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France - 2-5 Oct 14

Posted: October 2, 2014 4:30 PM - 3403 Hits

Round 11 - 2014 World Rally Championship

Live Results (France 2014) | Also available at: rally-base results
Radio: WRC All Live Audio Stream
News: irallylive.com | www.wrc.com
Event Website: RALLYE DE FRANCE (ALSACE)

First stage each day - Irish/UK Times
SS1 Fri - 07:44
SS8 Sat - 07:30
SS15 Sun 06:30

HOME ADVANTAGE FOR THE DS3 WRCs!

Posted: September 30, 2014 6:52 AM

Included in the World Rally Championship calendar since its inception, the Rallye de France was held in Corsica for many years. Citroën drivers have recorded some of the Brand’s greatest sporting achievements on the ‘Isle of Beauty’. In 1999, Philippe Bugalski/Jean-Paul Chiaroni and Jesus Puras/Marc Marti beat the WRC’s big guns to score an incredible one-two finish in their two-wheel drive Xsara Kit Cars. Two years later, on only the fourth outing of the Xsara WRC in a World championship rally, Jesus Puras and Marc Marti secured another significant win on the roads of Corsica.

Citroën Racing returned to winning ways in 2005, beginning a series of four consecutive victories with Sébastien Loeb and Daniel Elena in the Xsara WRC and the C4 WRC. The 2005 event also went down in history as being the only WRC round at which the winning crew set the fastest time on all of the stages!

The team’s winning run continued unabated after the rally relocated to Alsace. In 2010, Sébastien Loeb and Daniel Elena won the rally to secure the World title again after an event that will be remembered for a long time to come. The series continued in 2011 and 2012 with wins for Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia and then again for Sébastien Loeb/Daniel Elena.

A UNIQUE EVENT FOR CITROËN RACING

Although the love story began in Corsica, it became even more passionate when the event moved to Alsace. Since 2010, a very special relationship has been forged between Citroën Racing and the Rallye de France-Alsace. The success achieved and titles celebrated between Haguenau and Strasbourg remain very present in the minds of everyone in the team.

“It an especially important point of the season for the Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team, which goes beyond the purely sporting side of things,” emphasized Yves Matton, Citroën Racing Director. “Citroën is a partner for the entire event. The huge crowds and enthusiasm for the rally makes it one of the real highlights of our season, like Monte-Carlo or Finland.”

“It’s also potentially one of the strongest rallies for our team,” he continued. “Citroën’s experience here, with three consecutive wins, and the competitiveness of our DS3 WRCs provide us with the means of going after good results in Alsace.”

Despite being located just 200 kilometres from the Rallye Deutschland stages, the character of the French round is markedly different. “The event has its own identity,” confirmed Didier Clément, the DS3 WRC’s Chief Operations Engineer. “You could say it is somewhere between Germany and Spain, with some very quick stretches on sweeping, circuit-style roads as well as some much more technical sections. For example, the Pays d’Ormont stage features a wide variety of road types and different surfaces.”

“We need the car to be very balanced in terms of downforce,” continued the engineer. “Testing enabled us to work on this particular aspect with the new Michelin range of tyres, which have been completely redesigned to include a fairly deep, third longitudinal line. The Pilot Sport H4 and S4 will be safer and quicker with average levels of surface water on the road. They are nonetheless slightly less responsive in dry conditions. As the handling is different, we have to adjust the set-up. Our two drivers have adapted well to the new tyres. They had the same feeling and agreed on the same set-up in preparation for this rally.”

MADS OSTBERG’S FAVOURITE TARMAC RALLY

After collecting eight points in Germany, Mads Østberg came close to securing his first podium finish on tarmac. Having grown in confidence in Trier, he returns to Alsace and roads that are better suited to him: “I have competed in all four years of the Rallye de France since it moved here. The stages are flowing and very fast. It’s my favourite event on this surface.”

The weather may once again play an important role… And the Norwegian driver would more than happy if it rained: “We have driven in dry and wet conditions. I must admit I really liked it when it was very slippery, in the rain. It’s interesting to try and find some grip when the roads become muddy.”

