| 26-28 febr
|* Subject to agreement
21-01-23 Ogier set for Rallye
Monte-Carlo record win after Saturday surge
Frenchman holds 13-second lead over Evans with one day of action left. Sébastien
Ogier took a huge step towards securing a historic eighth Rallye Monte-Carlo
win on Saturday after recapturing the lead to head a clean sweep of the podium
places for Toyota Gazoo Racing.
After losing top spot due to a flat tyre on Friday afternoon, Ogier regained
the initiative from Elfyn Evans with a stunning drive in darkness on snow
and ice-covered roads in this mornings opening speed test. He distanced
Evans by almost 18sec in the 18.31km stage.
The Frenchman retained his cool on polished snow in the next test. Although
Evans claimed back time by winning the final stage, Ogier made the journey
south to Monaco with a 13.0sec advantage in his Yaris with one day remaining.
"Conditions in this morning's opening stage were very difficult,"
said Ogier. "In some corners it didn't feel like we had any studs in
our tyres. The conditions in the second run changed a lot since our safety
crew passed so I had to trust what I saw."
Evans was relieved to stop time ebbing away with victory in the last test.
"I needed that really. It's been a bit of a frustrating day. I haven't
been on the money, but we'll try to keep the pressure on tomorrow," he
Kalle Rovanperä completed Toyota's treble in third. Victory on the middle
of today's three stages enabled Thierry Neuville to close within a whisker
in his Hyundai i20, but the young Finn repelled the pressure to end the day
7.0sec ahead. He was 43.8sec behind Evans.
Ott Tänak's hold on third ended when he punctured twice in successive
stages. With just one spare onboard his i20 the Estonian limped to service,
but organisers decided there was insufficient rubber on the rim to drive on
the public road and he was forced out.
Dani Sordo was fifth, more than a minute adrift of team-mate Neuville. With
Tänak sidelined in the other car and unable to restart tomorrow, the
Spaniard must finish to deliver vital manufacturer points for the Korean squad
so he eased his pace to avoid risks.
Japan's Takamoto Katsuta moved up to sixth in another Yaris, more than 2min
Sunday's new-look final leg features a double pass through Puget-Théniers
La Penne and Briançonnet Entrevaux, totalling 54.48km.
There will be no service and the second run through the latter forms the bonus
points-paying Wolf Power Stage.
Leading positions after Saturday
1. S Ogier / J Ingrassia FRA Toyota Yaris 2hr 16min 31.9sec
2. E Evans / S Martin GBR Toyota Yaris +13.0sec
3. K Rovanperä / J Halttunen FIN Toyota Yaris +56.8sec
4. T Neuville / M Wydaeghe BEL Hyundai i20 +1min 03.8sec
5. D Sordo / C del Barrio ESP Hyundai i20 +2min 11.3sec
6. T Katsuta / D Barritt GBR Toyota Yaris +4min 43.1sec
21-01-22 Leader Evans under
attack from Rallye Monte-Carlo master Ogier
Welshman holds slender Friday lead over Frenchman with Tänak still in
contention. Elfyn Evans led Rallye Monte-Carlo after Friday's second leg,
but the Welshman was under severe pressure from angry world champion Sébastien
Evans held a 7.4sec advantage over his Toyota Yaris team-mate, but Ogier is
looming large in Evans' rear mirror after a stunning recovery from a puncture
which cost him the lead.
With the brake problem that hindered him on Thursday resolved, Ogier was imperious
on the French Alps roads near Gap to win all three morning speed tests and
climb from fifth to first.
His 11.3sec advantage over Evans was wiped out after he spun and ended this
afternoon's opening test with his front left wheel on the rim. He plunged
to third, 23.4sec adrift, but the frustrated Frenchman bounced back to regain
16.0sec by winning the final test.
Ogier's recovery was remarkable as he drove that last stage with an unbalanced
mix of three Pirelli winter tyres and one studded tyre on his Yaris.
"I'm here to win this rally so I'm going to win it," said
Ogier. "I was pushing in the final stage because I was angry. Conditions
were very difficult with a lot of rain and we had to carry a studded tyre
on the car. After a couple of kilometres it was starting to move at the rear."
