Latvala the New Leader - Rallye de France, Alsace | WRC - 2013

Second day at Rally France was totally action packed, with close calls, punctures, spins and much more over some foggy, & some drenched roads. In simple words, it was a fun rally to watch the whole time and with it being live on the internet - was definitely fantastic.

Early stages of the day opened to cold, foggy and wet stages, making the stages difficult for the crew to tackle. Overnight rally leader, Thierry Neuville struggled to keep the lead, and was mostly successful, although he was challenged stage after stage, all-through the first loop of the day's major stages.

Sebastien Ogier was fastest through SS8 & SS9 by over a second to Neuville, it was Sebastien Loeb who took the stage win of SS10 and here the Belgian struggled to a fifth fastest finish. The stage win also added the 900th stage win to Loeb's career line.

A remote service for the cars and a munch break for the crews, by mid-day it was enough to let the fog to clear away, but not for dampness. Most of the sections of the repitition of the morning's stages were either damp or under the umbrella of moderately pouring rainy clouds. As most of the cars were setup for the soft-compound tyres - well suited for damp conditions, did even out the pressure.

It proved to be a unlucky stage for the rally leader, as the Fiesta suffered a left-rear puncture and he eventually lost the lead and any chance of a prospective podium position with a huge time-lag of over a minute to the new top 4. His loss enabled the quickly trailing Dani Sordo to the lead, though the Finn - Jari-Matti Latvala was not quick enough, even after being immediately behind the young Belgian. It was Ogier who was quickest in SS11 & SS12.

Neuville sprung back to a stage win in SS13, yet the gap is too large to claim unless any of the cars top on him in the leaderboard have similar issues. It never happened, and Ogier took the final stage victory, and Latvala was quick in the final SS14 to move to close the day in his leadership.

By the end of the day, top 4 cars are separated by a miniscule 5 second, and the final day tomorrow is going to be an absolute fun & never miss to all the rally fans across the globe. And if definitely looks like it is going to be Seb.vs.Seb. tomorrow, with a Spaniard & Finn to add the flavour.

Top 5 Overall - After SS14

Pos    No    Driver
2.10D. SORDO
4.1S. LOEB
   2:20:08.7   +1:05.4   +1:10.4

Word of advice - Don't miss it tomorrow, as it will go into the books of WRC history!

In WRC-2, Robert Kubica has a unchallenged leadership, with Elfyn Evans & Rashid Al-Ketbi, finishing in top 3. Q. Gilbert continues to lead WRC-3.

Junior-WRC rally finished with the day's stages & Pontus Tidemand won the event, and with it the Junior World Rally Championship too, with more than 130 points to it. He was in the second place until SS10, and when the rally leader Yerey Lemes - who also suffered a puncture in SS11 and thus promoted Tidemand to the lead.

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Thierry Neuville Leads, Rallye de' France - Day 2 | WRC - 2013

City of Hagenau woke up to the early rumble of World Rally cars, to witness day 2 of the event starting early with the first car getting through the opening stage [SS2 - Klevener 1, 10.66] at 09:18 [local time]. Sebastien Ogier lead the rally starting first, till Tomas Kostka, being the last of the 12 WRC spec cars.

In WRC-2 class, Robert Kubica lead his breed of cars behind the top level competition, and also kept his lead till the end of day. Jose Antonio Suarez was pretty quick in Junior WRC class, but crashed out early today, and Yerey Lemes took the lead. Sebastien Chardonnet lead the WRC-3 category, while also went on to out-perform some WRC-2 cars in the rally, but at the end of the day - Quentin Gilbert was the leader in the category.

The day's repetition of morning's stages witnessed some dampness, and it meant the right choice did the favour to the quickest drivers. Atleast, it can be named for the reason of the Belgian driver to take the top spot on the scoreboard. Loeb slipped to 4th overall, while Dani & Latvala marked 2nd and 3rd respectively. Sebastien Ogier is not far from the top 4, and sits under half a minute to reach the top rank.

Overall top 5, after SS7.

Pos   No   Driver
1:08:56.5 0.00.0
2.10D. SORDO
4.1S. LOEB
1:09:25.2   +16.5   +28.7

Day 3 opens tomorrow at 09:23 [local time] with SS8 Hohlandsbourg - Firstplan 1, one of the longest with 28.48 km of the day. Will the Belgian extends, or Loeb will strike back, or something else differently? 

Lets see what we have on the stages, until then - Good night!
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Sebastien Ogier & Julien Ingrassia - The New WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONS | WRC - 2013

Volkswagen Polo R driver Sebastien Ogier & his co-driver Julien Ingrassia are the 'New World Rally Champions' of WRC's 2013 season.

