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Tour de Corse (France) - 30 Sep-2 Oct 16

Posted: October 1, 2016 5:20 AM - 3736 Hits

Round 11 - 2016 World Rally Championship

Live Results (Corsica 2016) Also available at: rally-base results
Radio: WRC All Live Audio Stream
News: www.wrc.com
Event Website: Tour de Corse (France)

First stage each day - Irish/UK Times
Shakedown - Thu - 07:00
SS1 Fri - 07:58
SS5 Sat - 08:22
SS9 Sun - 07:55

Video: WRC History - Tour de Corse Winners / Review

Posted: September 29, 2016 10:24 AM

Ogier targets fourth WRC title in Corsica

Posted: September 28, 2016 10:14 AM

Sébastien Ogier will join an elite group of drivers that have won the FIA World Rally Championship four times if he scores maximum points and other results go his way at this weekend’s Che Guevara Energy Drink Tour de Corse (29 September - 2 October).

The Frenchman, who is the reigning world champion after winning rallying’s top prize in 2013, 2014 and 2015, starts his home event with a 59-point advantage over his Volkswagen Motorsport team-mate Andreas Mikkelsen in the drivers’ standings.

If Ogier wins on Corsica’s challenging twisty asphalt roads and scores maximum points on the closing Power Stage, his place in the WRC history books will be secured if Mikkelsen fails to score more than three points and the Hyundai duo of Hayden Paddon and Thierry Neuville register less than 19.

A further six crews still have a mathematical chance of winning the WRC crown but Ogier and co-driver Julien Ingrassia are in pole position to equal the record of Juha Kankkunen and Tommi Mäkinen in scooping four championship titles.

However, Ogier will have to be at his best to guarantee championship number four. His recent record on home soil isn’t good after retiring with gearshift problems in 2015 and losing more than eight minutes on the first day in 2014 with engine issues.

Add into the equation that three quarters of the 390.92km route for this year’s Tour de Corse is new and that five of the ten stages are at least 50km in length, Ogier is well aware that success will need to be earned.

“Corsica is far from an easy rally,” he said. “There are a number of new sections on the route and many of the stages have been altered. I like these kind of changes as it makes the rally a completely new challenge.

“As in Germany, where four drivers were still in contention towards the end of the rally, I expect the race on Corsica to be just as close.

“After Julien and I failed to hit top form in France for the past two years, my own personal goal is to finally drive well again here and to challenge for the win.”

If Ogier fails to win his fourth title in Corsica, the battle will move to the gravel and asphalt stages at RallyRACC Catalunya-Rallye de Espana (13-16 October).

M-Sport World Rally Team - ILE DE BEAUTÉ BECKONS

Posted: September 26, 2016 10:24 AM

M-Sport World Rally Team’s Mads Østberg and Éric Camilli will be looking for a change of fortune next week – taking to the wheel of their Ecoboost-powered Ford Fiesta RS WRCs for the FIA World Rally Championship’s (WRC) legendary Tour de Corse.

Based in Corsica – aptly known as the Ile de Beauté – this beautiful island provides the backdrop for one of the WRC’s most well-known and well-loved sealed-surface events.

Always a challenge, tight and twisty mountain roads are often bordered by sharp rock faces and steep drops into the sea below. The narrow and abrasive stages also mean that mistakes are not lightly forgiven – putting pressure on crews and team to deliver an error-free run through the long and demanding speed tests.

In preparation, Østberg and co-driver Ola Fløene travelled to Germany’s Rally Niedersachsen where they worked on various aspects of their asphalt driving. Focusing on corner entry and exits, the Norwegians gained a wealth of knowledge that they will be hoping to carry forward.

Corsica will also be a special event for Østberg as he celebrates his 100th WRC rally. The Norwegian started his WRC career at the 2006 edition of Rally Sweden and many of his stand-out performances came at the wheel of the Fiesta RS WRC – challenging for the lead of Rally Sweden in 2011 and winning Rally Portugal in 2012.