Conditions changed all day, making tyre choice complicated. A morning mix
of damp roads and ice gave way to persistent rain and mud this afternoon.
Evans was never outside the top three times, and won the penultimate test,
but a damaged wheel meant he drove the final stage with the same unbalanced
tyre mix as Ogier. He was sixth fastest.
"When conditions get more extreme, more slippery, I'm struggling for
that last bit of feeling and I don't get the confidence I need to push,"
he admitted. "Seb had a fantastic day. He took a lot of risks and maybe
I didn't take quite enough. We know there's a small advantage to running first
on the road, but to be fair to him that wasn't 16sec.
Leg 1 leader Ott Tänak was 17.5sec further back in third. The Estonian's
Hyundai i20 lost power in this morning's tight hairpins and he was powerless
to repel Ogier's charge into second in the final stage when his windows misted
Fourth-placed Kalle Rovanperä made it three Yaris cars in the top four,
the Finn 53.1sec behind Evans. He took the lead in the morning's opening test
but a mix of worsening road conditions and a 10sec penalty for arriving late
at SS4 dropped him down the order.
He slid into a field early in the penultimate test but recovered to demote
Thierry Neuville to fifth in the closing stage. Just 6.0sec split the duo,
Neuville enjoying a better afternoon after toiling this morning with a poor
Team-mate Dani Sordo competed the top six another 50.5sec back. He had little
confidence in his car's handling after making the same tyre selection error,
but a more balanced choice this afternoon rejuvenated the Spaniard.
Saturday brings another early start with La Bréole - Selonnet launching
the day in darkness at 06.30. Saint Clément Freissinières
precedes the final service in Gap, before a repeat of the opening test starts
the long journey south to Monaco after 57.10km of competition.
Leading positions after Friday
1. E Evans / S Martin GBR Toyota Yaris 1hr 33min 57.5sec
2. S Ogier / J Ingrassia FRA Toyota Yaris +7.4sec
3. O Tänak / M Järveoja EST Hyundai i20 +25.3sec
4. K Rovanperä / J Halttunen FIN Toyota Yaris +53.1sec
5. T Neuville / M Wydaeghe BEL Hyundai i20 +59.1sec
6. D Sordo / C del Barrio ESP Hyundai i20 +1min 49.6sec
21-01-21 Tänak double
earns Rallye Monte-Carlo lead in WRC season opener
Suninen unhurt after crash as patchy ice tests drivers to the limit on
Thursday. Ott Tänak won Thursday afternoon's opening two speed tests
to claim the early lead at Rallye Monte-Carlo.
The Estonian crashed heavily in the FIA World Rally Championship's season-opener
12 months ago, but there were no mistakes today as he ended the short opening
leg with a 3.3sec advantage over Kalle Rovanperä.
Tänak, driving a Hyundai i20, won the 20.58km special stage from Saint-Disdier
to Corps by 3.0sec from the Finnish youngster. He added a further three tenths
to his lead by taking the following 20.78km test from Saint-Maurice to Saint-Bonnet,
despite stalling at the start.
Conditions in the opening test were wet but patchy ice early in the next stage
made grip unpredictable. Nevertheless, Tänak, like virtually all the
leading crews, opted for Pirelli's supersoft compound asphalt tyres.
"It was looking like quite a simple start to the Monte, normally we've
never started in daylight and in these consistent conditions. In the end the
first one wasn't so bad but the second one, with a lot of cuts and muddy places,
was demanding with a lot of surprises," he explained.
Rovanperä enjoyed a trouble-free run in his Toyota Yaris to end the day
5.2sec clear of team-mate Elfyn Evans. The Welshman was almost caught out
on a slippery right corner in SS1 and struggled to generate heat in his tyres
in the early part of SS2.
Thierry Neuville was fourth in another i20, 16.0sec off his team-mate's pace.
The Belgian was co-driven by Martijn Wydaeghe for the first time after splitting
with long-term partner Nicolas Gilsoul last week. The pair settled in well,
despite sound problems in the intercom.