If there is rain, the Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team may be able to take advantage of the tyre upgrade provided by Michelin:
“I had the chance to try out the new tyres in testing. The development work has paid off; the tyres offer greater performance on wet and muddy roads. In dry conditions, there isn’t much difference. Our aim is to improve on the rhythm we had in Germany, to score big points.”

KRIS MEEKE’S STOCK IS RISING

Kris Meeke has so far met the high expectations placed in him in the second half of the season. Collecting stage wins and fighting for podium finishes, on both gravel and tarmac, the British driver has made the most of his experience to establish himself among the leading positions.

“The trend is positive,” commented Kris cheerfully. “I feel stronger and stronger in the DS3 WRC. I always try to do my very best. Obviously, I compare my times with those of the other drivers. But above all, I’m looking to do my own rally. I’m making progress at my own speed, keeping focussed on the objectives that we set with the team.”

Kris Meeke has only taken part in one previous Rallye de France – Alsace, back in 2011:
“I like the kind of roads you get here. But I have acquired most of my experience during the many test sessions we have organised in the region. For the 2014 stages, we’re going to have to take new pace notes. But with Paul [Nagle], we’re beginning to get used to doing just that!”

“We have managed to be among the frontrunners in the last three or four rallies. We have to keep going and try and mix it more and more with the battle for the lead. I know we can finish on the podium. It’s down to us to perform right to the finish.”

A 303-KILOMETRE SPRINT AGAINST THE CLOCK

No other event on the 2014 calendar has course as short as the Rallye de France – Alsace. The crews will complete only 303 kilometres of timed stages before the winner is declared, which is slightly shorter than most Formula 1 Grand Prix.

The shakedown is held again on city centre roads, in the Hautepierre district of Strasbourg. An autograph-signing session and the ceremonial start are scheduled for Thursday afternoon before cars head back to the Zénith de Strasbourg.

On Friday morning, the crews will head south-east for a loop of three stages that will be repeated in the afternoon after the midday service. The first seven kilometres of the Col de la Charbonnière test (11.11km – 8.44am/2.30pm) will be held on previously unused roads. The crews will then move on to Vosges – Pays d’Ormont (34.34km – 9.35am/2.54pm), which is expected to be the decisive stage on day one. The section will conclude with Pays de Salm (9.59km – 10.24am/3.43pm) in much the same configuration as in 2010 and 2011. The day will finish with a run on the Strasbourg super special stage (4.67km – 8.00pm) before the cars head for the service park from 8.40pm.

On Saturday, the crews will leave parc ferme at 6.30am for two loops of three stages held on roads around Colmar with Vallée de Munster (18.90km – 8.30am/12.28pm), Soultzeren – Le Grand Hohnack (19.93km – 9.12am/1.10pm) and the new Pays Welche – Riquewihr (21.49km – 9.46am/1.44pm). A super special stage will be held in Mulhouse (4.86km – 6.00pm) to conclude the leg before the cars head back to Strasbourg from 8.20pm.

The final day will be held on roads around Saverne in the Bas-Rhin department. The schedule features two loops of two stages with Forêt de la Petite Pierre (12.33km – 7.30am/10.34am), run at sunrise on the first pass, and then Forêt de Saverne (19.36km – 8.18am/12.00pm), which will serve as the Power Stage. The rally is scheduled to finish in Strasbourg at 3.00pm.

M-SPORT AFTER SILVER IN ALSACE

Posted: September 30, 2014 6:51 AM

M-Sport World Rally Team’s Mikko Hirvonen and Elfyn Evans head to Rallye de France - Alsace with a clear objective – to hunt down their rivals in the battle for second place in the FIA World Rally Championship Manufacturer standings.

The British team embarks on the final pure asphalt event of the year just eight points adrift of the runner-up spot; and with both Ford Fiesta RS WRC drivers capable of a solid result on Tarmac, the team will be keen to close that gap further.

Rallye de France may host the shortest route of the year, but the compact fixture is one of the championship’s most popular events – the historic city of Strasbourg attracting huge crowds that flock to see some of the year’s most closely-fought rallying.

The event is a true rally of strategy as unpredictable weather over the Vosges Mountains puts the teams’ strategists to the test. The teams also rely heavily on their safety crews who deliver the most up-to-date information from the stages before the crews attack the Tarmac at full speed.