In the sister M-Sport Fiesta RS WRC, the Tour de Corse is very much a home event for Camilli whose family hail from the start town of Ajaccio.

With the disappointments of the previous round firmly behind them, the Frenchman and his compatriot co-driver Benjamin Veillas will be hoping that home advantage carries some weight as they strive to secure a strong result on French soil.

No stranger to the island, Camilli finished fourth overall when the event formed part of the European Rally Championship in 2014 and claimed a podium spot behind the wheel of the Ford Fiesta R5 as part of his WRC 2 campaign last year.

But before Corsica, the UK beckons for the Frenchman who will attend the popular Rallyday event at Castle Combe alongside Welshman Elfyn Evans – flying the flag for Ford at an event that has become a must for all UK-based enthusiasts.

The Tour de Corse marks Evans' seventh and final WRC 2 event and he and co-driver Craig Parry will be hoping to close their campaign with the victors’ champagne.

Having delivered his best ever WRC performance when the championship travelled to the island last year, Evans knows what it takes to deliver a good result here and will be seeking a strong performance behind the wheel of his Ford Fiesta R5 Evo.

QUOTE, END QUOTE

Mads Østberg said:
“It’s pretty amazing to think that this will be my 100th WRC event. When I look back at those early years, to where I am now, I think I can be proud of what I’ve achieved, but the hard work is not over yet.

“Corsica is always a challenge and I’m sure that this year will be no different. We’ve not had the benefit of a pre-event test, but we took our Ford Fiesta R5 to Rally Niedersachsen earlier this month which proved really useful.

“The aim was to improve our driving on Tarmac and I think we achieved that. We had teams on the stages observing our corner entry and exits, and I hope that we can bring all that we learnt forward to Corsica – where the aim will be to improve where we left off in Germany.

“The Tour de Corse is a unique rally and it has a lot of history so it’s always nice to be there. Asphalt is not my preferred surface, but when you hook up a good stage on these roads it’s quite special and very satisfying.”

Éric Camilli said:
“This is my home event in more ways than one, and an event where I do have some experience. My father’s family are from Ajaccio so it will definitely be a special one for me with lots of friends and family all out spectating.

“It’s not an easy rally, but we have done well there in the past. I first contested the event in 2014 – when it was part of the European Rally Championship – and finished fourth overall. It will be a challenge to repeat that in the WRC, but you never know and you can never predict the result in Corsica!

“The stages are very long with so many tight and twisty corners. You have to have good notes and be fully focussed from start to finish. Germany was obviously a big disappointment for us, but that is in the past. We’re feeling well prepared and fully refreshed after the unexpected break; and determined to produce a good result on French soil.

“Our goal will be to deliver a consistent performance on these beautiful roads, but if the feeling is there, I’d hope to show some good speed too. I can’t wait to get out on the stages with the Fiesta RS WRC. But first, I get to drive at Rallyday in the UK which will be a lot of fun!”

Elfyn Evans said:
“Going back to Corsica brings a lot of special memories from last year. The weather conditions were a little unusual, but I think that was one of my best performances behind the wheel of a rally car.

“The last month certainly hasn’t been a quiet one for me. We wrapped up the British Rally Championship with wins in Ulster and the Isle of Man and attended the media day for Wales Rally GB as well as an event for team partners NGK. This weekend, I’ll be at Rallyday which is a fantastic event and it’s always good to get as much seat time as possible in the lead-up to a rally.

“This will be our last outing in the WRC 2 championship. Our goal is always to score maximum points and if we can have a clean run then I think that is achievable. We’ll go out there and do our best, but in terms of the championship it will be a case of wait and see after that.”

Team Principal, Malcolm Wilson OBE, said:
“Congratulations to Mads on what will be his 100th WRC event. It’s a big achievement for any driver and I’m proud to say that a lot of his stand-out performances came at the wheel of a Fiesta.