In an unique way, with the Power-Stage being the opening stage of the rally, the french-duo claimed their first world title after their nearest [and mathematical opponent], Thierry Neuville who dropped to second to Citroen DS3 driver, Dani Sordo and hence handing over the last technical bit of the excitement for OgierIngrassia to clinch to their title. Ogier also finished third in the power-stage to take away the last single point too.

After SS1 Strasbourg, [PowerStage] Results are as below
1.10D. SORDO
7.1S. LOEB
10.74R. KUBICA

The rally returns tomorrow with SS2, at 09:18 local time! Until then ta da!
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Seb.Loeb vs Seb.Ogier - The Final Showdown, at Rallye de' France | WRC - 2013

In a last of its kind, the Sebastien vs Sebastien [Loeb.vs.Ogier] that is definitely going into the books of World Rally Championship history, we are awaiting for the final action to begin at Rallye de France, Alsace.

This will be his the last official outing of the nine-timer World Rally Champion driver is competing for himself and for us! For all the fans of WRC, & Loeb, this is the last and final chance to witness the clash of the titans. Ogier will be clinching the title [for sure!?] here, and Loeb may win the event, only time can tell us this historical event.

Citroen Racing also went on an extra-mile to design a special livery for Loeb's ride, and insert all his achievement with bold numbers to commemorate their legendary driver's contribution. Loeb's will be the last of the cars that will start today evening, in the rally's opening [Power-Stage, for a change!] stage. His team-mate and another asphalt expert, Dani Sordo finished quickest through the Shakedown.

Belgian & Qatar M-Sport Ford Fiesta RS WRC driver, Thierry Neuville really wants to stop Sebastien Ogier to claim his title right at the opening and point-scoring, Power-Stage. Although his intention is clear to keep the WRC title contention alive as long as possible, it may be quite impossible as Polo WRC driver just needs a single point to claim it. If another two drivers manage to squeeze through the top 3 quickest to claim the rest of the two available points, then it may be possible. [A slight correction here, If Neuville cannot take maximum PS points, then Ogier will be the champion - irrespective of any other wins by the Belgian.]

A good strategy [as it seems strongly to me] by the organisers to allow both the Seb's to enjoy their lime-light, by Ogier taking it tonight with his 1 point deficit title, and later in the weekend to the retiring Loeb. Let us see what happens in a short while from now!

From the press-conference [],

Ogier, on coping with the pressure of being so close to his maiden WRC title: “I think the chance is bigger than ever. It should happen, but there’s still a chance it won’t, so we still have to do a good job here. I feel quite relaxed now. There’s not so much pressure for the championship any more. I just want to get pleasure in the car and for me that means being fast and fighting for victory.” 

Loeb, on finishing his WRC career on home ground: “It’s a nice story to finish here in France. That was decided at the beginning of the season. Now we are here the feeling is okay. There’s always a great atmosphere on this rally and there will be some emotion to be here for the last time. But on the other side I’ve been thinking for some time that one day I will have to stop rallying. I turned that page last year when I decided to finish my last season. This year I just drive some rallies like this to have fun and because we planned it with Citroen.” 

Ogier, on the importance of winning the rally opening Power Stage: “I want to start the rally well, but I don’t need absolutely to win this stage. If Thierry can just accept not to be first then it’s okay! I don’t feel extra pressure to do well, especially as it’s in the city where it’s easy to make a stupid mistake. Of course I’m going to try and start well, with good pace, but I’m not going to be going flat out to try and win it.”

Loeb, on how long it will take him to get back up to speed: “The feeling I think in the car is not bad. The recce was okay, and so was the test. I just hope I will find the rhythm quite quickly and that I will be in the fight.”

Ogier, on how long it will take Loeb to get back up to speed: “Seb has missed a few races but I know that he is really able to come back immediately with a strong performance. He always did.” 

Loeb, on his chances of winning in France this weekend: “If I’m in the situation where I can win, for sure I will try. That’s the same story here. On the other side, I’m not fighting for the championship. Sebastien will be the champion this year. I don’t need some points, I’m just here for fun, so if I’m not able to fight it’s not terrible, you know? In that case I will just take it as it is and have some fun.” 

Ogier, on how he feels about Loeb’s retirement: “It’s difficult to say in a few words. There’s a lot to say. For sure [I have] a lot of good memories, even if everyone always tries to remember the fight and the difficult time we had. But, I mean, it was also something nice in the sport. Sometimes it was exciting with that. Whatever happens now I will forever have a lot of respect for him.”

