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Monte-Carlo - 22-25 Jan 15

Posted: December 23, 2015 7:54 AM - 8925 Hits

Round 1 - 2015 World Rally Championship

Breen clinches second in Monte Carlo.

Posted: December 21, 2015 11:32 AM

WRC Rallye Monte Carlo has made its infamous reputation from years of being the most challenging conditions for drivers to master. For Peugeot Rally Academy driver Craig Breen he went there relishing whatever the all asphalt event could throw at him as he felt being a previous class winner on the rally it was the perfect opportunity to take the top step of the podium once again. On this rally more than any other drivers can often experience multiple seasons in one stage so car set-up, weather and tyres needed to be considered. Even after the pre event shakedown Craig and his co-driver Scott Martin felt they had the right package around them going into the event but it was always going to be a quest to work out the best configuration for their SAINTELOC Racing run 208 T16.

When the nine times world rally champion comes to the end of the first stage at gives an account of how difficult the conditions were you can take his word for it and for Craig it was the same, in disbelief as to how tricky it was to navigate the 208 T16 safely through the icy night stage. The Peugeot Rally Academy driver was more comfortable on the stage that followed and managed third fastest time just 2.9 seconds off stage winner Eric Camilli to arrive at the overnight halt in Gap fourth in the WRC-2 standings. It was French driver Stephane Lefebvre that led the way into the first loop of stages on DAY 2 (Friday) Lots of ice and mud on them was spread around by the leading World cars and it made the road surface even more treacherous for Craig and the rest of the WRC-2 entries. Although the times steadily improved during the day Craig and the SAINTELOC Racing team struggled for set-up perfection and ended the day as they started, 4th. As the opening stage of DAY 3 was cancelled on safety grounds that meant the crews were faced with one huge 51.7km stage before service. The stage though mainly dry had ice patches in the shady areas just waiting to catch the drivers out and when Craig reached the end of the stage he was clearly deflated when he found that he was over a minute down on the best WRC-2 time. It was from that moment on that his rally was transformed. Changes made by the team engineer in the midday service gave Craig the car he had being trying to find since the beginning of the rally. Right from the next stage the Peugeot Rally Academy driver was on the pace and although he had slipped back to fifth at the end of the day there were three more stages on Sunday morning and only twenty seconds dividing him and the second step on the podium.

It was all on nothing as the final day kicked off and the excitement was palatable. It was going to be a battle between Craig, Camilli and Martin Koci to catch second placed Armin Kremer in the hope of stealing his position. Camilli drew first blood on the opening stage of the day with Craig just over four seconds in arrears but on the next stage everything turned on its head when not only did the Peugeot Rally Academy pair blitz the time sheets to catch and pass Kremer by one second but Camilli and Koci had cracked under pressure and put themselves out of the fight. Craig cemented his position by going fastest again on the final stage to take his first podium this year and with it eighteen valuable championship points. Craig and Scott now return to their Peugeot Rally Academy duties in the FIA European Rally Championship where they move on to round two in Latvia.

Tuthill Porsche wins Monte Carlo R-GT opener

Posted: December 19, 2015 12:53 PM

Tuthill Porsche is celebrating tonight, following victory in the world-famous Monte Carlo Rally. Driving a Tuthill Porsche 911 in the R-GT category, Frenchman Francois Delecour finished almost three minutes ahead of rival, Romain Dumas, to win the opening round of the inaugural R-GT Cup.

"We've won rallies in Porsche 911s on every continent, but no rally means more to Porsche fans than Monte Carlo, site of so many classic moments in Porsche history," said delighted team boss, Richard Tuthill. "To win this event with a personal hero, the great Francois Delecour, is extremely special and something I will always remember.

"An overall Porsche win is no longer possible in the modern World Rally Championship, but we treasure this win just as much. Fighting equally committed competitors in capable cars right to the finish was incredible. This year's Monte Carlo Rally showed just how exciting R-GT rallying can be with more cars taking part.

"It also proved that the spirit of competition is alive and well and living in rallying, when a technical query before the event required the agreement of our competitors for us to continue. Huge thanks for their wholehearted support, and huge thanks also to our sponsors: Visit Romania, EXE-TC Suspension, Millers Oils and Michelin Tyres. Their excellent products undoubtedly helped us to win this event."

Francois Delecour and co-driver Dominique Savignoni set quick times from the start of the 2015 Monte Carlo Rally, building a lead of more than three minutes as they entered the fourth and last day's rallying. Over the final three stages, including the treacherous Col de Turini, Delecour shrugged off extreme pressure before sealing a memorable victory: the first Monte Carlo Porsche win since 1978.

"This rally has been a huge challenge," said Francois. "Snow and ice on the twisty mountain roads makes a great test for the driver! The final day of managing the gap to Dumas while driving quickly to keep concentration was not easy: I am just so happy now! We will celebrate tonight with family and friends, and this amazing team of Tuthill Porsche."

The Monte Carlo win puts Tuthill Porsche and Delecour on top of the 2015 R-GT Cup: a five-round FIA championship for R-GT cars. The next R-GT round is the Geko Ypres Rally in June, which Tuthill Porsche has previously won in historics, as part of a victorious Belgian championship campaign.

"Ypres is a mega event," says Richard Tuthill. "Starting with a Monte Carlo win in our pocket, a wonderful car that the fans absolutely adore and this incredible driver and co-driver pairing will be a dream come true. R-GT rallying is a brilliant experience: we want to see more drivers signing up for 2015, hopefully using Tuthill Porsche 911s!"


Posted: December 19, 2015 12:50 PM

Robert Kubica, running on Pirelli tyres, showed this combination to be the fastest one on this year's Rallye Monte-Carlo, winning four stages and finishing second on two more. Kubica's winning margin on the longest stage of the rally (Lardier et Valenca-Faye, at 51.70 kilometres) was the biggest one of the entire rally at 33 seconds. Unfortunately, he was forced to retire after going off the road on the final corner of the penultimate stage, as a result of a technical problem that he reported after the accident.

Kubica's four fastest times came on three different types of surface ? ranging from ice to dry asphalt ? using three different types of Pirelli tyres. The Pole was fastest on Sottozero tyres, with and without studs, as well as on the RKSS supersoft tyre ? which he used to set his fastest time on the long SS10, underlining the durability of the tyre as well as the pure performance.