“We’ve not had a pre-event test for this event, but he contested Rally Niedersachsen earlier this month to work on his asphalt driving. The goal will be to improve on his performance in Germany, and we’re confident that he can do that.

“This is Éric’s second home event of the year and he is determined to produce a solid performance next weekend. He knows this event quite well and is no stranger to the island which will certainly help. Germany was obviously a big disappointment for everyone, but I’m pleased to say that he has already put it behind him and is fully focused on getting the job done in Corsica.

“This will be Elfyn’s final WRC 2 event. We had a small team working alongside him and they have to compete without the advantage of a large test programme. Regardless, they have taken everything in their stride and proved the performance of the Fiesta R5 whilst truly taking the fight to their WRC 2 rivals. I’m certain Elfyn has the ability to secure maximum points next week, then, it will be up to the others to try and catch him.”

Craig Breen hoping his past experience will bring success on WRC Tour de Corse.

Posted: September 26, 2016 10:21 AM

This week Abu Dhabi Total World Rally Team driver Craig Breen returns to the World Rally Championship and heads to the island of Corsica for his fourth outing of 2016 using a Citroen DS3 WRC. Run by PH Motorsport the team will enter two cars at the Tour de Corse, the French round of the World Rally Championship. Team-mate Kris Meeke and Craig will be tasked with keeping up the team’s run of good results having taken first and third places on the podium at their last event in Finland.

Returning to the WRC calendar in 2015, the Tour de Corse remains one of the world’s most famous rallies! Held between September 30th and October 2nd, the 59th edition looks set to be especially demanding, with 390.92km of timed stages taking in Ajaccio, Bastia and Porto-Vecchio. With the exception of the Power Stage, the stages are notable for their length, all lying between 30 and 50km.

Last year proved to be a very difficult event for everyone when torrential rain and the cancellation of some of the stages made conditions treacherous over the slippy asphalt. For Kris Meeke and his co-driver Paul Nagle it will mark a return to tarmac which they haven’t competed on for almost a year. Surprisingly as it turns out Craig and his co-driver Scott Martin are actually more experienced than their team-mates on the island. The Irish driver has competed at the Tour de Corse for the last four years. Sixth in 2012 in the IRC, Craig finished just shy of the podium places in the 2013 European Rally Championship round, before retiring in 2014 and finishing fourth in the WRC2 last year. This will be Craig’s big opportunity after his success on gravel to show off his speed and consistency on his preferred surface and on a rally that is known as the “Rally of 10,000 Corners”.

Before he departed for Corsica Craig was enthusiastic but very realistic:
“I really love this rally. The narrow, bumpy roads at the Tour de Corse remind me of the ones you get in Ireland and perhaps that's why I feel so at home here. The rally format is different to what we are used to in the WRC. There is the added endurance dimension, with the first day with no service and a lot of miles to cover. We'll have to adapt to this rhythm, staying calm on the long road sections before invoking a bit of fighting spirit at the start of the stages! That aside, we know what to expect at this rally: weather that can make tyre choice difficult, managing wear on the brakes, the need to maintain concentration on narrow, twisty 50km long stages… It'll be difficult, starting with recce! I don't think that there is a better place for me to contest my first tarmac rally in a WRC. Although I'm starting almost from scratch, I know that the team will do everything it can to help me feel confident. It would be unrealistic to try and match the podium from Finland; I would be delighted with a top-six finish!"

10,000 corners and a duo with its sights set on the title

Posted: September 26, 2016 9:42 AM

Tame a “wild beauty” and make history: Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (F/F) could be crowned world champions with Volkswagen for the fourth time in a row at their home event in the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) – and that despite still having three rallies to come after the French round. To have any chance of converting their first “match point”, and drawing level with rally legends Juha Kankkunen (FIN) and Tommi Mäkinen (FIN) on four world championship titles, the current championship leaders must win at the Rally France on Corsica (29/09–02/10/2016). At the same time, however, they would also be dependent on other results going their way. As it stands, seven driver/co-driver duos are still in with a mathematical chance of winning the world championship, including all three crews in the Polo R WRC. The possible connotations mean it is well worth following the action at the Rally France on Corsica, which is also known as the “Rally of 10,000 Corners” – as do the ten special stages on rough, sometimes crumbly asphalt, which amount to a spectacular 390.92 kilometres against the clock.