Experience can make all the difference and those looking to fight for the top positions require a thorough understanding of the French asphalt – the nature of the road and the way in which the grip levels are affected in varying conditions. One crew who certainly have the experience are Hirvonen and co-driver Jarmo Lehtinen. The pairing have contested Rallye de France on nine previous occasions – albeit five times on the picturesque island of Corsica which delivered the Finns’ first stage win in 2003.

Since relocating to Alsace, Hirvonen has contested each mainland edition with considerable success – securing back-to-back podiums in 2011 and 2012. This year, he will be looking to apply all of his knowledge and experience in pursuit of a similar result.

Rallye de France holds a lot of special memories for Evans. In 2011 the Welshman made his French debut in style – piloting a Ford Fiesta R2 to the model’s then best WRC result of 16th overall. But the best was yet to come, and in 2012 he became a World Rally Champion by winning the French round of the FIA WRC Academy along with the coveted title.

There was similar success for the Welshman on his maiden four-wheel-drive outing at the event last year. He piloted his Ford Fiesta R5 to second place in the WRC 2 category and was one of only two drivers capable of posting a fastest stage time.

Now, following an impressive world rally car debut on pure asphalt at Rallye Deutschland, Evans and co-driver Daniel Barritt will be looking to challenge some of their more experienced rivals once again.

Mikko Hirvonen said:
“As Tarmac events go, Rallye de France is one that I enjoy. There are always a lot of spectators out on the stages and a lot of support for all of the drivers.

“The biggest challenge is probably the weather. There is often a risk of rain over the mountains and the right tyre choice can make all the difference. It can be a rally of strategy and you need to ensure that you are on the right tyre for each leg of the event.

“Road position can also be important. If it rains then a lot of mud can get dragged onto the road; especially over the second pass. More than anything though, you need to be very precise and tidy with your driving and keep focused through all of the potential conditions.

“We’ve had two podium finishes here in the past and it would be great to be in the fight for a similar result next week. It won’t be easy and there will be a lot of drivers with a point to prove, but let’s see what happens. I’m definitely up for the challenge!”

Elfyn Evans said:

“This is an event that holds a lot of special memories for me and we’ve had a lot of good results here in the past. In 2012 it was where I won the FIA WRC Academy and last year we were second in the WRC 2 category. I’ve been really looking forward to these more familiar events and I can’t wait to attack these stages with a world rally car for the first time.

“Like Germany, it’s a challenging event but one that I really enjoy. The weather in the mountains can be very unpredictable and you need to have complete trust in your safety crew to get all of the latest information from the stages. A lot of mud can also get dragged onto the roads, but the organisers have done a lot to prevent this in recent years by marking the route with posts and bollards which stop the drivers taking cuts in certain places.

“The stages themselves are faster and more open than the ones in Germany, but the weather and the conditions can be quite similar. We had a good run last time out on asphalt, so I hope we can deliver a similar performance next week.”

ADDITIONAL M-SPORT DRIVERS

M-Sport’s award-winning range of Ford Fiesta rally cars account for some impressive percentages of the FIA World Rally Championship’s premier categories. Forty-seven percent of the WRC field will pilot a Ford Fiesta RS WRC, and 67 percent of the WRC 2 challengers will be behind the wheel of a Ford Fiesta.

In addition to Hirvonen and Evans, M-Sport will also run the Fiesta RS WRCs of Robert Kubica, Dennis Kuipers and Yuriy Protasov. Joining the WRC contenders in the M-Sport camp are two of the WRC 2’s hottest properties – Pontus Tidemand and Quentin Gilbert who will both take to the wheel of a Ford Fiesta R5.