This tyre has a special compound designed to find grip even in the coldest and most slippery conditions, using some of the same technology seen in Pirelli's Ultra High Performance road car product. The latest range of P Zero Trofeo tyres, which are road-legal tyres primarily designed for track days, have been evolved from the RK used in world championship rallying.

"I actually didn't think I was going that quickly," said Kubica, after setting fastest time on the stage. "I knew that our choice of tyre was good, but there was very little grip from the road. Still, we carried on and I was quite surprised to see the time. A big thank you to Pirelli for doing such a good job on one of the hardest rallies for tyres on the championship."

As usual, Rallye Monte-Carlo contained a huge variety of surfaces and weather conditions, ranging from full ice and snow, with temperatures in the region of minus 10 degrees centigrade, to dry asphalt and temperatures of plus 10 degrees centigrade.

This always makes Monte Carlo one of the most complex rallies of the year in terms of tyre choice, with crews allowed to use 34 tyres from an allocation of 82 in total, covering all the possible conditions.

Martin Prokop started his first full season with Pirelli by finishing ninth in his privately-run Ford Fiesta RS WRC, having overcome a number of difficulties on the event but finding the grip when it mattered most. "Even though it's not obvious to know what to do on this rally, the tyres give you confidence," he said.

Fiesta driver Lorenzo Bertelli was instead making his World Rally Car debut in Monte Carlo, finishing the event down the order as the result of a small mistake that had big consequences, when he got stuck just off the road on Saturday and lost more than an hour. Nonetheless he learned a lot over the course of the weekend, which will stand him in good stead as he tackles a full season this year with new co-driver Giovanni Bernacchini.

In the WRC2 championship, which Bertelli led with Pirelli for the majority of last year, former European Rally Champion Armin Kremer finished third, despite driving an older Skoda Fabia S2000 against modern R5 machinery. He used his experience to make the right tyre choices throughout the 15 stages, which was never an obvious task.

Pirelli senior tyre engineer Matteo Braga said: "All our drivers were able to adapt themselves well to the varying conditions and information from the safety crews, consistently finding the best performance from the tyres in a wide range of weather and surfaces. What Robert managed to do was exceptional, especially during Saturday when he showed speed and consistency on the longest and most challenging stage of the rally, demonstrating a performance advantage that nobody else could match. Robert took on a new challenge this year in running with his own team and a private car, quickly getting up to speed with a tyre product that he had only sampled for the first time a week ago, during testing. He made a very big impression."


Posted: December 19, 2015 12:46 PM

After arriving in Monaco last night, the Rallye Monte-Carlo crews began the final leg this morning with a 45-minute service period. Tyre choice was above all dictated by the goals set for the closing stages of the rally. <

The Citroen Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team's sights were set on scoring points in the Power Stage. Kris Meeke went quickest on SS13 before Sebastien Loeb claimed the 905th stage win of his World Championship career at the end of the Col de Turini test.

On the Power Stage, Kris Meeke topped the timesheets again. The Briton thus collected the three bonus points on offer, as he finished just ahead of Sebastien Loeb.

Like last season, Mads Ostberg recorded a brilliant fourth place at the end of the Rallye Monte-Carlo. Despite rejoining under Rally2 rules yesterday, Sebastien Loeb and Kris Meeke nonetheless finished in the points, in eight and tenth positions.

Stephane Lefebvre made a brilliant start to his season in the FIA WRC2 championship in his DS 3 R5 as he secured a clear win in the category. Quentin Gilbert was the first of the FIA Junior WRC drivers in his DS 3 R3-MAX, ahead of Christian Riedemann and Ole Christian Veiby.

Next up is even more ice and snow at Rally Sweden on 12-15 February!


Yves Bonnefont (CEO of the DS brand):
"To kick start the celebrations of the 60th anniversary of the DS, reuniting the DS 3 WRC and Sebastien Loeb at the legendary Rallye Monte-Carlo was a special, one-off occasion. Long before the World Championship was created, the DS had already won twice in Monaco. I'm delighted by how much the entire team enjoyed working once again with Sebastien and the enthusiasm of the fans for our project. The 2015 Rallye Monte-Carlo was a huge celebration of rallying, which went far beyond the stages themselves and the purely sporting side of the event, setting the tone for this year's 60th anniversary of the DS!"

Yves Matton (Citroen Racing Team Principal):
"On behalf of the entire team, I would like to thank Seb and Daniel for having accepted to take part in this year's Rallye Monte-Carlo with the Citroen Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team. They rose to the challenge we set for them with exceptional verve and determination. After fourteen months away from the WRC, they showed they had lost none of their talent in finishing with the most stage wins. We showed that the 2015-spec DS 3 WRC was very competitive, winning eight stages out of a total of fourteen. Kris fought hard right to the end and won the Power Stage and Mads was exemplary throughout the rally. I know he is already thinking about Rally Sweden!"

Mads Ostberg:
"I'm very happy to reach the end of this year's Rallye Monte-Carlo in fourth position. We were consistent and quick. Perhaps we might have hoped to do a little better, but fourth position is a good result. I'm now going to concentrate fully on Rally Sweden, which starts in less than two weeks."

Sebastien Loeb:
"We enjoyed that! We managed to find the pace and the DS 3 WRC was perfect. When we set off on the first stage, it was as if Daniel and I had never been away! I was very pleasantly surprised by the feeling and the times we set right from the word go. The first two legs were nonetheless very difficult, but we had to push given we were fourteenth in the running order. The conditions didn't really work in our favour and a minor mistake proved very costly. But that takes nothing away from the fun we had in the DS 3 WRC. We experienced a lot of good moments. It was a really great experience for Daniel, at home, and for me!"

Kris Meeke:
"The aim was to try and score some points in the Power Stage in order to end the rally on a high. I managed the tyres on SS14. That undoubtedly helped me to keep a 0.2-second gap at the end of the last stage. I won a few stages and we were quick. So that's a very pleasing point, because it means we clearly have the speed to compete."