Sébastien Ogier started his title defence in fifth, less than a second
adrift of Neuville. The Frenchman had intermittent brake problems in his Yaris
but had almost half a minute in hand over Dani Sordo, who was unnerved by
a strange noise in his i20.
Pierre-Louis Loubet was seventh in a similar car, 25.1sec adrift of the Spaniard,
with WRC2 leader Andreas Mikkelsen next up in a Skoda Fabia. Fellow support
class contender Adrien Fourmaux was ninth with a frustrated Gus Greensmith
tenth in his Ford Fiesta.
Takamoto Katsuta was just off the leaderboard after spinning his Yaris in
Teemu Suninen was the first retirement. The Finn set a storming pace through
the opening test and was on course for fastest time before running wide into
a bank, rolling back across the road and plunging down an embankment.
Friday hosts the 'meat' of the rally with almost 105km of competition across
five stages west of Gap. Two loops of two tests sandwich a single pass through
the longest stage of the weekend. The action kicks off before dawn at 06.10,
with service after the first three tests.
Leading positions after Thursday
1. O Tänak / M Järveoja EST Hyundai i20 24m17.5s
2. K Rovanperä / J Halttunen FIN Toyota Yaris +3.3s
3. E Evans / S Martin GBR Toyota Yaris +8.5s
4. T Neuville / M Wydaeghe BEL Hyundai i20 +16.0s
5. S Ogier / J Ingrassia FRA Toyota Yaris +16.9s
21-01-20 Ogier chases eighth
title as WRC season launches in Monte Carlo
Twelve rounds ahead for season that brings curtain down on World Rally Car
era. Just 46 days after Sébastien Ogier sealed his seventh world title,
the 2021 FIA World Rally Championship roars into life on Thursday (21 January)
at the famous Rallye Monte-Carlo.
Twelve rounds lie in wait on four continents in a season that brings down
the curtain on the World Rally Car era. Twenty-five years after being introduced,
World Rally Cars will make way for an exciting new hybrid generation in 2022.
Ogier returns for his final WRC season, heading a Toyota Gazoo Racing line-up
which is identical to last year. He is joined in Yaris cars by 2020 championship
runner-up Elfyn Evans and Kalle Rovanperä.
Ogier bids for a record eighth Monte-Carlo victory on roads close to his birthplace
near the host town of Gap, in the French Alps. But the 37-year-old is taking
nothing for granted, especially after a test crash last week.
Everybody knows that Rallye Monte-Carlo is the rally that I want to
win the most. But its a rally that you have to face with a lot of humility
because its always challenging with the conditions and you have to be
really clever to win it, he said.
The rally, which celebrates its 110th anniversary, is the most unpredictable
on the calendar. Conditions can vary from snow and ice to wet and dry asphalt
on the same stage, making tyre selection fiendishly hard but crucially important
as teams hunt for the best compromise.
Italian manufacturer Pirelli returns as the championships tyre supplier
after a 10-year absence to add a further element of uncertainty, but its
a challenge Ogier relishes.
We will need to adapt to the new tyres, especially on Monte-Carlo when
we have a bigger package available than any other event. But Im looking
forward to it because for me its an interesting aspect of rallying:
To try and make the best tyre strategy and use them as best as you can,
Hyundai Motorsport defends the manufacturers title, with Thierry Neuville
and Ott Tänak leading the attack. Neuville starts on the back foot after
splitting with co-driver Nicolas Gilsoul last week. Martijn Wydaeghe replaces
him but the pair have not tested together.
Dani Sordo pilots the third i20, a car he will share during the season with
Irelands Craig Breen.
Teemu Suninen and Britains Gus Greensmith return in M-Sport Fords
Fiesta, the Finn with former co-driver Mikko Markkula returning to his side.
Toyota development driver Takamoto Katsuta and Pierre-Louis Loubet complete
the frontrunners in the 84-car entry.
The rally starts in Gap on Thursday lunchtime and competitors face 14 speed
tests covering 257.64km before Sunday afternoons finish in Monaco.
