Mikko Hirvonen Have Not Yet Agreed To Test For Toyota

Mikko Hirvonen has revealed that he has not talked to Tommi Makinen about driving the test car for Toyota. Previously Makinen said that in the near future Hirvonen will be testing the new Yaris WRC. But Hirvonen clarified that there has been no such agreement with Toyota.

Speaking to Finnish media channel YLE, Hirvonen said that currently he has no time for testing in his schedule. Next week he will be going to Spain for testing with Mini. And also later this year he will be competing in Morocco Rally. He also said that Dakar is also a form of off road race. And its similar to what he was doing before. And also Dakar does not demand as much time as WRC does.

Hirvonen also said that may be in future at some point he will talk to Makinen about his plans but for now he has not agreed to test for Toyota. He may test drive for Toyota this year but it all depends on the calendar of Toyota test runs. Hirvonen further said currently his schedule is busy, he will sit and talk to Makinen and find out what testing calendar they have set up. Hirvonen believes he can help Toyota to some extent, like in garage and other technical aspects.

Hirvonen says he is enjoying the Dakar series. As he can spend more time with family. He also says he has to learn a lot about driving in the desert. According to Finn, Juho Haninnen is a experienced driver, and he can take Toyota forward in their development program. Hirvonen does not want to force himself for testing with Toyota. but if he finds time he will be happy to do it.

On asked about whether he will be making a comeback to WRC, his answer was no. He said he has spent a lot of time in WRC, and he never got time to spend with his family. He also does not want to compete in any individual rallies too. Speaking about Rally Finland, he said Jari-Matti Latvala has a very good chance of winning. He also said its great to see different winners in the recent rallies. He believes Ott Tanak is also quick and he will be also a candidate for victory.

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Sebastien Ogier May Retire Over 2017 Running Order Rules

Volkswagen WRC team boss Jost Capito has expressed his concern over the current WRC running order rules. He said that if the rule for 2017 does not go the right way, WRC Champion Sebastien Ogier may even think of quitting WRC.

Ogier has not won a rally since Rally Sweden in February. According to him, with the road order rule its impossible to win a gravel rally for the championship leader. As the current points leader, he must open the road for the first two days of the rally. To make it even tough, competitors starting under Rally2 rule will not be placed in front of start order for day two. Debates are going on over 2017 rule change. But FIA is keen to stick with the rule of championship leader to open the road on all three days. Ogier has not commented on how he would respond to such a rule. But Jost Capito fears that WRC may lose its champion. 

Jost Capito
On being asked about what Ogier would do if he is forced to start first on all three days of rally, Capito said, "I think he might retire. You would have to ask him, but as I know him I think he would retire. And maybe that would not be so bad for some..." But Capito believes that FIA will go through its decision over running order. It seems like the stance of governing body is softening, with WRC manager Jarmo Mahonen talking about finding the right way forward. Further Capito said, "I don't think it will happen, so I don't think about this. Seb is OK that this is the way it is this year and he goes for it this year and it will change next year."

WRC promoter and the manufacturers have recently held a meeting in Munich to talk about running order rules. The outcome of this meeting will be discussed in the next WRC Commission meeting before making any official rule change at the FIA's World Motor Sport Council in September. 

Jost Capito who will be quitting Volkswagen and will be joining McLaren Formula 1 team next month said, "We all agree what we have now is wrong. But we are not agreed on the common way forward, there are lot of options to discuss in Commission. I won't tell you my preferred way forward, we keep these discussions private, but anything and everything is better than what we have now."

In spite of not winning since five rallies Ogier is leading the WRC points table. He has a 51 point lead. Jari-Matti Latvala, Hayden Paddon, Kris Meeke, Thierry Neuville and Andreas Mikkelsen are the five different winners from previous rallies.

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DMACK Demands M-Sports Works Team Tie Up Or Else Tanak/Evans Duo For 2017

DMACK has demanded M-Sports works team deal for next season. That means M-Sports should cut the deal with Michelin. If its not possible, DMACK will expand their team to two cars. That means along with Ott Tanak, DMACK wants Elfyn Evans in the team. Evans has already committed to DMACK in British Rally Championship, so it will be no surprise if he gets a WRC offer.

