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November 19, 2020


Introducting the all-new Ford Fiesta Rally3

November 13, 2020

The all-new M-Sport Fiesta Rally3 is the first car built for the FIA’s Rally3 category, completing M-Sport’s ‘Ladder of Opportunity’ and the FIA Rally Pyramid.

Rally3 is a new category of rally car created to provide an accessible and affordable first step on the four-wheel drive ladder to be used on national, regional and world-level rallies.

The Fiesta Rally3 marks a new era for M-Sport – the first and so far, only manufacturer to offer a car for every tier of the FIA Rally Pyramid. The cost-effective four-wheel drive Fiesta Rally3 was designed and developed in M-Sport Poland’s state of the art facility in Krakow, Poland.

The M-Sport Fiesta Rally3 is undergoing an intense development programme on a variety of surfaces and conditions across Europe, using a unique cross section of world class drivers. A clear set of targets and standards have now been identified for the Fiesta Rally3 to establish unrivalled reliability. The most notable target is the homologation date; M-Sport Poland will homologate the first ever Rally3 car on 1st March 2021.

The M-Sport Fiesta Rally3 will be available for €99,999 excluding VAT and registration costs. In anticipation of the popularity of the Rally3 category, production is already underway in Krakow and deposits for first orders will be accepted from 16th November.

This offers customers the opportunity to take delivery of their Fiesta Rally3 from the date of homologation and begin their Rally3 championship campaigns just in time for the start of the 2021 season.

For further enquiries please contact:

A 1.5-litre EcoBoost engine will power the Fiesta Rally3, giving it a distinctive sound, combined with aggressive looks thanks to bonnet vents and a rear wing that provide as much function as they do form.

The all-new Fiesta Rally3 weighs in at 1210kg with a power output of 215BHP and 400Nm of torque from the 1.5 litre EcoBoost engine all transmitted through a five-speed sequential gearbox.

Reaching 100km/h in just five seconds and a top speed of 185km/h the M-Sport Fiesta Rally3 provides the perfect transition step for the next generation of rally drivers looking to cut their teeth in four-wheel drive machinery. M-Sport’s Fiesta Rally3 is sprung by three-way adjustable dampers front and rear using 17-inch and 15-inch rims for tarmac and gravel respectively.

It was important to M-Sport to begin work on the Fiesta Rally3 as soon as draft regulations were available, underlining M-Sport’s commitment to supporting drivers around the world from grassroots to greatness on the world stage. With such a broad spectrum of drivers in mind M-Sport Poland has ensured the testing programme reflects this by using a truly diverse selection of drivers from world championship veterans to those new to four-wheel drive machinery.

Maciej Woda, M-Sport Poland Director:

“I am very happy with how things are progressing with the Fiesta Rally3. Every time I see the development car, I feel very proud of the entire team that is working tirelessly and has been throughout 2020 on this truly ground-breaking car. In what has been a very difficult year for everybody, the team at Krakow are excelling themselves with the Fiesta Rally3, not letting anything get in the way of design and development. I want to say a huge congratulations and thank you to everybody contributing to this project so far. The Fiesta Rally3 and the collective effort going into its creation embodies everything that M-Sport exists for: providing every opportunity to the next generation of drivers. The Fiesta Rally3 will by no means be an alternative to any car that is out there currently, it will be a brand-new concept serving what has been a very underserved area of rallying. It will be the perfect steppingstone for those graduating from two-wheel to four-wheel drive, allowing drivers to learn and refine the skills needed to handle four-wheel drive machinery which is a massive step for any driver. Since early talks about the concept of Rally3, we have all been quite excited about the potential of this category. The cost cap was a key sticking point for us, and I feel €99,999 will be a very good price point for an entry level four-wheel drive car, especially for national and regional rally championships around the world.”


Back-to-back event configuration for budget-saving provisional 2021 FIA ERC calendar

November 12, 2020

Budget saving is at the heart of the provisional 2021 FIA European Rally Championship calendar, with the inclusion of two back-to-back events part of continued efforts to reduce the cost of competing.

Approved during the recent online meeting of FIA Rally Commission members, the schedule from ERC promoter Eurosport Events will now go to the FIA World Motor Sport Council for final ratification when it gathers next month.

