Rally Monza (WRC) - 4-6 Dec 20

Posted: December 6, 2020 4:03 AM - 1642 Hits

Final Round - 2020 World Rally Championship

Live Results available at: rally-base results & ewrc-results.com
News: www.wrc.com
Event Website: Rally Monza (WRC)

First stage each day - Times are Irish/UK (Italy is 1 hour ahead)
Shakedown Thu - 09:01
SS1 Thu - 13:08
SS2 Fri - 06:58
SS7 Sat - 06:52
SS14 Sun - 06:48

WRC heads to Monza for thrilling finale between stars of the sport

Posted: December 2, 2020 3:04 PM

Nine titles up for grabs at Monza climax as Evans leads Ogier by 14 points.

Nine world titles are up for grabs as the FIA World Rally Championship heads towards an action-packed finale at Italy’s ACI Rally Monza (3-6 December) this weekend.

Honours remain to be decided in all four categories but the main focus rests on the outright championship. Four drivers can still win, with two teams battling for the manufacturers’ title.

Welshman Elfyn Evans starts favourite. He holds a 14-point advantage over Toyota Gazoo Racing teammate Sébastien Ogier, with a maximum 30 on offer. Evans is bidding for a maiden title, while his French colleague already has six to his name.

The rally is a late addition to a WRC calendar truncated by Covid-19. It mixes speed tests at Monza’s famous Cathedral of Speed circuit with tricky asphalt in the foothills of the Italian Alps, near Lake Como.

The smooth circuit, featuring classic corners like Parabolica, steeply banked curves on an old oval track and awkward gravel service roads mean Monza’s challenge contrasts with the more traditional mountain special stages driven on Saturday.

“It’s a brand-new event for me,” said Evans. “We have very different days between Friday, Saturday and Sunday so we have to be able to adapt our driving and the car to suit those different conditions.

“The championship is still very much wide open. We’re in a good position, of course, but nothing can be taken for granted. It’s still a narrow margin as far as the battle is concerned and we’re going to have to be at our best to finish the year in the position we are now.”

TOYOTA GAZOO Racing ready for championship showdown at the ‘Cathedral of Speed’

Posted: December 2, 2020 2:37 PM

The TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team is ready to face a unique title decider when Rally Monza runs as the final round of the 2020 FIA World Rally Championship on December 3-6. The team will travel to Italy with Elfyn Evans and Sébastien Ogier as the main favourites for the drivers’ title, separated by 14 points at the top of the standings. The manufacturers’ title is also well within the sights of Toyota, which is just seven points away from the lead. Kalle Rovanperä, currently fifth in the drivers’ standings, will provide further support in this aim as he looks to finish his promising rookie season on a high.

An end-of-year rally has been held at the iconic Monza racing circuit near Milan since 1978, but this is the first time it has been added to the WRC calendar. The stages at Monza make use of the racetrack itself as well as its historic banked oval circuit and access roads, with some gravel sections. For its WRC debut, the rally will also include stages on mountainous public roads north of Bergamo. The December date means the weather is likely to form part of the challenge, with rain, mud and fallen leaves – as well as cool temperatures – potentially reducing the available grip.

The rally will begin at Monza on Thursday afternoon with a single short stage, followed by a total of five tests around the circuit during Friday. Saturday is when the crews head out for two loops of three road stages near Bergamo, which will account for nearly half of the rally’s 241.14 competitive kilometres. There’s a return to Monza for the day’s final stage and then three more tests on Sunday to finish the rally.

Tommi Mäkinen (Team Principal)
“We all wanted to see this season end with another rally if possible – thanks to everyone who has been helping to make it happen. The format will be a bit different to what we are used to. I think the stages in the mountains will be particularly challenging for the drivers as they will be new for everyone. Our drivers do not have so much experience with the car on asphalt, but we have prepared as well as we can for this rally, including our pre-event testing this week. It is looking good for either Elfyn or Seb to win the drivers’ championship and they will both have our full support. The manufacturers’ title is still very open as well, so we have to push for the best result at the finish.”

