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2014 World Rally Championship

Posted: December 2, 2014 12:56 PM - 8469 Hits

Final Fiesta Battle For R5 Prize Drive

Posted: December 2, 2014 12:13 PM

Seven drivers will face a final end of season challenge next week as the Drive DMACK Fiesta Shoot-Out finalists do battle for a one-off FIA World Rally Championship drive in a Ford Fiesta R5.

The contenders, chosen from across the five Drive DMACK Fiesta Trophy rounds, will undertake a range of assessments at M-Sport’s UK base before the winner is selected by M-Sport managing director Malcolm Wilson and DMACK boss Dick Cormack.

After the initial Trophy was oversubscribed, the Shoot Out was introduced to allow private drivers to compete alongside the Trophy regulars on individual events to gauge their pace. They used control DMACK tyres and met all the series regulations – with a winner chosen from each round to go through to the final.

The finalists include Dutch drivers Kevin van Deijne, Mats van den Brand and Timo van der Marel along with Hugo Arellano from Luxembourg. They are joined by Max Vatanen, who gains automatic entry as winner of the Rookie award in the Trophy, along with two wildcards selected by series organisers. Ralfs Sirmacis is the first wildcard after his stunning performance at Rally Poland and is joined by the UK’s Tom Cave who finished runner-up in the Trophy on his first full season in the WRC.

They will undergo physical, mental and media assessments on Wednesday 3rd December before their driving skills are scrutinised by current DMACK driver Ott Tänak the following day.

The winner will receive a prize drive on one round of the WRC 2 in next season’s championship using a Ford Fiesta R5 rally car in the Drive DMACK team.

Drive DMACK Fiesta Shoot-Out Finalists

    • Kevin Van Deijne (Netherlands): Nominated from Portugal (51st overall and eighth Fiesta) and Finland (29th overall – fifth Fiesta).

    • Hugo Arellano (Luxembourg). Nominated from Poland (42nd overall and seventh Fiesta).

    • Mats van den Brand (Netherlands). Nominated from Germany (31st overall and second Fiesta).

    • Timo van der Marel (Netherlands). Nominated from Spain (28th overall and third Fiesta).

    • Max Vatanen (Finland). Nominated as top Rookie in the Drive DMACK Fiesta Trophy.

    • Ralfs Sirmacis (Latvia). Wildcard nomination for his performance at Rally Poland.

    • Tom Cave (UK). Wildcard nomination for his overall performance in the Drive DMACK Fiesta Trophy in his first WRC season in a Ford Fiesta R2.

WRC TV audience rises by 35 per cent in 2014

Posted: November 8, 2014 7:02 PM

Global TV interest in the FIA World Rally Championship continues to increase during the 2014 season.

New figures issued by sports marketing research company Repucom for the first 10 rounds of the championship, up to and including Coates Hire Rally Australia, show a large rise in both audience and broadcast time compared with 2013.

Total audience across the 10 rallies rose by 35 per cent to 581.81 million viewers, while broadcast time increased by 70 per cent to 7275 hours.

Most regions saw notable audience increases in comparison to 2013, including Central and South America (+ 155 per cent) and Europe (+ 34 per cent).

Rallye Monte-Carlo netted the largest audience to date with 86.75 million viewers tuning in, while Neste Oil Rally Finland achieved the highest broadcast time with 880 hours.

In the third quarter, Neste Oil Rally Finland was watched on TV by an additional 30 million fans compared with 2013, ADAC Rallye Deutschland gained an extra 22 million viewers and Coates Hire Rally Australia brought in 18 million more people than last year.

WRC Promoter managing director Oliver Ciesla said the upward trend was ‘hugely encouraging’ and maintained the excellent progress in growing WRC’s media audience across all platforms.

“Increased broadcast hours confirm broadcasters’ appreciation of the WRC programmes we produce and demonstrate we’re meeting the demand for live sport in HD format,” he said.

“The figures show our emphasis to deliver live stages at regular times, such as the Power Stage at midday on a Sunday and Thursday evening city stages, are welcomed by viewers and attract new fans,” he added.

MIKKO HIRVONEN TAKES HIS FINAL BOW

Posted: November 6, 2014 12:51 PM

After competing at the highest level in world rallying for the last thirteen years, Mikko Hirvonen has decided to end his World Rally Championship career. The Finnish driver will contest his final race at the closing round of the 2014 season, Wales Rally GB.

With 162 starts in the WRC, 15 wins, 68 podium finishes and a four-time runner-up in the World Rally Championship, Mikko Hirvonen has enjoyed a very full and successful career. Since making his WRC debut in 2002, he has experienced some unforgettable moments in world rallying:
“I have so many incredible memories from the last thirteen seasons! I have had the chance to achieve my childhood dreams! I have travelled all around the world, met some fantastic people and have loved every rally and every fight that I have had with some exceptional drivers. I won some and I lost some but, for sure, I will look back on these moments to the end of my days with a great big smile on my face.”

For Mikko, these thirteen special years have been principally dedicated to rally driving. The Scandinavian driver now feels the need to devote more time to his family:

“Throughout the many years of my competitive career, I have focussed on myself a lot. Rallying has taken up a large part of my life and the pace of the calendar has always been fairly unrelenting. I have enjoyed absolutely every minute of it and although I still love driving now, I would also like to concentrate more on other important things which are part of my life, like my children and my family. There are many areas that I have not yet explored and I’d like to give myself the chance to try new experiences.”

The new challenges that may interest the Finnish driver do not necessarily mean he will be making an immediate return to racing:

“Like anyone who loves motorsport, I’m not only a fan of rallying! I have always liked to keep an eye on other forms of racing. But if I get the opportunity to take on a new challenge in the near future, it will above all be for enjoyment. For the time being, I just want to slow down a bit and take the time to find out about the possibilities that might be out there for me.”

“I would like to thank all the people without whom the greatest adventure of my life would never have even started. My family, my friends, my co-driver Jarmo, my sponsors, the teams with which I have competed over the seasons, thanks to their work and unwavering commitment and passion. And of course, my fans, who have been there in the good times and the bad times and who have given us their unconditional support and encouragement. A huge thank you to all of you.”

IF MIKKO HAD TO CHOOSE...

...just one rally...

It’s really difficult! There have been so many great rallies, so many great fights! I can honestly say that I loved them all. I really can’t choose just one, but I can say that some were particularly significant. Our first win in the World Rally Championship at Rally Australia in 2006 was a very special moment. Our win at Wales Rally GB in 2007 was also very special. I remember the podium that I shared with Marcus (Gronholm) and Seb (Loeb). Chronologically, the last of my top three but the first in my heart was the win at Rally Finland, on home soil and with my family and friends. That’s a unique memory.

...just one fight...

I would say the many fights I had with a single driver: Sébastien (Loeb)! They were the greatest battles and the ones I loved the most, whether they were won or lost. It was fantastic! Seb was a rival and team-mate for whom I had and still have a lot of respect, and I think the feeling was mutual.

...just one racing car...

I would say the Ford Focus. It’s the car in which I have contested the most rallies and in which I had my greatest successes.