21-01-14 Two-year WRC contract
for Rally Estonia
WRC Promoter and Rally Estonia signed a two-year
Passion, commitment and team spirit ensured a spot in WRC calendar
Rally Estonia aims a longer success in WRC
WRC Rally Estonia 2020, the first ever Estonian WRC round was a success. On
Wednesday, January 13, 2021 an agreement between WRC Promoter and Rally Estonia
was signed by Managing Director Jona Siebel and Rally Estonia Commercial Director
Tarmo Hõbe. Estonian Prime Minister Jüri Ratas announced at the
press conference that Rally Estonia has joined the WRC calendar for 2021 and
The two-year contract is a sign of trust from the FIA and WRC Promoter to
the Estonian government and Rally Estonia organising team. As a sign of recognition,
Prime Minister Jüri Ratas presented Estonian e-residency to FIA Rally
Director Yves Matton, Managing Director of WRC Promoter Jona Siebel and President
of the Estonian Autosport Union Ari Vatanen. All three were participating
at the press conference online and e-residency enabled them to sign the contracts
digitally during the press conference.
Jüri Ratas, Prime Minister of Estonian Republic: It was an honour
to announce that Rally Estonia is a part of the WRC calendar in 2021 as well
as 2022. It shows that we have earned a trust of the stakeholders. The fact
that we managed to organise a safe Rally Estonia with no infections was highly
rated both internationally and here in Estonia. My congratulations to the
organisers, partners and all the rally fans in the world. Im sure that
Estonias position in rally world will strengthen.
Yves Matton, FIA Rally Director: It is a part of the process and long
commitment from Estonian Autosport Union and Rally Estonia organisers. They
are involved organising rally since 2010 trying to achieve high level events.
They were part of European championship. After that they deserved a right
to organise WRC Promotional Event. It was success where all the manufacturers
were involved. In 2020 under special circumstances, they were able to organise
WRC event. They showcased that they really have the high level of competence
and bringing new ideas and fresh approach to the series. They convinced FIA,
WRC Promoter and all the stakeholders that this event has the level to join
the calendar for 2021 and 2022.
Jona Siebel, WRC Promoter Managing Director: There were many factors
which led to this agreement. First of all, the performance of last years
event was one of the key aspects here. The second factor is the passion, especially
the passion of the Estonian rally fans which is really great. Of course, that
played a big part in Ott Tänaks and Martin Järveojas
World Championship titles for sure. And the third factor is commitment. Its
all about the commitment. Our understanding is that all Estonia is committed.
The government, the whole organising team, the fans. Everybody is committed.
Two years is a clear signal from FIA and WRC Promoter, it fits.
Ari Vatanen, President of Estonian Autosport Union: The organising team
of Rally Estonia has done superb work. And we know they were capable of organising
top-class events. The situation in the world last year pushed some processes
to move faster and the dream became a reality. The Estonian Government, especially
Prime Minister Jüri Ratas play a big part in the success of last years
Rally Estonia and in this agreement. The support from the government is very
important. What I have seen here is a great team spirit in everything. This
team spirit brought WRC to Estonia and I believe it can keep WRC in Estonia.
Urmo Aava, Rally Estonia Director: Ten years ago it seemed impossible
to organise a WRC event in Estonia. But we wanted to be better every year
and it keeps our focus sharp. I believe that we have still room for improvement
almost everywhere. We understand what and where we must do, and we are already
working to deliver another great event. We have a unique opportunity to start
a tradition here. Our goal is not just two years in the calendar, our goal
is a longer success in WRC.
The second edition of WRC Rally Estonia will run on 15-18 July.
21-01-14 Arctic Rally Finland
joins 2021 FIA World Rally Championship
· Snow and ice fixture added to WRC schedule on 26 - 28 February
· Rovaniemi hosts all-new second round of 2021 season in Lapland
· Rally Finland gravel round retains existing date on 29 July - 1 August
The FIA World Rally Championship will venture into the Arctic Circle for the
first time next month after WRC Promoter today added Arctic Rally Finland
Powered by CapitalBox to the 2021 calendar.
The all-new snow and ice event will be based in Rovaniemi on 26 - 28 February
and replaces the cancelled Rally Sweden as the WRCs only pure winter
encounter. It forms round two of the 12-event fixture list.
The announcement means the Nordic country will host two WRC rounds this year.
