Triple Victory At Wales for M-Sport, WRC

 

Triple-Victory at Wales for M-Sport, claiming World Championship for both Manufacturers and Driver/Co-driver. And adding to that like icing on top of the cake, it was Elfyn Evans brilliant debut rally victory at his homeland, making it triple the fun for the English team.

Winning a championship for manufacturers is perhaps very complex when compared to the drivers & co-drivers, as it counts on various aspects of the reliability of the car, time-management of the service crew, managing most of the cars in the competitive range, logistics, etc, etc. This is where M-Sport made it a class apart without any major manufacturer’s support, keeping the crews on the front, ensuring to finish on the podium in every event so far, and with almost no-retirements.

Sebastien Ogier & Julien Ingrassia‘s coming onboard to the Cumbrian team also helped not just by their presence, but the high hopes which turned it into reality. Ott Tanak and Elfyn Evans also played well as the best team-mates along with Ogier, to make M-Sport today what they were looking forward to in along while. Malcolm Wilson is indeed a happy man and for sure his entire team is the happiest, without a doubt. Maybe, Ford Racing is considering returning to the championship, officially backing M-Sport with full-factory support for the next few years.

Having said that, it was Thierry Neuville who gave everyone ‘the run for their money‘ with the competitive driving he did and showcasing everyone his ‘never-too-late-to-fight‘ spirit. However, it was exactly here the Elvyns real worth came into the team, whose speed never seemed to come down to be caught by the Hyundai i20 WRC driver in this event. Ott Tanak was equally a competition but lost quality ground on the penultimate day’s night stages, when the fog played foul to most of the fore-front runners. Jari-Matti Latvala & Andreas Mikkelsen were the nearest of the threats, but the defending world champ was in control the whole time keep them at bay.

It wasn’t any easy roads for Seb Ogier & his co-driver Julien Ingrassia to secure their 5th title, with the new season and new cars they had the most intricate issue of securing a drive after Volkswagen announced its exit from the championship, which was totally unexpected for everyone, including to its crews. Latvala was perhaps much luckier among them when his home-team, the new Toyota Gazoo WRT headed by his countryman and an 4-time WRC driver’s champion himself Tommi Makinen offered him a ride. Ogier also had the chance to test drive, both M-Sport’s new Ford Fiesta & Toyota’s Yaris new generation WRC spec cars before concluding on the options, although with little kilometers and with a lot of negotiations, he finally got his foot-hold with Malcolm‘s M-Sport Ford Fiesta WRC.


With little-to-no experience and testing the new car meant a huge risk in the new season, yet started with a victory at Rallye Monte-Carlo, so far Wales with a narrow margin to claim the elusive looking 5-title. Even that was looking almost lost when his car got a puncture and a damaged brake disc on the front left wheel at the end of Aberhirnant 2 stage. All caked with mud he had to work all by himself frantically to remove the damaged brake disc, well before heading to the final Dyfnant test with no help either on the radio from the service crew due to the remoteness of the location. Left with only three operational brakes he was fifth fastest time in the only remaining stage for the day (Dyfnant 2, SS 16) and made it to the service park with no major drama, however bleeding the valuable seconds to the ever-charging Belgian bullet.

“We were in the middle of nowhere, in the fog, the night and the mud. I thought it was game over. I was trying my best to try to fix this car which was quite bad. The front left was missing the discs, the pads, everything. In a very short time we had to find a solution to find some brakes but we drove the last stage and we made it. It was very last minute. I thought I would lose quite a lot of time in the last stage but with three brakes it was quite manageable.”

Well, in the end, it is never too easy to even guess what it takes to be the world champion right?!

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Dramatic Saturday at Wales, WRC Rally GB

It was literally a game of cards this weekend at Wales Rally GB. Elfyn Evans was fantastic throughout the day, and also won the first 4 of the  day’s stages, plus another one at the last. Thierry Neuville was determined to climb higher up and challenge for the title chase, infact he did climb all the way up to 2nd, and also won the 5th & 6th stages. Ott Tanak was at his best to retain 2nd, slipped to 3rd by SS14, but then something happened later. Sebastien Ogier lost his third position and slipped to 4th overall, well over a minute to the leader Evans.

