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Posted: December 22, 2016 9:09 AM - 8438 Hits

Information package Volkswagen in WRC - 2013-2016

Posted: December 22, 2016 9:09 AM

Volkswagen shaped the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) for four years and made unique history. After twelve world championship titles - four per drivers', co-drivers' and manufacturers' standings - Volkswagen bids farewell to the pinnacle of rallying. Which is more than enough reason to reminisce over special and spectacular moments, look back at the early days and review a unique period.

The digital information package "FIA World Rally Championship 2013-2016", which is optimised for tablets, screens and printing, is an informative, entertaining encyclopaedia containing:

  • Unique moments and stories from four years of the WRC
  • Fascinating and surprising facts and figures
  • Details and technical data on the Volkswagen Polo R WRC
  • A detailed statistics section

Volkswagen realigns motorsport programme - Commitment to the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) ends - R5 Car in 2018

Posted: November 2, 2016 8:30 AM

The Volkswagen brand realigns its motorsport programme. From 2017, Volkswagen will focus on new technologies and customer sport. The commitment to the FIA World Rally Championship is coming to an end after four historically successful years, in which Volkswagen won WRC titles in the driver, co-driver and manufacturer rankings in a row with the Polo R.

"The Volkswagen brand is facing enormous challenges. With the upcoming expansion in electrification of our vehicle range we must focus all our efforts on important future technologies. We far exceeded our sporting goals in the WRC, now we are realigning Volkswagen Motorsport and moving the vehicle technology of the future more starkly into focus," said Frank Welsch, Member of the Board of Management responsible for Technical Development, to about 200 motorsport employees in Hannover. "At the same time, Volkswagen is going to focus more on customer racing. As well as the Golf GTI TCR on the circuit track and the Beetle GRC in rallycross, we also want to offer customers top products and will develop a new Polo according to R5 regulations."

Started with the 2016 season, the Golf GTI TCR prepared by Volkswagen Motorsport offers a production-derived customer sport vehicle for ambitious drivers and teams committed on global and national levels in the fast growing TCR touring car category. In the USA, Volkswagen of America has successfully entered two Beetle vehicles, developed by Volkswagen Motorsport in Hannover, into the Global Rallycross series and has already prepared them for the 2017 season. Scott Speed won the drivers' title in the popular US series in both 2015 and 2016, and this season the manufacturer's title also went to Volkswagen. The brand will investigate the expansion of these activities on the strength of their existing experience in rallycross. Moreover, in 2017 Volkswagen will begin development of a new rally vehicle in the R5-category based on the next generation Polo and will offer the car to customers to buy from 2018 onwards.

The new vehicle, the Polo, will reap the benefit of the entire experience from the successful WRC commitment, where the factory teams of Sebastien Ogier / Julien Ingrassia, Jari-Matti Latvala / Miikka Anttila and Andreas Mikkelsen / Anders Jaeger competed in 51 rallies with 42 wins and 621 best times in the special stages - no other car in the history of the World Rally Championship has a better success rate. Last weekend, Volkswagen won their fourth manufacturer's title* in a row in the UK World Rally Championship.

"I want to give our heartfelt thanks to our drivers and co-drivers for their outstanding achievements. They are not only unbelievably quick, but also extremely effective ambassadors for the Volkswagen brand. The whole team built around Motorsport Director Sven Smeets has created the basis for this success with the enormous commitment of each individual. We want to continue working with this excellent team and bring about the realignment. In the same way, we will expand the close cooperation between production development and motorsport, which has always shown benefits to both sides in recent years. There is a guarantee of employment for the Volkswagen Motorsport employees," said Frank Welsch.

Volkswagen Motorsport Director Sven Smeets explained:
"Of course, we regret the departure from the WRC very much - as this was the most successful chapter in the Volkswagen brand's motorsport history. The team has done great things. At the same time, our vision is firmly ahead, because we are aware of the great challenges facing the entire company. We want our realignment to contribute to the success of the Volkswagen brand. From now on, the focus is on upcoming technologies in motorsport and on our customer sports range, where we will position ourselves more broadly and attractively."

* Subject to ratification of the results by the FIA

Michelin signs new three-year agreement with WRC

Posted: October 13, 2016 11:36 AM

Michelin has signed a new agreement to extend its commitment to the FIA World Rally Championship for three more seasons.

The French tyre company and WRC Promoter have agreed an extension of their current partnership under which Michelin will be Official Tyre of the WRC until the end of 2019.

The agreement comes as Michelin bids to secure its 300th WRC victory at RallyRACC Catalunya - Rally de España this weekend, and stands on the verge of sealing its 50th world title in the drivers’ and manufacturers’ championships.

Michelin’s involvement in the WRC dates back to the inaugural championship in 1973. It has provided high-performance competition tyres to manufacturers for all but four seasons since then.

All the leading car manufacturers competing in the WRC use Michelin tyres to provide maximum grip, speed, performance and endurance on surfaces as diverse as hard packed gravel, slippery asphalt and frozen snow and ice covered tracks.

Under the new agreement, Michelin will enjoy prominent top-tier branding at all WRC rounds, as well as on championship materials and WRC Promoter’s digital communications outlets.

It will also continue to have a strong presence in the WRC’s service parks around the globe to maintain the existing relationship between WRC drivers and fans with its tyres.

Michelin motorsport director Pascal Couasnon said open competition between different tyre manufacturers was at the heart of the company’s commitment to the WRC.

“We are honoured to be working so closely with the factory teams and the confidence they have in us keeps driving us to design the best possible tyres,” he said.

“Our loyalty to the sport is also due to the close ties that exist between the discipline and everyday motoring, since the WRC features roads and tracks that are used by ordinary motorists.”

Couasnon said Michelin was excited by the task of producing tyres for the new generation of World Rally Cars which will enter the championship next season.

“The more powerful cars that are poised to make their debut in 2017 pose a fresh challenge for our engineers whose mission is to continue conceiving tyres that are not only increasingly competitive, but also safer and more versatile,” he said.

“For Michelin, competing in the next three WRC seasons will provide us with further opportunities to innovate and showcase our expertise.”

WRC Promoter managing director Oliver Ciesla said the new agreement would strengthen the WRC as it prepared for an exciting new era.

“I’m delighted Michelin has furthered its commitment to WRC for another three years,” he said. “Michelin was winning world rallies when the WRC started and more than 40 years later it is still on top of the podium, and hoping to reach two more landmarks this weekend.

“Michelin’s name is synonymous with the WRC. The tough and varied conditions that the WRC offers provide an ideal platform for the company to highlight the proficiency of its tyres in the heat of competition.”

Management undergoes restructuring: Sven Smeets named Volkswagen Motorsport Director

Posted: August 30, 2016 5:51 AM

Volkswagen Motorsport has undergone a restructuring at management level: Sven Smeets (44) will take over as Volkswagen Motorsport Director on 01 September 2016. He succeeds Jost Capito (57), who is leaving the company to pursue a new professional challenge. Lukasz Urban (34) also takes over as Commercial Managing Director from Kirsten Zimmermann (44), who moves into a new management role at Volkswagen AG on 01 September 2016. At the same time, François-Xavier Demaison (47) as Technical Director and Dr. Donatus Wichelhaus (54) as Director of Engine Development move up into the Management Board of Volkswagen Motorsport.

