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December 11, 2018



Emil Lindholm with Team GRX’s Volkswagen in rally season 2019

December 10, 2018

Finnish Rally Championship runner up Emil Lindholm, 22, is competing with Marcus Grönholm’s Team GRX Volkswagen Polo GTI R5 with co-driver Mikael Korhonen, 33.

Emil Lindholm and Mikael Korhonen are first ones introducing Volkswagen’s new Polo GTI R5- rally car in the upcoming season in Finland. In 2019, Lindholm will be the permanent driver in Marcus Grönholm’s Team GRX’s equipment.

Team manager Grönholm sees lot of potential in Lindholm and the new Volkswagen R5- rally car.

”Emil’s results produced this contract. I believe in his possibilities to compete with Volkswagen for good results and wins. There’s a lot of potential in the driver and the car”.

”Emil drove good results in season 2018 and clocked the fastest times practically in every competition. And what is the most important, his speed was growing evenly towards the end of the season and the typical young driver mistakes decreased. Also, Emil drove very well in Italy’s tarmac rally”.

”I know Emil’s speed and confidence are improving on the starting season. His development curve is pointing strongly upwards”, Grönholm says.

Finnish Rally Championship and two World Championship Rally´ s

GRX-team’s permanent driving spot and new Volkswagen is a dream combination to Lindholm.

”Another major step forward on my career with a top car and management behind me. I want to thank Marcus and Team GRX for this opportunity. It’s exciting to drive in their colors”.

New Volkswagen Polo GTI R5 arrived to Finland in early December. Before Christmas there’s going to be first tests of the new car. The service will be provided by Printsport.

“I got to drive the new Volkswagen last summer in Central Finland. Good car that immediately fit like a glove to me. The car acts stable and I gained some more confidence in my driving. Volkswagen is hard to compare to Skoda. Both cars are good but little details and factors put together has resolved which car is for me”.

Lindholm says that before January Finnish Championship competition opening Arctic Lapland Rally they’re going to test for 2-3 days.

Lindholm is also going to be driving Sweden’s and Finland’s WRC events.

”It’s a shame that the season’s second FRC event is at the same weekend as Rally Sweden. From last season we have silver medals under our belts. You always have to be better and winning the FRC is our main goal”.

”My driving schedule for the season 2019 is good. The main fact is that touring the World Championship rallies is too expensive at the moment. We are working on it that in the end of the season we would be able to drive a competition abroad out of the programme”, Lindholm states.

Emil´ s rally calender 2019:

January 25/26 – Arctic Lapland Rally (Ralli SM)
February 14/17 – Rally Sweden (WRC)
March 1/2 – SM Itäralli (Ralli SM)
May 24/25 – SM Riihimäki Ralli (Ralli SM)
June 14/15 – Pohjanmaa SM-ralli (Ralli SM)
August 1/4 – Neste Rally Finland (WRC)
August 30/31 – SM Oili Jalonen Ralli (Ralli SM)
September 27/28 –  SM Ralli Salo (Ralli SM)



December 8, 2018

Introducing the all-new Ford Fiesta R2

December 4, 2018

M-Sport Poland are proud to introduce the all-new EcoBoost-powered Ford Fiesta R2 – the first car designed to the FIA’s latest R2 regulations, and the first car to be fully designed and developed at the team’s state-of-the-art facilities in Krakow.

Based on the road-going Ford Fiesta ST-Line which is manufactured at Ford’s Cologne facility, M-Sport Poland has worked in conjunction with the Ford Motor Company who provided significant financial backing for the programme.

The development of the latest edition of the Fiesta R2 extends the partnership of both companies in maintaining an effective ‘Ladder of Opportunity’ and the new R2 retains a strong pedigree – sharing its platform with one of the world’s best-selling small cars.

As one of the first rungs on the Ladder, the Fiesta R2 has spent the past 10 years launching the careers of some of rallying’s most popular names – Ott Tänak, Elfyn Evans, Craig Breen and Pontus Tidemand all spending time and honing their skills behind the wheel of the little Fiesta.

Despite a complete redesign, the all-new Fiesta maintains the same philosophy and will form the basis for next year’s FIA Junior WRC Championship – continuing M-Sport and Ford’s commitment to supporting the sport’s future stars.

Designed from a completely clean sheet of paper, the new Fiesta R2 shares little with its predecessor and the team were inspired by the championship-winning Ford Fiesta WRC and its design.