Posted: December 19, 2015 12:43 PM

1. Sebastien Ogier / Julien Ingrassia (Volkswagen Polo R WRC) 3:36:40.2
2. Jari-Matti Latvala / Miikka Anttila (Volkswagen Polo R WRC) +58.0
3. Andreas Mikkelsen / Ola Floene (Volkswagen Polo R WRC) +2:12.3
4. Mads Ostberg / Jonas Andersson (DS 3 WRC) +2:43.6
5. Thierry Neuville / Nicolas Gilsoul (Hyundai i20 WRC) +3:12.1
6. Dani Sordo / Marc Marti (Hyundai i20 WRC) +3:12.6
7. Elfyn Evans / Daniel Barritt (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +5:23.7
8. Sebastien Loeb / Daniel Elena (DS 3 WRC) +8:34.7
9. Martin Prokop / Jan Tomanek (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +9:54.8
10. Kris Meeke / Paul Nagle (DS 3 WRC) +10:55.6

DMACK’s Fab Fifth Season Kicks Off With Monte

Posted: January 24, 2015 10:29 AM

DMACK will begin its fifth season as an authorised tyre supplier to the FIA World Rally Championship next week with the traditional season-opener on the iconic Rallye Monte Carlo.

After winning the WRC 2 Teams World Championship last year and proving the performance of its tyres across the season, DMACK has its sights set firmly on further developing those products during the first half of 2015. The company plans to undertake an ambitious asphalt testing programme and introduce a new range of sealed-surface tyres – with the aim of significantly boosting asphalt performance.

In the meantime, the focus is firmly on Monte – one of the most famous, well-known and respected rally events, it provides a unique challenge for both competitors and tyre manufacturers.

The traditional asphalt speed tests ribbon their way through the high-altitude mountain passes and it’s that terrain, mixed with the traditional tough winter conditions, which make the event a classic.

Experience of the conditions, predicting the weather and making compromising decisions around tyre choice can make a winning difference. Drivers can expect to face snow, ice, dry and wet asphalt – often all in the same special stage. And to cope with the diverse conditions experienced on the event, DMACK will provide five different asphalt tyres.

For snow and ice-covered roads, competitors will use DMACK’s DMT-ICE in either studded or un-studded form – both tyres featuring upgraded construction and compound changes to maximise performance. The studded tyre is equipped with nearly 200 metal pins – each protruding 2mm to help bite into the frozen ice and extract as much grip as possible from the cold conditions.

For dry, wet and mixed asphalt roads, crews will turn to the proven DMT-RC asphalt tyre which DMACK retains from last year. It is available in three compounds – the hard H3, soft S3 and the extra soft XS3. Competitors in WRC 2 are allowed to use a maximum of 30 tyres for the event from a complex allocation of 74 tyres.

Event Details
One again based in the town of Gap in the Hautes Alpes region of France, Rallye Monte Carlo will kick off with a glitzy start outside the Casino in Monaco on Thursday evening before crews tackle two night-time stages on the way north to Gap.

Friday’s action is held further north and sees two passes over a new three-stage loop in the Hautes Alpes and Isère regions. Competitors return to Monaco on Saturday via the classic Sisteron test and the huge 51.70km run through Lardier et Valença - Faye. Sunday sees more familiar territory with three stages taking in the legendary Col de Turini where thousands of fans line the mountain pass to catch some of the most exciting action the event has to offer.

Dick Cormack, DMACK managing director, said: “Monte Carlo is renowned for its classic format and hugely demanding conditions where there is a real focus on tyre choice and performance. DMACK brings five different tyres to help competitors master the conditions and once again we continue to evolve our range, offering competitors a range of tyres that build on our championship-winning success in 2014.”


Posted: January 24, 2015 10:09 AM

Pirelli will put its tyres to the test on asphalt, gravel, ice and snow during the upcoming World Rally Championship season – and grand prix winner Robert Kubica will head the company’s challenge in a Ford Fiesta RS WRC.

Kubica scored two outright rally wins last year using Pirelli tyres and will continue his partnership with the Milan manufacturer when he enters his third WRC season. Also using Pirelli tyres are Czech driver Martin Prokop, who switched to the Italian firm in Spain last October and has proved to be a regular points finisher, as well as Italy’s Lorenzo Bertelli, who steps up to the main WRC1 class this year after leading WRC2 for much of 2014.

Leading Pirelli drivers on Rallye Monte-Carlo

Robert Kubica is among a number of drivers using Pirelli products in the 2015 WRC, which begins with the iconic Rallye Monte-Carlo from January 21-25. Confirmed runners include on the asphalt event include:

    16 Robert Kubica (POL)/Maciej Szczepaniak (POL) Ford Fiesta RS WRC
    21 Martin Prokop (CZE)/Jan Tomanek (CZE) Ford Fiesta RS WRC
    37 Lorenzo Bertelli (ITA)/Giovanni Bernacchini (ITA) Ford Fiesta RS WRC

    36 Julien Maurin (FRA)/Nicolas Klinger (FRA) Ford Fiesta R5
    41 Armin Kremer (DEU)/Klaus Wicha (DEU) Skoda Fabia S2000
    42 Henk Lategan (ZAF)/Barry White (ZAF) Skoda Fabia S2000

    25 Olivier Burri (CHE)/Fabrice Goron (FRA) Ford Fiesta R5
    26 Felice Re (ITA)/Mara Bariani (ITA) Citroen DS3 R5
    28 Marco Giuseppe Silva (ITA)/Giovanni Pina (ITA) Ford Fiesta R5
The tyres
For Rallye Monte-Carlo, Pirelli will supply its latest generation RK and RKW tyres, first introduced on Rallye Deutschland last year and now evolved for 2015 to take on board the lessons learned from last season. The hard compound RK5A will be used in the unlikely event of dry conditions with the soft compound RKW7 available if it is cold and damp. A supersoft tyre, RKSS, will also be supplied for Rallye Monte-Carlo along with the latest Sottozero, which comes with and without studs. The Sottozero is ideal in the event of slush and snow on the road.