As Volkswagen Motorsport Director, Sven Smeets is responsible for all of the brand’s motorsport activities, including the top-tier involvement in the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC). The Belgian has been with Volkswagen Motorsport since 2012. He joined the team as Team Manager in the World Rally Championship and took on the role of Sporting Director in the middle of 2016. François-Xavier Demaison also joined Volkswagen in 2012, since when he has been responsible for the technical development of the Polo for the World Rally Championship. As Technical Director since 01 June 2016, he is now also responsible for all Volkswagen’s other car projects within the field of motorsport. Dr. Donatus Wichelhaus has been a member of the management team since 2005. He took over as Director of Engine Development on 01 June, meaning he is now responsible for the development of all Volkswagen engines for motorsport purposes. Andre Dietzel (41, Head of Communications and Marketing), Matthias Meyer (47, Manager of Workshop) and Eduard Weidl (51, Head of Customer Sports) continue in their roles within the Volkswagen Motorsport management team.

Dr. Frank Welsch, Member of the Board of Management of the Volkswagen Passenger Cars brand with responsibility for “Development”:
“We are delighted to be able to introduce a man with a vast wealth of management experience at the top of Volkswagen Motorsport, in the form of Sven Smeets. We are confident that we will be able to continue our success story in the World Rally Championship and the strategic development of our motorsport projects with Sven and the rest of the management team at the helm. At the same time, we would like to thank Jost Capito, under whose leadership Volkswagen has won every title on offer in the World Rally Championship for the past three years. We wish him all the best for the future.”

WhatsApp for rally fans – Volkswagen to launch innovative info service at home rally

Posted: August 17, 2016 6:20 AM

WhatsApp from the world champions – as of the home rally in Germany, Volkswagen will offer an innovative information service for all fans of the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC). News, results, photos, videos and audio files with interview soundbites – the push service ensures that motorsport fans are always up to speed with events during rallies. The WhatsApp social network has had over a billion users since the start of 2016, and more than 40 billion messages are sent via WhatsApp every day. Volkswagen initially launched the service, which incorporates the platforms WhatsApp, Insta and Telegram, for journalists midway through the year and has received very positive feedback.

The second phase now offers fans the opportunity to register for the information services via WhatsApp, Insta and Telegram. They can do this on the Volkswagen Motorsport Internet page (www.volkswagen-motorsport.com), which automatically adapts to all popular end devices to ensure it is optimised for smartphones. A control element guides users through the simple two-factor authorisation. The receipt of messages can be controlled directly from the WhatsApp smartphone apps by sending the keywords “Start” or “Stop”. Users are always anonymous in the broadcast lists, but can still contact the Volkswagen Motorsport team directly via the individual chat function.

Private communication – one in ten enjoys chatting to the world champions

As well as the extremely fast supply of information in a text message format, these individual chats are one of the top features of this service. They allow fans and journalists to contact the team directly. Any communication is always anonymous. Unlike on social networks like Twitter and Facebook, chats take place privately rather than in public. This prompts greater involvement from the user. So far, roughly one in every ten users has taken advantage of this opportunity.

Free choice for fans – three combinable lists available

Fans can combine three distribution lists as they wish. Volkswagen offers a choice between the lists “Essential”, “Emotional” and “Additional” in WhatsApp, Insta and Telegram. “Essential” provides a short overview of the result and overall standings after each special stage in the World Rally Championship, as well as quotes from works drivers Sébastien Ogier, Jari-Matti Latvala and Andreas Mikkelsen as audio files, and interesting statistics. “Emotional” sends photos and videos straight to the smartphone. “Additional” provides information on articles and news worth reading from the world of the WRC. As such, every user can configure their own personal information service – and can modify it at any time.

A tradition of innovation: Volkswagen the technical pioneer

Volkswagen Motorsport is one of the first providers in sport to offer a direct service via WhatsApp, Insta and Telegram. Volkswagen’s Motorsport department enjoys a long tradition of innovation: the car maker was one of the first to offer a dedicated app for smartphones and a website adapted for various end devices (responsive design).

You can find Volkswagen Motorsport on the following social networks:

    Facebook: www.facebook.com/volkswagenmotorsport
    Instagram: www.instagram.com/volkswagenmotorsport
    Twitter: www.twitter.com/volkswagenrally
    Youtube: www.youtube.com/volkswagenrally
    WhatsApp: www.volkswagen-motorsport.com/whatsapp
    Insta: www.volkswagen-motorsport.com/insta
    Telegram: www.volkswagen-motorsport.com/telegram
    Soundcloud: www.soundcloud.com/user-893519563

WRC 6 video game scheduled for autumn release

Posted: June 3, 2016 8:16 AM

WRC 6, the official video game of the 2016 FIA World Rally Championship, will be released in the autumn.

The 2016 edition will contain major improvements, including enhanced graphics and audio, exciting fresh features to be announced pre-launch and new and longer special stages from motorsport’s toughest championship for production-based cars.

It will be the only game to present authentic and current car liveries, with Volkswagen Motorsport, Abu Dhabi Total World Rally Team, Hyundai Motorsport and M-Sport World Rally Team represented with their World Rally Cars in 2016 colours.

Rally China, which returns to WRC in September for the first time since 1999, will be added to the game, increasing the number of rallies to 14.

Gamers will be able to select from all the sport’s leading World Rally Car drivers, including triple world champion Sébastien Ogier, Thierry Neuville, Kris Meeke and Mads Østberg, along with a wide selection of WRC 2 and Junior WRC competitors.

WRC 6 will be published by Bigben Interactive and developed by French development studio Kylotonn Racing Games. Kylotonn collected feedback from WRC fans and the gaming community from the 2015 edition to raise the playing experience to a new level of realism and excitement.

“The experience gained from WRC 5 helped the team to completely understand rallying fans’ expectations,” said game director Alain Jarniou.

“Roads were too wide in WRC 5? They will be narrower and bumpier in WRC 6. Stages were sometimes too short? We created new longer stages and reworked everything to make them more challenging.”

Following a successful inaugural season which will culminate in the final at Wales Rally GB (27 - 30 October), the eSports WRC online competition will continue in WRC 6 with improvements to access and format.

WRC Promoter managing director Oliver Ciesla said WRC 6 would provide an even more realistic challenge for gamers.

“If you enjoyed WRC 5, then you will love WRC 6. The developers have introduced significant improvements to make the playing experience even more exciting and true to life, while remaining faithful to its core aims of being an all-action game which takes in classic rallies and legendary special stages on all types of road surfaces,” he said.

WRC 6 will be available for PlayStation®4, Xbox One, and PC/Steam.

Video: Drive DMACK Fiesta Trophy Launch 2016

Posted: May 20, 2016 4:00 AM

Panta Distribuzione to supply competition fuel to WRC

Posted: March 10, 2016 9:51 AM

Panta Distribuzione S.p.A. will supply the FIA World Rally Championship with competition fuel following the completion of a multi-year agreement with WRC Promoter.