Engine performance has been significantly improved, as have the transmission and suspension. In fact every element has been rethought and improved to produce a car that performs to M-Sport Poland’s exacting standards.

The turbo charged 999cc Ford EcoBoost engine delivers 200 HP at 6,500 RPM and the new Sadev five-speed sequential gearbox can be adjusted across three different ramps.

The new suspension includes Reiger dampers which are three-way adjustable on the front and two-way adjustable on the rear. Eibach springs compliment with the option of hard or soft, and there is also an optional anti-roll bar to further enhance the set-up options.

Further information can be found in the Technical Specification, and orders can be placed as of today with delivery estimates dependant on deposits received.

All those interested in sales advice should contact, and all media enquiries should be directed below as usual.

Maciej Woda, Board Member M-Sport Poland, said:

“The all-new Ford Fiesta R2 is a massive step forward and something everyone at M-Sport Poland is extremely proud of. It’s the first car to be fully designed and developed here in Krakow, and a tremendous amount of effort, passion and enthusiasm has gone into making this project as successful as possible.

“Sharing information with the engineers and designers back in Cumbria, we’ve been inspired by the success of the championship-winning Ford Fiesta WRC and every component has been designed to make this new car as strong and as innovative as possible within the regulations.

“But the main philosophy of the Fiesta R2 remains – giving the stars of the future the perfect platform with which to hone their skills and show what they can do in the early stages of their careers. The all-new Fiesta will therefore form the basis of next year’s FIA Junior WRC Championship, and I’m looking forward to seeing what the next generation can do behind the wheel.”


Turbo Charged 999cc Ford EcoBoost Technology. 12 valve, 3 cylinders in line. Alloy head & Iron block.
200HP at 6,500 RPM
290Nm at 4,000 RPM
New Sadev five speed sequential gearbox with plated limited slip differential. Electronic detent control. 3 possible set up of differential ramps (23/57) (27/57) (32/77). AP Racing two disc plate clutch.
New Reiger adjustable dampers with Eibach springs. Front 3-way, rear 2-way adjustable. Optional springs (Hard/Soft). Optional anti-roll bar (Hard/Soft).
Alcon competition calipers. Ventilated AP Racing front discs (Gravel 285mm, Tarmac 310mm). Rear Alcon solid discs 280mm. Hydraulic handbrake with Alcon master cylinder.
Electric power assisted steering, column mounted.
OZ Racing – Gravel 6×15’’ / Tarmac 6,5×16’’ / 5 stud hub.
Life Racing F88 Engine Control Unit and Digital Dashboard. 3 stage Anti-Lag system. M-Sport Power Distribution Unit.
Length 4065mm, width 1735mm, wheelbase 2490mm, minimum weight 1030kg


November tweets

November 30, 2018

Pontus Tidemand is leaving ŠKODA Motorsport

November 27, 2018

After four successful seasons, crowned by the 2017 FIA WRC 2 title and a second place finish in the 2018 FIA WRC 2, the time has come for Pontus Tidemand and ŠKODA Motorsport to part ways. The team will always have fond memories of the young Swede’s great performances behind the wheel of his ŠKODA FABIA R5, together with his co-driver Jonas Andersson. To mark the end of a remarkably fruitful cooperation and to say goodbye to one of our most successful drivers, we asked Pontus a series of questions about his last season with ŠKODA.

Here’s what he thinks about his performance in 2018, about his teammates and about ŠKODA.

I would say I’m especially proud of my performance at Rally Portugal. After two punctures during the Friday leg of the rally, we started a race to catch up. On Saturday we fought our way up from fifth position into the lead of the WRC 2 category.

And which rally was the biggest challenge for you, and why?

Again, I’d nominate Portugal. The first loop was a real challenge with lots of hidden stones and rocks underneath a soft surface. Whether you got a puncture or not was kind of a lottery!

Who did you consider to be the toughest competitors to beat?

Clearly my teammates Jan and Kalle. They’ve got the same fantastic car, our ŠKODA FABIA R5, and they’re really quick on all kind of surfaces.

With the season over, you now have some downtime. How will you spend the time before the 2019 season starts?

I‘ll keep myself in good shape, doing some sports but spending some time with family and friends as well.

And what are your goals for next year?

It would be nice to have a good program in a competitive car again.

Is there anyone special you would like to thank after the 2018 season?