The provisional calendar consists of eight events with four on asphalt and four on gravel. Three ‘spare’ rallies have been nominated should any of the eight rounds be cancelled due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Provisional 2021 FIA European Rally Championship calendar

Round 1: Rally Serras de Fafe e Felgueiras (Portugal, gravel), March 12-14, 2021
Round 2: 55th Azores Rallye (Gravel), March 25-27, 2021
Round 3: Rally Islas Canarias (Asphalt), May 6-8, 2021
Round 4: 77th Rally Poland (Gravel), June 18-20, 2021
Round 5: Rally Liepāja (Latvia, gravel), July 1-3, 2021**
Round 6: Rally di Roma Capitale (Italy, asphalt), July 23-25, 2021
Round 7: 50th Barum Czech Rally Zlín (Asphalt), August 27-29, 2021
Round 8: Rally Hungary (Asphalt), October 22-24, 2021

**Subject to event promoter agreement

Spare events:
Rallye Sanremo (Italy, asphalt)
Cyprus Rally (Gravel)
Spa Rally (Belgium asphalt)

Back-to-back events to reduce logistical expenditure
The gravel-based Rally Serras de Fafe e Felgueiras and 55th Azores Rallye are set to form the 2021 FIA ERC’s first grouped event configuration. Following the completion of the Fafe event on March 14, a secure parking facility for the storage of rally cars, transporters, trailers and any support vehicles will be arranged ahead of the freight vessel departing for São Miguel island in the Azores on March 19.

Two more gravel rounds, 77th Rally Poland and Rally Liepāja are set to make up the next grouped event configuration. Once again a secure parking facility will be arranged ahead of the journey north from Poland to Latvia one week later.

It is hoped the storage provisions will remove the requirement for teams to return to their respective bases unnecessarily with part of the journey to transport vehicles to the next rally effectively completed with no additional cost.

Island-based events reduced to two, logistical support remains
The number of FIA ERC island events is set at two with boat transportation and a set number of flight tickets provided free of charge.

Later start planned for FIA ERC Junior drivers
FIA ERC Junior drivers will once again count their four best results from six rallies with more calendar details provided at a later date.

Introducing Rally Serras de Fafe e Felgueiras
Rally Serras de Fafe e Felgueiras is a new addition to the FIA ERC calendar for 2021. Using spectacular gravel stages in an area synonymous with rallying, event organisers have been long-term suitors of the FIA ERC. While the event will be based in Fafe, it will not include any of the Tarmac stages used on Rally Fafe Montelongo last month.

FIA ERC Co-ordinator Jean-Baptiste Ley on the 2021 calendar
Jean-Baptiste Ley, the FIA ERC Co-ordinator, said: “For the ERC success story to continue it’s essential that every effort is made to reduce costs when it’s practical and advantageous to do so. The 2021 ERC calendar has been structured with affordability and accessibility in mind. We therefore look forward to the back-to-back event configuration concept helping to reduce the cost of competing.

“We must also recognise the ongoing challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic and we believe the calendar is sensible and realistic. However, we will also follow all local restrictions and requirements with safety for all the priority. The inclusion of three ‘spare’ events on the calendar is a sensible course of action in the event that some rallies cannot take place and have to be replaced on the schedule.”

The 2021 ERC calendar also includes the all-Tarmac Rally Islas Canarias, Rally di Roma Capitale and Barum Czech Rally Zlin, which is set to celebrate its 50th edition next August. Rally Hungary is due to run as the season-deciding round in late October, two weeks earlier than previously.


Lauri Joona chosen as Flying Finn Future Star of Finland 2020

November 5, 2020

Lauri Joona has been chosen as the Flying Finn Future Star for 2020, emerging as the winner of the competition organised by AKK Sports Oy to seek out promising young rally drivers. The win secures him a supported prize-drive in the FIA Junior World Rally Championship for the 2021 season.

The winner was chosen from the group of junior drivers (under 25 years of age) in Finnish Rally Championship Class 3, driving with an M-Sport Ford Fiesta R2 on Pirelli tires, and managing to finish the championship in the top 5 of their class. This year, three drivers made it to the selection: Lauri Joona, who also grabbed the gold medal in the class overall, last year’s Flying Finn Future Star winner Sami Pajari and Jani Luhtaniemi.