...just one year...

Again, I don’t think I can choose just one. Some were fantastic, others were difficult, but that’s part and parcel of racing. I loved every one of them and I have no regrets about these thirteen years of passion, pleasure and happiness.

...just one word to talk about Jarmo...

“Privilege”, because it has been a privilege to work with Jarmo. None of this would have happened without him. We met for the first time at Helsinki airport in 2001, before flying to Italy where we were meant to be competing in our first rally together. It was the beginning of a great friendship. In these thirteen years, full of laughter, adventures, wins, losses and passion, we have experienced everything together. And I know that it’s not over yet! We’ll share many more experiences, because there are still a few great pages to be written in our notebook!

Rally legend Marcus Grönholm tests the Volkswagen Polo R WRC

Posted: August 16, 2014 9:39 PM

Volkswagen Motorsport has secured the services of former World Rally Champion Marcus Grönholm: the 46-year-old Finn, winner of the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) in 2000 and 2002, will support the works team at test sessions with the Polo R WRC. Grönholm boasts a vast wealth of experience acquired from 150 WRC rallies enormous, 30 of which he won, and his findings will provide invaluable assistance when it comes to testing and further developing the World Rally Car.

“We are delighted to have Marcus Grönholm on board as test driver for our WRC project,” said Volkswagen Motorsport Director Jost Capito. “Marcus is one of the most successful and talented rally drivers around, and will support us with the further development of the Polo R WRC. Thanks to his in-depth understanding of technical aspects and his analytical skills, he will be able to provide our engineers with valuable input.”

“To get behind the wheel for the World Championship winning team from Wolfsburg is obviously a great opportunity for me,” said Marcus Grönholm. “I am really looking forward to testing and having the chance to work on the further development of what is currently the best rally car out there – the Polo R WRC.” “Bosse” Grönholm took his place at the wheel of the Polo R WRC for the first time during the gravel tests in Fontjoncouse (southern France) in early August. Grönholm will assist the Volkswagen WRC team at selected tests.

Grönholm’s career as a works driver in the World Rally Championship began in 1999 at Peugeot. In only his second year as a pro, the Finn won four rallies and claimed his first World Championship title. Two years later he added a second title with Peugeot. The father of three subsequently switched to Ford, where, at the end of the 2007 season, he brought the curtain down on a dazzling career that included 30 wins, 60 podiums and 540 stage wins.

Match point number one for Volkswagen at its home event in Germany

As well as continuing to develop the Polo R WRC, Volkswagen is also focussing on preparations for the Rally Germany, which takes place in the region around Trier (21.-24.08.). One-two in Finland saw the team extend its lead at the top of the Manufacturers’ Championship to 175 points over closest rival Citroën. This presents Volkswagen with its first match point in front of its home crowd: should Volkswagen retain a lead of at least 172 points after the Rally Germany, the Manufacturers’ title will be heading to Wolfsburg for the second year in a row.

Volkswagen plans long-term involvement in the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC)

Posted: June 10, 2014 1:54 PM

Volkswagen commits its future to rallying: the Volkswagen Board has decided on a long-term involvement in the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) and given the green light for a continuation of its commitment to the series up to and including 2019. Volkswagen made its first appearance at the pinnacle of rallying with the Polo R WRC in 2013 and immediately won all three titles – Driver, Co-Driver and Manufacturer – at the first attempt. This season, the works team is still unbeaten and leads the World Championship with its pairings of Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (F/F) and Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila (FIN/FIN). Andreas Mikkelsen (N), with co-driver Ola Fløene (N) at his side, is fourth.

“The FIA World Rally Championship is a very good platform for Volkswagen to demonstrate the efficiency, dynamics and reliability of its cars to a global public,” said Dr. Heinz-Jakob Neußer, Volkswagen Board Member for Technical Development and responsible for the brand’s motorsport programme. “The series is more closely oriented towards the technology used in the latest production vehicles than any other world championship, and based on the kind of real conditions that our customers all over the world experience on a daily basis. Furthermore, millions of people are passionate about this spectacular sport. The close interaction between the production and motorsport development departments at Volkswagen, the sporting contest with our direct rivals in various markets, and the huge potential for marketing in the media led to our decision to commit to a long-term involvement in the World Rally Championship.”

The involvement was originally planned for three years, from 2013 to 2015. The Board’s decision now sees this commitment extended by a further four years. “The Volkswagen Board’s decision to commit to the FIA World Rally Championship until 2019 makes us very proud. Volkswagen has never implemented a long-term motorsport programme on this scale before,” said Volkswagen Motorsport Director Jost Capito. “This faith is a huge motivation for our entire team not to rest on its laurels for a single second, but to continue to show the same degree of passion, determination and commitment to ensure we remain successful in the World Rally Championship. A prerequisite for the success of the championship itself is a format optimised for TV, in order to make rallying even more attractive for the general public. We call upon the promoters to work together with the manufacturers to significantly increase the media coverage of the series.”

Along with Formula One, the World Rally Championship is the most iconic automobile racing series in the world. It has been held as the top-ranking championship in rallying since 1973 and consists of 13 rallies held on four continents – on asphalt, gravel, snow and ice. The World Rally Cars in action are based on production vehicles, with a 1.6-litre four-cylinder turbo engine, generating about 315 hp, and four-wheel drive. After three back-to-back successes at the Rally Dakar with the diesel-powered Race Touareg between 2009 and 2011, the Wolfsburg-based manufacturer went in search of a new challenge and entered the FIA World Rally Championship with the Polo R WRC in 2013. With ten wins in 13 rallies, the works team won the Drivers’ and Co-Drivers’ Championship at the first attempt with Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia, while Volkswagen also triumphed in the Manufacturers’ Championship. This season, the Volkswagen Polo R WRC has so far won six rallies out of six.

CRAIG BREEN TO MAKE WRC RETURN IN FINLAND AND GERMANY.

Posted: June 6, 2014 12:07 PM

Peugeot Rally Academy driver and ERC Acropolis Rally winner Craig Breen will return to full WRC competition twice more this year using the same Kel-Tech Engineering Fiesta WRC that he used back in February on WRC Rally Sweden.

First up Craig and his co-driver Scott Martin will take on the mighty gravel jumps of the “Neste Oil Rally Finland” from July 31st to August 3rd. Having competed here in R2 and S2000 cars before Craig would be considered to have a lot of experience of this event but in reality it will be a whole new challenge this time around in full blooded WRC machinery as this is one of the fastest events on the WRC calendar where pace notes and driver commitment at this level must be utmost right from the first stage.

Just a few weeks later Craig and the team will make the switch to asphalt and arrive in Germany for the ADAC Rallye Deutschland which runs from August 21st to the 24th. This will be only Craig’s second time to compete on the event which he won the WRC Academy class of during his championship winning year in 2011. That time it was behind the wheel of an R2 car so like Finland there’ll be few if any similarities on this visit. The rally has a different style of stage for each of its three days ranging from narrow and bumpy vineyard roads to tricky military tracks. Add to this the unpredictable weather and it can be a very tough rally indeed.