Sébastien Ogier/ Julien Ingrassia
Sébastien Ogier (Driver car 17)
“Monza will be a new challenge. I’m happy to finally jump in the car again and have a last shot at the championship. For sure, it’s better to finish it this way rather than at home. I’ve never done the event before, but I’ve been looking at some videos and I think the stages at the circuit won’t be as easy as they seem initially. There are some sections on gravel, even on grass or mud, and with a car set up for asphalt that’s never easy. And then the stages on Saturday look like pretty nice mountain roads. They could also be very challenging depending on the weather conditions. We haven’t really driven the car on asphalt since Monte Carlo, so the testing this week has been very important to get as much experience as possible. I feel like I have nothing to lose, so I don’t feel any pressure and I’m just doing my best to be as ready as I can be.”

Elfyn Evans/Scott Martin
Elfyn Evans (Driver car 33)
“Since Sardinia we’ve just been focused on preparing for the next event: We have always wanted to see the rallies happen and to do as many as possible. I’m going into it in a positive frame of mind. We know that a strong result is needed and we’re ready to go there and give it our best shot. From what we’ve seen in videos from the organiser, the Saturday stages up in the mountains look really nice. There’s some real fast, flowing asphalt stages, and they could be quite challenging at this time of year. We’re probably lacking a bit of mileage under our belts with the car on this surface, but it felt good in Monte Carlo and we know that it’s strong in this area. The difficulty is that the circuit stages are a completely different scenario from the mountains. So we have to do our best to find a good feeling and adapt the car as we see fit.”

Kalle Rovanperä/Jonne Halttunen
Kalle Rovanperä (Driver car 69)
“This year has been a big learning process for me but it has been going really well. I have been learning more and more all the time. Without any full asphalt rallies this year, I think I have the most to learn on this surface. So Monza will be a difficult one for me, but it’s going to be interesting. It has been a long time since Monte Carlo, so it was a strange feeling to be back on asphalt in my test this week, but the feeling was getting better all the time. Even though it’s late in the year and it was quite cold, the grip level was still really high and really enjoyable to drive with the Yaris. This is going to be a new kind of rally with things that we haven’t experienced, like driving on some gravel sections with asphalt tyres which I have never done before. But we just have to be as quick as possible and attack to the maximum, as there is nothing to lose for me.”

Hyundai Motorsport Preview: Round 7 – Rally Monza

Posted: December 2, 2020 2:33 PM

Hyundai Motorsport has set its sights on securing a second consecutive FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) manufacturers’ title as the 2020 season reaches its conclusion at the seventh and final round, Rally Monza, next week.

A 1-2 result in Sardinia last month saw Hyundai Motorsport move into a seven-point lead at the top of the classification with 43 points still up for grabs in Monza. The historic Italian venue is hosting a round of the WRC for the first time, although teams and drivers are well acquainted with the location from the annual Monza Rally Show.

Not only has Hyundai Motorsport participated in the celebrated Monza Rally Show on four previous occasions, the Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC was officially launched at the event in 2016. Four years on, three crews will be aiming to extract maximum performance from the car as they tackle a new-look Monza itinerary.

The team’s rally-winning line-up of Thierry Neuville/Nicolas Gilsoul, Ott Tänak/Martin Järveoja and Dani Sordo/Carlos del Barrio will be looking to add to the team’s three victories this season, each crew having taken one apiece in Monte-Carlo, Estonia and Sardinia respectively. All three crews have tested the Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC in northern Italy ahead of Monza.

The event will cover 16 timed stages starting on Thursday afternoon with a short super special, entitled ‘The Monza Legacy’. The following three days will combine track and mountain roads in the foothills of the Italian Alps, culminating in championship-deciding action on Sunday.