As the championship's Official Fuel Supplier, Panta will provide all priority drivers in the World Rally Car, WRC 2 and WRC 3 categories with high-quality performance fuel at every round.

The Italian company, a member of the MOL Group, has provided top-level fuel for more than 25 years to leading international motorsport competitions in disciplines including rallying, circuit racing and karting.

CEO Maurizio Migliarotti said Panta's WRC fuel had been developed in close co-operation with the championship's top teams to assure high-level performance and the company was developing further upgrades.

"Panta Distribuzione S.p.A. is really proud to be a partner of the WRC. That's a key milestone for us and a testimony to the excellent quality and high-level performance of our products.

"We are fully motivated to become a strategic player in WRC teams' successes and to develop new special products for the sensational world of the FIA World Rally Championship," he added.

WRC Promoter managing director Oliver Ciesla said Panta's partnership with the WRC would benefit championship contenders at all levels.

"This is not merely an agreement that assists manufacturers and teams in the headline World Rally Car category. All competitors registered in the WRC's support championships will also profit from Panta's expertise.

"Panta has a deserved reputation for providing high-quality fuel for international motorsport. WRC offers an ideal platform for Panta's continued research to further develop and improve its products and competitors can be confident the fuel they use will deliver maximum performance," said Ciesla.

WRC confirms major TV agreements for 2016

Posted: January 20, 2016 7:32 AM

The 2016 FIA World Rally Championship will be screened in more than 150 TV markets following the confirmation of a series of major global broadcast agreements.

The championship's cumulative worldwide audience has risen by 27 per cent* since 2013 and a mix of new agreements and the renewal of existing partnerships will strengthen fan access to WRC this season.

Championship rights holder WRC Promoter has increased the series' global broadcast hours by 55 percent* in the last three seasons, emphasising the continued demand for WRC coverage.

WRC TV offers a comprehensive suite of HD programmes from which broadcasters can choose, featuring a magazine-style event preview, daily action highlights, an hour-long post-event report and live stages from all 14 rounds showcased by the crucial Sunday lunchtime Power Stage which closes every rally.

In addition, news updates highlighting the latest action and results are produced and issued twice daily during every WRC round.

"Not only do we have new TV partners for WRC in 2016, but existing broadcasters have chosen to renew agreements for another term," said WRC Promoter managing director Oliver Ciesla. "It shows both they and the fans enjoyed what they saw in recent seasons and want more.

"It's a big vote of confidence in our TV operation and encourages us to move forward with exciting new projects, such as the use of high-tech drone filming under a new co-operation this year with DJI.

"We're particularly delighted by our agreement with LeTV in China. Alongside Rally China's return to the championship for the first time since 1999, it's a great opportunity to grow WRC in the world's most populated country where interest today is still at a relatively low level," he added.

Key broadcast partners joining or renewing for 2016 include:

    Belgium - Telenet joins as a new partner, offering comprehensive coverage on its Flemish Play Sports network. It joins RTBF which broadcasts WRC in French in top driver Thierry Neuville's home country.

    Britain - for the first time free-to-air network Channel 5 will air WRC, with subsidiary Spike airing pre-event magazine programmes. BT Sport continues to show WRC's full package of shows on pay TV with S4C returning in Wales. It adds up to the most comprehensive UK coverage in recent years.

    China - new partner LeTV creates anticipation ahead of Rally China's championship return in September in a region where WRC has a low profile.

    Finland - extended contracts with Nelonen and YLE in a country where rallying ranks in the top five of the country's most popular sports.

    France - Agreement with free-to-air L'Equipe 21 delivers strong audiences in the home country of triple world champion Sebastien Loeb.

    Japan - long-term deal with J Sports has been renewed, building excitement ahead of Toyota's WRC return in 2017.

    Latin America - long-term partnership continues with Fox Sports.

    New Zealand - extension of coverage on Sky NZ, complemented by new free-to-air highlights shows on TV3 and TVNZ.

    Spain - Telefonica has prolonged its deal for a further long-term period to offer the full package of WRC programmes.

    Sub-Sahara Africa - long-term agreement continues with Star Times.

    Sweden - renewed agreement with SVT which, along with TV2 in Norway, provides strong free-to-air coverage in Scandinavian rally strongholds.
A full list of broadcasters is available on the championship's official website

WRC Promoter strengthens co-operation with Lexar

Posted: January 20, 2016 7:14 AM

WRC Promoter has reinforced its alliance with Lexar under a new agreement for the digital memory solutions brand to become an official partner of the FIA World Rally Championship.

Lexar is part of the US-based Micron Group and a leading global brand of flash memory products, such as memory cards, USB flash drives, readers, and storage drives.

It has been an official supplier to the championship since 2014 and will step up its support in 2016 to further improve the production of WRC TV's programmes at all 14 rounds.

Lexar memory cards capture the spectacular in-car footage and telemetry in cockpit temperatures that can approach 50˚C in the heat of Sardinia or Mexico. They are also used by WRC TV's camera crews to film external special stage footage. Lexar memory card readers improve the imaging workflow for the production team in WRC TV's on-site base by reducing transfer times for more efficient editing, while its USB flash drives allow broadcasters to easily share footage in huge file sizes.

It also supports the WRC's accredited photographers by providing discounted professional services, including memory cards and readers.

"The WRC is an amazing championship that embodies what Lexar is all about - being at the peak of high speed technology," said Wes Brewer, vice president and general manager of Lexar.

"Over the past two years, we have worked closely with the championship to help create efficiencies and speed up the process of TV production whilst benefiting from a world class showcase to which we have been able to bring our customers and channel partners.

"Through this partnership we are able to showcase Lexar's high performance memory solutions in the fast-paced, rugged environments of one of the most challenging motorsport competitions in the world," he added.

WRC Promoter managing director Oliver Ciesla said he was delighted Lexar had increased its WRC commitment to become an official partner.

"Lexar's support allows WRC to generate content for broadcast and online use in a variety of ways, ensuring we're as efficient as possible in our TV production.

"The WRC environment is a harsh one, both inside and outside the rally cars. The reliability and performance of Lexar's digital solutions enable us to provide fans with the drama and excitement from the stages in our programmes with both speed and quality," added Ciesla.

Stars celebrate new WRC season at Monte-Carlo opening

Posted: January 18, 2016 8:31 AM

Celebrities from the worlds of sport and entertainment will join the stars of the FIA World Rally Championship to open the 2016 season at a dazzling launch in Monte-Carlo this week.

Two of Monaco's most eminent landmarks, the harbour area of its famous Grand Prix street circuit and the stunning Casino, will host the afternoon event on Thursday (21 January).

In the evening the season begins in earnest as competitors in the famous Rallye Monte-Carlo, the oldest event in the WRC calendar, are flagged away from Casino Square ahead of four days of flat-out action on treacherous mountain roads in the French Alps.

During the opening ceremony the roads around the harbour, home to luxurious multi-million pound yachts, will echo to the sound of raucous World Rally Cars.