The last two stages were literally the game changer for the fore-front chasers, and then everybody seemed struggling and bleeding serious time in the foggy night stages. Jari-Matti Latvala won SS15, the first of the night stages and elevated himself to overall 4th from 6th from the day’s opener. Ogier braved over the trio ahead of him, and it paid by the end of the day’s stages, to finish overall 2nd by less than a minute to the Welshman.

Some forty-something kilometers leftover to conclude the event on a high tomorrow past noon at Brenig, Wales. By the feeling of Elfyn‘s driving, it is highly unlikely that he cannot win, unless something drastic happens, hope it ends well for him! But for the big question for the weekend. Will Neuville & Tanak be able to stop the title defender from claiming his 5th one this weekend?

Keep the speculations high, and let’s meet later in the noon tomorrow. Until then, happy rallying!

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Welshman Elfyn Evans leads Wales Rally GB, WRC


Welshman Elfyn Evans leads Wales Rally GB, WRC at the end of Day 2, Friday. The young Welsh dominated from since the morning’s stage victory, while others struggled to match his pace. Winning three of the day’s six stages, while the title contenders, Sebastien Ogier Ott Tanak & Thierry Neuville claiming each of the remaining three stages, were unable to challenge Evans leadership, who made a respectable 24.6s ahead of the closest Tanak in second, while Ogier managed third, with an additional 2.2s.

Thierry slid off the road in the day’s opening stage and lost valuable time to challenge his title run, which seems so far. Ogier has to finish ahead of Tanak & the Belgian in order to secure his 5th consecutive title by the end of this rally if not will have to fight in the final event, down under.

Top 10, after Friday end of day.

POS#DRIVERTIMEDIFF PREVDIFF 1ST
1.3GBRE. EVANS1:09:20.9
2.2ESTO. TANAK1:09:45.5+24.6+24.6
3.1FRAS. OGIER1:09:47.7+2.2+26.8
4.5BELT. NEUVILLE1:09:58.0+10.3+37.1
5.10FINJ. LATVALA1:10:02.8+4.8+41.9
6.9GBRK. MEEKE1:10:02.9+0.1+42.0
7.6NORA. MIKKELSEN1:10:12.9+10.0+52.0
8.16ESPD. SORDO1:10:34.8+21.9+1:13.9
9.4NZLH. PADDON1:10:43.8+9.0+1:22.9
10.11FINJ. HÄNNINEN1:11:04.4+20.6+1:43.5

 

Tomorrow, the day consists of a total 9 specials. First car starts early at 6:10am from service park, and taking the start with SS8 Aberhirnant at 7:55am, and SS9 – Dyfnant, SS10 – Gartheiniog, SS11 – Dyfi to make the first loop before regroup at Corris.

Repetition of Gartheiniog, and Dyfi with Cholmondeley Castle super special for mid-day loop. Final repeat of Aberhirnant and Dyfnant specials will conclude the day’s action, quickly after a quick service at Deeside service park.

 

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Ogier Leads Wales Rally GB after SS1


Sebastien Ogier is the overnight leader after the late evening rally opening special stage at Tir Prince Raceway. Jari-Matti Latvala, Thierry Neuville & Ott Tanak sit less than a second below the leader, while the Welshman Elfyn Evans who was fastest in the Shakedown is down in 5th spot.

The top 20 is all under 3.4s apart the leader and the Day 2 action will begin tomorrow, with Myherin (20.28kms), Sweet Lamb (4.24kms) & Hafren (the longest in the rally with 35.14kms). The afternoon specials being the re-run of the morning stages once again will culminate the day’s fight to the top.

The top 20 list is as below.