Loeb, on Ogier’s performance this year: “He did a great season and he deserves his title. He was the fastest all the time and he had a good team. He’s put everything together this year to be competitive and on top immediately. There’s nothing more to say - he deserves to take the title this weekend.”
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United Business can celebrate : Molly Taylor and her codriver, Englishman Seb Marshall win the LADIES ' TROPHY IN THE 2013 EUROPEAN RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP  with two races to go.

An awaited victory for the duo of the Citroen DS3 R3 who won with utmost security the LADIES ' TROPHY after all their opponents slowly lost the pace during the season, this allowed the leaders to be able to drive with even more caution during the Croatia Rally and get to the finish celebrating the title with two races to spare.

Two intense days in Porec, where this weekend the tenth round of the 2013 European Rally Championship took place and where Molly Taylor hit the target she had set at the beginning of the season. ”It was tough, but eventually we made it – she said – I wish to thank the Team, Seb and United Business who believed in me, I had the opportunity to work in a highly professional structure, they have always provided me the best, I thank Paolo Butelli and all the boys, they were fantasctic throughout the season. When you win it all seems easy and completely granted, but the season was tough , Seb and I tackled eight events of the European series, seven of which for the first time, we worked hard to reach this goal. The Ladies' Trophy was won on the field race after  race along with the entire team”.

Seb Marshall: “I am happy. We are a great team , we have proved it throughout the season, we all do a sport that we love, we do so with the utmost professionalism and always give our best. We dedicate the Title dedicate to ourselves and to the whole team, who always gave us an excellent Citroen DS3 R3 which has always been performing and reliable”.

Pier Liberali of United Business , an Italian company which takes care of Molly Taylor's sports management: “Molly and Seb ended Croatia Rally in the best way, in a difficult season but with a perfect final result. United Business was very keen to do well in Croatia Rally, an event which we won twice with Luca Rossetti and where we were the event promoter. For Molly and Seb it was not easy, everything was new, the special stages were difficult and technical, Molly also had a physical problem caused by the petrol fumes inside the cockpit but in the end the title came, the danger and the possibility of error on Croatian roads is always around the corner, they were good not to make mistakes. And now it's nice to be here to celebrate all together. The Ladies' Trophy was our goal as stated at the beginning of the season, Molly Taylor and Seb Marshall reached it, they have proved two excellent professionals. Winning the title with two races to go allows us to carefully consider the season finale, we are considering what may be the best opportunities for our crew, their process of sports and professional growth must not stop with winning this title, we will probably be making some changes to the sports program announced earlier this year, we will decide in the next two weeks. For now I want to congratulate Molly, Seb, Paolo Butelli, Citroen and Pirelli, each of who with their own expertise contributed to this victory. Goal achieved !”


1 Molly TAYLOR (AUS) Points 14
2 Ekaterina STRATIEVA (BGR) Points 12
3 Melissa DEBACKERE (BEL) Points 3
4 Asja ZUPANC (SVN) Points 3
5 Martina DANHELOVA (CZE) Point 1
6 Julie DEVALET (BEL) Point 1
Racing Press

United Rally Management s.r.l. V.le delle Terme, 97 | 27052 Salice Terme/Godiasco (PV) ITALY | Tel.0383/944916 Fax 0383/934583
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Rally Croatia - Official Press Release | ERC - 2013


The final podium is completed by Andreas Aigner (Subaru, new leader of the Production Cup) and Hermann Gassner jr. (Mitsubishi) who finished in this order after a great battle – Molly Taylor (Citroen) seals the Ladies' Trophy – Zoltan Bessenyey (Honda) only a step away from the 2WD Cup title – Daniel Saskin first of the local drivers – The FIA President Jean Todt attends the event – The Colin McRae Flat Out Trophy awarded to Andreas Aigner for this event.
Jan Kopecky and Pavel Dresler, the new 2013 European Rally Champions with their Skoda Fabia S2000, have won the 40th  Croatia Rally after taking the lead in the final stages of the first leg. They were followed home respectively by Andreas Aigner-Barbara Watzl (Subaru Impreza R4) and Hermann Gassner jr-Ursula Mayrhofer (Mitsubishi Lancer R4) who in the second leg staged a close fight for the runner-up spot and the victory in the Production car class.