Team Principal Andrea Adamo said:
“We arrive at the final round of a demanding and tricky season with a very important task in front of us: to defend our manufacturers’ title. On paper, we have an advantage of seven points but at the pinnacle of rallying this is nothing. We can’t take anything for granted as we prepare for the first-ever WRC event in Monza, a truly historic and special venue for any motorsport fan. We have three crews who have all shown this year that they can win, but even that doesn’t guarantee results. We will have to work hard for that and keep pushing right up to the final Power Stage. It’s entirely in our hands.”

Crew Notes: Thierry Neuville/Nicolas Gilsoul (#11 Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC)
Rallye Monte-Carlo winners returned to the podium in Turkey and Sardinia
Belgians hold third place in the drivers’ table

Neuville said: “Rally Monza is definitely a special event for this year and it’s good to add it to the WRC calendar in such a difficult situation. I have done Monza a couple of times as a rally show, which was certainly different to the format in which we are going to run it this year in WRC. I’ve always had an enjoyable experience there; this season finale is going to be an exciting event, very intense and almost like a sprint with small gaps between the crews. We will give it everything we’ve got.”

Crew Notes: Ott Tänak/Martin Järveoja (#8 Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC)
Estonian crew aiming to bounce back after a run of tough events
Aiming to return to winning ways in a brand-new event

Tänak said: “Monza is obviously a new event, somewhere that I’ve never been before. I’ve seen some footage and mostly it looks to be very different in terms of concept. We’ll have a full day of circuit-based stages, followed by a day in the forest, so a big challenge. From the team’s perspective, we need to do all we can to defend the manufacturers’ title. There are also some things still open in the drivers’ championship too. As it’s the last event, it will be all or nothing.”

Crew Notes: Dani Sordo / Carlos del Barrio (#6 Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC)
Win in Sardinia helped move the team back into the manufacturers’ lead
Sordo has previously participated in Monza Rally Show with Hyundai Motorsport

Sordo said: “The objective is very clear: to try and fight for the overall victory and to target the manufacturers’ title. It is a very important mission for our team. We are leading by just seven points so it will be a close fight. I have been to Monza Rally Show in the past, but this event will be unique. We have the first day enclosed in the circuit, using new and old parts, including famous sections like Parabolica, as well as gravel and mud sections. The next day will be completely outside. It promises to be a nice rally!”

Weekend at a glance
16 special stages run over a four-day itinerary and a total distance of 241.14km
Shakedown and opening super special take place on Thursday
Circuit based itinerary on Friday covers three separate stages, Junior (13.43km) and Roggia (16.22km), each run twice, and the shorter 10.31km aptly titled Grand Prix
Saturday moves onto mountain roads for a repeat loop of Selvino (25.06km), Gerosa (11.09km) and Costa Valle Imagna (22.17km), followed by the second Grand Prix stage
Sunday starts with the third and final Grand Prix, before the 14.97km Serraglio is run twice, the second time as the season-concluding Power Stage.


Posted: December 2, 2020 2:30 PM

M-Sport Ford World Rally Team’s fleet of EcoBoost-powered Ford Fiestas will end the 2020 FIA World Rally Championship in style this week as the team journey to the famous Autodromo Nazionale Monza for a thrilling final round – ACI Rally Monza.

New to the championship calendar, the event takes in a number of stages around the historic circuit as well as a day in the mountains north of Bergamo. Lowered and stiffened the Fiestas have been transformed into their aggressive asphalt guise, with three Ford Fiesta WRCs for Esapekka Lappi, Teemu Suninen and Gus Greensmith, and a Ford Fiesta Rally2 for Adrien Fourmaux.

Determined to close the year with a positive result, the Cumbrian squad has proven form at the Monza-based event and will be looking to put past experience to good use. Winning the event nine times – seven with Valentino Rossi (2006–2007, 2012, 2015–2018), once with Rinaldo Capello (2008) and once with Robert Kubica (2014) – the team are geared up for the fight and ready to take to one of motorsport’s most iconic venues.