Celebrities and VIP guests will enjoy high-speed rides alongside top WRC drivers including triple world champion S?bastien Ogier (Volkswagen Motorsport), Thierry Neuville (Hyundai Motorsport), rising star Eric Camilli (M-Sport WRT) and Kris Meeke (Abu Dhabi Total WRT).

Celebrities scheduled to attend include:

    Danny Jones ? lead vocalist and guitarist with chart-topping British pop-rock bands McFly and McBusted. He has also produced and written songs for One Direction.

    Damien Chouly ? French rugby union player with 36 international caps, who made five appearances in last year's World Cup. A back row forward, he captains leading Top 14 league side Clermont Auvergne.

    Michael Nyqvist ? Swedish actor best known for his roles in Mission: Impossible 4 and Stieg Larsson's Millennium series of films, including The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. His latest film is Colonia, in which he stars alongside Emma Watson and Daniel Br?hl.

    Katrina Patchett ? ballroom dancer who won Danse avec les stars on TF1 in France with singer / songwriter Matt Pokora. Her other partners in the show include former tennis Grand Slam finalist C?dric Pioline.

    Jean-Pierre Papin ? French soccer player whose goals fired his country to third in the 1986 World Cup. He played for Marseille, AC Milan, Bayern Munich and Bordeaux and was European Footballer of the Year in 1991.

    Stefanie Heinzmann ? multi-award winning soul and pop singer from Switzerland. Rose to fame after winning a TV talent show and has also appeared as a coach / judge on the Swiss version of The Voice.

    Thomas Helmer ? soccer player who was part of the German team which won the 1996 European Championships. He represented his country 68 times and appeared in two World Cups. He is a TV presenter for Sport 1.

    Other stars due to appear include Finland's former Ajax Amsterdam, Barcelona and Liverpool soccer player Jari Litmanen, French race walker and world record holder Yohann Diniz and popular German TV presenter Kai Pflaume.

    FIA Deputy President for Sport Graham Stoker, representatives from WRC rounds, including the new-for-2016 Rally China, and motorsport executives will also attend the season-opening, organised by WRC Promoter and Rallye Monte-Carlo organiser Automobile Club de Monaco.
A reception in the Hotel de Paris will launch the afternoon events. Outside, Casino Square will be transformed as teams set up a temporary service area from where the high-speed rides will be based, before the 90 competitors start the rally in front of the Casino itself.

Drivers, team principals and guests will be interviewed during the WRC talk show in the hotel and Rally China promoter LeTV, championship partner Lexar, new sponsor DJI, and eSports WRC Championship co-ordinator Bigben Interactive will host presentations.

"Monte-Carlo provides the perfect ambience in which to celebrate the anticipation everyone feels at the start of a new FIA World Rally Championship season," said WRC Promoter managing director Oliver Ciesla.

"We want to build on the success of last year's inaugural launch and host a genuinely special occasion to open the 2016 campaign, an afternoon that not only excites the WRC community but also showcases the championship to the wider public.

"No sooner are the celebrations complete than everyone's thoughts will turn to what the WRC is all about - the world's best rally drivers fighting for tenths of a second, in a night stage, on potentially treacherous Alpine mountain roads.

"These are the challenges that thrill fans and make WRC so unpredictable and spectacular," added Ciesla.

The entire season-opening will be available to watch and listen to at www.wrc.com.

World Rally Championship comes to Channel 5

Posted: January 15, 2016 1:14 PM

Today Channel 5 announces an agreement to broadcast highlights of every round of the FIA World Rally Championship, starting this month. The series begins with the iconic Rallye Monte-Carlo, which will feature in Channel 5's debut programme on Monday January 23rd at 7pm, and ends in November with Rally Australia in Coffs Harbour on the New South Wales coast.

This octane-fuelled spectacle showcases authentic high-performance cars and the worldʼs best drivers competing in dramatic surroundings. These include some of the toughest and most varied conditions on the planet, ranging from the ice and snow of Scandinavia to the stifling heat of Mexico.

Established in its current format in 1973, the WRC is widely regarded as the most challenging motorsport championship in the world. Participants battle for the driversʼ and manufacturersʼ world titles at 14 rallies, spanning 15 countries and five continents.

The season includes classic events such as Rallye Monte-Carlo and Rally Australia, while new to the WRC calendar in 2016 is the exciting introduction of Rally China, which will take place in September just outside of Beijing.

British viewers will probably be most familiar with the exploits of Colin McRae and Richard Burns, who won the World Championship in 1995 and 2001 respectively. The new breed of British drivers includes Kris Meeke from Northern Ireland, whose successes last season included a win in Argentina.

This year, Meeke will compete for the Abu Dhabi Total World Rally Team. Welshman Elfyn Evans, who secured podium finishes last season in Argentina and Corsica, will compete for the Cumbria-based M-Sport World Rally Team, driving the new evolution Ford Fiesta R5. The man they will be hoping to catch in 2016 is three-time World Champion Sebastien Ogier, driving for the hugely successful Volkswagen Motorsport team.

Director of programmes at Channel 5, Ben Frow said:
"We are excited to have such a fantastic sports brand to build on our growing portfolio of sports content. The World Rally Championship attracts a hugely loyal audience and we look forward to showing action from rallies around the world."

WRC Promoter managing director Oliver Ciesla said: "We're delighted to welcome Channel 5 to the WRC as our new broadcast partner. Our agreement will guarantee the most comprehensive free-to-air coverage of the WRC in Britain for many years. A pre-event magazine programme and an hour-long post-event show from all 14 rounds will be supplemented by daily highlights and live coverage of the all-important Power Stage at Britain's penultimate round. It means fans will enjoy the best excitement and drama that WRC offers."

World Rally Championships starts on Channel 5 on Monday January 23rd at 7pm. In addition, the World Rally Magazine will precede each round, broadcast on Spike on Saturdays at 1pm (beginning January 16th)

About Channel 5
Channel 5 launched as Britain's fifth public service channel in March 1997. It reaches 4 in 5 of the UK viewing public each month with a broad mix of popular content. Sister channels 5*, 5USA and Spike complement Channel 5 with a mix of original commissions, and acquired entertainment and U.S. drama, while Demand 5 is a free catch up service available across multiple platforms and devices. In 2014, Channel 5 was the only major commercial free-to-air network to grow audience share across the most valuable TV audiences. Since September 2014, Channel 5 has been owned by Viacom International Media Networks.

WRC and DJI team up in FIA World Rally Championship

Posted: January 13, 2016 9:25 AM

WRC Promoter has signed an agreement with DJI for the world's leading aerial imagery company to provide footage for the FIA World Rally Championship.

DJI's innovative drone and filming technology will provide spectacular aerial footage to showcase the excitement of WRC to fans in the championship's TV programmes.

From the start of the 2016 season at Rallye Monte-Carlo (21 - 24 January), DJI's drone pilots will work with WRC TV at all 14 rounds to generate exciting action footage from angles not typically seen by viewers for integration into broadcasts.