The racing line between A and B, what feels like 10,000 times – Corsica corners

They say that if you find a straight longer than 150 metres on the pre-rally “Recce”, then you are on the wrong island. One corner leads straight into the next at the Rally France on Corsica. However, the landscape is not the only thing that gives Corsica, also known as the “Wild Beauty”, its very specific character. With the exception of the closing Power Stage, every special stage is at least 30 kilometres long – a physical endurance test for the drivers and a mental challenge for the co-drivers, who must call out the pace notes with perfect timing. Compared to the 2015 Rally France on Corsica, 70 per cent of this year’s route is new. The rally kicks off with the “Acqua Doria–Albitreccia” stage, all 49.72 kilometres of which are new territory. The second stage of the Friday of the rally is “Plage du Liamone–Saroll Carcopino”, which also featured on the 2015 itinerary. Saturday features some classic sections of route, including “La Porta–Valle di Rostino” and “Novella–Pietralba”, which have helped make the Rally France on Corsica a classic on the WRC calendar. As well as the longest stage of the rally, the 53.78-kilometre “Antisanti–Poggio di Nazza”, the Sunday is all about the closing Power Stage “Porto-Vecchio–Palombaggia”.

A duo that could be crowned world champions...

… Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia. What could be better than winning your home round of the World Rally Championship? That’s obvious: winning and being crowned world champions there. If Ogier/Ingrassia are to win the Driver and Co-Driver titles for the fourth time with races still to come, then victory in France is an absolute must. Second place will not do. At the same time, their rivals – six of which are still mathematically in contention – must largely leave Corsica empty-handed.

Two duos that could keep the title race alive ...

... Andreas Mikkelsen/Anders Jæger and Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila. The two Volkswagen duos are dependent on different circumstances if they are to keep their title hopes alive. Should Mikkelsen/Jæger, who are currently second in the world championship, finish eighth or higher, they would take the title race into round eleven of the season in Spain, regardless of whether or not Ogier/Ingrassia pick up a full haul of points. Should the French duo win the rally, then victory on the closing Power Stage for the Norwegians would also keep their championship dreams alive.

Hayden Paddon/John Kennard (NZ/NZ, Hyundai) and Thierry Neuville/Nicolas Gilsoul (B/B, Hyundai), currently third and fourth in the overall standings with identical points, would have to finish at least second in Corsica, and come no lower than second on the Power Stage, in order to prevent Ogier/Ingrassia celebrating the title in France – provided the championship leaders score maximum points. All the other driver/co-driver duos – above all Volkswagen’s Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila – must simply lose as few points as possible to the world championship leaders, or preferably gain as much ground as possible, in order to keep the world championship open. Should Latvala/Anttila drop no more than three points to Ogier and Ingrassia, they will remain in the title race.

Five weeks, three rallies – no rest for the wicked in the World Rally Championship

Almost 1,000 hours – 956 hours and 50 minutes, to be precise – have passed since the start of the last special stage at the Rally Germany and the start of the opening stage at the Rally France. The FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) returns with a bang after a long break. After the Rally China had to be cancelled at short notice, giving the drivers, co-drivers and teams an unexpected breather of about five weeks, October features three rallies in quick succession, in France, Spain and Great Britain. Or, to take the metaphor further, 51 special stages in 30 days.