Team Principal, Richard Millener, said:
“It’s been a tough year and we all wanted to see another rally to end the season in style – and that’s exactly what we’re getting with ACI Rally Monza. Full credit to the FIA, WRC Promotor, and ACI organisers for ensuring this event goes ahead. Speaking as Team Principal, we plan to finish the year fighting at an event the team knows well, and speaking as a rally fan, we’re in for another fantastic fight for the championship which I can’t wait to see!

“Our WRC crews haven’t had a lot of seat time this year and Esapekka and Teemu haven’t driven the Fiesta on asphalt since Rallye Monte-Carlo at the start of the year. But we know the car is competitive on Tarmac and they both have a history of circuit racing which should help them hit the ground running. Gus has also had a day at Goodwood to get back into the swing of things, and I hope all three of them are able to close the year on the high.

“Promoting our flagship customer car, Adrien has had the benefit of a lot more running recently and his performance at last weekend’s Rally Islas Canarias was fantastic. The conditions were extremely challenging, and he was going up against some really tough competition – coming out on top to show what he and the Fiesta Rally2 are capable of. It was a brilliant drive and a thoroughly deserved win – now let’s see if we can repeat it in WRC 2.”

This might be Esapekka Lappi’s first time rallying at Monza, but the Finn has a history of circuit racing having started his career in karting. Taking confidence from the Fiesta’s performance on asphalt at the start of the year, he and co-driver Janne Ferm will be looking to end the season on a high.

Esapekka Lappi said:
“It’s been a crazy year, but good to get another rally in before the end of the season. I’ve not been to Monza Rally Show before, but I started my career in circuit racing and am really looking forward to seeing what these cars can do on this track. We’ve not driven the Fiesta on Tarmac since Rallye Monte-Carlo back in January so we’ll need to get a feel for it straight away. But the Fiesta felt good in Monte, and if we can get a good set-up for the stages then I think it’ll be a really enjoyable end to the season.”

Having finished second to Valentino Rossi at the Monza Rally Show in 2018, Teemu Suninen knows what it takes to excel around this famous racetrack. The young Finn also started his career in karting, and will be hoping that gives him an advantage as he and co-driver Jarmo Lehtinen aim to challenge for a strong result.

Teemu Suninen said:
“I’m really looking forward to Rally Monza. I was there in 2018 and have a lot of really great memories – it’s definitely one of the best events I’ve ever done with a world rally car. The format will be a bit different this year with a day in the mountains, but driving these cars on that circuit is going to be so good. All the power and aero makes them so much fun to drive on the track, and I can’t wait to experience it again. I started my career in circuit racing, and hope that will help me challenge for a good result to end the year.”

Gus Greensmith and Elliott Edmondson are another crew never to have rallied at Monza, but the Brits got a feel for track rallying last week – completing a one-day test at Goodwood. Getting accustomed to the precise driving style needed to extract the most from the racetrack, the pairing will be keen to put all they learnt into practice this week.

Gus Greensmith said:
“I’ve not done anything like this event before, but really looking forward to getting back behind the wheel and seeing what a world rally car can do on such an historic racetrack. The Fiesta felt good in Monte so I’m looking forward to Saturday’s mountain stages; pacenotes will be really important, so I’ve spent a lot of time with Elliott trying to make improvements since Sardinia. Also to best prepare for the circuit we spent a day at Goodwood – adapting to the style needed to really attack at Monza. Hopefully this will be a fun event to end season and we can finish the year on a high.”

Fresh from victory at Rally Islas Canarias, Adrien Fourmaux and Renaud Jamoul will be looking to repeat their recent success as they contest the WRC 2 category with M-Sport’s latest flagship car – the Ford Fiesta Rally2. The young Frenchman may not have driven at Monza before, but two asphalt rallies in the lead-up to the event should see him match fit and ready to fight for the top positions.