This time, the selection was made by the Finnish ASN’s Rally Commission, together with Championship Promoter Kai Tarkiainen. The choice was not easy, as especially the duo topping the Championship standings, Joona and Pajari, were extremely equal.

– Lauri Joona has developed a lot over the past few years. Not only as a skilful rally driver, but also as an athlete, and has thus convinced us to be worthy of this prize. His latest championship season was very impressive, and he finished it on the top of the podium. He has a lot of mileage under his belt considering his age, having started already seven years ago – we’ll hear from this guy yet, says Markus Silfvast, Chairman of the Rally Commission.

Lauri Joona, who turns 24 in December, was happy but confused hearing of his win.

– When I was told the news, I felt like “can this be true”! Our season has been great, and everything has gone as well as one could expect. We really hit the Jackpot this year, which really means a lot for the future, Joona said, describing his feelings after the selection.

Financial backing for Junior WRC opens the world

As a prize for his selection, Joona will receive a supported prize-drive from AKK Sports and its partners, M-Sport and Pirelli. He will be able to show his skills against young international talents, all in M-Sport Ford Fiestas, in the FIA Junior WRC in its five rounds contested as part of the FIA World Rally Championship. The JWRC calendar will be announced at a later date.

– So far, we have mainly been driving in Finland, but now we are heading for a whole season abroad. For me, this is a huge opportunity and an important step on my career, Joona comments.

Lauri Joona, profile:
Born: 07.12.1996
Place of residence: Sastamala
2013 first competitive rally drive at Orimattila with a Ford Focus V1600 (standard car class)
2016 & 2017 Finnish Suomi Cup
2019 Finnish Rally Championship SM3 2nd & Rally Finland 3rd in Class RC4
2020 Finnish Rally Championship SM3 Champion.

Flying Finn Future Star 2020 jury:

Markus Silfast
Toni Gardemeister, Experienced WRC driver
Toni Mäkinen
Timo Rintakoski
Jani Paasonen, Experienced WRC driver
Kai Tarkiainen, Clerk of the Course Rally Finland

Previous winners of Future Rally Star of Finland award:

2019: Sami Pajari
2018: Henri Hokkala
2017: Emil Lindholm
2016: Juuso Nordgren
2015: Jari Huttunen
2014: Teemu Suninen


October 2020 tweets

October 31, 2020

Meet the Hyundai i20 N Rally2

October 21, 2020

Hyundai Motorsport´s all-new rally car for privateer teams and drivers has broken cover. The i20 N Rally2 builds on our Customer Racing department’s five years of experience with the i20 R5, and delivers an improved all-round package.


The car is based on the strong foundation of the new road-going i20 N chassis. The i20 N brings the high-performance of Hyundai’s N brand to the i20 range for the first time, and in doing so creates a hatchback with race track capability and motorsport-derived performance.

Our i20 N Rally2 retains the dynamic look of the road car – part of Hyundai’s new ‘Sensuous Sportiness’ identity – which includes several elements inspired by motorsport.

“The i20 R5 was the first car from our Customer Racing department, and the new i20 N Rally2 shows how far we have come in the five years since the foundation of the department,” said our Team Principal Andrea Adamo. “Every area of the new car is an improvement over the original, thanks to the work of our dedicated team of designers and engineers.”

A fresh approach

With the exception of the five-speed sequential gearbox from the i20 R5, nearly every other part of the i20 N Rally2 is brand new, including the 1.6litre turbocharged engine.

The design process began in January 2020 with a specialised group of designers and engineers leveraging the experience of the i20 R5 project. In doing so, they have been able to take advantage of the fantastic growth of Customer Racing since 2015, which has seen the department grow from a handful of people to a team of 60.

The development of the i20 R5 has continued, with our engineers providing several updates to the original car in recent seasons to improve handling and performance. The i20 N Rally2 carries over these enhancements, with the new chassis allowing further gains in nearly every aspect of the car.

New suspension components and dampers give the car more driver-friendly handling characteristics on all surfaces – vital for the Rally2 category, which forms the basis for national and regional championships as well as WRC 2 and WRC 3 classes.

On a mission for more success

The i20 N Rally2 will aim to continue the success of the i20 R5, which has claimed numerous titles with our customers since its debut in 2016. Our i20 R5 customer teams will continue to receive the same high level of support, uninterrupted by the development of the new car.