The rules
Tyre quantities are down in 2015 with five tyres allowed per change on Rallye Monte-Carlo, plus four additional spare tyres. However, there is no restriction on tyre use in shakedown to encourage drivers to undertake more running. In total, World Rally Car drivers can use 34 tyres from an allocation of 82. Prior to the start of the season, tyre companies registered one tyre for asphalt use, available in hard and soft compounds, and one for gravel use, again in hard and soft compounds. Tyre companies can also provide a supersoft compound for Rallye Monte-Carlo only (RKSS) plus a snow tyre (Sottozero) with studs and without studs. Regulations also require the use of 18-inch wheel rims. The tyre quantities for Rallye Monte-Carlo are as follows:

RKH (hard compound, for abrasive and dry conditions): WRC: 8/WRC2: 8
RKS (soft compound, for wet and mixed conditions): WRC: 16/WRC2: 16
RKSS (supersoft compound, for icy, black ice and low grip): WRC: 24/WRC2: 16
Sottozero (without studs): WRC: 10/WRC2: 10
Sottozero (with studs): WRC: 24/WRC2: 24


Paul Hembery, Pirelli Motorsport director:
“Rallye Monte-Carlo is one of those iconic events in motorsport, right up there with the Monaco Grand Prix, Le Mans, or the Indy 500. So we can think of nowhere better to start the season and welcome Robert Kubica into our family, off the back of his double victory with Pirelli last year at the Monza Rally and Bettega Rallysprint. Having returned to the World Rally Championship last year, a series that forms an important part of our history, we’re delighted to be able to offer our private customers competitive products that proved capable of winning stages against the factory teams last year.”

Matteo Braga, Pirelli senior tyre engineer:
“We start Rallye Monte-Carlo just a few weeks after our dominant 1-2-3 finish on the European championship Jannerrallye. While the weather conditions were very consistent in Austria, we must be prepared for changeable weather on Rallye Monte-Carlo. You can have one stage that’s completely dry and then the next stage could have full snow so tyre choice is always a compromise. Because of that, our tyre range for Monte Carlo has been designed to be particularly adaptable to a very wide range of conditions. And there’s the logistical challenge due to the increased quantities of tyres we must bring to the event and the use of two service parks.”

Breen moves on to Monte and the WRC.

Posted: January 24, 2015 10:08 AM

Be it motor racing or rallying Monte Carlo is steeped in heritage for every driver and not only does the principality host the 83rd running of its World famous rally this year but it also marks the beginning of the 2015 World Rally Championship. For Peugeot Rally Academy driver Craig Breen he goes there as a previous winner having won the SWRC (Super 2000) class in 2012 on his way to winning the championship that year. Peugeot have also enjoyed success winning two times using the 207 S2000 with Sébastien Ogier (2009) and Bryan Bouffier (2011) so the enigma of what it takes to master this challenging all asphalt event for both car and crew has already been unlocked. Craig and his co-driver Scott Martin are very much hoping that history will repeat itself this time using the ERC contender SAINTéLOC Racing run Peugeot 208 T16 and allow them to open their WRC-2 points scoring account in the best possible way as they begin a Peugeot supported seven round assault on this championship as well as their ERC campaign.

What may appear as a straight forward sealed surface rally in a nice part of the world the event hasn’t achieved its legendary status by being easy. Unpredictable mountain weather brings varied conditions where drivers can face snow, ice and dry roads sometimes in the same stage. Over the course of the event it’s sometimes it’s the brave tyre choices or tactics that will reward the brave as the teams strive for a balance between tyre grip and longevity through the long twisty stages.

Pre event shakedown takes place on Wednesday (Jan 21st) afternoon but it’s not until after the cars cross the start ramp in “Place du Casino” on Thursday evening (22nd) that things will get serious for the Peugeot Rally Academy pair when the cars will set off into the darkness to tackle two 20km stages on their way North to Gap, the host city for day one.

Although experience will play a valuable role in reading the conditions and the changing grip level this year the rally boasts a 75% route change compared to that of last year. Friday (23rd) is made up of three new stages in quick succession north of Gap with the loop repeated again after a midday service. Saturday brings the rally back to its roots when the cars will transverse some of the more familiar classic stages as they take the long way back to Monaco. The final leg Sunday (25th) will keep with tradition seeing the action in the Alpes Maritimes Mountains above Monaco and featuring the iconic “Col de Turini” which is sure to draw thousands of spectators. The crews then return for the finish outside the Palace in Monaco, with monarch Prince Albert presenting the prizes.

You can keep up to date with Craig’s 2015 season by visiting www.craigbreen.com or www.peugeot-sport.com


Posted: January 17, 2015 3:45 PM

Inaugurated last year, the partnership forged between Citroën Racing and the FIA to support the champions of the future enters into its second season. Over the last fifteen years, Citroën Racing has enabled several drivers to cut their teeth on the WRC stages. Sébastien Loeb (2001), Dani Solà (2002), Dani Sordo (2005), Sébastien Ogier (2008), Martin Prokop (2009) and Stéphane Lefebvre (2014) have all won titles in the category dedicated to young rally drivers in a Citroën.

Several new features have been introduced for the 2015 season. The calendar now features seven rounds, from which each driver must choose the six rallies at which he – or she – would like to score points. Rallye Monte-Carlo returns to this year’s programme, offering competitors the chance to test themselves on one of rally’s legendary events.

The car has also changed. Launched at last year’s Rallye Monte-Carlo, the DS 3 R3-MAX is now the official car of the FIA Junior WRC. It sets the benchmark in terms of performances in the two-wheel drive category.
Eleven crews feature in the line-up for this opening round, and others are expected to join the championship later, starting at Rally de Portugal in May. Among the initial list of entrants, three drivers will be able to call upon the experience acquired in 2014.

The German Christian Riedemann (fifth, with two podium finishes), Simone Tempestini (eighth) and Kornel Lukacs (eleventh) have opted to remain in the FIA Junior WRC.

Among the newcomers, many have moved up the pyramid structure put in place by Citroën Racing to help drivers reach the upper echelons of the sport. Yohan Rossel is already seen as one of the rising stars of this programme. Winner of the FFSA’s “Rallye Jeunes” (Young Rally Drivers) initiative with Citroën Racing, he won the French Junior Championship and the Junior Citroën Racing Trophy in a DS 3 R1 before moving up to international level this year. Like Yohan, Daniel McKenna has also benefitted from being part of Citroën Racing’s driver development programme. British rally champion in DS 3 R3, he is also taking his first shot in the world championship.

Quentin Gilbert and Alessandro Re, former winners of the Citroën Racing Trophy, are following the same path. Terry Folb, Yohan Rossel’s rival in 2014, also continues his rise through the ranks, moving up from the DS 3 R1 to the DS 3 R3-MAX.