POS#DRIVERTIMEDIFF PREVDIFF 1ST
1.1FRAS. OGIER1:09.7
2.10FINJ. LATVALA1:10.1+0.4+0.4
3.5BELT. NEUVILLE1:10.2+0.1+0.5
4.2ESTO. TANAK1:10.3+0.1+0.6
5.3GBRE. EVANS1:10.8+0.5+1.1
6.6NORA. MIKKELSEN1:10.8+0.0+1.1
7.12FINE. LAPPI1:10.9+0.1+1.2
8.16ESPD. SORDO1:10.9+0.0+1.2
9.11FINJ. HÄNNINEN1:11.0+0.1+1.3
10.8IRLC. BREEN1:11.0+0.0+1.3
11.4NZLH. PADDON1:11.3+0.3+1.6
12.31SWEP. TIDEMAND1:11.7+0.4+2.0
13.44NORE. BRYNILDSEN1:11.9+0.2+2.2
14.82FINJ. HUTTUNEN1:11.9+0.0+2.2
15.33NORO. VEIBY1:12.1+0.2+2.4
16.9GBRK. MEEKE1:12.2+0.1+2.5
17.51FINK. ROVANPERÄ1:12.7+0.5+3.0
18.32FRAE. CAMILLI1:12.9+0.2+3.2
19.14NORM. ØSTBERG1:13.0+0.1+3.3
20.38GBRG. GREENSMITH1:13.1+0.1+3.4

 

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FIA confirms, Rally Turkey back on WRC Calendar in 2018

 

M-Sport World Rally Team and Toyota Gazoo Racing sent representatives to the picturesque south-west holiday resort of Marmaris to observe the three-day dirt road rally, which was provisionally listed in the calendar a month ago.

They were joined by WRC Promoter management, WRC rally director Jarmo Mahonen and FIA safety delegate Michèle Mouton. All were impressed by the high standards of organisation, the quality of the special stages and the service park facilities.

“We wanted to observe a rally that is fit to take its place at the WRC’s top table,” said WRC Promoter managing director Oliver Ciesla. “The organising team at TOSFED delivered that and my congratulations go to them for securing a deserved place in the 2018 calendar.

“Next year’s fixture will be one of the most compact in the sport’s history. The special stages hug the coast with amazing backdrops overlooking the sea and WRC fans can look forward to stunning TV images.”

Large crowds watched the rally, which was won by Orhan Avcioğlu in a Skoda Fabia R5. Avcioğlu will compete in the WRC 2 support category at Dayinsure Wales Rally GB, this week’s penultimate round of the season.

Turkey’s Minister of Youth and Sports, Osman Aşkin Bak, attended Friday evening’s start ceremony in Marmaris and TOSFED president Serkan Yazici said it showed the importance attached to Turkey’s WRC return.

“We’ve worked incredibly hard to bring the WRC back to Turkey,” he said. “The Government has pledged its support and last weekend’s successful rally was the final piece of the jigsaw which confirmed our country’s return to the FIA World Rally Championship,” he said.

The final 2018 calendar is:

ROUNDRALLYDATE
1.Monte-Carlo25 – 28 January
2.Sweden15 – 18 February
3.Mexico8 – 11 March
4.France5 – 8 April
5.Argentina26 – 29 April
6.Portugal17 – 20 May
7.Italy7 – 10 June
8.Finland26 – 29 July
9.Germany16 – 19 August
10.Turkey13 – 16 September
11.Great Britain4 – 7 October
12.Spain25 – 28 October
13.Australia15 – 18 November
  • src: wrc.com
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WRC, Wales Rally GB, 2017- A Preview


In a few hours from now Wales Rally GB the 2017 edition kickstarts, probably even define and crowns the World Rally championship winners too! It is one of the historic events in the championship and has been the proving grounds for many teams, drivers, and alike. Sebastien Ogier and M-Sport have a decent, rather easy chance to claim the championship this weekend at Wales. Thierry Neuville however, has a mathematical chance of winning the championship, given the 4-timer has retirements in this and the last event at Rally Australia. Although it is possible, however, the chances are finitely slim.