Duel of the year enters the finishing straight: Ogier vs. Latvala and the battle for the World Championship title

Posted: September 30, 2014 6:48 AM

Match point on his own serve for one, the other poised ready to return – the eyes of the rallying world will be on two Volkswagen crews at the Rally France (02–05 October). The duel of the year – Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (F/F) against Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila (FIN/FIN) – will decide the destination of the Drivers’ and Co-Drivers’ titles over the course of the remaining three rounds of the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC). While a victory at their home event, the asphalt rally through Alsace, could theoretically suffice for Ogier/Ingrassia to wrap up the titles with rounds to spare, Latvala/Anttila will be pushing hard for a special win, which would keep their title hopes alive. It is now 15 years since a Finn last won an asphalt rally in the World Rally Championship. And the event in Alsace is still waiting for its first Finnish winner. Behind Ogier/Ingrassia and Latvala/Anttila, who have joined forces to win the Manufacturers’ Championship in the World Rally Championship for Volkswagen in both 2013 and 2014, lies their team-mate in third place in the Drivers’ Championship: Andreas Mikkelsen (N), with co-driver Ola Fløene (N) at his side in the third Polo R WRC.

“The fans can look forward to another thrilling episode of the duel between the champ and the challenger – Ogier against Latvala,” said Volkswagen Motorsport Director Jost Capito. “Both have shown recently that they are in a league of their own on asphalt, although they lacked the necessary luck to convert their leads into a win at the Rally Germany. Both are capable of beating each other. Having won the Manufacturers’ Championship, we at Volkswagen can now focus fully on this truly extraordinary duel, which has been the story of the season. The Rally France promises to be another highlight of the WRC season. And there is really no need to worry about whether our drivers are hungry for the win.”

What would happen if ...? The WRC maths

Sights set on victory: Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia could complete the successful defence of their title as early as the Rally France. To do so, the French duo must score six points more than their rivals Jari-Matti Latvala and Miikka Anttila at the rally around Strasbourg. For example, victory and at least second place on the Power Stage would suffice to wrap things up, regardless of other results. In the case of any other combination of results, Ogier/Ingrassia would be dependent on some help from the opposition. As far as Latvala/Anttila are concerned, they must finish ahead of their team-mates in order to extend the title race and keep their chances alive.

Mikkelsen/Fløene in pole position in the race for third place in the World Championship

He may have bowed out of the battle for the Drivers’ Championship at the Rally Australia, but Andreas Mikkelsen (N) can already look back on a hugely successful season in the World Rally Championship. Four podiums – runner-up in Sweden and Poland, third in Germany and Australia – and a further four top-five results – Mikkelsen finished fourth in Portugal, Argentina, Italy and Finland – speak for themselves. And this consistency has put the 25-year-old in a great position to possibly seal third place in France. He is currently 41 points ahead of the fourth-placed man in the Drivers’ Championship (Mikko Hirvonen, M-Sport Ford), 45 clear of fifth place (Thierry Neuville, Hyundai) and 50 ahead of sixth place (Mads Østberg, Citroën). Should Mikkelsen score at least 14 points more than his closest rival, third place would be his. Despite taking his seat in the World Rally Car from Wolfsburg midway through the season, Mikkelsen’s co-driver Ola Fløene also has an excellent chance of taking third place in the Co-Drivers’ Championship when he lines up at only his seventh rally in the Polo R WRC in France. The Norwegian is fourth, just two points behind Jarmo Lehtinen, co-driver to Mikko Hirvonen.

A bit of “Monte”, a bit of Germany – typical Rally France

After the Rally Germany, the Rally France forms the second all-asphalt rally on the WRC calendar. Although the only two events run purely on this surface do have their similarities – both feature special stages through vineyards – the Rally France has its own unique characteristics. Fast, flowing forest sections dominate the special stages in Alsace, near the city of Strasbourg. Some damp passages and the crossing of mountain roads are, to a certain degree, reminiscent of the iconic Rally Monte Carlo. The 2014 rally features 18 special stages. Only three of these – “Vosges–Pays d’Ormont”, “Soultzeren–Le Grand Hohnack” and the “Strasbourg” street stage, are identical to those used in 2013. In total, roughly half the kilometres against the clock are new territory for the competitors – not a single kilometre will be familiar to them on Sunday. One of the highlights for the thousands of fans is the “Strasbourg” street stage, which is held after dusk on Friday evening.