Like last year, a woman will also be venturing into the international arena for the first time. After spending several years competing in the French Championship, Charlotte Dalmasso will also be making her debut at world level in a Citroën DS3 R3-MAX.

The Norwegian Ole Christian Veiby, one of the leading drivers in the Swedish Rallycross Championship and in his national championship, could be another star attraction in the 2015 line-up.

In addition to the Drivers’ and Co-drivers’ titles and the Nations Trophy awarded after Wales Rally GB, the winner of the FIA Junior WRC will earn the chance to compete in six rounds of the 2016 WRC2 in a DS 3 R5. Last season’s winner, Stéphane Lefebvre will be competing at Monte-Carlo in a DS 3 R5!


Yves Matton (Citroën Racing Team Principal):
“We have made some minor changes to the regulations to attract even more young drivers. These new points mean that we already have a record number of entrants. At Monte-Carlo, eleven DS 3 R3-MAXs will be taking part. Many others will be added to this total at Rally de Portugal. The field is made up of a mix of loyal participants in our promotional formulas and some newcomers. The pyramid that was put in place by Citroën Racing many years ago is now regarded as a benchmark. The systems aimed at identifying talented young drivers and the programme introduced with the national Citroën Racing Trophy further emphasize the commitment of our team. We’re preparing for the future and the talented drivers of tomorrow are putting their faith in us!”

Quentin Gilbert:
“The FIA Junior WRC lets us continue to compete in the World Championship in ideal conditions, with a fantastic car! It’s a very interesting category with an FIA title and a WRC2 drive for the winner. I think we have a chance of winning this year. We are starting to rack up quite a bit of experience. Beginning the season at Monte-Carlo is exciting. It’s the most iconic rally and one of the trickiest. The conditions change all the time. You have to improvise quite a lot. The aim is to win the category, but above all I want to be well placed in terms of the championship. Big points will be required in order to be relaxed going into the upcoming rounds.”

Charlotte Dalmasso:
“I’m very aware of what an opportunity this is for me! The World Championship is a new adventure for me. I’ll be experiencing everything for the first time at Monte-Carlo: the roads, the conditions and the DS 3 R3-MAX. I’ve never driven competitively on snow before. I’ll adopt a cautious approach to try and make it to the end. But if I get the chance to produce a good performance, then I’ll grab it!”


    51 – Charlotte Dalmasso (FRA) / Marine Delon (FRA)
    Driver date of birth: 12 October 1991
    Team: ISC Distribution
    Runner-up in the Women’s French Rally Championship in 2014, Charlotte
    Dalmasso made her debut in the category in 2011. She is competing in her first international programme this year.

    52 – Simone Tempestini (ITA) / Matteo Chiarcossi (ITA)
    Driver date of birth: 12 August 1994
    Team: Napoca Rally Team / Keane Motorsport
    Eighth in the FIA Junior WRC last season, finishing fifth in Finland and Germany, Simone will be able to call on his experience to target better results in 2015.

    53 – Ole Christian Veiby (NOR) / Anders Jaeger (NOR)
    Date of birth: 17 June 1996
    Team: Printsport
    After two seasons in the Norwegian Championship and a fifth place finish in the Swedish Rallycross Championship, Ole Christian made his competitive debut in the WRC last year in Spain and Wales in a DS 3 R3. At just 18 years old, he is the youngest driver in the field at the opening round.

    54 – Daniel Mc Kenna (IRL) / Andrew Grennan (IRL)
    Date of birth: 3 April 1987
    Team: DMK
    British Rally Champion last season in a DS 3 R3, Daniel McKenna has moved up a level for 2015. After two appearances at Wales Rally GB, this is his first campaign at world level.

    56 – Alessandro Re (ITA) / Giacomo Ciucci (ITA)
    Date of birth: 23 May 1990
    Team: D-MAX Racing
    A regular on the roads of Italy, he finished third in the IRC in 2014 in a DS 3 RRC after winning the Citroën Racing Trophy in 2013. Alessandro Re has only taken part in one previous WRC event: that was at the 2013 Rally Sweden, in a DS 3 R3.

    57 – Yohan Rossel (FRA) / Benoît Fulcrand (FRA)
    Date of birth: 13 February 1995
    Team: FFSA / PH Sport
    Winner of the FFSA’s “Rallye Jeunes” (Young Rally Drivers) initiative in 2014, Yohan also won the French Junior Championship and the Junior Citroën Racing Trophy last season. At just 19 years old, he is the new star of the FFSA French Rally team.

    58 – Terry Folb (FRA) / Franck Le Floch (FRA)
    Date of birth: 26 May 1990
    Team: Daumas Racing
    Third in last year’s French Junior Championship and third in the Junior Citroën Racing Trophy in a DS 3 R1, Terry Folb is now taking on a new challenge in the WRC, after spending two seasons competing in France.

    59 – Kornel Lukacs (HUN) / Mark Mesterhazi (HUN)
    Date of birth: 5 September 1991
    Team: LHG
    Kornel took part in his first season at World level in 2014, competing in the FIA Junior WRC and scoring points in Poland and Germany. He is one of three ‘old hands’ from last year.

    60 – Quentin Gilbert (FRA) / Renaud Jamoul (BEL)
    Date of birth: 29 May 1989
    Team: DG Sport
    Former winner of the Citroën Racing Trophy in France, Quentin took part in the FIA WRC2 Championship in 2014. With his experience, he is one of the favourites this season.

    61 – Christian Riedemann (DEU) / Michael Wenzel (DEU)
    Date of birth: 27 August 1987
    Team: Wurmbrandt Racing
    Fourth in the WRC3 and the Citroën Top Driver in 2013, fifth in last year’s FIA Junior WRC, Christian is very experienced at World level in the DS 3 R3. In contention for long periods to win the title last year, he’ll be one to watch in 2015!

    62 – John Wartique (BEL) / Gabin Moreau (FRA)
    Date of birth: 25 June 1990
    Team: J-Motorsport
    Originally a circuit racing driver, first of all in saloon cars and then in single-seaters in the GP3 Series, John has decided to take his career in a different direction. Close to the family of Bruno Thiry, he has only taken part in a handful of rallies to date.