"DJI is very proud of this sponsorship with one of the world's leading motorsports series," said Martin Brandenburg, DJI's marketing director for Europe. "Speed, precision, emotion, professional sport and innovative technology are hallmarks of the WRC. This combination fits perfectly with DJI's core brand values."

WRC Promoter managing director Oliver Ciesla said DJI's expertise in aerial imagery would greatly enhance the quality of the championship's TV coverage.

"WRC generates powerful and vivid imagery in amazing landscapes around the globe and we strive to bring the excitement and drama from the stages to fans in our programmes. To do that we require advanced technology that reliably delivers high quality footage under constantly changing and challenging conditions.

"The pictures from DJI's drones will provide a new viewing experience, enabling fans to watch the action from a different perspective and make WRC programmes even more spectacular," he said.

Fans attending WRC rounds will also have the chance to experience drone technology for themselves at DJI's booth in the rally service parks.

Video: How to make a WRC car - behind the scenes at M-Sport

Posted: January 11, 2016 2:02 PM

M-SPORT'S 2016 LIVERY REVEALED

Posted: January 11, 2016 3:38 AM

The M-Sport World Rally Team Ford Fiesta RS WRCs will be adorned with an evolution of last year's popular livery for the 2016 FIA World Rally Championship (WRC).

The 2015 design quickly became a fan favourite and the team were keen to continue the same theme moving forward.

In a poll conducted by the WRC Promoter on WRC.com, M-Sport's offering was voted the best looking manufacturer car of 2015 with 34 percent of the public vote ? a huge figure when compared to that of their manufacturer rivals.

Continuing the trend, this year's design maintains the eye-catching blue stripes that hark back to some of Ford's most iconic rally cars. The white base however has been replaced with a popular colour from Ford's 2016 palette ? Nitrous Blue.

As well as being applied to the Fiesta RS WRCs of Mads Ostberg and Eric Camilli, the bold new look will also appear on the new evolution Ford Fiesta R5 of Elfyn Evans which is confirmed to start both Rallye Monte-Carlo and Rally Sweden.

Team Principal, Malcolm Wilson OBE, said:
"The 2015 livery was immensely popular so rather than changing it completely, the team opted for an evolution which has created a bold look for our 2016 FIA World Rally Championship campaign.
"Drawing inspiration from what continues to be a strong technical partnership with Ford, this year's colour scheme creates a fresh look for our new team.

"We also continue our partnerships with Michelin, Castrol and our valued trade partners ? without whom this project would not be possible."

EVANS TAKES TO THE FORD FIESTA R5

Posted: January 8, 2016 6:10 AM

Elfyn Evans will take to the wheel of the new evolution Ford Fiesta R5 for a programme in the 2016 FIA World Rally Championship (WRC).

Contesting the WRC's principal support category, Evans' appointment is set to prove the extensive upgrades M-Sport has achieved with the globally successful Fiesta R5.

Following more than six months of development, a number of jokers were solely allocated to increasing engine performance with updates to the cylinder head, pistons, inlet and exhaust cam, exhaust manifold as well as a new clutch/flywheel.

The firm's dedicated team of engineers and designers have achieved an incredible gain of 32bhp at 4500rpm and 56Nm of torque at 4000rpm - the single best development step in any M-Sport engine.

The remaining jokers will be used for chassis related upgrades which are due to be released in March 2016. Items currently being investigated include improvements to the rear aerodynamic device, front bumper, suspension arms, Reiger dampers and auxiliary lighting.

Having secured two podium finishes behind the wheel of the M-Sport World Rally Team Ford Fiesta RS WRC in 2015, Evans is a proven contender and his skill will be used to prove the extent of the team's latest upgrades ? confirming the Blue Oval's position at the top of the WRC 2 standings.

The Welshman has been confirmed to start both Rallye Monte-Carlo and Rally Sweden and will be joined by compatriot co-driver Craig Parry ? a proven navigator with 37 WRC starts to his name.

Elfyn Evans said:
"This programme will allow me to continue my development as I gain further experience of the FIA World Rally Championship events.

"I know the Ford Fiesta R5 to be a competitive car and the upgrades look extremely promising. I'm looking forward to getting back behind the wheel and proving the extent of M-Sport's development.

"I would also like to thank Dan [Barritt] for what has been three great years of co-operation. His knowledge and experience has taught me a great deal and I am extremely grateful for all he has done.

"Now it's time to start a new chapter with a new co-driver and I am looking forward to working with Craig as we look to achieve our shared goals and ambitions."

M-Sport Managing Director, Malcolm Wilson OBE, said:
"We were keen to keep Elfyn in the team and this programme will allow him to continue his progression and gain further experience away from the pressures of the top flight.

"Launching the new evolution Fiesta R5, we were eager to have an experienced driver behind the wheel and I believe that Elfyn will do a great job of proving the extent of our upgrades.

"The Fiesta R5 was already a highly competitive package - winning the FIA European Rally Championship last year - and these upgrades should see Elfyn keep our latest Fiesta at the top of the WRC 2 standings."

CITROEN RACING AND KRIS MEEKE/PAUL NAGLE SET FOR NEW CHALLENGES TOGETHER!

Posted: December 16, 2015 6:15 AM

A month after it announced the launch of a new WRC programme to begin in 2017, Citroen Racing has confirmed that it will be continuing to work together with Kris Meeke for the next three years. In 2016, the British driver's main task will be to work on development of the new World Rally Car designed by Citroen Racing.

Having joined the Citroen Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team at the end of the 2013 season, Kris Meeke has established himself as one of the few drivers genuinely capable of troubling the dominant leaders of the World Rally Championship. Despite his relative inexperience - having only contested 34 WRC rallies by the end of this year - the Northern Irishman claimed his first win just a few month ago after a perfectly controlled performance at Rally Argentina.

Constantly progressing and still with plenty of room for improvement, Kris Meeke represents the first part of the plan put together by Citroen Racing for its return to top-level competition in 2017. After signing a contract that runs until the end of 2018, Kris Meeke and his co-driver Paul Nagle will be able to continue to flourish whilst taking on some ambitious new challenges.

"Various options were available to me to pursue my career, but I chose to stay with Citroen Racing to reap the rewards of the work done over the last two years or more," commented Kris Meeke. "It's also a way of thanking the team for the faith they have shown in me. We now know each other very well and this understanding will be essential in developing the new car successfully. I'm very excited about everything that lies ahead in the next few months. I began my career in motorsport as a design engineer so although I can't wait to get into the car, I'll be following every stage of the design and assembly of the first car with great interest. I'm also very excited about the new FIA regulations, which look set to deliver more powerful and more spectacular cars! Obviously, all of this work is geared towards me being able to fight for more wins and for the world title. Citroen Racing is team with a winning mentality, with fifteen world titles, eight of which were won in the WRC. I am extremely pleased to be part of this new chapter in the history of such a prestigious Brand."