Quotes ahead of the Rally France

Sébastien Ogier, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #1
“Firstly, I hope that the weather on Corsica plays ball this year, after parts of the rally had to be cancelled last year due to torrential rain. There are a number of new sections of route, and many of the special stages have been altered. As such, it is important to do an accurate Recce. I like these kind of changes, as it makes the rally a completely new challenge. On the whole, Corsica is far from an easy rally. As in Germany, where four drivers were still in contention towards the end of the rally, I expect the race on Corsica to be a similarly close affair. After Julien and I failed to hit top form here for the past two years, my own personal goal is to finally drive well again at the Rally France and to challenge for the win.”

Jari-Matti Latvala, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #2
“I have won the last two rallies in France, and am obviously hoping for a good result again this year. I like driving on the asphalt in Corsica. The surface is very rough and also quite bumpy in places. You cannot cut the corners so much. That means that you get less dirt on the roads and the grip level is consistently high. I like asphalt rallies like this one, so I am really looking forward to Corsica. The routes there have a huge number of corners, and there are actually no straights longer than 150 metres. I think that will suit me. There are only a few stages, but they are very long. Tyre management can be crucial on such long stages.”

Andreas Mikkelsen, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #9
“I am looking forward to the Rally France, because a unique asphalt rally awaits us on Corsica. The special stages, which are few in number but very long, are full of corners and technically demanding. Previous races there have shown that you need to look after your tyres and brakes, and to be very fit. If you simply floor it without thinking, you will be punished at this rally. In my opinion, the first special stage will be key, as you must immediately find your rhythm for the entire rally. Although I probably prefer a more varied rally, with a mix of short and long stages, my co-driver Anders and I are ready and in top form ahead of this challenge. Although the championship is still up for grabs, I am actually focussing more on the men behind us – Paddon, Neuville and Jari-Matti. I am out to extend my advantage over these guys with a podium result.”

Sven Smeets, Volkswagen Motorsport Director

“What feels like 10,000 corners on just ten special stages – the Rally France on Corsica is a real challenge for the drivers and co-drivers. As one of the classics on the WRC calendar, it is rather special. The whole team is looking forward to Rally France, even though it’s not an easy event from a logistically point of view. Particularly Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia are particularly looking forward to the event. They have a slim chance of being crowned world champions with races to spare. However, so too are their team-mates Andreas Mikkelsen/Anders Jæger and Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila, who are out to prevent precisely that. Our rivals at Citroën, Hyundai and M-Sport-Ford are determined to win this prestigious rally. There will certainly be plenty of material for the headlines.”

Number for the weekend: 53

World champions in 53 points, at the latest: the title race is in the final straight. Supposing Ogier/Ingrassia’s closest rivals – Volkswagen team-mates Mikkelsen/Jæger – score maximum points from now until the end of the season, the French duo must score a further 53 points to be crowned world champions for the fourth time. They could achieve this, for example, by finishing fourth at the remaining four rallies and winning the Power Stage twice.

COULD THE FIA JUNIOR WRC BE DECIDED AT THE TOUR DE CORSE?

Posted: September 26, 2016 7:45 AM

The fifth round of the season, the Tour de Corse is the next challenge for the FIA Junior WRC crews. Simone Tempestini, winner of three of the first four rounds, is already in a position to win the title and the prize on offer: a six-race programme in the 2017 WRC2 behind the wheel of a DS 3 R5. The Italian will find a large contingent of French drivers attempting to block his path, all determined to do well at their home event!

The Tour de Corse is one of the icons of the World Rally Championship, having featured on the calendar when it began in 1973. The event will be a genuine physical challenge for the crews, who must in particular complete 160 kilometres of timed stages on Friday with no service period, and tackle a massive 53.78 kilometre stage on Sunday. The cars will also be sorely tested, with the brakes and tyres needing to be managed on the demanding mountain roads.