Posted: January 17, 2015 10:06 AM

New season, new colours… and the return of two familiar faces! Sébastien Loeb and Daniel Elena return to action in a DS 3 WRC to contest the Rallye Monte-Carlo. The legendary crew, winners of nine world titles and 78 rallies (including seven wins in Monaco), is set to cause a stir with the Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team.

To start the new season, several significant upgrades have been made to all three of the DS 3 WRCs entered: engine, suspension, aerodynamics, gearbox, etc. “The DS 3 WRC is a very accomplished car, but we have worked hard to make it even more competitive,” commented Xavier Mestelan-Pinon, Citroën Racing’s Technical Director. “For example, we have focussed our efforts on the engine so that it delivers more power and torque, whilst also improving reliability. Taking advantage of the changes in the regulations, we have reintroduced steering wheel-mounted paddles for the gear changes. Other significant improvements have been made to the aerodynamics, with a new spoiler and a new front end that will be introduced shortly, as well as to the weight distribution with the use of lighter parts. Lastly, we have altered the kinematics of the rear suspension. Work is ong oing and, in the next few months, we will be presenting another aerodynamic upgrade.”

The sporting regulations have also been changed for 2015. At each event, the running order for the crews will mirror the championship standings on the Friday and Saturday. On the final day, the reverse order of the overall rally standings (for P1 and P2 drivers) will be used. In Rally2 (rejoining the rally after a retirement), the penalty applied has been increased from 5 to 7 minutes for each stage missed. And the cars allowed to rejoin will be first on the road. Another important point: it is now forbidden to relay information and split times to the crews during the stages.


The Rallye Monte-Carlo opens the new World Rally Championship season. A legendary round – which reaches beyond the confines of the world of motorsport – the Monaco-based rally is a special event in the WRC.

With the DS in the 1950s and 1960s, then the Xsara, C4 and DS 3 in more recent times, Citroën Racing has one of the best competitive records at the event. As regards Sébastien Loeb and Daniel Elena, they hold the record number of wins here, with seven victories between 2003 and 2013! Third in the World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) in 2014, Sébastien Loeb returns to WRC after more than a year away from world rallying. Still accompanied by co-driver Daniel Elena, the French ace didn’t hesitate for a second when Yves Matton offered him the chance to drive the DS 3 WRC again.

The most famous driver/co-driver pair in the history of rallying will be competing to score points for the Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team alongside Kris Meeke and Paul Nagle. The Northern Irishman will be taking part in his seventh Monte-Carlo… but only his second in a WRC. However, his lack of experience didn’t prevent him from grabbing a podium spot in 2014 with the DS 3 WRC!

Competing at all rounds on the 2015 calendar, Mads Østberg and Jonas Andersson will be behind the wheel of the third DS 3 WRC between Gap and Monaco. The Norwegian has only started this event on two previous occasions: he was sixth in 2013 and fourth last year, just behind his team-mate!

Former winners of the Citroën Top Driver series and among the leading crews in the FIA WRC2 Championship last year in a DS 3 R5, Sébastien Chardonnet and Thibault de la Haye will be competing in the opening round of the season in a privately-backed DS 3 WRC.

Stéphane Lefebvre, the 2014 FIA Junior WRC champion, will this year be competing in the FIA WRC2 Championship in a DS 3 R5, alongside co-driver Stéphane Prévot. In total, three DS 3 R5s are competing in this category.


Yves Matton (Citroën Racing Team Principal): “Monte-Carlo is a very important rally for Citroën Racing. The context at the start of the season, with the one-off return of Sébastien Loeb and Daniel Elena, makes it all the more special! We know that they will come under great scrutiny and that just the fact of being here will cause a stir. For the entire team, this first round has been eagerly awaited. We’ll get to see the results of several months of work. The DS 3 WRCs have been upgraded with the aim of increasing performance. Our rivals have undoubtedly made improvements too, so we have to manage to remain competitive. Our aim is to remain among the best and the efforts of the team, its experience, the return of Sébastien Loeb and the progress made by Kris Meeke and Mads Østberg are our strengths.”

Sébastien Loeb:
“When Citroën Racing offered me the chance to take part in this rally, it didn‘t take long to decide! Monte-Carlo is held on French roads. I love the atmosphere and how close we get to our supporters. I’m also happy to get that special feeling back in the DS 3 WRC! On the first day of testing, I had to get back into the swing of things, but it all came back to me pretty quickly! The driving style is very different to what I have become used to with the C-Elysée WTCC. With four-wheel drive and normal roads, you have to improvise a lot more. These tests were useful, but it is always difficult to prepare for a Rallye Monte-Carlo. You can’t predict what the conditions will be like on the day. My aim is to be competitive, but we have to remember that I haven’t driven in a rally at this level for over a year. Ever y time I start a race, I give it my best shot. It’ll be no different this time and if we can fight for the win, so much the better!”

Kris Meeke:
“I’m happy to start a new year with the Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team. In 2014, I was experiencing the vast majority of the rallies on the calendar for the first time. I learned a lot and I realised just how important it is to rack up the miles and experience. Generally speaking, all drivers make progress in their second full season and I hope I’m no exception to the rule. I also think that the work done on the DS 3 WRC is going to help us to go even faster. Citroën Racing has always enjoyed great results at Monte and the team has extensive experience of the event. And although it’s impossible to predict what’ll happen at this rally, being able to count on a team like this is obviously a big advantage. My goal is to fight for one of the leading places.”

Mads Østberg:
“I felt good at the end of the 2014 season. Continuing with the Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team is very positive. I learned a lot last year with a new car and a new team. And although it’s always difficult to set goals at the start of the year, I want to keep improving. I am going to take each race as it comes and I hope that this approach will pay dividends. Monte-Carlo is potentially the most difficult rally of the year. Depending on the conditions, you can have dry tarmac, wet tarmac, shiny ‘black top’ tarmac, ice and snow… and sometimes all with the same tyres! It can be a big challenge. In order to have a good Monte-Carlo, you need to make the right tyre choices, have good pace notes, good gravel crews and the right team!”