"In terms of our new programme, above all else we wanted an experienced, top-level driver, with sound technical knowledge," added Yves Matton, Citroen Racing Team Principal. "Kris was undoubtedly the best choice and we are delighted that he has decided to stay with us. We have a lot of shared history, with two seasons in the JWRC in the 2000s and then the last couple of years with the DS 3 WRC. However, the most important part of his career is ahead of him, with three seasons to develop and achieve success in the successor to the Xsara, C4 and DS 3 WRC! In 2016, the test programme will be the priority for Kris from April, when initial testing of the new car is set to begin. He will nonetheless keep his hand in as regards racing by taking part in several rounds of the World Championship. Initial details of this private programme will be revealed shortly."

New co-driver for WRC: Andreas Mikkelsen in Polo R WRC with Anders Jaeger

Posted: December 8, 2015 10:19 AM

Andreas Mikkelsen will compete in the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) with a new co-driver: he will henceforth be given his instructions by the 26-year-old Norwegian Anders Jaeger, who is advancing from the Junior WRC straight to the top WRC category. Jaeger therefore follows in the footsteps of fellow Norwegian Ola Floene, who is leaving the Volkswagen team at his own request with a great deal of success under his belt. Mikkelsen achieved 13 of his 14 podium finishes in the World Rally Championship with Floene at his side ? including his highly acclaimed first rally win at Rally Spain in 2015.

"Andreas Mikkelsen is one of the best rally drivers in the world, as demonstrated by his many excellent results," says Volkswagen Motorsport Director Jost Capito. "He came third overall in the WRC in the last two years with Volkswagen and has put us on the podium on 14 occasions. He scored his first win at Rally Spain this year, and he has achieved his biggest successes with Ola Floene as his co-driver. Ola proved himself to be a loyal and fair team player. We would like to thank Ola for his outstanding work and wish him the best of success in his ongoing career. At the same time, we would like to warmly welcome Anders Jaeger to the team. Andreas and Anders are the same age and know each other very well, and they are in with a good chance of becoming a new dream team in the World Rally Championship."

Introducing Anders Jaeger, an up-and-coming co-driver from Norway

After a successful season in the Junior WRC, 26-year-old Anders Jaeger is rising to one of the biggest challenges for a rally co-driver: the top WRC category. As of January 2016, he and Andreas Mikkelsen will compete with the three-time world champions Sebastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (F/F) and the 2014 and 2015 championship runners-up Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila (FIN/FIN), as well as with other seasoned teams driving for Hyundai and M-Sport Ford. Jaeger most recently demonstrated his talent in the Junior WRC together with Ole Christian Veiby (N). He clinched five podium positions in the WRC category for up-and-coming drivers/co-drivers in 2015, two of which were on the top spot. He has previous experience as Andreas Mikkelsen's co-driver in the Polo R WRC, having taken part in some test drives for Volkswagen in Sweden.

Ola Floene leaves Volkswagen after some outstanding years

Andreas Mikkelsen's long-term co-driver Ola Floene is leaving Volkswagen and will henceforth be a strong opponent for the Wolfsburg team as he is pairing up with Mads ostberg (N, M-Sport Ford). The 46-year-old won the Intercontinental Rally Challenge (IRC) with Mikkelsen in 2011 and 2012, and achieved 13 podium finishes with him in 21 rallies in 2014 and 2015 ? including their acclaimed victory at Rally Spain in 2015.

Quotes about the signing of Anders Jaeger

Andreas Mikkelsen, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #9
"After a fantastic season with Volkswagen, we are rising to a new challenge in 2016. With Anders Jaeger, I have an intelligent, professional and talented co-driver by my side with whom I intend to immediately continue in the same successful vein as in 2015 Anders has proved that he has what it takes, and having performed a test drive with him in Sweden I am now looking forward to our first rally together. After a number of great years with Ola Floene by my side, I can already look back on all sorts of great moments in my career. I achieved the biggest steps in my rally career together with Ola, and I learned a great deal from him. I will certainly miss him! I'm incredibly grateful for the incredible moment that we shared by achieving our first rally win in Spain and that neither of us will ever forget. At the same time, I entirely understand his wish to make a change and I wish him all the best and, of course, many more top results in the future."

Anders Jaeger, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #9
"My eventually becoming Andreas Mikkelsen's co-driver has been in the planning stages for a long time and I have worked very hard for this. I am now thrilled to be able to tackle the task together with him. I am proud and also honoured to have been given the opportunity to work with Volkswagen, which is such a professional team. I am confident that Andreas and I will continue to develop and will spur each other on to get better and better. Andreas is highly competitive and is hungry for more success in the future. The same goes for me too. I have already completed some test drives in the Polo R WRC with Andreas and am aware that the speed is different to what I was used to in the Junior World Rally Championship. But with the strength and support of Andreas and the team, we have an excellent starting point from which to achieve success. Now it's time for us to prepare and work really hard."

Interest High As 2016 Drive DMACK Fiesta Trophy Launches

Posted: December 8, 2015 9:57 AM

The Drive DMACK Fiesta Trophy is gearing up to attract even more drivers in 2016 as the ultra-competitive series is set to enter its third season of FIA World Rally Championship action.

Registrations have opened for the Trophy, driven by tyre manufacturer DMACK and rally preparation experts M-Sport, which will once again see emerging drivers from around the world compete for the biggest prize in world rallying.

The popular six-round series will follow a similar format to 2015, retaining the successful double-round points scoring on the final rally in Spain, which saw four drivers heading to the event chasing the title last month.

The 1.0 turbo EcoBoost Ford Fiesta R2 cars will be prepared and run by M-Sport in Poland and equipped with the latest DMACK tyres ? a package which proved both reliable and extremely competitive during the 2015 season.

Gravel rounds on Rally Portugal, Poland and Finland followed by asphalt in Germany and then a mixed-surface event in Spain will ensure the Trophy follows a well-proven and effective format. The best five scores from six rounds will count towards the title and points will also be awarded for stage victories on all events.

Priced at just ?115,000, the Drive DMACK Fiesta Trophy remains extremely cost-effective and the most affordable way for aspiring drivers to showcase their talent on the world stage. As the Trophy is intended for career-minded and developing drivers, there is no age limit and organisers believe the format will be attractive to a large number of European and overseas crews, opening up access to the top level of the sport.

Drivers will fight for the huge main prize of a full seven-round season in WRC 2 in 2017 ? the biggest package on offer in world rallying. In addition all Rookie competitors in the Trophy, and selected privateer drivers who compete on individual events alongside the main Trophy, will be eligible for the Vatanen Touch. A 50 per cent scholarship to the 2017 Trophy will be awarded to the winner at an end of season driver assessment.

Applications are now being accepted with a competitor information brochure available at www.drivedmack.com. While the initial selection of competitors will take place on 26 February 2016, applications will continue to be accepted until the closing date for entries on the first round.

Further details on all aspects of the Trophy and application forms are available from M-Sport's Andrew Wheatley on awheatley@m-sport.co.uk.

Malcolm Wilson OBE, M-Sport managing director, said:
"This year's Trophy was another huge success and the interest that we have received so far indicates that 2016 will be even better. The new evolution Ford Fiesta R2 has proved to be a fantastic platform for drivers to showcase their skills and I'm expecting even more new talent to come to the fore."