Simone Tempestini, winner of the opening two rounds of the season (Portugal and Poland), added a third victory in Germany at the first round to be contested on tarmac. The young Italian driver can secure the title here at the fifth round of the FIA Junior WRC before the final event of the season in Wales. He “just” has to finish first or second, regardless of where his rivals finish.
“I took part in the Tour de Corse last year and I enjoyed it. I’d even go so far as to say it’s one of my favourite rallies,” revealed Tempestini ahead of the event. “I don’t feel particularly under pressure and I’m very keen to put in a good performance. The target is to win.”

Ole-Christian Veiby is currently best placed to challenge for the title. His victory in Finland was the ideal way to get back into contention. However, finishing seventh in Germany after going off the road twice has left his title hopes hanging by a thread. If he is to have any chance, then he really must win in Corsica… and hope that Tempestini doesn’t finish just behind him!

Mathematically speaking, Terry Folb and Vincent Dubert are also still in the title hunt. But realistically, they will above all be looking to put in a good performance at home. Last year, Folb finished second in the FIA Junior WRC in Corsica. The progress he has made, confirmed in Germany with a fine series of stage wins, means he can aim for victory. Vincent Dubert, who has seemed more comfortable on gravel, will be looking to grab a podium finish for the first time this season. This will also be the goal for Romain Martel, who competed at the Tour de Corse last year, but in four-wheel drive car.

This fifth round will also provide some of the rising stars of French rallying with a chance to shine. Competing on behalf of the FFSA French team, Yohan Rossel and Laurent Pellier will be looking to measure themselves against the leading lights of the category. Rossel – the former Junior French Rally Champion in a DS 3 R1 – and Pellier, his successor, currently hold the top two places in the French Citroën Racing Trophy, contested in DS 3 R3s. Yohan Rossel has already finished third at the French round of the FIA Junior WRC.

The French contingent will be completed by William Wagner, who took part in the Corsican event last year in the R2 category. This will also be his second appearance in a round of the FIA Junior WRC: Wagner drove his DS 3 R3-MAX at the final round of the 2015 season, finishing fifth at Wales Rally GB.

Mohamed Al Mutawaa, who started out in single-seater racing, will be hoping to use his track experience to do well at this second tarmac rally of the season. The Abu Dhabi Racing driver will also be starting a new working relationship, with co-driver Stuart Loudon. Martin Koci, twice runner-up this year in the FIA Junior WRC, will be hoping to make his turn of speed and his experience tell in this, his third season in the category. This will nonetheless be his first appearance at the Tour de Corse.

WRC2: THREE DS 3 R5 IN CORSICA LINE-UP

The Tour de Corse will be a good opportunity for three French drivers to showcase their skills in their DS 3 R5s. Quentin Gilbert has fond memories of the Tour de Corse, having secured the FIA Junior WRC title in Corsica following his win here last year. He will be aiming for a top-five finish, as will Yoann Bonato, who also has experience of competing in Corsica, even if his last outing here was almost ten years ago. The real local hero in Corsica will obviously be Pierre-Louis Loubet. Sixth in Italy and Poland, then fifth in Germany, he will be very keen to perform well on his native island.

LIST OF FIA JUNIOR WRC ENTRIES

    61. Simone Tempestini – Giovanni Bernacchini
    62. Ole Christian Veiby – Stig Skjaermonen
    63. Martin Koci – Lukas Kostka
    64. Terry Folb – Franck Le Floch
    65. Vincent Dubert – Alexandre Coria
    66. Romain Martel – Vanessa Lemoine
    71. Mohamed Al Mutawaa – Stuart Loudon
    72. Yohan Rossel – Benoît Fulcrand
    73. Laurent Pellier – Benoit Neyret-Gigot
    74. William Wagner – Antoine Paque
FIA JUNIOR WRC DRIVER STANDINGS
    Simone Tempestini 93 pts
    Ole Christian Veiby 56 pts
    Terry Folb 48 pts
    Vincent Dubert 44 pts
    Martin Koci 42 pts
    Romain Martel 40 pts
    Mohamed Al Mutawaa 26 pts

Entry List

Posted: September 20, 2016 6:39 AM

Loudon joins world-beating team for WRC return

Posted: September 12, 2016 10:09 AM

Glasgow rally star Stuart Loudon will return to the World Rally Championship later this month, joining the prestigious, world rally-winning Abu Dhabi Racing Team for the legendary Tour de Corse.