I would like to thank the whole team; they did a great job providing me with such a fantastic car. The team spirit at ŠKODA Motorsport is really great – everybody works with such passion. And definitely my co-driver Jonas, he did a faultless job again. It’s a pleasure to compete alongside him.

In Portugal, you had to go from the bottom of the standings back to top – how hard it was and how did it feel to win against all odds?

It’s all about never giving up. I always knew during the event that we had the speed and the best car to get back on top, and that made me confident right to the finish.

Which current ŠKODA car is your favourite? Do you use one as your personal car?

I like both SUV’s Kodiaq and Karoq, they’re really great cars – nice to drive and very versatile.

How will your celebration of the 2nd place in the WRC 2 standings look like?

As I said, I’ll use my free time to meet some friends again and to have a good time.

What do you think about the talent of your young teammate Kalle Rovanperä?

He’s exceptionally talented and bloody fast, whether on tarmac, snow and ice or on gravel. He’s the man to watch in the future.


Hungary for ERC action as new event joins 2019 European Rally Championship calendar

November 9, 2018

Hungary will return to the FIA European Rally Championship for the first time since 2003 with a new Tarmac event in the city of Nyíregyháza included on the provisional calendar for 2019.

Featuring eight events – four on asphalt and four on gravel – the planned list of dates for next season was approved by the FIA Rally Commission in Geneva on 7 November. The calendar will now be presented to the FIA World Motor Sport Council for final approval when it sits in St Petersburg on 5 December.

New asphalt rally for ERC season showdown
Rally Hungary is an exciting addition to the ERC schedule for 2019. The all-asphalt event will enjoy support from the Hungarian government and local authorities. It’s based in the city of Nyíregyháza in northeast Hungary, approximately two hours 30 minutes by car from the capital Budapest.

While the event is brand new for 2018 – hosting the closing round of the Hungarian championship this weekend (9-11 November) as the Nyíregyháza Rally – its origins date back to the late 1980s when the city was a regular host of national-level events.

“Eurosport Events, the ERC promoter, is really pleased and very excited to include Rally Hungary on the provisional calendar for 2019 for what we hope will be the start of a long-term partnership,” said Jean-Baptiste Ley, the ERC Co-ordinator. “It’s the culmination of several months of discussion and we’ve already been impressed by the dedication and professionalism of the organising team. We also welcome the support of the Hungarian government and local authorities, including the Mayor of Nyíregyháza.”

Several Hungarian drivers contest the European Rally Championship each season with Tibor Érdi Jr winning the ERC2 title for a second year running in 2018, subject to confirmation of the results by the FIA. Dávid Botka was a stage winner in the Azores and Cyprus this year, while Norbert Herczig stepped up to the ERC in 2018 as a four-time national champion and was twice on the podium for the MOL Racing Team. Kristóf Klausz has been a regular in ERC Junior since the championship’s inception in 2014.

Dr Tünde Szabó, the Hungarian State Secretary for Sport, said: “It is a huge step and also a great success that Rally Hungary has been included in the draft FIA ERC calendar. In previous decades Nyíregyháza proved to be an excellent host of many of the most significant events in national motorsport. By gaining the right to host the ERC we can join in with international motorsport and get Nyíregyháza on the European map. Hosting the ERC fits perfectly with our sport politics goal, presenting the country and our cities by gaining the right to organise more prestigious sport events.”

Dr Ferenc Kovács, Mayor of Nyíregyháza, said: “It is a huge honour for Nyíregyháza to host such a high prestige event and the expectations are very high. We think in the long term the rally will be a significant event from a touristic point of view as well. Certainly, we are ready to make further steps and organise a European championship race. Nyíregyháza has already been buzzing with the arrival of the rally, people have been looking for where to watch the city stage. And I believe that this is only the first step and there could be a new motorsport arena in our city in the future.”

Gyárfás Oláh, President of the Association of the Hungarian Motorsport, said: “The announcement is a huge milestone for Hungarian motorsport and especially for rally. Hungary can get on the international rally map again. The ERC returns to us and there will be a Rally Hungary on the calendar. Our drivers have already proved that they belong to the European elite and now it is our turn, as the professional background of the sport, to live up to the trust. The Nyíregyháza Rally hosts the announcement and this city will host the ERC race, too. I hope that we can celebrate the announcement with an excellent race. Thank you for the support of the Hungarian Government and the state guarantee, the promoter’s faith and the trust of Eurosport, furthermore thanks for everybody’s help without whom it could not happen.”