M-Sport, the Cumbrian outfit fields and supports many Ford Fiesta rally cars in the championship since 2011, and has a long-standing relationship with the American car manufacturer Ford Motors. Ever since Ford pulled out of the status as Official Manufacturer entry, has been supporting M-Sport to a certain degree. But that alone wouldn’t have been sufficient to keep English team in the forefront for nearly 5 years, if not for its successful spectrum of rally cars based on the Ford Fiesta, which shows the level of expertise in their field.

Perhaps homing the reigning world champion driver who went without a drive at the end of the last year (unexpected exit of the German Auto giant’s, Volkswagen Motorsport), was ‘the master-stroke’ by Malcolm Wilson that helped the team’s chance to win the championship a lot better. Teaming up Ogier, was the Estonian driver Ott Tanak; another fast young driver that MSport recognised and nurtured very early as a prospective talent.

Tanak vs Ogier‘s fight and their ability to work together to achieve maximum numbers of victories in this season, is definitely that helped M-Sport’s position for now. However, Ott Tanak has signed up with Toyota for the next season and would end his outing for MSport in the season’s last event at Rally Australia.

Okay coming back to the event in hand, Wales Rally GB, competitive action will start from tomorrow Thursday the 26th, with SS 1 – Visit Conwy Tir Prince, although the real action begins the following day with SS2 – Myherin 1, and will culminate on Sunday the 29th, of October 2017 at SS 21 – Brenig 2 (Power Stage).

Route

  • Fast gravel roads in remote forests. The picture-postcard scenery as British autumn offers a fantastic myriad of colours.
  • Familiar itinerary in mid and north Wales with few changes from 2016. Based around Deeside service park.
  • After a Thursday night curtain-raiser, Friday’s opening leg includes classic Myherin, Sweet Lamb and Hafren stages. All are driven twice, with just a pause for fresh tyres splitting the passes.
  • A marathon 17-hour Saturday includes a double loop of stages in Dyfi and Gartheiniog before two-night tests close the action.
  • The final leg is the most northerly, with the picturesque Brenig again forming the final Live-TV Power Stage.

Challenge

  • Tree-lined forest tracks are not technically difficult but are treacherous in muddy conditions.
  • Unpredictable weather can bring, rain, ice and fog.
  • Inconsistent and ever-changing grip as isolated patches of mud or ice can trap the unwary.
  • Logs piled high close to the edge of roads must be avoided at all costs.

Car spec

  • Gravel suspension.
  • Soft compound tyres essential in cold, wet conditions.
  • Studded tyres are banned – even in extreme winter conditions.

INFO

DAYINSURE WALES RALLY GB
START DATE:26.10.2017
END DATE:29.10.2017
TIMEZONE:UTC 1
CATEGORY:WRC3
WRC2
WRC
STAGES:20 (306,98 KM)
DISTANCE:1.470,35 KM
SERVICEPARK:DEESIDE

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Ott Tanak moves to Toyota WRC in 2018

Now, it is officially confirmed by Toyota that Ott Tanak moves to Toyota WRC in 2018 season. After the remaining two rounds of the current World Rally season, Ott Tanak will officially become a Toyota WRC driver with a third Yaris WRC ready at Toyota Gazoo World Rally Team stable. Another important announcement is that Kaj Lindstrom, the co-driver for Juho Hanninen will be the sporting manager starting from Rally Australia. This also marks the end of era of Juho’s career at Wales Rally, GB.

The below is the Official press release from Toyota:

TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team can confirm that Ott Tänak will drive the Yaris WRC from Rallye Monte-Carlo next year, together with his co-driver Martin Jarveoja. The 30-year-old Estonian, the winner of two rallies so far this season, has been one of the outstanding performers on the 2017 FIA World Rally Championship. TOYOTA GAZOO Racing WRT will enter its second season with three Yaris WRCs on every event, with Jari-Matti Latvala / Miikka Anttila and Esapekka Lappi / Janne Ferm completing the driver line-up.