On making the announcement Craig said,
“Firstly I am very grateful to Peugeot Sport for once again allowing me to compete on these two very different events outside the ERC, it's a fantastic opportunity to challenge myself at the top level of the sport again and this time with two consecutive events I feel we can show some real pace I’m so excited”.

Before these events Craig will tackle the sixth round of the European Rally Championship in Belgium at the 50th running of the “Geko Ypres Rally” driving his Peugeot Rally Academy 208 T16 from the 19th to the 21st of June.

McCormack delighted with Italian tyre test

Posted: May 24, 2014 9:31 PM

Marty McCormack completed a 250-mile, two-day tyre test with Hankook this week.

Driving the same A-STYLE Fiesta R5 he is using in this year’s WRC 2 series, the Northern Irishman tested eight variations of Hankook’s next generation gravel tyres at the test in Bettona, northern Italy.

“The test was focused on the product for next year and I have to say it worked very well,” said McCormack. “We were running a variation of compound, construction and tread patterns and Hankook has really come up with the goods – the tyres all had their own strong points.

“We were driving on the tyres for 20-kilometre loops on the first day and 40-kilometre loops on the second day, so we definitely worked them hard. The guys will now take away all the data from the test and come up with the perfect tyres for next year.”

With the focus firmly on tyre development, the team remained on the same stretch of Umbrian road and with the Fiesta in a base gravel set-up to maintain consistency through the running.

As well as working hand-in-hand with Hankook, McCormack said the test offered invaluable seat time ahead of the second event in his 2014 WRC 2 programme, Rally Italia (June 5-8).

“It was fantastic to spend two days in the Fiesta R5,” he said. “Rally of Portugal was my first time in a four-wheel drive car of this nature, so driving 400 kilometres was a great chance for me to get good experience before we go to Sardinia for our next event.”

McCormack’s 2014 WRC 2 programme is backed by TigerRisk and Hankook.

New co-driver for Andreas Mikkelsen: Ola Fløene is back

Posted: May 16, 2014 2:29 PM

Volkswagen driver Andreas Mikkelsen (N) has a new co-driver: as of the Rally Italy on Sardinia (05–08 June), Mikkelsen will line up alongside Ola Fløene (N) in the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC). In Fløene, Mikkelsen welcomes back the first co-driver of his rallying career: the pair started together between 2006 and 2012, winning back-to-back Driver and Co-Driver titles in the Intercontinental Rally Challenge (IRC) in 2011 and 2012 – now the European Rally Championship. In 2012 they also paired up in Volkswagen Motorsport’s learning year in the WRC, which both team and driver contested in a Škoda Fabia S2000.

Andreas Mikkelsen and his previous co-driver, who currently find themselves third in the Drivers’ Championship behind the Volkswagen duos of Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (F/F) and Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila (FIN/FIN), have parted by mutual agreement. Mikkelsen and Markkula can look back on a successful start to the season together – including their first podium, in the form of second place in Sweden, and two fourth places in Portugal and Argentina.

“We are pleased to be able to welcome Ola Fløene back to Volkswagen,” said Volkswagen Motorsport Director Jost Capito. “We have not forgotten his professionalism and friendly manner, and the entire team will give him a warm welcome. The driver can, and must, make his own decision regarding which co-driver he works with. Their mutual understanding is a key success factor in the World Rally Championship, both in the cockpit and away from the route. As such, we fully support Andreas Mikkelsen’s decision. At the same time, we would like to thank Mikko Markkula for his work alongside Andreas. In improving the pace notes, he played an important role in this year’s strong results – particularly in Sweden and Argentina. We wish him all the best for his future career as a co-driver.”

Andreas Mikkelsen, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #9
“Mikko Markkula is a very good co-driver. He introduced a lot of good ideas into my pace note system and helped me to develop as a driver. I would like to thank him for his professionalism, his skill, and his hard work. However, Mikko and I are very different people – and our different personalities meant we were not able to develop a really close personal relationship, which we would have needed to be successful in the long-term. Ola Fløene was my first co-driver – and was always at my side between the ages of 16 and 23. We developed a lot over the course of those seven years, and at the end of 2012 I felt it was the right moment to make a change. Since then, Ola and I have continued to develop, and I now have the feeling that the time has come to welcome Ola back on board.”

Ola Fløene, co-driver Volkswagen Polo R WRC #9
“Andreas and I worked together for seven years and I am very proud to be reunited with him and the Volkswagen Motorsport team. Looking back at the end of 2012, I have to say that parting from Andreas was hard, but necessary. We had been together for a long time and, just like an old couple, there were a few things that were annoying each of us. However, I think we really missed each other and that our relationship is now stronger than ever. Andreas and I have known each other for a very long time. We have both developed as people and sportsmen. I dare say Andreas and I were just meant to be together in a rally car.”

Mikko Markkula, former co-driver Volkswagen Polo R WRC #9
“I am very proud of what I have achieved in the past two years – to work at the highest level with the best team in the World Rally Championship. I raised my level to the highest standard and would not change a thing. I fully respect Andreas’ decision and understand that he would like to try out something different. I wish Andreas all the best for the future. I would also like to offer my sincere thanks to the entire team at Volkswagen Motorsport and its fantastic employees. I enjoyed every moment with you!”

ENTRANTS FIA JUNIOR WRC 2014 / ALASTAIR FISHER & GORDON NOBLE TO TAKE PART

Posted: March 7, 2014 2:37 PM

The FIA has currently received 12 registrations from 10 different nationalities for the 2014 FIA Junior WRC / WRC 3 Championship for two-wheel drive cars.
Driving Citroën DS3 R3s, the competitors will fight it out over six rounds to try and add their name to the list of winners inaugurated by Sébastien Loeb, who won the title in 2001 in a Citroën Saxo Super 1600.
The FIA Junior WRC champion will win a WRC2 programme for 2015 in a Citroën DS3 R5.

    N° 52 SIMONE TEMPESTINI – PULPEA DORIN/ Romania
    N° 53 ARON DOMZALA – PRZEMEK ZAWADA/ Poland
    N° 54 CHRISTIAN RIEDEMANN – LARA VANNESTE / Germany
    N° 55 QUENTIN GIORDANO – GUILLAUME DUVAL / France
    N° 56 MARTIN KOCI – LUKAS KOSTKA / Slovakia
    N° 57 STEPHANE LEFEBVRE – THOMAS DUBOIS / France
    N° 58 MOLLY TAYLOR – CORAL TAYLOR / Australia
    N° 59 PANIKOS POLYKARPOU –GERALD WINTER / Cyprus
    N° 60 SYLVAIN MICHEL – GWENOLA MARIE / France
    N° 61 FREDERICO DELLA CASA – DOMENICO POZZI / Switzerland
    N° 62 ALASTAIR FISHER – GORDON NOBLE / Northern Ireland
    N° 63 LUKAS KORNEL – MARK MESTERHAZI / Hungary

Twelve Of The Best For Drive DMACK Fiesta Trophy

Posted: February 25, 2014 8:44 PM

Twelve competitors from 11 countries will battle it out over the five-event Drive DMACK Fiesta Trophy to win a prize drive in the 2015 FIA World Rally Championship.