Stéphane Lefebvre:
“It’s a brand new challenge for me. In a four-wheel drive car, everything goes more quickly. During the off season, I started working on adapting my pace notes to this new speed with Stéphane Prévot. The end of my 2014 season, with two races in a DS 3 R5, meant that I have been able to hit the ground running a little bit in this learning process. I’m ready for Monte-Carlo. I have taken part in this rally once before, but the route was different. I feel that I have great support from Citroën Racing, the PH Sport team, Stéphane Prévot alongside me in the car and Alexandre Bengué as my gravel crew driver. It’s now up to me to make the most of all these assets to be competitive.”


The shakedown is due to take place on Wednesday, 21 January from 4.00pm to 8.00pm at Chateauvieux, six kilometres to the south of Gap.

The rally kicks off the following day from Place du Casino in Monaco at 6.30pm for a first leg designed to send the drivers and teams to Gap. After two night stages (Entrevaux – Rouaine and Norante – Dignes les Bains), the first car is expected to reach the service park at 11.26pm.

Friday’s leg will begin at 8.10am with two new loops of three stages (La Salle en Beaumont – Corps, Aspers les Corps – Chauffayer and Les Costes – St Julien en Champsaur), split by the midday service in Gap at 12.37pm. The cars are due in Parc Ferme at 6.02pm.

On Saturday, the crews will set off from Gap towards Monaco as they tackle four more conventional stages: two runs on Prunières – Embrun, the 51.70-kilometre long Lardier et Valenca – Faye and the 36.85 kilometres of the famous Sisteron – Thoard test.

The rally concludes on Sunday after a single loop… The day starts with the Col St Jean – St Laurent test before the crews tackle the long version of the Col de Turini as part of the 31.66-kilometre long La Bollène Vésubie – Sospel stage. A second run on Col St Jean – St Laurent will serve as the Power Stage, starting at 12.08pm. The crews will leave the service period and head for the podium ceremony at 1.49pm.

Please note: unlike in previous years, crews will be authorised to rejoin under ‘Rally2’ rules at Rallye Monte Carlo but only on the first two days. Any crews that retire during Saturday’s leg, however, will not be entitled to rejoin the rally on Sunday.


Posted: January 17, 2015 9:14 AM

M-Sport World Rally Team’s Elfyn Evans and Ott Tänak will be looking to master the notoriously difficult conditions of Rallye Monte-Carlo next week as they pilot their EcoBoost powered Ford Fiesta RS WRCs on the opening round of the 2015 FIA World Rally Championship (WRC).

Known as one of the jewels in the WRC crown, Monte-Carlo has become famed for its unpredictability. Varying conditions are to be expected. Dry asphalt, wet asphalt, ice and snow can all be found in the same loop, and occasionally the same stage, making it one of the most demanding rallies of the year.

Compromise is key and intelligent tyre choices can make all the difference. The crews require the ability to read the road and the necessary grip in both dry and wintery conditions – a fact which makes the team’s strategists and ice note crews all the more important.

The drivers’ relative inexperience is combined with a wealth of experience in their ice note crews this year. Gwyndaf Evans and Timo Kankkunen head the crews for Evans and Tänak respectively – Kankkunen boasting two decades of Monte experience having assisted both Juha Kankkunen and Mikko Hirvonen in previous seasons.

With a move to the Hautes-Alpes, tougher conditions are to be expected and M-Sport’s young team will draw strength from the experience around them as well as their natural talent and intuition.

For Evans, this year’s event presents a very different challenge to that of 2014. Twelve months ago, the rally marked a daunting start to the youngster’s maiden season with the Fiesta RS WRC but he and co-driver Daniel Barritt came away with a highly respectable sixth place finish.

One year on, the Welshman is poised to improve his performance on each of the WRC’s 13 rounds – increasing his speed and confidence on all surfaces. The competition will be tough, but Evans will be hoping to make a strong start to his 2015 campaign with a composed and competitive drive.

Returning to the Fiesta RS WRC for 2015, Tänak’s appointment was a popular move for the team. The Estonian has contested the event on one previous occasion – finishing eighth overall in 2012 – but there is no doubting his speed and ambition.

Partnered by co-driver Raigo Mõlder, the duo will be looking for a solid start to the year. Using the event to gradually build their speed and reaffirm their familiarity with the top specification Fiesta, they could well spring a few surprises in the early phases of the championship.

M-Sport’s young team may be inexperienced but they will be sure to put their raw talent – as well as the experience of those around them – to good use next week; applying all of their skills in pursuit of a strong result.

Elfyn Evans said:
“Last year was the beginning of a fantastic opportunity, but at the same time we had very little experience of the [Ford] Fiesta RS WRC and we hadn’t been to Monte-Carlo before so there were a lot of new things to learn. It was a very challenging position to be in, but this year everything is much more familiar. The car in particular is a lot more familiar. The event will still be very difficult, but with a full year of competition under our belts I’m really looking forward to it.

“The biggest challenge is undoubtedly the changeable weather conditions – not just from stage to stage but also within a stage. To be successful you need to make smart tyre choices and ultimately find the best compromise for each loop. I’m sure this year’s event will be no exception to that.

“If we can secure a solid result to start the year that would be great. This is a difficult rally so if we can get to the end with glimpses of speed and some good consistency I’ll be happy. We’re keen to build the speed and have the speed there more consistently throughout the year. Of course some events will be stronger than others, but I’m really looking forward to getting started.”

Ott Tänak said:
“I’m expecting a tough event next week. I’ve only done it once before and that was in 2012 when the conditions weren’t as tricky as they have been more recently. It looks as though we could have some wintery conditions this year so we’ll need to stay calm and steady.

“The conditions change all the time. In some places you’ll have full snow and in others there will be patches of Tarmac. Sometimes there’ll be full grip, and sometimes there’ll be no grip at all! It’s really difficult to find the confidence without going over the limit, but we are drivers and that is our job. We need to find the balance between being fast, and being comfortable –nowhere is that more of a challenge than at Monte-Carlo so it is going to be a really tricky start to the year.

“We tested at the end of last year and the feeling was good. We did a lot of mileage and even though I was driving the [Ford] Fiesta R5 for most of 2014, I have a lot of experience with the [Ford] Fiesta RS WRC so it didn’t take long to get back into the groove.

“The hardest part is finding that sweet spot – that special place between being close to the limit without going over it. That will take some time, but if we start smoothly and work up to it I’m sure we can have a good event.”