Dick Cormack, DMACK managing director, said:
"The format of the Trophy has proven both competitive and popular, and it remains the most affordable way to compete in the WRC. DMACK has always focused on stimulating cost-effective competition by providing an affordable range of performance motorsport tyres and this is just one strand of our strategy to become more involved with helping drivers step from national championships to the WRC."

M-SPORT CONFIRM OSTBERG AND CAMILLI FOR 2016

Posted: December 1, 2015 10:31 AM

M-Sport World Rally Team will field a mix of proven speed and raw talent as Mads Ostberg and Eric Camilli take to the Ecoboost-powered Ford Fiesta RS WRCs for a programme in the 2016 FIA World Rally Championship (WRC).

As a proven podium contender on all loose-surface events, Ostberg's consistent speed will see the team challenge for podiums and potential wins throughout the season.

With one victory and 14 podiums to his name, the Norwegian is a proven performer and delivered a breakthrough performance when he first took to the wheel of the Fiesta RS WRC in 2011.

Securing fourth place in this year's drivers' championship, Ostberg has lost none of his speed and the team are convinced that more wins are well within reach.

Having targeted a number of events in which the Norwegian has the ability to challenge for victory, M-Sport have high hopes of returning the Blue Oval to the top step of the podium.

In a surprise signing for the Cumbrian squad, Camilli will be given a chance at the WRC's top flight ? competing behind the wheel of the top-specification Fiesta RS WRC.

The Frenchman piloted a Ford Fiesta R5 in this year's WRC 2 category and instantly impressed with his natural flair and talent behind the wheel.

He may have only contested 10 WRC events to date, but M-Sport has a reputation for fostering new talent and are highly motivated by the potential he has to offer.

Despite his limited experience, the team believe that Camilli has the makings of a future world champion and aim to nurture his talents throughout 2016 and beyond. Mads Ostberg said:

"I am really looking forward to the season ahead and honoured to have been welcomed back into the M-Sport team. The Ford Fiesta RS WRC has formed a big part of my career and it's a nice feeling to be heading back to a team where I have achieved a lot of success in the past.

"Loose-surface rallies are my favourite, and we saw this year that the new Fiesta can be very competitive on gravel. Our first aim will be to get up to speed and challenge for strong results. Sweden is obviously a real highlight for me ? and one that I will be targeting ? but I think we can also be very competitive on a lot of events that follow.

"I've changed my driving style over the past two years so it will be interesting to see how that works with the Fiesta and whether or not I'll have to go back to my previous style. It's difficult to say how quickly we will be able to adapt, but I remember the Fiesta being really easy to drive. We always had good set-ups and good speed so it shouldn't be too much of a drama.

"I feel as though my driving has progressed a lot recently, and the plan is to continue that progression next year. I want to make another improvement in speed, challenge for more podiums and I think wins could also be a possibility. I want to get faster, and I think I can do that without sacrificing the consistency.

"Another season with a top team was our goal for next year and I would like to thank Malcolm and the team for their continued belief in me. I can't wait to get back behind the wheel of the Fiesta and, if everything goes to plan, it could be a great year for us."

Eric Camilli said:

"This is an amazing opportunity for me and I am extremely proud to join the M-Sport team in 2016. I can't wait to get started. We'll have our first test this week and I'm really looking forward to getting to know the team and the car.

"I have only contested a few WRC events so I recognise that I am extremely lucky to have been given this opportunity. Malcolm is such a big part of the WRC so his confidence and faith in me really does mean a lot; it's very special.

"The priority for next season will be to discover the level required to compete in a world rally car and to learn the Ford Fiesta RS WRC. I know it will be fast - faster than anything I've ever driven before - so I will need to take everything step by step and work hard to improve every aspect of what it takes to become a world class driver.

"I want to do the best job that I can, but I know that I can't put too much pressure on myself at the beginning. I am very motivated, but I know that every driver has to start somewhere and that I will require time to be competitive at the highest level.

"This really is a fantastic opportunity and I want to say a huge thank you to Malcolm and the entire M-Sport team. Everyone has been so welcoming and I want to do them proud as I develop my skills as a manufacturer driver."

Team Principal, Malcolm Wilson OBE, said:
"With Mads and Eric I think we have a very strong team going into 2016. Mads is a proven podium contender and one of the most consistently quick drivers in the championship. As for Eric, I honestly can't remember the last time that I was this excited about a new driver.

"We know what Mads is capable of and I believe he has the ability to put M-Sport and Ford back on the top step of the podium next year. There are a number of events in which he can challenge for victory and that has to be our aim for the season ahead.

"Eric's WRC experience is limited, but I truly believe that he has all the makings of a future world champion. He has already proven how quickly he can adapt to new cars and new events and I think his progression will be swift.

"A lot of thought has gone into our driver signings and I think a very exciting season lies ahead. The team are more motivated than ever and we are all looking forward to discovering what success our new signings can deliver."

Tanak Rejoins DMACK To Launch First Ever WRC Team

Posted: December 1, 2015 10:26 AM

Tyre manufacturer DMACK is stepping up its presence in the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) after signing speedy Estonian Ott Tanak and entering the DMACK World Rally Team in the race for the 2016 championship title.

In close partnership with M-Sport, DMACK will field a Ford Fiesta RS WRC for 28-year-old Tanak on all 14 rounds of the series, competing against the factory teams of Volkswagen and Hyundai in the FIA World Rally Championship for Manufacturers for the first time.

The move also allows DMACK to challenge at the top level of the sport in direct competition with respected tyre manufacturers Michelin and Pirelli.

Tanak and co-driver Raigo M?lder are no strangers to DMACK having competed for the firm's WRC 2 team during 2014, helping them seal the WRC 2 Teams World Championship title. In 2011, Tanak made his world rally car debut with DMACK, finishing sixth overall on Wales Rally GB.

The pair are also familiar with the Fiesta when, after leading Rally Poland for most of the opening day, they scored a podium finish for the M-Sport World Rally Team in July.

Competing for a full season at the highest level of WRC sees DMACK step up its commitment to the championship and is the next phase in the company's aim to supply a top factory team. In September, tyre technical expert Fiorenzo Brivio joined DMACK from Pirelli as the firm signalled its intention to ramp up both development and performance of its motorsport products.

After a two-day asphalt development session in Spain last month, DMACK and Tanak will take part in a cold-weather test at the start of December in preparation for the season-opening Rallye Monte Carlo in January.

DMACK will be represented across all levels of the WRC next season. The 2015 Drive DMACK Fiesta Trophy winner Marius Aasen will take up his prize drive in WRC 2 at the wheel of a Ford Fiesta R5 ? he will be joined by Estonian Sander Parn in a two-car Drive DMACK team.

And, with the Drive DMACK Fiesta Trophy recently launched for 2016, aspiring drivers from across the world will be able to experience WRC action in the most affordable way possible ? while also battling for the biggest prize in world rallying.

Dick Cormack, DMACK managing director, said:
"We've been working on this programme for around six months as part of our three-year development plan. I genuinely believe the combination of M-Sport and Ott is the best platform to help us develop our WRC products and push for leading stage-times when the opportunity arises. DMACK has a clear strategy to challenge for the WRC title in the future and the only way to achieve this is to focus hard on product development and undertake a full WRC programme with the correct partners to prove our performance. Today is yet another step towards achieving our goal of competing at the pinnacle of world rallying alongside Michelin and Pirelli, so I'm looking forward to a great season in 2016."