After receiving 24 registrations from across the globe, the organiser’s final selection is set to give the series a healthy mix of raw talent, close competition and a real world-wide feel.

The list sees drivers from across Europe, the Middle East, Russia and North America. The high caliber of talent is outlined with competitors like Yeray Lemes, Jose Suarez and Sander Parn, who finished second, third and fourth on last year’s FIA Junior World Rally Championship. They are joined by French ace Quentin Gilbert, the UK’s Tom Cave, who stunned with fastest WRC 2 times on Wales Rally GB, and Finn Max Vatanen – son of the legendary 1981 world rally champion Ari Vatanen.

The oversubscribed contest has been pitched as a cost-effective entry level to world rallying and gives crews the opportunity to battle it out on both gravel and asphalt rounds using identical M-Sport-prepared Ford Fiesta R2s on DMACK tyres.

The winner will come away with a remarkable full seven-round WRC 2 campaign using’s M-Sport popular Ford Fiesta R5 in the Drive DMACK World Rally Team.

The trophy will get underway with Rally Portugal on 4-6 April.

The confirmed drivers are:

    Nicolas Amiouni, 24, Lebanon
    Tom Cave, 22, UK
    Ghislain De Mevius, 25, Belgium
    Quentin Gilbert, 24, France
    Szymon Kornicki, 31, Poland
    Yeray Lemes, 26, Canary Islands
    Sander Parn, 21, Estonia
    Allan Popov, 27, Russia
    Nils Solans, 21, Spain
    Jose Suarez, 23, Spain
    Leo Urlrich, 28, Canada
    Max Vatanen, 23, Finland
Dick Cormack, DMACK managing director, said:
“The Drive DMACK Fiesta Trophy is set to be an exciting series and the huge prize on offer is sure to bring some close competition over the season. The list of drivers we’ve got is impressive and shows the true global attraction that the initiative has had. It's encouraging that DMACK can help so many talented drivers get proper WRC experience.”

Malcolm Wilson OBE, M-Sport managing director, said:
“It is fantastic to see such a talented line-up for the first Drive DMACK Fiesta Trophy and I am delighted that we can reveal the final 12. Of course it is a real shame that we cannot accommodate all 24 applicants. The level of interest was extremely high and far surpassed all of our expectations. That said, I am confident that we have devised the best possible championship and that a very exciting competition lays ahead.”

Tom Cave said:
“I am incredibly excited by the prospect of contesting the 2014 Drive DMACK Fiesta Trophy. When it was announced, it was clear that this was the prime option for us this year. The series looks to be a superb concept - each rally runs over the full three days so we don't lose any of the experience that the final day offers.”

Quentin Gilbert said:
“We chose the Drive DMACK Fiesta Trophy as the cost is low and it means we can do a championship which has a very exciting prize. The mix of events is really good with fast gravel, rough gravel and asphalt rallies so it really is a good decision and one which I’m really looking forward to.”

Max Vatanen said:
“This is the best option for a young driver like me to get real WRC experience and progress my career. The competition will be intense but we will have the opportunity to impress people and aim for the fantastic prize drive. Comparing the cost to take part and the prize on offer it’s definitely the best option.”

Global Attraction For Oversubscribed Drive DMACK Fiesta Trophy

Posted: February 3, 2014 7:31 PM

The Drive DMACK Fiesta Trophy is set to become a truly worldwide success after organisers received registrations from drivers spanning all corners of the globe. The series, which promises the biggest prize in world rallying, has been oversubscribed with twice the number of registrations received for the available places.

The overwhelming response demonstrates the popularity of the well-proven format which uses M-Sport's newly-built Ford Fiesta R2 cars and offers cost effective competition under £100,000. The huge prize, which will see the winner campaign a Drive DMACK Fiesta R5 on seven rounds of the 2015 FIA World Rally Championship, has attracted some of the world's top aspiring drivers from America, Europe, Africa and Australasia.

Organisers will now carefully evaluate all the registered competitors to confirm the final list of participants and offer the best possible championship.

The Drive DMACK Fiesta Trophy will kick off with Rally Portugal in April where the young challengers will tackle the tough gravel stages using DMACK'S DMG2 tyre. Competing in identical Fiesta R2s prepared by M-Sport, the series will allow individual talent to shine through on a mix of both gravel and asphalt stages.

Dick Cormack, DMACK motorsport director, said:
“We always knew this trophy was going to be hugely popular but both DMACK and M-Sport have been overwhelmed with the response. The number, quality and geographical spread of registered competitors will make the trophy the most popular global rally series for aspiring drivers and is set to offer enthralling competition.” ?

Malcolm Wilson OBE, M-Sport managing director, said:
?“The response has been phenomenal and the standard of applicants is incredibly high, from a truly global field. We now have some tough decisions to make as we go through the process of confirming who will be selected for the places on offer. One thing is for sure, when the time comes to reveal the final entry, we will have a fantastic championship and some very hard-fought competition for the year ahead. The eventual champion will have certainly earned their place in the Drive DMACK team!”

WRC 2 Prize For Drive DMACK Fiesta Cup Winner

Posted: January 15, 2014 3:43 PM

DMACK and M-Sport have joined forces to provide a cost-effective series within the 2014 FIA World Rally Championship which offers an incredible prize drive of a full WRC 2 season in a Ford Fiesta R5 car in 2015.

The Drive DMACK Fiesta Cup will use M-Sport’s proven Ford Fiesta R2 rally car to provide a platform to encourage fierce competition among the world’s top young rally talent. Competitors will battle over five European rounds of the WRC using DMACK tyres with the winner guaranteed a full seven-round WRC 2 campaign in the hugely popular Fiesta R5.

Registered competitors will be supplied with identical Fiesta R2s prepared and maintained by M-Sport. With the series set to cost a fixed fee of just £99,950, it will be the most affordable way for aspiring drivers to showcase their talent on the world stage.

The cup format, which has been specifically designed to be accessible and cost-effective, will kick into action at Rally Portugal in April. Two more gravel rounds will be tackled at Poland and Finland before two asphalt events at Germany and France.

M-Sport’s well-proven Fiesta one-make championship has enjoyed success over the years. The format ran as the FIA WRC Academy in 2011 and 2012 before switching to the FIA Junior WRC Championship in 2013. The 2012 Academy winner, Welshman Elfyn Evans, used the series to gain experience and demonstrate his speed at world level before progressing to WRC 2 and now onto a full campaign as works driver for M-Sport.

This season the identical cars and control DMACK tyres will generate intense competition as drivers battle to win the biggest prize in world rallying. The Fiesta R5, equipped with DMACK tyres, won on its world rally debut at Rally Finland this year and DMACK have already confirmed plans to run a two-car Drive DMACK team with Ott Tanak and Jari Ketomaa to challenge for victory in this year’s WRC 2 series.

Competitors should contact M-Sport’s Andrew Wheatley on awheatley@m-sport.co.uk for further details on the Cup.