The Scottish co-driver joins rising UAE star Mohamed Al Mutawaa aboard an Abu Dhabi Racing Team DS 3 R3T on the September 29-October 2 event. Ahead of the Bastia-based world championship qualifier, Stuart and Mohamed will meet for a test in Lyon, France on Friday September 23.

The Tour de Corse will be Loudon’s first outing in the Junior WRC, the feeder series for the main world championship field, and his first time competing in Corsica.

“I’m really excited about the chance to co-drive Mohamed in Corsica,” said Loudon. “Everybody in the sport knows about the challenge this island provides – it’s not known as the rally of 10,000 corners for nothing!

“Mohamed’s shown plenty of pace in what is a very competitive Junior WRC field this season. He’s clearly a talent for the future and is coming from a region where rallying’s really popular. Abu Dhabi is synonymous with success in the world championship thanks to Sheikh Khalid Al-Qassimi and, of course Kris and Paul winning in Portugal and Finland earlier this season.

“The chance to join a team of the standing and professionalism of Abu Dhabi Racing is a fantastic opportunity for me and one I intend to make the most of. I’m fortunate that one of my closest friends in the sport – Scott Martin – works for the team co-driving Craig Breen. Scott’s already given me some guidance about what to expect from Corsica.

“The event will also be my very first time competing in a DS 3 R3T, it’s always nice to get more experience of another car.”

Mohamed admitted he was looking forward to welcoming Stuart aboard the Abu Dhabi car. He added:
“This is a great opportunity for me. I look forward to working with Stuart and to learn from his experience. I think we will have good chemistry on the stages in France.”

Stuart Loudon Q&A on his World Rally Championship return

How did this opportunity come about?
SL: “I got a telephone call from the Abu Dhabi Racing Team to ask if I would be available to co-drive for Mohamed [Al Mutawaa] in Corsica. The answer was an immediate yes!”

What do you expect from Corsica?
SL: “It’s a very technical rally and possibly not the easiest to join a new team and new driver in a new car. There’s an element of being in at the deep end here, but I’m really relishing the challenge. Everybody knows about the challenge this event poses, it’s corner, corner, corner all the time, so the pace notes have to be absolutely perfect.”

The test ahead of the event will be important for you to get used to Mohamed’s notes?
SL: “It will. I understand Chris Patterson [Sheikh Khalid Al-Qassimi’s co-driver] will be at the test to work with Mohamed and give him an insight into what’s needed from pace notes at the highest level. This is a fantastic chance for me to work with a guy like Chris as well – he’s one of the best and most experienced co-drivers in the World Rally Championship.”

This is a busy time for you at the moment…
SL: “All of my life I’ve worked towards the becoming a professional co-driver in the World Rally Championship. The chance to work with Abu Dhabi Racing Team is brilliant and another vital step towards achieving my goal.”

Abu Dhabi Racing Team

Based out of the world-leading Yas Marina Formula 1 circuit, the Abu Dhabi Racing Team is led by World Rally Championship star Sheikh Khalid Al-Qassimi.

As well as sporting success, this Abu Dhabi-based company’s aim is to further the emirate’s presence in global motorsport.

Along with the Sheikh and co-driver Chris Patterson, the Abu Dhabi Total WRT's 2016 challenge is led by Kris Meeke/Paul Nagle, Craig Breen/Scott Martin and Stephane Lefebvre/Gabin Moreau. Those four crews are driving DS 3 WRCs on selected rounds of this year’s World Rally Championship.

Meeke/Nagle and Breen/Martin achieved the team’s best result of the season so far, finishing first and third on the world’s fastest rally: Rally Finland.