Ott Tanak said:
"I'm very excited to be joining DMACK again and extremely motivated to carry on the hard work and get closer to the top. We have many good memories from 2014, the team is very hard-working and I know things have moved forward even more since then. We had a tough season but the speed was there and, now that we have much more WRC experience, we will only get better in the future. This is a perfect programme for me, a chance to help DMACK progress and an opportunity for me to demonstrate both my and DMACK's pace. I can't wait to start the season in Monaco."

CITROEN MAPS OUT ITS SPORTING FUTURE - Will sit out the 2016 WRC to develop new car for 2017

Posted: November 30, 2015 6:02 AM

Citroen has won an incredible fifteen world titles over the last twenty-two years, between 1993 and 2015: five in the Cross Country Rally World Cup, eight in the WRC and two in the WTCC. Contributing to the renewal and growth of the company, and to developing a new Brand image, success in motor sport has become hard-coded in Citroen's DNA.
As the 2015 season draws to a close, Citroen outlined plans for its next challenge, chosen to sustain values it holds dear: team spirit, pushing yourself to the limits and creativity. In line with the strategy defined by Carlos Tavares, Chairman of the PSA Peugeot Citroen Management Board, the Brand will concentrate its sporting commitments on a single worldwide programme.

After an in-depth study of all the current motor sport categories, Citroen has chosen to compete in the FIA World Rally Championship. This may almost appear to be the obvious choice if you look at the Brand's past success in the sport, but it is one which is above all focused on the future.

"With eight world titles and a record 94 wins, Citroen has certainly enjoyed unrivalled success in the WRC," reiterated Linda Jackson, Chief Executive Officer of the Citroen Brand. "Rallying is a fascinating sport, which tests the performance, reliability and solidity of the cars and drivers in some magnificent settings. The category is taking off again, with increasingly widespread live television coverage and the arrival of China on the calendar in 2016. In 2017, the appearance of a new generation of cars, which are purported to be very attractive, will coincide with our renewed involvement. Everything will therefore be in place for us to write a new chapter in our history. Given the brand's rich heritage, this challenge had to be ambitious. We will however be modest in our approach, gradually stepping up our objectives to the very top."

Wider, more powerful and more impressive, with imposing aerodynamic features, the 2017 generation World Rally Cars will therefore succeed the cars that first appeared in 2011. This radical change in the regulations will enable Citroen Racing to compete on equal terms with its rivals, after devoting 2016 to development of the new model.

"We have never hidden our interest in the 2017 WRC regulations and the entire team is extremely motivated by this new challenge," commented Yves Matton, Citroen Racing Team Principal. "We like the freedom granted to make the cars more spectacular, but also the possibility of reusing development work done on the Citroen C-Elysee WTCC's engine. With a view to managing our resources efficiently, we have decided to focus all our efforts on designing and developing our new World Rally Car. This is why Citroen will not be competing in the 2016 World Rally Championship as a works team. We will obviously be keeping a close eye on the WRC, both with the organisation of the FIA Junior WRC and with the WRC2 programme for Quentin Gilbert, this year's JWRC Champion*."

A THIRD SEASON IN THE FIA WTCC

Citroen Racing does not however intend to stay out of racing altogether next year. Begun in 2014, the FIA WTCC programme will conclude at the end of a third season. The category leader since its arrival of the circuits of the WTCC, the Citroen Total team will be aiming to successfully defend its Manufacturers' and Drivers' titles. Two Citroen C-Elysee WTCCs will be entrusted to two drivers who have claimed six of the category's last eight world titles*: the Argentinian Jose Mar?a Lopez and the Frenchman Yvan Muller.

"Still determined to make the most of our resources, we will de defending our titles with a team of two works cars," continued Yves Matton. "With the arrival of a new, ambitious manufacturer, we are expecting the competition to be even tougher next year. Pechito and Yvan are used to working together and making the success of the team their number one priority. Next year, they will need to be even more together to enable Citroen to conclude its programme successfully. Other Citroen C-Elysee WTCCs may be entered by the Sebastien Loeb Racing team for private drivers."

"The last two years have undoubtedly been the greatest of my career. I am therefore delighted to be able to continue competing with Citroen Racing in 2016," commented Pechito Lopez. "We are going to keep working, all together, so that the Citroen C-Elysee WTCC remains the category's leading car. And our goal is to defend our titles!"

"I'm proud to have taken part in building what is currently the best team in the FIA WTCC. I'm also honoured to be have been chosen to continue competing on behalf of Citroen," added Yvan Muller. "We have to adjust to the new shape of the team, but we can count on the talent and experience of the team to maintain the same level of excellence."

THE START OF A NEW ADVENTURE FOR SeBASTIEN LOEB

Nine-time World Rally Champion with Citroen, Sebastien Loeb is also one of the most versatile drivers ever seen in the history of motor sport. 24 Hours of Le Mans, F1, GT, Pikes Peak and, of course, the WTCC all feature among the experiences of this prodigiously talented racing driver. For his next challenge, Sebastien Loeb has chosen to take on the Dakar Rally, alongside his long-time co-driver Daniel Elena and as part of the Peugeot Sport team. PSA Peugeot Citroen's iconic ambassador, the Frenchman is switching from red to blue but with the change comes a new chapter that is about to begin.

"This marks the end of one chapter for me, but what I want to focus on today is my satisfaction at having participated in Citroen's success in the WRC and WTCC," stated Sebastien Loeb. "Apart from the figures and the records, we have shared some magnificent experiences together. It's hard to believe that most of the members of this amazing team were already here fifteen years ago! I'll miss their hunger for success and limitless motivation, but I won't be far away? I'm staying within the PSA Peugeot Citroen group to take on a new challenge."

"In the last fifteen years, Sebastien Loeb and Citroen have made history together. It has been an absolutely incredible period that will leaving a lasting mark in the world of motor sport. We would like to thank him for all these wins, titles and records, which have helped to renew the Brand and boost its international reputation," emphasized Linda Jackson. "Sebastien is now about to embark on a new adventure with another brand in the group. We wish them lots of success together, starting with next year's Dakar Rally."

Championship Rounds

Posted: November 30, 2015 5:52 AM

  1. Monte-Carlo - 22-24 Jan 16
  2. Sweden - 12-14 Feb 16
  3. Mexico - 4-6 Mar 16
  4. Argentina - 22-24 Apr 16
  5. Portugal - 20-22 May 16
  6. Italy - 10-12 Jun 16
  7. Poland - 1-3 Jul 16
  8. Finland - 29-31 Jul 16
  9. Germany - 19-21 Aug 16
  10. China - 9-11 Sep 16
  11. France - 30 Sep-2 Oct 16
  12. Spain - 14-16 Oct 16
  13. Great Britain - 28-30 Oct 16
  14. Australia - 18-20 Nov 16
Dates shown are Friday to Sunday.






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