Tamás Őry, event organiser, said: “When we decided to apply for hosting a European championship race, we could choose to organise a normal national race with 150 kilometres, since that could be enough for the FIA delegate to see that we were capable to organise a safe and great race. But we decided to organise a race on European rally standards. More than 600 people will work on the race at the weekend, we have the relationships with 52 municipalities. We will close a four-kilometre section in the city centre of Nyíregyháza and a further 113 kilometres in Zemplén.

“Since for us the competitors are the most important, we tried to set out stages of high quality. These stages were last used in the 1980s, so practically nobody remembers them. There will be a 26-kilometre stage that is very unusual in the Hungarian series but a requirement of an international race so we tried to follow this trend. We have set out spectator points, where we would like to provide our spectators with information and infrastructure.

“We are aiming long term to involve new rally fans outside the thousands of fanatics who follow races, or to bring back the old fans to the stages. We have made some steps to make the rally more easy to follow by setting up a huge screen at Kossuth Square in Nyíregyháza where the superspecial can be watched and the stage in Mád on Saturday also can be seen live by the spectators. We are extremely happy to be the part of the draft calendar of the ERC and we will do our best to meet the high expectations and organise a very good race at the weekend.”

Some of the features of this year’s event include a 69-car entry, 17 stages over a competitive distance of 223.10 kilometres, a city-based superspecial, a 25.15-kilometre stage and live streaming of selected runs.

Liepāja, Poland and Cyprus events in schedule switch
In other changes to the ERC calendar for 2019, Rally Liepāja in Latvia and Rally Poland will take place earlier than scheduled in recent years. Host of the season showdown in 2017 and 2018, Rally Liepāja moves forward to late May, while Poland’s counter occupies a late June date after running on the penultimate weekend of September in 2018, when it celebrated its 75th anniversary.

Popular island rallies offer early challenge
The Azores Airlines Rallye, located on the mid-Atlantic island of São Miguel – part of the Portuguese archipelago – and Rally Islas Canarias on Gran Canaria provide the early test for ERC crews, who will benefit from travel support for both events.

Mid-season asphalt adventures in store
The 2019 ERC calendar includes two mid-season rallies on asphalt: Rally di Roma Capitale and Barum Czech Rally Zlín, which takes place two weeks earlier than usual.

Even split of surfaces to help young talents learn in ERC Junior
Young talents competing in the ERC Junior championships will get to build their experience on asphalt and gravel with three sealed-surface and three loose-surface events appearing on the roster for 2019.

FIA European Rally Championship 2019 provisional calendar*
Round 1: Azores Airlines Rallye, 21-23 March** (ERC Junior), gravel
Round 2: Rally Islas Canarias, 2-4 May (ERC Junior), asphalt
Round 3: Rally Liepāja (Latvia), 24-26 May (ERC Junior), gravel
Round 4: Rally Poland, 28-30 June (ERC Junior), gravel
Round 5: Rally di Roma Capitale (Italy), 19-21 July (ERC Junior), asphalt
Round 6: Barum Czech Rally Zlín, 16-18 August (ERC Junior), asphalt
Round 7: Cyprus Rally, 27-29 September, gravel
Round 8: Rally Hungary (Hungary), 1-3 November, asphalt***

*Subject to FIA World Motor Sport Council approval
**Subject to signing of event promoter agreement
***Subject to FIA observation

Jean-Baptiste Ley, the ERC Co-ordinator, said: “We are very pleased to present the provisional 2019 FIA European Rally Championship calendar, which remains subject to FIA World Motor Sport Council approval. Once again we have responded to competitor requests to limit the schedule to eight events spread across the year and on an even split of asphalt and gravel.

“In Rally Hungary we welcome a new and exciting event to the schedule, while we are also very pleased to renew our long-term partnerships with the Azores Airlines Rallye, Rally Islas Canarias, Rally Liepāja, Rally Poland, Rally di Roma Capitale, Barum Czech Rally Zlín and the Cyprus Rally.

“Although the Acropolis Rally will take a break from the ERC calendar in 2019, we are already in discussions about a return in 2020. It’s a high-quality, legendary event, very well run and Eurosport Events and the OMAE have always enjoyed a strong working relationship that we want to preserve. The door is always open to the Acropolis Rally.”