Malcolm Wilson OBE, M-Sport managing director, said:
“M-Sport has long been involved in discovering new talent, and this new?venture with DMACK means that we can continue that tradition. The Drive DMACK Fiesta Cup offers a cost-effective way for the world's most talented youngsters to break onto the world stage and the prize on offer means that we could see some very hard-fought competition throughout the?year. Needless to say, I am thoroughly looking forward to seeing what talent emerges."

Dick Cormack, DMACK motorsport director, said:
“From the start, DMACK has always focused on stimulating cost-effective competition by providing an affordable range of performance motorsport tyres. This partnership with M-Sport and the launch of the Drive DMACK Fiesta Cup will support emerging drivers and provide a low-cost route to competition in the WRC. A fully supported drive in WRC 2 is an incredible prize and one which will undoubtedly make the Cup hugely popular.”

PIRELLI RENEWS RALLY TYRE RANGE FOR ITS RETURN TO THE WRC

Posted: January 15, 2014 12:28 PM

Pirelli will return to the WRC from this weekend in Monte Carlo with four completely new tyres, which are intended for use not only at the pinnacle of the sport but also in other key rally championships all over the world.

The new product range was launched at the Autosport International Show in Birmingham last week: the traditional opener to the motorsport season.

Mario Isola, Pirelli’s Racing Manager, presented the new tyres and explained their characteristics.
“The hallmark of our new tyres is their versatility but at the same time their specific focus,” he said. “So we have developed tyres like the RK for asphalt and Scorpion for gravel that are suited to wide variety of rallies, both on the World Championship and the European Championship. We’ve also developed some specific tyres for more specialised events, such as Monte Carlo and Sweden. In line with the sporting regulations we will have just one tread pattern for asphalt and gravel. This brings our competition tyres even closer to the tyres we make for the road.”

The tyre that will be used most often is the new RK, in 235/40R18 size, which is available for all the top cars from the new R5 class upwards. This product, designed for asphalt, has two longitudinal grooves – in accordance with the regulations – which means that it can be used both in dry and wet conditions. The two longitudinal channels are positioned on the internal part of the tyre to ensure more effective water drainage and avoid aquaplaning. This also allows better cornering, when the car relies more heavily on the external part of the tyre that generates more grip thanks to a greater contact patch.

This tyre will be available in two compounds for the WRC: hard for dry conditions, and soft for wet or low-grip conditions. A third compound, supersoft, will be homologated for the Monte Carlo Rally, where the crews frequently encounter very cold conditions.

Completing the asphalt range for Monte Carlo is the SOTTOZERO, in 235/40R18 size. This tyre comes in two versions: studded, for snow and ice, and without studs – like a normal road car tyre.

For gravel rallies, Pirelli has created the SCORPION XR, in 205/65-15 size. This tyre, designed for tough gravel rallies, is distinguished by a symmetrical tread pattern that enhances durability and increases resistance to punctures. It is available in two compounds: hard for the most severe and abrasive conditions, such as those found in Portugal, Mexico and Italy; soft for less aggressive surfaces like Finland. The soft compound can also be used for cold conditions with mud, as often found on Rally GB, for example.

Completing the all-new Pirelli range is the SOTTOZERO ICE in 205/65-15 size. This studded tyre is designed exclusively for Rally Sweden, and is meant for snowy and icy stages. The 380 studs ensure high grip even in the most severe Scandinavian conditions. The tyre benefits from Pirelli’s patented stud retention technology, where the compound design is specifically engineered to prevent the loss of studs during the stage.

From Monte-Carlo to Macao: Citroën Racing to fight on all fronts!

Posted: December 25, 2013 8:49 PM

Citroën Racing presented details of its 2014 sporting programmes today at its technical centre in Versailles. For the first time ever, Citroën will be competing simultaneously in two FIA World Championships, with Rally Cars (WRC) and Touring Cars (WTCC). This commitment to motorsport is also reflected in the products of the Brand, which has today unveiled a limited edition DS3 Cabrio Racing.

From the kick-off of the WRC on 14 January at Monte-Carlo to the chequered flag at the final race of the WTCC on 16 November at Macao, Citroën Racing is about to experience 306 intense days of competition, with two World Championship and a total of 25 races!

“We are embarking on a challenge that is not just sporting, but also technical and logistical. The entire team has been very enthusiastic and creative in preparing for the coming season as effectively as possible,” confirmed Yves Matton, Citroën Racing Team Principal. “We are very fortunate to be able to take on this double programme. Despite the difficult economic conditions facing the automotive industry, the trust placed in us by the senior management of PSA and the support of our partners have enabled us to implement our plans successfully. We are going to reach more countries, in all four corners of the planet, and we are going to have so many more opportunities to promote Citroën and showcase its Créative Technologie.”

“We are not starting from scratch in either championship. Our experience in rallying and the FIA’s desire for regulatory stability mean we can approach the WRC side of things in a relatively relaxed frame of mind. We have opted for the crews Kris Meeke/Paul Nagle and Mads Østberg/Jonas Andersson to represent us in the Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team. Our aim is to support their progress so that they are able to challenge for victory at certain events. Khalid Al Qassimi/Chris Patterson will also be competing in a few rounds of the WRC, but their main objective will be the Middle East Rally Championship.”

“The challenge awaiting us in the WTCC is also very motivating, but we need to learn about everything in this discipline. We feel that we have worked well on the Citroën C-Elysée WTCC, even though we have no real basis for comparison given that the regulations are new for all of the competitors. Yvan Muller’s assessment, who believes the car has been well designed, has reassured us in terms of the direction we have taken. We can’t wait to go up against our rivals on track to get confirmation! Alongside Yvan and Sébastien Loeb, we are delighted to confirm our third driver, José-Maria López.”

FIA WORLD TOURING CAR CHAMPIONSHIP (WTCC)

Day by day, week by week, the clock counts down for Citroën Racing to the opening round of the World Touring Car Championship, scheduled to start on 5-6 April 2014 in Marrakech. The team have come a long way since it officially announced it would be taking part in the championship earlier this year, on 19 July! Once the CAD drawings had taken on physical form, Citroën C-Elysée WTCC completed its first on-track tests. Since then, the car has undergone a series of development sessions, with the twin objective of obtaining a quick and reliable car.

Central to the project since its inception, Sébastien Loeb was the first driver to be confirmed on the team. This is unquestionably the greatest challenge that the 39 year-old nine-time World Rally Champion has taken on in his career. With the modesty befitting of a beginner, he has started from scratch in his attempt to learn about the inner workings of a racing category that is fundamentally different to the one in which he has excelled! To achieve his goal, the Alsatian driver has taken part in a variety of track racing events, notably winning several races in GT.

In securing the services of Yvan Muller, Sébastien Loeb’s teacher and rival, Citroën Racing has played a trump card for this new adventure. After starting out in single-seater racing and proving unbeatable in ice racing, “the other Alsatian” is above all one of the most experienced touring car drivers in the world, having competed in twenty seasons! In winning his fourth world title in 2013, Yvan became the most successful driver in the history of the WTCC. And he almost certainly isn’t done yet!