Home race for Ogier and Ingrassia – at the scene of their greatest triumph

The Rally France is the home event on the World Championship calendar for Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia. The duo has already triumphed on two occasions at the rally through Alsace, which was held for the first time in this form in 2010 – in 2011 with Citroën and 2013 with Volkswagen. The success 12 months ago tasted particularly sweet: victory on the Power Stage, which formed the start of the 2013 Rally France, earned Ogier/Ingrassia their first World Championship title. The icing on the cake came three days later, when they won the rally itself after a stunning fightback.

Showtime for the team – please welcome the old and the new World Champions*

The final three rounds of the season – in France, Spain and Great Britain – provide the perfect opportunity for Volkswagen to showcase its dominance at rally speed: the Volkswagen team, with Sébastien Ogier and Jari-Matti Latvala at the wheel, wrapped up the title in the Manufacturers’ Championship* at the recent Rally Australia. This was the earliest the title had been decided for 25 years.

* Subject to the official publication of the results by the FIA.

Quotes ahead of the Rally France

Sébastien Ogier, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #1
“The home rally is always very special for me. The interest in you as a person is always great than usual there – both from the fans and the media. My goal is to be crowned World Champion in my own country again. To do this, however, I must score six points more than my team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala. A win could be enough. I think Jari-Matti will once again be my fiercest rival. The Rally France is a little bit similar to the Rally Germany. That is to say, there are a few special stages in the vineyards. However, there are also big differences. For example, many more stages are held in the forests. The asphalt can be very wet and slippery there. There are not as many junctions at the Rally France as there are in Germany, and the special stages are generally more flowing and nicer to drive. We have to do our job better this time than at the last asphalt rally in Germany, and finish with both cars.”

Jari-Matti Latvala, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #2
“I have a score to settle with asphalt rallies, as the rally in Germany was disappointing. It was going sensationally well and I was leading, and then everything was over in a flash after my crash. Having come so close in Germany, I am now determined to score my first win on asphalt. Like the Rally Germany, the Rally France is held on asphalt – but you can’t really compare the two rallies. We spend a lot more time in the forests and on wider mountain passes in France. In Germany the streets were very narrow and winding. The characteristics of this rally are probably more similar to those of the Rally Monte Carlo. I can still become World Champion this year, but I don’t really think that that is a realistic possibility. For that to happen, an awful lot would have to go wrong for Sébastien, whilst everything would have to be perfect for me. One thing is certain, however: as long as there is still a mathematical chance, I will carry on fighting and do my very best. You never know what might happen.” ?

Andreas Mikkelsen, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #9
“I am looking forward to driving on asphalt again – particularly after we enjoyed such a good Rally Germany recently. Hopefully I can improve again this time. There will be a few new special stages at the Rally France this year. That will be a real challenge. I am looking forward to it though. I really like this rally. My goal is also to seal third place overall in the Drivers’ Championship in France. That would give me free rein in Spain and Wales, as I would not have to concern myself with the World Championship situation. My co-driver Ola Fløene is currently fourth in the Co-Driver standings, just two points off third place. It will be an interesting challenge for us, over the remaining rallies, to ensure that he too finishes third in the World Championship.”

Did you know ...

... the Rally France was initially held on Corsica with the “Tour de Corse” between 1973 and 2008? Alsace has only hosted the Rally France since 2010.

... Volkswagen team member Luís Moya won the Rally France in 1991 as Carlos Sainz’s co-driver? In doing so, he and Sainz became the first Spanish duo to win this rally.

... Jari-Matti Latvala and Miikka Anttila finished third at last year’s Rally France to claim one of their 13 podiums so far with Volkswagen?

... Latvala/Anttila have never won a race on asphalt, although they did hold a commanding lead at the Rally Germany in both 2013 and 2014?

... Tommi Mäkinen was the last Finn to win an all-asphalt rally? He won the 1999 Rally Sanremo at the wheel of a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VI.

... of the 38 times the Rally France has featured on the World Championship calendar, 29 have been won by Frenchmen?

... the four WRC events held so far in Alsace have all been won by a Sébastien? Sébastien Loeb won twice (at the inaugural event in 2010 and in 2012), while Sébastien Ogier (2011 and 2013) also has a brace of victories to his name.

... 2014 marks the first time that the two aforementioned Sébastiens will not go head to head at the Rally France? Sébastien Loeb bid farewell to the WRC circus here in 2013.