Adrien Fourmaux said:
“We had a great result at Rally Islas Canarias. I was really happy with our performance because it was a very tough weekend with very challenging conditions. A big thanks to the team because everything was perfect and it was really good preparation for Monza. The team have been brilliant and I’ve been lucky to have quite a few rallies recently. So now let’s see if we can continue the good work and push for another strong result in WRC 2.”


Posted: December 2, 2020 2:26 PM

Five crews have a mathematical chance of winning the 2020 FIA Junior WRC Championship on Rally Monza and with it, a career-boosting prize package including a brand new EcoBoost-powered Ford Fiesta Rally2.

The prize package on offer allows the 2020 FIA Junior WRC Champion to propel themselves into four-wheel drive rallying on the world stage with free registration for WRC3 in 2021. The winner will also receive five free WRC3 entries in 2021 together with 200 Pirelli tyres and, the icing on the cake: a brand-new Ford Fiesta Rally2.

With 1.5x points on offer and 16 stage win points available it means a crew could score a maximum of 53.5 points. Consequently, the championship fight is wide open, particularly among the top three contenders who are separated by just 14 points.

There are countless permutations and possibilities for each of the top-five crews to win the championship, meaning every driver will be pushing to their maximum in the final battle of the season. It is important to note that any driver who has competed on three rounds of Junior WRC previously this season will drop their lowest classification points score.
All stage win points will count towards the championship.

Martins Sesks leads the championship with 68 points after finishing on the podium on every round of the season so far, with a victory on Rally Estonia, he also has ten stage win points to his name.

Four-time Junior WRC event winner, Tom Kristensson, is second with 58 points and eight stage wins. The Swede has the most event wins this season, winning on the season-opener in Sweden and last time out on Rally d’Italia Sardegna. Kristensson does have a zero score to his name after retiring in Estonia, however with one classification score to drop he is actually in quite a strong championship position.

Flying Finn Future Star Award winner Sami Pajari is third with 54 points and has the most stage win points so far this season with 14. Although third in the championship he has only scored one podium in 2020 after an amazing fightback in Estonia going from fourth to second.

The 2020 Rookie Award will be decided in Monza too. Should Pajari not win the championship, he is in a very good position to win €15,000 towards his 2021 FIA Junior WRC championship campaign. Marco Pollara is second in the fight for this prize, trailing Pajari by 25 points.

Pajari is also the favourite for the Wolf Stage win points award, which will be presented by Wolf Lubricants to the driver with the most stage wins of the season come the finish of ACI Rally Monza. Any Junior WRC crew starting this weekend’s rally has a mathematical chance of winning the Wolf Stage win points award with 16 stage win points up for grabs.

Maciej Woda, FIA Junior WRC Championship Manager, said:
“I love championship finales; the atmosphere is always electric and there’s a huge interest up and down the service park about who will come out on top in Junior WRC. Although five crews have a mathematical chance of winning the championship, we do have three contenders that have been fighting at the front all season. Tom Kristensson has been in this position once before already which is a hugely significant advantage. Martins may not have Junior WRC championship finale experience, but he has faced a similar challenge in ERC Junior which will definitely help him. He is also really developing into a smart driver now which is great to see. Sami Pajari could be the first ever Finnish Junior WRC Champion if he wins the championship on Sunday. I have to say, Sami has got faster and faster on every rally but, more significantly, he is developing into a very mature driver too.”

38. Martins Sesks / Renars Francis
“I am not thinking about what I need to do to win the championship, I have been thinking about Monza all the time though. I don’t regard myself as the leader of the championship for now, all I need to do is show my best skills on the stages and in the rally.”

39. Tom Kristensson / Joakim Sjoberg
“It’s a nice position to be in, I think the situation is very different to last year even if the position is the same, still I am feeling very good. The difference now is that I am more confident in myself and in the car compared to last year. I have a good feeling and confidence I think it will be good.”