The Austrian Subaru driver, who had jumped in the lead under Friday's rain after passing local driver Juraj Sebalj (winner of Thursday night's superspecial stage and forced to retire today when he was fifth overall and first of the locals), first resisted the assault of the German who had closed within less than a second, then conquered a small but decisive advantage. Fourth place for the Belgian crew of Peter Tsjoen-Bernd Casier (Skoda Fabia S2000), who took turns in driving. Tsjoen also set the fastest time in the closing stage. The stage wins score is of 8 for Kopecky, 2 each for Tsjoen and Aigner, 1 for Sebalj and one notional time awarded to 4 drivers (Kopecky, Tsjoen, Aigner and Gassner). Fifth place for the South African crew of Henk Lategan-Barry White (Skoda Fabia S2000).

Molly Taylor, together with Sebastian Marshall on the Citroen DS3 R3T in the United Business livery, secured an advanced win in the ERC Ladies' Trophy with her second place in class after having risked retirement twice: first when she passed out at a stage end due to fuel vapours in the cockpit and then for a small crash. Victory in the 2WD for this rally went to slowenian Aleks Humar-Florjan Rus (Renault Clio R3), seventh overall, who led Hungary's Zoltan Bessenyey-Yulianna Nyirfas (Honda Civic R3) who thanks to this result get closer to success in the European 2WD Cup where they have a comfortable lead. Saskin-Damir Brunen (Ford Fiesta Rrc) in eighth place are the best local crew in a rally which boasts the season record of foreign drivers (from 3 continents). Today the Rally welcomed a special guest, FIA President Jean Todt, who accompanied by Zrinko Gregurek, general secretary of the CCKF and member of the FIA World Motorsport Council, congratulated himself with the event organisation staff and its promoter Pierfelice Liberali. Jean Pierre Nicholas presented Andreas Aigner with the Colin McRae Flat Out Trophy for this event.

  1. Kopecky-Dressler (Skoda Fabia S2000) in 2h23'11“0;2
  2. Aigner-Watzl (Subaru Impreza R4) a 1'55“6
  3. Gassner jr-Mayrhofer (Mitsubishi Lancer R4) a 2'09“8
  4. Tsjoen-Casier (Skoda Fabia S2000) a 2'54“3
  5. Lategan-White (Skoda Fabia S2000) a 4'04“6
  6. Hadik-Kertesz (Subaru Impreza R4) a 6'49“0
  7. Humar-Rus (Renault Clio R3) a 6'59“5
  8. Saskin-Bruner (Ford Fiesta Rrc) a 7'58“8
  9. Trcek-Oslaj (Mitsubishi Lancer N4) a 9'52“3
10. Bessenyey-Nyirfas (Honda Civic R3) a 10'06“5

OVERALL: 1. Kopecky 287 points (2013 European Champion); 2. Bouffier 129; 3. Breen 121; 4. Delecour 75; 5. Aigner 56; 6. Kajetanowicz 50; 7. Pech 49; 8. Ketomaa 39; 9. Loix 37.

PRODUCTION CUP: 1. Aigner 138 points; 2. Orsak 117; 3. Bonnefis 95.

2WD CUP: 1. Bessenyey 147 points; 2. Lukacs 75; 3. Chentre 67.

LADIES' TROPHY: Taylor 14 points (12 valid, winner of the 2013 ERC Ladies' Trophy) ; 2. Stratieva 12 (9 valid); 3. Zupanc e Debackere 3.

Immagine in linea 2
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Gaurav Gill WINS Rally Hokkaido, Round - 5 | APRC - 2013

Team MRF, Indian driver Gaurav Gill wins Rally Hokkaido, Japan - with a 5m53.3s lead. Japanese driver Yuya Sumiyama finished second, while his fellow countryman Hideo Ishizaki took the final podium spot.

Without his team-mate, Finn Esapekka Lappi on the final day, Skoda Fabia S2000 driver Gill was on his own to retain his strong position till the finish. And as expected, he did and without much slip of time from overnight gap, Gill brought the necessary win to his Team Skoda MRF.

Winning only one stage, SS14, the second run of the Otofuke Reverse and the conservatory drive is all that Sanjay Takale finished the rally in 12th place overall, yet moved high to the second place in the championship. Mike Young takes the third spot for the title race, with a strong 13th place finish in the 2WD class even against a couple of Evo's.
took to finish the rally and bagging the vital championship points to a strong 117.5 points. Both Sanjay & Mike also take their respective class championship title, Production & 2WD of APRC season 2013.

Overall Top 5 Results after SS18.

  Pos      No  Driver
Time Diff Prev  Diff Ldr

The last round of APRC, Rally China will finally decide who will take the championship title.
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All-time Top 5 +NEWS