver to reach the stated WRC target. Katsuta has been able to make a remarkable progress since he started in this program, as he basically didn’t have any rallying experience before entering the Challenge Program. I’m sure that Arai also has all the skills needed to reach the highest levels of rallying. He can be very proud of what he has achieved in this program. Sayaka Adachi has also been part of Challenge Program as well, as she’s been co-driving for Finnish driver Jarkko Nikara. It’s a great challenge to co-drive someone as fast as Jarkko, and Adachi has proved that she can be competitive at the extremely high level of the Finnish Championship. Sayaka has gained a great amount of experience from European rallying and she can be proud of her own progress during the program.

What’s next?

Katsuta and co-driver Marko Salminen will participate in the 12th round of the World Rally Championship: Rally Spain from October 25-28, with a Ford Fiesta R5. It will be their second participation on this event, after last year.

Driver Takamoto Katsuta

Born in Aichi, Japan on March 17, 1993. Katsuta drove in his first kart race at the age of 12 and at age 18 he won the Formula Challenge Japan (FCJ). He placed second in the F3 series at age 20, and since 2014 he has competed in F3 in addition to notching his first JN5 class win in the eighth round of the Japanese Rally Championship. In the seventh round of the 2017 FIA World Rally Championship (Italy), he took his first podium by finishing third in the WRC2 class. In 2018 he won Rally Sweden, the second round of World Rally Championship in the WRC2 class.


Volkswagen Motorsport presents Polo GTI R5 to first customers

September 4, 2018

After the Polo R WRC comes the Polo GTI R5. With the World Rally Car version of the Polo, the Volkswagen works team won four FIA World Rally Championship titles between 2013 and 2016. The production-based successor model was developed according to category R5 regulations and is intended exclusively for customer racing. Volkswagen Motorsport has already sold 15 models of the Polo GTI R5 to customers in Austria, Belgium, Finland, Italy, Paraguay, Portugal and Sweden.


Volkswagen Motorsport presented the new rally car to customers shortly before homologation. Representatives of the privateer teams visited the headquarters in Hannover, where they experienced the 200 kW (272 PS) four-wheel drive together with test driver Dieter Depping (D) at a test centre in nearby Sulingen. “The Polo GTI R5 has completed around 9,000 test kilometres to date, half of which were on gravel and half on asphalt,” explained Volkswagen Motorsport Director Sven Smeets. “The entire development team has worked hard and delivered a first-class result, which has been confirmed by the initial reactions of customers.”

“The feedback from this introductory session was extremely positive,” added Juliane Gründl, head of sales at Volkswagen Motorsport. “Almost all the teams already have definite plans in place for using the car in the 2019 rally season and cannot wait to get their hands on their Polo GTI R5.”

Competitive debut at WRC event in Spain at the end of October

The homologation of the Polo GTI R5 is planned for 01 October 2018. Before being licensed for motorsport, the Polo GTI R5 will have completed around 10,000 test kilometres in total. In addition to the WRC2 category of the FIA World Rally Championship, the new customer racing rally car will also be in action in interregional championships such as the FIA European Rally Championship and numerous national championships.

“When defining the specification, we took great care to ensure that it would be easy for professional privateer teams to master the technical support of the Polo GTI R5,” said Jan-Gerard de Jongh, technical project manager for the Polo GTI R5 and former race engineer of World Rally Champion Sébastien Ogier.

Before the first customer cars are delivered, further test drives and the competitive debut are scheduled. At the Rally Spain from 25 to 28 October 2018, the Polo R5 GTI will take on its rivals in the WRC2 class at world championship level for the first time. And for the Volkswagen Motorsport team, it will be a mini comeback after the final race in Australia 2016, since Volkswagen Motorsport will be taking care of the car at the debut. “We will compete at the Rally Spain with two cars from our own team,” said Smeets. “The aim is to demonstrate the competitiveness of the new Polo GTI R5 at the highest level and on different surfaces.”