An impressive eight Ford Fiesta RS WRCs have been entered including those of Bryan Bouffier and Henning Solberg who will both be run by the M-Sport team.

Bouffier makes a celebrated return to the team having piloted his Fiesta RS WRC to second place at last year’s Rallye Monte-Carlo. The Frenchman led the event in its early phases and will once again be capable of challenging for the podium in 2015.

Solberg is a welcome site in the M-Sport service area. The charismatic Norwegian is an immensely talented driver and should not be discounted for a strong result.

In addition, eight Ford Fiesta R5s have been entered alongside two Ford Fiesta R2s.

Daniel ready for the full Monte!

Posted: January 12, 2015 8:36 PM

2014 British Rally Champion Daniel McKenna is in the final stages of preparing for his biggest rally adventure yet, the Monte Carlo Rally. The iconic event is a formidable test for any crew and it will be the opening round in Daniel’s attempt to claim the Junior World Rally Championship.

Speaking last week Daniel said:
“It is really a dream come true to be heading to the opening round of the World Rally Championship. We’ve worked hard in the off-season to secure as much funding for this season as possible. We’re still a little bit short of our target but a good result in Monte Carlo will hopefully keep us on the front foot for the year ahead.” Indeed staying on the front foot is easier said than done in Monte Carlo with snow and ice often featuring throughout the event.

Daniel has taken precautions though and is taking an experienced ice note crew with him to check the roads in advance.
“Damien Connolly and Gary McElhinney will be performing ice note duties for me during the rally. I don’t want to leave anything to chance and taking two experienced co-drivers like Damien and Gary will be a great confidence boost heading to a new event” Daniel added. Indeed Connolly’s inclusion could well prove to be an ace in McKenna’s sleeve as he navigated Antony Warmbold to a top 10 finish on the Monte in 2005.

Daniel purchased a Citroen DS3 R3T before Christmas and the car is currently getting the necessary parts fitted before making its way to the continent as Daniel explains;
“JWRC contestants are required to fit a ‘max’ kit to their cars this year and that is being fitted as I speak by Bobby at Sharkey Motorsport. I plan to have a short test in the car before the rally and Martin Wilkinson of CA1 Sport will run the car during the event. It’ll be my first rally with Andrew Grennan in a while but Andrew is a great co-driver and he’s up for the challenge just as much as I am. Our strategy will be to take no risks and try to get points on the board early.”

The 83rd Rallye Monte Carlo will run between Monaco and Gap. After a start in the principality on Thursday January 22nd, the crews will tackle two stages in the dark on the way up to an overnight stop in Gap. The next two days of competition are centred around Gap before Daniel and Andrew head south via the Sisteron stage on Saturday afternoon to arrive back in Monte Carlo in the evening. Sunday's final morning loop is followed by a traditional podium celebration outside the palace in Monaco.

You can follow Daniel’s progress over the weekend in Monte Carlo and throughout the year by following him on Twitter @DMKMotorsport and Facebook at Daniel McKenna Rallying or by checking out his website, www.danielmckenna.net

Video: Kris Meeke/Paul Nagle Pre Event Test

Posted: January 6, 2015 9:17 PM

Entry List

Posted: January 3, 2015 1:16 PM


Posted: November 24, 2014 4:41 PM

Nine-time World Rally Champions and seven-time winners of the Rallye Monte-Carlo, Sébast ien Loeb and Daniel Elena are to return to competive action in a DS 3 WRC at the Rallye Monte-Carlo, the opening round of the 2015 World Rally Championship. This one-off appearance, at the most prestigious rally on the WRC calendar, will support the launch of the DS Brand.

From Sweden to Australia, and taking in the likes of Argentina, the WRC is undoubtedly the greatest challenge in contemporary motorsport due to the variety of road surfaces and weather conditions encountered. With two world titles and 23 wins under its belt, DS 3 WRC has one of the best competitive records of the cars currently racing in the WRC. The legendary Rallye Monte-Carlo (19-25 January) will once again kick off the season in the south-east of France.

The two DS 3 WRCs nominated to score points in the Manufacturers’ championship will be driven by Kris Meeke/Paul Nagle – already confirmed as a works crew for the full season – and a couple of familiar faces! Leading specialists at a rally that they have won no fewer than seven times, Sébastien Loeb and Daniel Elena will take on the challenge once again as they return to road racing more than a year after the end of their shared career.

Often unpredictable due to the weather conditions, Rallye Monte-Carlo will provide the Franco-Monegasque pair with the perfect opportunity to use their immense experience. Both modest and excited when talking about the challenge ahead, Seb and Daniel’s one-off return will undoubtedly thrill the many fans who had been hoping to see them compete together again at a rally!


Yves Bonnefont, CEO of the DS brand:
“When I told them today that Sébastien Loeb and Daniel Elena would be driving at Rallye Monte-Carlo in a DS 3 WRC, the news was greeted with great enthusiasm! It is a great opportunity to support the launch of DS as a premium brand.”

Yves Matton, Citroën Racing Team Principal:
“With seven wins here, Seb and Daniel are undeniably the event’s greatest specialists and I’m sure that they will be extremely competitive in a DS 3 WRC, which will have some significant technical upgrades.” Like our partners Total and Abu Dhabi, our teams are proud to be racing with them again at Monte-Carlo.”

Sébastien Loeb:
“I didn’t hesitate for a second when I was offered the chance to compete at the opening round of the 2015 World Rally Championship in the DS 3 WRC. I think Daniel and I would agree that Monte-Carlo is one of our favourite events. The beautiful roads, the fact of having to gamble when it comes to tyre choice and the party atmosphere that you get on the stages: we can’t wait to experience it all again! With the DS 3 WRC – “the little racer” as I nicknamed it when it was first released – I have a lot of good memories; I hope that the 2015 Rallye Monte-Carlo will provide yet another. Obviously, it’s going to be a personal challenge for me, as I haven’t competed in a rally for over a year. A few days from now, I’m going to take part in the Rallye du Var and that will give me the chance to reacquaint myself with the car. We have also ma naged to find a few available slots in my schedule so I can take part in testing. I’m absolutely delighted about this opportunity to meet up with the big rallying family during the FIA WTCC off-season!”

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Posted: November 23, 2014 4:58 PM

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