Kaj Lindström, currently co-driver for Juho Hänninen, is taking on a new role as sporting director for the team, starting from Rally Australia this year. With this revised line-up, TOYOTA GAZOO Racing WRT will continue its challenge into the 2018 season.


Toyota Gazoo World Rally Team principal, Tommi Makinen had his share of excitement, as below;

“We’re delighted to have secured the services of Ott, having had our eyes on him for a while. He represents the perfect blend of youth and experience, together with the right sort of mental attitude that means he will fit into our team very well. Like the Yaris WRC, Ott has exceeded all expectations this year, so I’m sure it will be a strong partnership with both speed and consistency on all surfaces. I’d also like to congratulate Kaj on his new role. One of my favourite memories of my own driving career is our win in Monte-Carlo together; from this, and the experience of working with him since, I know that Kaj is the ultimate professional and he is sure to be a strong asset as we continue our team’s development. Finally, I would like to express my thanks and appreciation for everything that Juho has done for us. He will always be a member of our family, and has played an important part in taking us to where we are today.”

 



Some stats about Ott Tanak:

  • Date of birth: 15 Oct 1987
  • Age: 30 years old
  • Nationality: Estonian
  • Highlights:
    2008: Estonian Rally Champion
    2009: Estonian Rally Champion
    2009: First WRC rally
    2010: European Pirelli Star Driver
    2011: 2nd overall FIA SWRC Championship (3 wins)
    2017: First WRC win, Rally Sardinia, second win in Rally Germany
  • Career Statistics:
    WRC starts 77, Victories 2, Podiums 10,
    Points scored 379, Stage Wins 73

On the other hand, MSport released their statement too,



Ott Tänak has long been a part of the M-Sport family and, following the announcement that he and co-driver Martin Järveoja will be journeying to pastures new next year, the whole team would like to take this opportunity to wish them both the very best in their new adventures.

Tänak first came to Malcolm Wilson’s attention in 2009 – nominated by former team driver and mentor Markko Märtin to pilot the Ford Fiesta R2 on the Estonian leg of its global launch tour. Tänak was quick to impress and was signed up to a development programme with M-Sport.

Read the complete article here: M-Sport Press Release.

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Volkswagen Motorsport to Challenge Pikes Peak in 2018

Volkswagen Motorsport to Challenge Pikes Peak in 2018
Volkswagen Motorsport to Challenge Pikes Peak in 2018

Volkswagen Motorsport very recently announced its intent to challenge the Pikes Peak in 2018. With hash-tags #UnfinishedBusiness #ChallengeReloaded, the automotive giant seems to have been working on the mission at hand rigorously. Finishing at 4,301 meters above sea-level, PPIHC’s fastest climb record has been so far been set by the 9-time WRC champion driver Sebastien Loeb in the Peugeot 208 875HP monster specially built for the task with a time of 8 minutes 13.878 seconds.

Racing on the Pikes Peak first gained traction in as early as 1916, although PPIHC as we know it now, only gained international fame during early 1980’s. It was the victory of some famous personalities from the World Rally Championship, such as Michele MoutonWalter Rohrl,  both in an Audio Quattro and Ari Vatanen in a Peugeot 405 T16 who created new records . Japanese race car driver Nobuhiro Tajima (popularly known as Monster Tajima) has been successful in Suzuki for six years in a row from 2006 till 2011, and twice before in 1992, and 1995.


Claim of being the world’s highest hill-climb, Pikes Peak International Hill-Climb or in short PPIHC is definitely a show stopper of its own kind. Although the world’s highest endurance race happens in one of the toughest environments, among the world highest motorable passes on the Himalayan region which sometimes can exceed 5,000 meters at times. #RaidDeHimalaya is the name of that event, and it is a completely different topic to be published!

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VW hasn’t disclosed the car nor the driver, and the short couple of tweets was just a heads-up for the things that are going to unravel in the near future. For the 2018 edition dated on 24th June 2018 will definitely be a long wait, yet worth it!

Will the Peugeot & Loeb’s joint record be rewritten, next year? Only time can tell!


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