Alongside the two Frenchman, José-Maria López will be the third driver to compete for Citroën Racing. Having come close to a drive in Formula 1 after an impressive career in single-seater racing, the Argentina quickly adapted to GT and touring car racing. Competing in the very popular TC2000, “Pechito” won the Argentinean national championship in 2008, 2009 and 2012 (Súper TC). His experience of the WTCC is limited to the meeting held on the Termas de Rio Hondo racetrack in 2013. However, he made quite an impression, producing a stunning performance to win the second race!

Yves Matton, Citroën Racing Team Principal: “After spending the last ten years or so at the top of the WRC, we are excited about the idea of writing a new chapter in our shared history with Sébastien Loeb. We chose the WTCC because it is a form of racing with controlled costs, a genuinely-worldwide race calendar and a lot of media coverage. As was the case in cross country/rally-raid and in WRC, we have attempted to secure the best drivers for our team. Yvan Muller has been heavily involved in development of the car, and has been one the driving forces behind the progress we have made. But we also have high expectations of José-Maria López, who has proven to be very comfortable at the wheel of the C-Elysée WTCC during his first tests…”

    SÉBASTIEN LOEB (FRA)
    Born on 26 February, 1974
    Nine-time World Rally Champion (2004 to 2012)
    WTCC races: 0

    YVAN MULLER (FRA)
    Born on 16 August, 1969
    Ten-time winner of the Andros Trophy
    WTCC races: 182
    WTCC wins: 37
    Four-time World Touring Car Champion (2008, 2010, 2011 and 2013)

    JOSÉ-MARÍA LÓPEZ (ARG)
    Born on 26 April, 1983
    WTCC races: 2
    WTCC wins: 1
    Best finish in the WTCC drivers’ championship: 15th in 2013
FIA WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP (WRC)

With 93 wins and eight Manufacturers’ World Championship titles, Citroën Racing has the best competitive record among the teams currently competing in the WRC. This impressive heritage continues with Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team’s entry in the championship in 2014.

First seen in 2011, when the new regulations were introduced, the Citroën DS3 WRC will be contesting its fourth racing season. After winning three rallies this year in Monte-Carlo, Argentina and Germany, the DS3 WRC remains very quick on all road surfaces, even when up against more recent models.

The big changes for 2014 concern the teams nominated to score points towards the Manufacturers’ World Championship standings. Having competed in a DS3 WRC on two occasions last year, Kris Meeke prepares to tackle his first full season in the World Championship. The 34 year-old Northern Irishman has been part of the Citroën Racing family for a long time, since he competed in the 2005 and 2006 J-WRC in a C2 Super 1600. IRC Champion in 2009, Kris has only taken part in around ten rounds of the WRC in World Rally Cars, but he is extremely motivated to make the most of this opportunity.

A WRC regular since he was 19, Mads Østberg is actually more experienced than his new team-mate. The 26 year-old Norwegian has already competed in 65 rallies, including six podium-finishes and one win (Portugal 2012). For his fourth full season, Mads has opted to challenge himself by joining a team that in the past he has often tried to beat! A naturally aggressive driver, Mads Østberg is counting on combining his turn of speed with Citroën Racing’s expertise as he goes in search of that winning feeling again.

Competing predominantly in the Middle East Rally Championship in a Citroën DS3 RRC, Khalid Al Qassimi will also be taking part in a selection of WRC events. The Abu Dhabi driver will line up in Sweden, Portugal, Italy and Spain.

Yves Matton, Citroën Racing Team Principal:
“Thanks to the support of our partners, especially Total and Abu Dhabi Racing, we are pleased to be able to continue Citroën Racing’s involvement in WRC. The team has the expertise and experience that will help our crews to establish themselves among the leading drivers in the Championship. Kris and Mads both have quite a bit to learn, in different areas. Our aim is to help them reach a level where they will be able to make a real impact and win rallies.”
    KRIS MEEKE (GBR)
    Born on 2 July, 1979
    Co-driver: Paul Nagle (IRL)
    First WRC rally: 2002 Wales GB Rally
    WRC races: 40
    Best finish in the WRC drivers’ championship: 11th in 2011

    MADS ØSTBERG (NOR)
    Born on 11 October, 1987
    Co-driver: Jonas Andersson (SWE)
    First WRC rally: 2006 Rally Sweden
    WRC races: 65
    Best finish in the WRC drivers’ championship: 4th in 2012

    KHALID AL QASSIMI (UAE)
    Born on 18 February, 1972
    Co-driver: Chris Patterson (GBR)
    First WRC rally: 2004 Acropolis Rally
    WRC races: 52
    Best finish in the WRC drivers’ championship: 12th in 2009 and 2010
CUSTOMER RACING

From the DS3 R1 to the DS3 WRC, Citroën Racing offers a genuine development programme with a progressive and consistent range of rally customer racing products. At national level, the Citroën Racing Trophy (DS3 R3) and Junior Citroën Racing Trophy (DS3 R1) promote access to the world of racing and help to find talented young drivers. In 2014, seven European countries will be running a national Trophy. In the Middle East, five Emirati drivers, selected by Citroën Racing and Abu Dhabi Racing, will be taking part in a programme next year in DS3 R3s.

At the next level up, the Citroën Top Driver series runs at six rounds of the WRC3. In their DS3 R3s, the best talented young drivers attempt to win the chance to compete in the WRC2 in a Citroën DS3 R5 the following season.

Two drivers will be taking particular advantage of the Citroën Racing driver development programme in 2014. Winner of the Junior Citroën Racing Trophy, Frédéric Hauswald will be competing in the Citroën Racing Trophy in a DS3 R3 prepared by the Henri Laurens high school in Saint-Vallier. After winning this year’s Citroën Top Driver championship, Sébastien Chardonnet will be competing in six rounds of the WRC2 championship in a DS3 R5.

CITROËN DS3 CABRIO RACING

Citroën’s commitment to motorsport is also reflected in its products, like the individually numbered, limited edition Citroën DS3 Cabrio Racing unveiled today. Directly inspired by the concept car presented at this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed and Frankfurt Motor Show, it combines all the qualities of the Citroën DS3 Racing with the pleasure of open-top driving provided by the DS3 Cabrio. A coherent combination, as the Citroën DS3 Cabrio has adopted a streamlined architecture (only 25kg heavier than the hatchback version), which means the car boasts responsive, agile handling.

Sporting the same distinctive design features as the Citroën DS3 Cabrio, this model also comes with resolutely Racing attributes such as the chrome-finish, twin exhaust pipes and the genuine carbon finish deployed on numerous bodywork components (air diffuser, a semi-rigid splitter in the front bumper, wraparound body sills, wing flares, etc.).

The cabin also been given a very specific treatment. For example, the exclusive, matt-finish Moondust Grey bodywork colour is also used on the upper dash and on many interior trim items such as the central console of the instrument panel. The steering wheel inserts and the fascia panel cap are finished with a carbon fibre effect. Lastly, the dashboard also features the Crimson Red colour used on the vertical strip on the door interiors. The exclusive nature of the Citroën DS3 Cabrio Racing is clearly displayed with the Citroën Racing signature on the headrest of the front seats and a numbered identification plated located on the base of the gearshift lever.