... the Rally France is often regarded as the twin sister of the Rally Germany? The similarities: each of the three days has its own unique character. Both events are held in the vineyards and in woodland. Furthermore, in recent years, both rallies have featured at least one special stage on a military training ground.

The number for the Rally France: 61.23

The Rally France marks the third time in a row that the teams in the World Rally Championship have had to switch from gravel to asphalt mode. This requires a major adjustment: asphalt demands a far more precise style of driving. The different between asphalt and gravel can also be expressed in figures using the motion sensors on the Polo R WRC. Taking cornering as if on rails as the perfect line, the deviation from this at gravel rallies is 61.23 per cent higher than at asphalt rallies. This is caused by more drifting and greater under/oversteer.

Tough Conditions Expected As DMACK Tackles France

Posted: September 30, 2014 6:46 AM

DMACK will tackle some of the trickiest Tarmac conditions next week when the last all-asphalt round of the 2014 FIA World Rally Championship bursts into action in Strasbourg. Rally de France-Alsace is renowned for a mix of challenging stages played out across a broad range of weather and road conditions.

After missing out on its first WRC 2 asphalt win by just a couple of seconds at Rally Germany, DMACK will again offer its identical tyre package when then action kicks off just across the border in France. The narrow, hilly stages across the Vosges Mountains are contrasted with fast, flowing country roads and a number of runs through the region’s vineyards.

But the stages can turn treacherously slippery. Searching for the fastest line through the country roads, drivers cut corners, dragging mud and gravel onto the smooth asphalt roads. Organisers use bollards to decrease the cuts but front-running cars still pull mud across the stages. And once it rains, the conditions become even worse.

DMACK brings its DMT-RC tyre to the event in hard H3 and soft S3 compounds. Competitors can use a maximum of 24 tyres with up to 16 soft option tyres included in that allocation. The tyre’s tread design, which boasts circumferal grooves, is well suited to mixed conditions.

To compound the surface challenges, almost half of the stage distance is completely new. The revised itinerary maintains the event as the shortest of the season, with just 303 competitive km, and also sees the popular Strasbourg city stage, which ends outside the European Parliament, moved to Friday evening.

Friday’s opening leg sports a repeated loop of three stages around Bas-Rhin and Vosges mountains capped off with the Strasbourg city blast. The second day journeys further south into the Haut Rhin following a similar three-stage loop format, with remote service in Colmar and a spectator stage through Mulhouse. Sunday finishes to the north of Strasbourg with two stages run twice around Saverne.

Dick Cormack, DMACK motorsport director, said:
“In terms of changing grip levels and surface conditions, this event is once again likely to be one of the toughest this year. We saw just how difficult Rally Germany was when the weather conditions changed and I expect the challenge to be similar in France next week. The stages generally aren’t so abrasive and it will be important to maximise the grip and make the right choices to ensure a strong result.”

Tuthill Porsche Rallye de France Alsace preview

Posted: September 30, 2014 6:37 AM

Francois Delecour (FRA)/Dominique Savignoni (FRA) Porsche 911 RGT #92

Multiple world rally winner Francois Delecour will start his home round of the World Rally Championship – next week’s Rallye de France Alsace – at the wheel of Tuthill Porsche’s 911 RGT.

The 911 GT3-based rally car stole the hearts of the rally-watching public on last month’s ADAC Rallye Deutschland and focused the minds of many looking for a cost-effective alternative to a World Rally Car.

Driven in Trier by Tuthill Porsche team principal Richard Tuthill, the car finished it’s WRC debut first in the RGT class and 27th overall. Next week, Richard will hand the wheel over to all-time French favourite in Francois Delecour.

Delecour, who won four rounds of the World Rally Championship earlier in his career, will test the Tuthill Porsche 911 RGT for the first time on Monday… having arrived overnight from, hopefully, sealing his third consecutive Romanian Rally Championship title on the Raliul Perla Harghitei.

Next week’s Strasbourg-based WRC qualifier will be his second world championship outing of the season. He competed on Rallye Monte-Carlo, but was forced to retire his Ford Fiesta RS WRC from the opening round of the year.