In addition to those elite World Rally Car crews, Abu Dhabi Racing Team is also running a development programme for junior drivers, offering burgeoning stars such as UAE’s Mohamed Al Mutawaa a programme and a platform to launch and cement their careers at rallying’s highest level.

Kris Meeke/Paul Nagle and Craig Breen/Scott Martin to compete at Tour de Corse

Posted: September 7, 2016 6:26 AM

Abu Dhabi Total WRT will enter two cars at the Tour de Corse, the French round of the World Rally Championship. Kris Meeke/Paul Nagle and Craig Breen/Scott Martin will be tasked with keeping up the team’s run of good results, whilst Stéphane Lefebvre and Gabin Moreau will continue their recovery following their accident at Rallye Deutschland.

Having returned to the WRC calendar in 2015, the Tour de Corse remains one of the world’s most famous rallies! Held between 30 September and 2 October, the 59th edition looks set to be especially demanding, with 390.92km of timed stages taking in Ajaccio, Bastia and Porto-Vecchio. With the exception of the Power Stage, the stages are notable for their length, all lying between 30 and 50km.

Abu Dhabi Total WRT is entering two World Rally Cars for crews from the British Isles at this round: Kris Meeke/Paul Nagle and Craig Breen/Scott Martin, the latter pair standing in for Stéphane Lefebvre and Gabin Moreau, who were initially scheduled to compete in Corsica.

This will be Kris Meeke’s fourth appearance at the Tour de Corse. In 2005 and 2006, the Northern Irishman tackled the island’s narrow, twisty roads in a Citroën C2 Super 1600. Last year, he finished fourth in what proved to be a very demanding event, marked by torrential rain and the cancellation of some of the stages. Following their wins in Portugal and Finland, Kris and Paul return to tarmac, a surface on which they haven’t competed for almost a year.

Surprisingly, Craig Breen and Scott Martin are actually more experienced than their team-mates in Corsica. The Irish driver has competed at the Tour de Corse for the last four years. Sixth in 2012 in the IRC, Craig finished just shy of the podium places in the 2013 European Rally Championship round, before retiring in 2014 and finishing fourth in the WRC2 last year. After scoring a stunning third place in Finland, the young Irishman would love to show off his turn of speed and consistency at the ‘Rally of 10,000 Corners’!

Meanwhile, Stéphane Lefebvre and Gabin Moreau will continue to rest and recuperate. Since going off the road at Rallye Deutschland, the talented young Frenchmen have made a rapid start to their recovery.

After spending time at the Pitié-Salpêtrière hospital in Paris, Stéphane was allowed to return to his home in the north of France. “Going back home was a key step for me,” he explained.
“I stopped using the crutches to walk very quickly and can now get around easily enough, even though I still have some pain in my ribs. To keep myself busy, I took out a cable TV subscription and I’ve been spending time on a driving simulator! When my lower back is strong enough again, I’ll be able to start working on specific physiotherapy sessions with Citroën Racing’s osteopath. I hope to be in Corsica just to observe the event. That will allow me to spend time with the team before considering when I’ll be back in action at a rally. The aim is to drive competitively again before the end of the season!”

Meanwhile, Gabin Moreau was transferred to Strasbourg hospital for a second operation on his tibia. In a few days’ time, he’ll be able to continue his recovery in a rehabilitation centre:
“According to the doctors, my progress has been quick since the operation, which involved removing the pins that had been put in place in Germany. Obviously, I can’t put any weight on my foot as yet, but I have been able to begin moving around whilst taking the right precautions. As soon as I’m sufficiently independent again, I’ll be able to spend a few days at home. After that, I’ll continue my recovery in a specialist centre. The whole process will take several weeks, so it’ll probably take a bit longer than Stéphane but we are both determined to start working together again as soon as possible.”

Rally Guide / Event Wesbite

Posted: July 14, 2016 12:14 PM






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