Performance lies at the core of the Citroën DS3 Cabrio Racing. Its 207bhp, 1.6-litre engine, developed by Citroën Racing, benefits from the expertise of the eight-time World Rally Championship-winning team.

YOUTH AND EXPERIENCE: M-SPORT CONFIRM HIRVONEN AND EVANS FOR 2014

Posted: December 13, 2013 9:51 AM

M-Sport will field a mix of youth and experience in the 2014 FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) as the winning potential of Mikko Hirvonen and Jarmo Lehtinen are combined with the raw talent and ambition of Elfyn Evans and Daniel Barritt. Both crews will take to the Cumbrian firm’s Ford Fiesta RS WRC for all 13 rounds of next season’s championship.

The news that Hirvonen is coming home will bring a smile to the face of many a rally fan. Having started his WRC career with the Ford / M-Sport operation in 2003, the Finn enjoyed eight years behind the wheel of M-Sport machinery and was instrumental in securing Ford’s back-to-back manufacturers’ titles in 2006 and 2007. With fourteen of his fifteen victories claimed with M-Sport’s range of award-winning rally cars, Hirvonen’s return also provides the team with a real contender for rally wins.

The Finn is hungry for success. Having finished as vice champion on four separate occasions, he was one of nine-time world champion Sébastien Loeb’s main rivals and missed out on the 2009 championship laurels by a single point.

As he and Lehtinen return to the team which delivered the bulk of their success, the squad will be keen to see the Fiesta RS WRC piloted to the best of its potential. Since parting ways with M-Sport in 2012, the two Finns remained a popular crew in the eyes of the M-Sport family, and their homecoming brings a real enthusiasm for the season ahead.

Occupying the seat of the sister M-Sport Fiesta RS WRC, is one of rallying’s most promising up-and-coming young talents. Evans’ breakthrough performance in 2013 saw him elevated to the top of WRC competition. The Welshman showcased some impressive pace in the WRC 2 category, but it was arguably his performance at Rally Italia Sardegna which saw him stamp his authority on the world stage.

A world rally car debut is no mean feat, but when combined with unknown stages, an unfamiliar co-driver and a mere two days of preparation, the youngster’s sixth place finish was a revelation which saw him join an elite group of ‘rookies’ to have impressed to such an extent on their world rally car debut.
Working closely with the team, Evans and Barritt will be given the opportunity to learn from their team-mates’ expertise whilst refining their own pace and experience ahead of a prospective long-term campaign with the Cumbrian firm.

In 2005, Ford and M-Sport set out to create an effective ‘Ladder of Opportunity’ through which rallying’s brightest talents might progress to the pinnacle of the sport. Evans provides a near-perfect example of that system in operation.

The youngster started his career with the Ford / M-Sport partnership in 2007, winning the Ford Fiesta SportTrophy series in both the UK and Ireland. Progressing from the Ford Fiesta ST to the globally successful Ford Fiesta R2, it was not long before he was a regular on the WRC stage – winning the 2012 FIA WRC Academy Cup with a dominant display on both gravel and asphalt. The WRC 2 category swiftly followed with some inspired performances behind the wheel of the Ford Fiesta R5, and in 2014, the Welshman will complete his ladder of success by lining-up for a full season in M-Sport’s top-specification Fiesta.

Mikko Hirvonen said:
“To be back in a Ford Fiesta RS WRC, it really feels as though I am coming home. The last two years were really good for myself and Jarmo [Lehtinen, co-driver], but although we will take a lot of good memories with us, we didn’t necessarily achieve what we set out to do. Joining M-Sport will give us a good chance to try again – a fresh start in a car we know we can be competitive in. We are motivated to win, and we are in the best possible place to do that.

“There are definitely some rallies that we will be targeting. We know that the Fiesta is competitive on every surface, but Sweden and Finland are two rallies that I particularly enjoy. Ultimately however, I want to be in a position to fight throughout the entire season. I want to be a contender for the championship, and at M-Sport, we can achieve that.”

Elfyn Evans said:
“It is an absolutely fantastic feeling to know that I will be driving a world rally car for a full season next year! Last year was a real development year for us, so it is great to be able to take the next step in my career and for myself and Dan [Barritt, co-driver] to really progress within the team. The great thing about this programme is that it gives us time. The whole team is behind us and we have a long-term plan to get to where we all, ultimately, want to be. This is just the first step and I am extremely grateful to Malcolm [Wilson] and M-Sport for this opportunity and their belief in my future.

“Of course we are under no illusion that it is going to be an easy year. We need to view it as a learning curve. There are a lot of specialist events that I have never previously contested, and the first half of the season will be about getting to the end of each rally with as much knowledge and experience as possible. Having Mikko [Hirvonen] and Jarmo [Lehtinen, co-driver] in the team is certainly a big positive for us. They know what it takes to win at this level and we can learn a lot from them.”

M-Sport Managing Director, Malcolm Wilson OBE, said:
“We have pitched a combination of youth and experience for our assault on the 2014 FIA World Rally Championship. Mikko [Hirvonen] has always been a very popular member of the team. He has done well here [at M-Sport] in the past, and he provides us with the potential to battle for victories at a number of events throughout the year. We all know what he is capable of behind the wheel of a Fiesta, and he has lost none of his ambition and determination to win.

“I am also delighted to announce that Elfyn [Evans] will partner Mikko in the sister M-Sport Fiesta [RS WRC]. I have no doubt that he is ready for this opportunity. Over the course of the season, he proved that he has both the mental strength and speed to learn whilst securing some very strong results. I am looking forward to seeing how he develops, and although we are not expecting him to challenge for any wins this season, his talent could certainly spring a few surprises. We have a long-term plan for Elfyn and Dan [Barritt, co-driver] and this is just the first step along the path to championship success.”

ROBERT KUBICA CONFIRMS 2014 CAMPAIGN

Posted: December 13, 2013 9:49 AM

Robert Kubica and his long-term partner, Lotos, are delighted to announce their plans for the 2014 FIA World Rally Championship (WRC). The Pole will contest all 13 rounds of next season’s championship with a Lotos-supported Ford Fiesta RS WRC.

Following some inspiring performances in 2013, M-Sport were eager to see Kubica progress his career within the team. The Pole’s dominant display in this year’s WRC 2 series saw him burst onto the world stage in style, and M-Sport will provide him with a great platform from which to advance his career at the sport’s highest level.
Having won five of his seven WRC 2 events this year, there is no doubting Kubica’s speed and skill behind the wheel of a rally car, but it is the WRC 2 Champion’s ambition and determination which makes him an ideal candidate for the M-Sport squad.

Having made his WRC world rally car debut at the season-closing round in Wales last month, Kubica is keen to develop and build on his experience at rallying’s highest league.