Since ADAC Rallye Deutschland, Tuthill Porsche has worked closely with the FIA (world motorsport’s governing body) on further evaluation and evolution of the RGT regulations. The only change in specification to the 911 RGT is in the air-intake restrictor, which has been increased from 36 to 39mm and means the rear-wheel drive car now has around 350bhp (a rise of around 25bhp).

Francois Delecour said: “I am so excited. This is such, such great news and I have so much enthusiasm to drive this car. This is my dream, my dream to drive a Porsche in the World Rally Championship. It is more than fantastic.

“I know the Tuthill Porsche team, I drove with them before and I know they prepare the perfect car. Last time, they painted my car blue for France – I love this team! And I love the 911 RGT. The noise, everything about this car is a rally car. I can’t wait to test. First, I have to try to win the [Romanian Rally] Championship for the third time, but I only need one point. Hopefully, I arrive in France to drive the Porsche for the first time with this title.”

Richard Tuthill said: “Francois is the perfect driver for this car – he’s so full of character and enthusiasm. And, let’s not forget, he’s one of the finest drivers ever to come out of France.

“There’s no doubt we’re going to see an improvement on the pace from Germany… the driver’s a hell of a lot better and I think the car will suit the roads a bit more as well. I’d like to see us looking for the minimum of a top 20 and hopefully top 15. But, so much of that does depend on the weather, we have to hope it stays dry.”

Delecour and Tuthill on Rallye de France Alsace

Posted: September 30, 2014 6:21 AM

Francois Delecour talks about driving a Tuthill Porsche on Rallye de France Alsace. And a hasty trip from Romania, where he won a third successive title on Sunday.

How does it feel to be driving for the Tuthill Porsche team at Rallye de France Alsace?
FD: I am so excited, I can’t tell you. This is such, such great news and I have so much enthusiasm to drive this car. This is my dream, my dream to drive a Porsche in the World Rally Championship. It is more than fantastic.

You’ve driven Porsche GT rally cars before?
FD: Yes. I think about eight years ago I drove one of the early 911 GT cars and, of course, it was very nice. But the brakes weren’t right, it wasn’t really a rally car. This is a rally car, with the sequential gearbox and everything…

And the noise?
FD: The noise! It is incredible. From the outside, you can hear this car coming and coming. This is what the rally car should be sounding like, it’s fantastic and it’s what the sport needs more and more of.

What do you think you can achieve on Rallye de France Alsace?
FD: What I want is the top 15 and to be at the same level as the R5 cars. Of course, this does depend on the weather, but that’s what I think we can make.

There’s more than one 911 in France, you’ll be up against Romain Dumas…
FD: I think and I hope there will be a nice fight with Romain!

How nice is it to be driving your home round of the World Rally Championship again?
FD: Well, you know really my home round of the championship is Monte Carlo, but this is France and the fans are French, so this one will be really special as well. I know the roads and I don’t know the roads, I did the Vosges rally (Rallye Alsace Vosges, 2007, retired Porsche 911 996 GT3), so I have an idea of what’s to come because the stages are nearly the same.

And you know the Tuthill Porsche team well?
FD: I do, yes. I drove one of their cars on a rally in Wales (2011 Bulldog Historic Rally of Wales). It was a historic 911, so I thought I had to be careful because we were driving in Wales and on the gravel. But, no, the car was perfect and I was able to make a good attack. It was a beautiful car and I have a good memory of the team – they paint the car blue because I am from France. I love this team.

Finally, you’re making a bit of a dash to the test?
FD: Yes. I’m coming straight from the Raliul Perla Harghitei, where I retired, but took the Romanian Championship. But now, the focus is on the test – and my first World Rally Championship round in a Porsche 911 997 RGT. My dream.

Richard Tuthill on the prospect of living legend Francois Delecour stepping aboard the Tuthill Porsche 911 RGT in France next week.

Richard, it must be very exciting to have Francois Delecour back in the team?
RT: It’s fantastic. We worked with him before, when he drove one of our challenge cars on the Bulldog Historic in 2011 and he’s just brilliant. Francois is the perfect driver for this car – he’s so full of character and enthusiasm. And, let’s not forget, he’s one of the finest drivers ever to come out of France.