40. Sami Pajari / Marko Salminen
“I will do as well as I can, that’s the name of the game. Of course, I want to win, I think that’s quite clear and I shouldn’t need to say it, there are at least three guys who have a good chance of winning the championship. I will do my best and then we will see what happens.”

41. Fabrizio Zaldivar / Peñate Rogelio
“It will be quite interesting this rally with the circuit and also the tyre management and the tyres we use, that will be quite tricky to decide. If you do a clever strategy it could work out quite well but also it will be nice to drive a rally car around Monza and the stages up in the mountains.”

42. Ruairi Bell / Darren Garrod
“I’m just going to enjoy this weekend; we haven’t had the most amount of fun on the last couple of rallies so that’s the priority for us. Everything I said I wanted to happen in Sardinia before the event didn’t happen. In fact, the opposite happened. So, if I don’t say anything now, maybe everything will happen. I’m staying in a nice hotel though.”

43. Fabio Andolfi / Stefano Savoia
“I hope to do a great job in the stages, and I want to do a good rally. The other drivers are very fast guys.”

Entry List

Posted: November 28, 2020 4:34 AM

Hyundai announce driver line up for Monza

Posted: November 21, 2020 5:13 AM

Rally Monza to form 2020 FIA World Rally Championship finale

Posted: October 9, 2020 2:45 PM

Italy’s ACI Rally Monza will host the final round of the FIA World Rally Championship after being added to the calendar today (Friday).

The asphalt event will take place on 4 - 6 December and will be based at the famous Autodromo Nazionale de Monza race circuit near Milan, in the north of the country.

The itinerary will adopt the FIA WRC’s short format schedule, featuring about 220km of special stages, with the majority of the first and last day action at the circuit.

Saturday’s middle leg speed tests will comprise demanding closed public roads in the Lombardy region close to Monza.

The rally has been held since 1978 and will be the second Italian counter of an FIA WRC season severely affected by Covid-19. This weekend’s Rally Italia Sardegna forms the sixth round of the eight-event series.

Traditionally an end-of-season celebration event contested by both rally and track racing experts, the Monza Rally has been won on seven occasions by MotoGP legend Valentino Rossi.

WRC stars to taste success there include Dani Sordo in 2010 and 2013, nine-time world champion Sébastien Loeb in 2011 and Robert Kubica in 2014.

WRC Promoter managing director Jona Siebel said the rally would provide an exciting challenge for competitors.

“As the final round of the championship, there’s a strong chance both the drivers’ and manufacturers’ WRC titles could go right down to the wire on Monza’s roads.

“The WRC prides itself on rewarding rallying’s best all-round driver across multiple terrains and varied conditions. This type of rally is rare in our championship but will provide a thrilling finale to an unpredictable year,” he added.

FIA Rally Director Yves Matton said confirming an eighth round for the series in such complex times was a reward for the efforts and hard work of all involved to ensure valuable titles for the 2020 championship.

“In the current situation, we’re developing new approaches and ACI Rally Monza Italia is a great illustration of this. It’s the marriage of an iconic circuit event and more traditional rally stages in the nearby countryside.

“This new concept could eventually help bring the WRC to countries or regions where new formats are required.”

“It has required a great deal of flexibility from ACI and its President Angelo Sticchi Damiani to bring this new event to the calendar at such a late stage and I would like to thank them for their great commitment and professionalism,” he added.

Angelo Sticchi Damiani, Automobile Club d’Italia president, said the club had accepted with great dedication towards the FIA, and in the interests of international motorsport, to organise the final round.

“For Automobile Club d’Italia it will be another commitment during a season where we were the protagonists in all the major sports events.

“Our discussions with WRC Promoter have also led to it being considered as a contingency event for 2021.

“The event in the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza, the ‘Temple of Speed’, will be great for the series. It will be an incredible show and a unique experience for car and tyre manufacturers, teams, drivers and all the other protagonists of a high-quality WRC event,” he added.

Event Website

Posted: October 9, 2020 2:43 PM

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