“Our focus is now on testing the i20 N Rally2 to further develop each aspect of the design to improve performance and reliability, while also ensuring the handling enables each of our customers to achieve the best possible results when the start competing with the car in 2021,” concluded Andrea.


Rally Italia Sardegna (October 9/11)

October 13, 2020

LIVE! -> WRC 2020, Round 6/8 Rally Italia Sardegna (October 9/11)


Pirelli backs FIA Rally Star initative to find future World Champions

October 8, 2020

FIA is pleased to present Pirelli as the tyre partner to back its newly established FIA Rally Star programme, a partnership which highlights the Italian firm’s long-term commitment to support talented young drivers at every level of rallying.

FIA Rally Star is a recently launched initiative, which brings together national motor sport federations from around the globe, identifying talented drivers between the ages of 17-26 through a multi-phase selection process based on digital motor sport and slalom driving in production vehicles.

From seven successful finalists – one of which is guaranteed to be an aspiring female rally driver – four will get the chance to compete in the FIA Junior WRC, exclusively supplied by Pirelli. A full-season prize drive in FIA WRC3 is on offer to any of these four drivers who can win the FIA Junior WRC title within two years of joining the championship.

FIA Rally Star is Pirelli’s latest investment in elevating future world champions of rallying, after it gave reigning World Champion Ott Tänak his big break a decade ago with its Pirelli Star Driver programme.

Pirelli Star Driver, along with the Pirelli-backed WRC Academy, was the most successful young driver programme in the history of rallying, giving FIA WRC championship leader Elfyn Evans, Rally Argentina winner Hayden Paddon, Hyundai factory driver Craig Breen, Australian champion Molly Taylor and Italian Tarmac champion Andrea Crugnola opportunities on the world stage, in addition to Tänak.

The first phase of FIA Rally Star, backed by Pirelli, begins in early 2021 when the FIA will begin open competition with selections based on the WRC 9 game and Slalom drives for places in Continental Finals.

“Following the announcement of the game partnership with WRC 9 in August, it is another great milestone for the FIA Rally Star programme to win the support of Pirelli as the tyre partner. The firm has a long history in rallying with a significant commitment at every level of the sport, being already the exclusive tyre supplier for the FIA Junior World Rally Championship and also to the FIA World Rally Championship from 2021,” declared FIA Rally Director Yves Matton. “Pirelli will bring a wealth of experience to the project and that’s another strong asset for the young talents from all over the world who will join the FIA Rally Star adventure.”

“We are proud to renew our traditional commitment alongside young drivers and new talents and to work side-by-side with FIA in this programme. This commitment is an important part of our history in the sport that has always given us great satisfaction and which has been appreciated by enthusiasts. Planning and supporting the future of rallying with concrete projects is an obligation of all the protagonists of this wonderful discipline”, said Terenzio Testoni, Pirelli Rally activity manager


Pirelli launches WRC 2021 tyres in Sardinia

October 8, 2020

Pirelli has today launched its new range of latest-generation World Rally Championship tyres at an exclusive event on Rally Italia Sardinia, previewing the Italian firm’s return as the sport’s sole supplier in a three-year agreement starting from 2021.

Since winning the FIA tender to become exclusive supplier to the World Rally Championship from next year, Pirelli has been working hard to create new tyres for the quickest World Rally Cars to have ever raced on gravel, asphalt, snow and ice. Pirelli’s aim is to deliver durability, performance, and adaptability.

Despite the inevitable disruption from the Covid pandemic, Pirelli has stuck to its development schedule for the latest WRC tyre range: presented to global media today on Rally Italia Sardinia at a press conference and with passenger rides over the shakedown stage, driven by Andreas Mikkelsen in Pirelli’s Citroen C3 WRC test car.

Pirelli’s Head of Rally Racing Terenzio Testoni said: “After an intense preparation programme, we’re delighted to present our new tyres in Sardinia, and give some people the chance to experience them from the co-driver’s seat on the shakedown stage. Later this weekend, everyone will also see them in action when our former world champion, Petter Solberg, drives the Pirelli test car on the rally-ending power stage here at our home event in Sardinia. The next time you see our Pirelli tyres on a World Rally Championship event will be next year’s Monte Carlo Rally, when we begin our tenure as sole supplier. In creating these tyres, we’ve used the lessons learned in Formula 1, as well as our previous experience in rallying, other motorsport, and ultra high performance tyres for the road.