What do you think he’s capable of?
RT: There’s no doubt we’re going to see an improvement on the pace from Germany… the driver’s a hell of a lot better and I think the car will suit the roads a bit more as well. I’d like to see us looking for the minimum of a top 20 and hopefully top 15. But, so much of that does depend on the weather, we have to hope it stays dry.

Francois brings a huge amount of experience to the event, doesn’t he?
RT: The good thing about Francois is that he knows the car, he’s a long-time lover of Porsches and he’s going to have an idea of the road over there as well. Oh, and he’s likely to be pretty popular with the locals!

And there will be some competition in France?
RT: The competition with Romain [Dumas] could be really interesting – it’ll be fantastic to have another car there to benchmark ours against. It will be a little bit complicated as he’s driving a four-litre RS, whereas ours is a 3.8-litre GT3 RS – but at least we’ll have some competition.

Who’s your money on?
RT: My money would be on Francois every day of the week. Don’t get me wrong, Romain’s a serious driver with a lot of Porsche experience, but this is Francois Delecour we’re talking about!

PIRELLI TARGETS WRC TARMAC SUCCESS WITH NEW RK AND RKW TYRES

Posted: September 30, 2014 6:14 AM

More than 10 drivers will benefit from Pirelli’s tyre technology and know-how when the FIA World Rally Championship resumes in France this week (October 2-5) for the final pure asphalt event of the season.

Based in Strasbourg in the Alsace region of France, the rally is the shortest round of the WRC season with the 18-stage route totalling 303.63 competitive kilometres.

Leading Pirelli drivers in France:

Experienced French driver Julien Maurin heads the Pirelli runners in France as he steps up to the headlining RC1 category in his Ford Fiesta RS WRC, which he has taken to victory on three national events in his homeland this season.

In the WRC2 category, young Frenchman Quentin Gilbert switches to Pirelli tyres for the first time in 2014, while Portuguese Bernardo Sousa – a winner for Pirelli in the European championship earlier this year – will continue his season-long partnership with Pirelli. Production Cup contender Johan Heloise, from Martinique, will use Pirelli tyres as will a further eight privateers from France, including seven in two-wheel-drive machinery, thereby underlining the versatility of Pirelli’s tyres.

The Pirelli crews contesting Rallye de France are:

    22 Julien Maurin/Nicolas Klinger (Ford Fiesta RS WRC)
    35 Bernardo Sousa/Hugo Magalhaes (Ford Fiesta RRC)
    39 Quentin Gilbert/Renaud Jamoul (Ford Fiesta R5)
    42 Johan Heloise/Roberto Mometti (Subaru Impreza WRX)
The tyres available:

Pirelli will supply its latest generation RK and RKW tyres, introduced on Rallye Deutschland last month, for the Strasbourg-based event. The hard compound RK5A will be used in warm and dry conditions with the soft compound RKW7 available if it’s cold and damp. The Pirelli RK tyre was introduced this year in response to the latest world championship regulations, which state that just one single pattern has to be used for all asphalt conditions. Only two compounds are allowed: hard and soft. While outwardly identical to the RK5A, the softer RKW7 has a compound that is specifically formulated to cope well with damp and wet surfaces, which can often be a factor on Rallye de France.

The rules:

A maximum of 20 tyres, plus four for shakedown, can be used for the duration of the rally. Priority 1 and 2 drivers can choose from a maximum of 24 hard compound tyres and 20 soft compound tyres.

Quotes:

Matteo Braga, Pirelli senior tyre engineer:
“Rallye de France presents several challenges as we have seen in the past. These include the cold temperatures on the morning stages, gravel and mud being dragged onto the road by drivers taking ‘cuts’ through corners, damp conditions and the possibility of heavy rain and when it’s dry, the road surface is quite abrasive. We have developed a tyre compound that works well in all conditions but there’s always a compromise and the risk of punctures is always there because of the debris on the road and the kerbs. While Rallye de France is the shortest event of the season, it’s certainly far from easy from a tyre point of view.”

Entry List

Posted: September 24, 2014 9:06 PM

Event Website / Details

Posted: July 18, 2014 12:28 AM






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