Contesting all 13 rounds of next season’s championship, there will be a number of new experiences for the 29-year-old including the specialist stages of Sweden’s snow-covered countryside and the high-altitudes and soaring temperatures of the Americas.

Of course, there are few drivers who possess the former Formula One driver’s desire to succeed, and armed with the Fiesta RS WRC, the WRC community should prepare for the coming of Kubica.

Robert Kubica said:
“I am really glad that I will participate in all 13 rounds of the [FIA] World Rally Championship [WRC] with the [Ford] Fiesta RS WRC. The support of my partner, LOTOS Group, combined with the knowledge and experience of M-Sport will create a solid foundation for my further development and I am looking forward to gathering valuable experience on the WRC stages.”

CEO of Grupa LOTOS, Pawel Olechnowicz, said:
“A decisive victory for Robert [Kubica] in the WRC 2 class in 2013 confirmed his extraordinary talent and determination. We are very pleased that we can support such an excellent driver. Robert has consistently pursued further goals and does so with a passion that characterises only the greatest athletes. We believe that next year he will confirm his position amongst the top rally drivers in the world.”

M-Sport Managing Director, Malcolm Wilson OBE, said:
“I am thrilled that Robert [Kubica] will be contesting next season in a [Ford] Fiesta [RS WRC]. Since he burst onto the WRC [FIA World Rally Championship] scene earlier this year, we have been very keen to have him on-board and I think that we can expect some great things from him in 2014.

“You only have to look at the way Robert prepared for the 2013 season to see what it all means to him. He has a desire and a hunger which you don't see in many drivers and I truly believe that M-Sport can offer him all the right tools to move forward in rallying.”

Kris Meeke/Paul Nagle in Citroën Racing 2014 WRC drivers' line up

Posted: December 10, 2013 9:30 AM

Citroën Racing is delighted to announce its line-up for the 2014 World Rally Championship. Kris Meeke/Paul Nagle and Mads Østberg/Jonas Andersson will be the Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team’s driver/co-driver pairings in the DS3 WRC next season.

Having won the World Rally Championship eight times between 2003 and 2012, Citroën Racing is to continue its involvement in WRC with two new high-potential pairings.

Kris Meeke came through the ranks of Citroën Racing’s promotional formulas, before driving a C2 Super 1600 for the brand in the Junior WRC. IRC Champion in 2009, the Northern Irishman has since made a return to the World Championship. His two 2013 appearances saw him put in some impressive performances at the wheel of the DS3 WRC. In 2014, these occasional outings will give way to a full programme, as he becomes the first British driver to race a full season since Colin McRae’s 2003 swansong with Citroën.

“It’s an incredible opportunity,” says a delighted Kris Meeke. “I’ve always been close to Citroën over the last few years. I’m really lucky to be able to work with a team that has so much experience and so many titles.”

“I have only competed in ten World Championship rallies in a WRC,” he says. “I think I’ve got some potential, but I still need to get some experience under my belt. The Citroën DS3 WRC is a terrific car and I’m going to be able to use the team’s knowledge to help me improve. I know that I’ll have to be patient in the first half of the season and learn all about the rallies that I haven’t done before.”

26-year-old Mads Østberg has already taken part in 65 WRC rallies and won the Norwegian Championship four times. With seven podium finishes to his name at world level, he notched up his first WRC victory at the Rally of Portugal in 2012.

“I am very happy and proud to be joining Citroën Racing,” explains the Norwegian. “We worked hard to get an official driver’s spot. After so many years watching Citroën win, it’s a dream come true to be part of this team.”

“Competing is the most important thing,” adds Mads. “And even though I don’t know the team or the car yet, I can recognise the worth of the guys and the Citroën DS3 WRC. Of course, I’m joining Citroën Racing to get some good results and to try and win some rallies. I’ve always shown that I could be quick. I know that the standard in the World Rally Championship is exceptionally high, but I want to be competitive!”

Like last year, Khalid Al Qassimi will take part in a selection of World Championship rallies. The driver from Abu Dhabi will line up for the races in Sweden, Portugal, Italy and Spain and will concentrate on taking part in the entire Middle East rally Championship.

“Our team line-up for the 2014 season is in keeping with our ambitions,” concludes Yves Matton, Managing Director of Citroën Racing. “Kris Meeke and Mads Østberg have followed very different career paths, but both of them are on the cusp of making it into the very top class of world rally drivers. After an initial phase of learning and getting to know each other, our goal will be to help them to improve and turn them into real contenders for victory.”

Citroën Racing will unveil its entire rally and track racing programme for 2014 on Monday 16 December, at a press conference in Versailles. The event will be broadcast on the site www.citroen-wrc.com at 13:30 GMT

World Motor Sport Council updates - 2014 World Rally Championship

Posted: December 4, 2013 3:29 PM

The start order for both gravel and tarmac rallies has been amended as follows, in order to increase the show for fans and reduce the use of tactics:

    Day 1: Provisional Championship classification order for P1 and P2 drivers
    Day 2: Reverse provisional rally classification order for P1 and P2 drivers
    Day 3: Reverse provisional rally classification order for P1 and P2 drivers
Cars having retired and restarting (Rally 2) will be placed the next day after the P1 and P2 drivers group.

In order to allow greater flexibility to contract different drivers, manufacturers will no longer be required to nominate one permanent driver for the season. Instead, manufacturers will be obliged to nominate one driver for a minimum of 10 Championship events.

To bring consistency to events and thereby aid the Promoter, rallies must now follow a fixed format. There will be a ceremonial start on Thursday, with the last stage run on Sunday at approximately 12:00 hrs for European events. The final stage is defined as the Power Stage, the length of which will be set at a minimum of 10 kilometres.

All competitors registered in the Championships – WRC, WRC 2, WRC 3 and Junior WRC - will be obliged to use a colour-coded windscreen sticker to promote and identify the category in which they are competing and scoring points.

It was agreed to rename all classes of eligible cars in order to harmonise the numbering with the other FIA Championships. Therefore, the smaller number will define the most powerful cars (RC1 being World Rally Cars).

Permanent competition numbers will no longer be allocated to P3 drivers competing in the support championships. Drivers wishing to request a permanent number for marketing or promotional purposes will however be able to do so. The restriction on the number of servicing personnel has also been removed and testing during the three weeks preceding an event is now permitted for P3 drivers.

The date for the 2014 Rally d’Italia has changed to 08 June.

Championship Rounds

Posted: November 25, 2013 1:08 PM

  1. Monte Carlo Rally - 16-19 Jan 14
  2. Sweden - 6-9 Feb 14
  3. Mexico - 6-9 Mar 14
  4. Portugal - 3-6 Apr 14
  5. Argentina - 8-11 May 14
  6. Italy - 5-8 Jun 14 (New Date)
  7. Poland (and Lithuania) - 26-29 Jun 14
  8. Finland - 31 Jul-3 Aug 14
  9. Germany - 21-24 Aug 14
  10. Australia - 11-14 Sep 14
  11. France - 2-5 Oct 14
  12. Spain - 23-26 Oct 14
  13. Rally GB - 13-16 Nov 14
Dates shown are Thursday to Sunday.






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