The main features of the new range

The average WRC season provides a comprehensive test for any tyre supplier, beginning usually with the wintery conditions of the legendary ‘Monte’. Here, the stages can be completely dry in some parts and covered in ice and snow in others. Drivers can choose from Pirelli’s Sottozero Snow tyres – fitted either with or without studs – alongside more regular asphalt tyres.

In the more extreme conditions faced on Scandinavian winter rallies like in Sweden, a full Sottozero Ice tyre is provided. Each features 384 studs that bite into the surface and provide incredible levels of grip – but the tyre has to be able to retain those studs over sections that can feature more gravel, especially when temperatures are milder.

Over the remainder of the season, the teams and drivers face a full spectrum of different gravel rallies. A single Scorpion gravel tyre, available in hard and soft compounds, has to handle the extreme heat and rocky roads found around the Mediterranean – such as Rally Italia Sardinia – stand up to the stunning speeds seen on Rally Finland and offer grip in muddy and wet conditions like those usually found in Wales.

There is a similar diversity across the pure asphalt events – for which a single P Zero tyre will be provided in hard and soft compounds. These can vary from the smooth circuit-like roads of Spain to more broken and dirty surfaces where grip is at a premium. All asphalt tyres must be suitable for use in both dry and wet conditions – just as is the case on the road – but a full Cinturato rain tyre is also available for extreme conditions to help clear standing water.

Reinventing history: from rallying to the road

Pirelli has been involved in the World Rally Championship more or less continuously since the series was inaugurated (for manufacturers) in 1973, with the company’s first win that was valid for the new series coming in Poland that same year, courtesy of Achim Warmbold in a Fiat 124. The drivers’ title was instituted in 1979, and Pirelli won it a year later courtesy of Walter Rohrl in a Fiat 131 Abarth. For Pirelli, rallying has above all represented an open-air laboratory, where ideas for eventual road-going use are tested, in a continuous transfer of technology from the race track to the road. The modern Cinturato – which is widely chosen by some of the best-known car manufacturers as original equipment – and the P Zero, Pirelli’s flagship product, were born as a result of motorsport, as well as the technologies used for winter and run-flat tyres.


Farewell to Sébastien Loeb & Daniel Elena

October 1, 2020

Two-year agreement with the nine-time world champions ends on a high

Hyundai Motorsport have announced that their co-operation with Sébastien Loeb and Daniel Elena has come to a natural conclusion following two successful years.

In their first season as a Hyundai Motorsport crew, in 2019, they contributed to development of our technical package as we secured our maiden manufacturers’ title in WRC.

“Ever since Séb and Danos joined our team, we have been privileged to have their wealth of expertise and experience in our team,” said Team Principal Andrea Adamo. “All areas of our operation have benefitted from their know-how, directly or indirectly. Their contribution helped us to fight for – and win – the championship last season.”

The crew secured two podiums, the first in Chile in their maiden season in the i20 Coupe WRC. The second came more recently, at Rally Turkey, in which they showed their brilliance by positioning themselves in contention for the victory. Sadly, we were unable to make the most of their experience during this pandemic-affected season with planned participations at Kenya and New Zealand unable to take place.

Andrea added: “Their knowledge and commitment was perfectly demonstrated in the tougher rallies like Chile and Turkey. Their performance in Turkey was a reminder to everyone of their ever-present ability and speed. We wish them all the best in their next chapter and keep our doors wide open to them should they ever wish to return.”

The crew now opens a new chapter in Rally Raid, but with the doors to team remaining open for the future.

“What an adventure it has been!” said Sébastien. “I am extremely grateful for the opportunity during these two years within a very professional team and in a pleasant atmosphere. These two years have passed extremely quickly – this one having also been cut by several months as a result of the pandemic – but they will have marked part of my career, and with another manufacturer title success to which I contributed.”

He added: “Hyundai Motorsport gave me the best WRC car I have ever driven, and I was glad I could compete at the highest level with the latest generation of WRC cars. Now, a new chapter will open in 2021 with Prodrive in Rally Raid but who knows for WRC; neither Hyundai Motorsport nor I want to completely close the book for good.”