DMACK Managing Director - Dick Cormack
After DMACK's strong performance in Rally Poland this month and achieving the best ever result with Ott Tanak, DMACK managing director Dick Cormack wants to move up the ladder and wants to further develop his company. 

Dick Cormack said, "We're chasing an agreement with M-Sport. The target was next year, but if we can't manage that then we're definitely looking to the following season. If we're not on the factory cars next year then we run one or two cars in the whole championship."

Dick Cormack wants to retain Ott Tanak for next season and also Elfyn Evans who drives for DMACK squad in BRC. So there are high possibilities of  DMACK and M-Sports reuniting to form one strong team. Cormack further said, "We think the two of them would make a very strong team. They are likely to be talking to people and if we can't get them then there are others out there. Not many, mind. We need a driver to come in and show the pace straight away. I don't think there are many drivers quicker than Tanak in the service park. Granted, you might not always get a finish, but he's very, very fast. That's one of the reasons we're looking at two cars. We were running fifth in the championship, but we've had a couple of DNFs and we're down in 10th. If we had two cars, we're not so reliant on one always getting a result."

DMACK is developing in a rapid rate. Production of rally tyres has now moved from China to UK. Also they are looking for their own factory in Cumbria. Or else a £225million collaboration with Melksham based Cooper Tires. Cormack said, "We're looking at feasibility studies for everything right now, It could be an independent facility for us in Cumbria or a joint venture with Cooper. We're about three months from a decision, but a partnership really makes sense - there's no conflict in our products and we'd complement each other well."

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Tommi Makinen Hints 2017 Toyota Driver Lineup

Toyota WRC boss Tommi Makinen has stated that, there will be no Sebastien Loeb or Petter Solberg in their 2017 driver lineup. In fact they are looking at some young talents to driver the new Yaris WRC car. He said Toyota is focusing on the future of rallying and wants young talented drivers to shine in the top tier of the sports.

Speaking to Finnish media channel YLE, four time world champion commented on the rumors about Loeb or Solberg getting a seat in Toyota for 2017. He also said that it will be great if Sebastien Ogier joins the squad, but its not possible as he is already committed to Volkswagen so no point in negotiating with him.

When asked why cant the experienced drivers get a drive for next season, Makinen said that, Toyota is looking into the future and not just about one season. They are looking for young and talented drivers. He further added Esapekka Lappi is one among them and he can be considered as an option for 2017. But currently Lappi has other agreements at the moment. He also said that Toyota test driver Juho Hanninen may also get a seat for 2017.

On asked about future palns, he revealed that Mikko Hirvonen will be testing the car, not only that Makinen wanted Hirvonen as a factory driver for next season but Hirvonen was not interested in that. Makinen also said that at present they are focusing on improving cars performance, although he denied to reveal much about the car. On being asked weather they will field two or three cars next season, he said they are not sure about that as it will be their first season in modern WRC.

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Citroen Confirms Two Car Lineup For 2017

Citroen has confirmed that, there will be only two C3 WRC machines competing in 2017 season, and also looking for Hyundai driver Thierry Neuville to join their squad for next season alongside Kris Meeke.

The French team started testing the new C3 in April. They have done couple of testing runs to date. They began in the south of France and then in Portugal. Kris Meeke, Craig Breen and Stephane Lefebvre were behind the wheel. Further they tested in Finland as part of development of the car. 

Citroen boss Yves Matton confirmed that, there will be only two C3's for next season. Where as Volkswagen and Hyundai are going with three car lineup. Matton also revealed that they are looking for Belgian Bullet, Neuville to join the French team once again. He further added, they are looking for a driver who can compete with the likes of Volkswagen from the outset. As Neuville had a poor second half season last year and some inconsistent results this year, his relationship is not good with Hyundai team manager Alain Penasse. Also Thierry Neuville started his WRC journey with Citroen, so it will be no surprise if he will make a switch. If so then Craig Breen and Stephane Lefebvre will be ruled out of contention, as Kris Meeke is already confirmed his seat. But PH Sport has already confirmed that they will be running two DS3 WRC cars for next season. So they will be having the option of joining the main team in case Neuville stays with Hyundai.

Citroen wants to speed up their development process of the new machine. They will be testing in tarmac and gravel in order to debut the car in Rally Monte-Carlo, 2017 season opener which is around six months from now.

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