Rally Finland, held on iconic rollercoaster gravel roads around Jyväskylä,
will take place on 29 July - 1 August.
Rovaniemi, the capital of Finlands northernmost Lapland province, lies
just outside the Arctic Circle. The competition will take place inside the
region, where temperatures can plunge below -30°C in February.
The city is famously known as the home of Santa Claus (or Joulupukki as he
is called in Finland) and also attracts high tourist numbers to view the stunning
Aurora Borealis displays better known as the Northern Lights.
The rally starts on Friday 26 February with a morning shakedown, ahead of
the opening special stages that evening. Saturday features three tests driven
twice ahead of Sundays final leg, which closes with the Wolf Power Stage.
The 10 stages cover 260km.
The rally will run under strict national, local and FIA Covid-19 procedures
and organisers will follow all protocols on whether fans will be allowed.
WRC Promoter managing director Jona Siebel was impressed by promoter AKK Sports
determination to organise the rally at short notice.
Since it was confirmed in December that Rally Sweden would not take
place, weve been working hard with AKK Sports, the city of Rovaniemi
and the enthusiasts there to try to make this event happen. Its been
a tough race against time and my thanks go to all involved, he said.
Although the rally starts in just 44 days, we know AKK will leave no
stone unturned to ensure it reaches the same high standards as the traditional
summertime Rally Finland.
Winter rallies provide some of the sports most spectacular action.
A winter wonderland of full snow and big snow banks lining the roads are a
drivers dream, so I think the WRC is in for a great time!
AKK Sports CEO Riku Bitter is delighted at how quickly Rovaniemi embraced
the idea of a WRC round at such short notice.
We set out to look into the matter and explore our possibilities. Of
the various different options, Rovaniemi, with its solid culture in organising
winter rallies, good reputation as an international event city and large number
of enthusiastic and experienced rally-makers stood out, he said.
FIA rally director Yves Matton said: With Arctic Rally Finland joining
the WRC calendar, we will experience a rally in a region that has always made
us dream and where conditions promise to be optimal for a snow event.
Following the unfortunate cancellation of Rally Sweden in December,
this is proof that with challenges can come opportunities.
I would like to thank AKK and the organising team for their commitment,
professionalism and determination, which enables them to make a second round
in Finland a reality within a short time window. We will give all our help
and support to ensure a great success for this new round.
The revised calendar is subject to FIA approval.
21-01-13 Rally Estonia is Asahi
Kasei Team Spirit Award winner
After pulling together their maiden WRC event in just 63 days, the Rally Estonia
organising team has been voted as the 2020 recipient of the Asahi Kasei Team
Drawing in thousands of votes on wrc.com, the Estonian organising team won
out over Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT, Toksport and M-Sport Ford. In a season that
was heavily affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, Estonia was brought onto the
calendar as a replacement event, and was the first run under strict new Covid-19
Urmo Aava, Rally Estonia Director: This award is a great recognition
to our team and Estonia. We are pleased that FIA and WRC Promoter believed
and trusted us, it really means a lot. It was big effort to have spectators
in Rally Estonia. It wasnt easy for them, but they showed their best
sides and we really appreciate it. Our team, all the people who have put their
effort for ten years, thank you! All this couldnt have happened without
the support and cooperation from Estonian government and our partners. Last
but not least, I would like to thank everyone who voted for Rally Estonia!
With the eyes of the rallying world focused on the Baltic nation, Rally Estonia
organisers successfully executed a Covid-safe event and did enough to earn
themselves a spot back on the calendar for 2021.
The icing on the cake for the organisers, was seeing local hopeful Ott Ta¨nak
standing atop the podium on Sunday afternoon.
Staying true to their team spirit, the organisers produced a thank you message
featuring gratitude from a number of members of their team, who thanked the
FIA, WRC Promoter, Estonian government and the fans for their support.
The second edition of Rally Estonia will run from 15-18 July.
21-01-08 Belgium added to
2021 FIA World Rally Championship
· Renties Ypres Rally Belgium joins 2021 WRC calendar
· Belgium hosts World Rally Championship for the first time
· Asphalt fixture replaces UKs Rally Northern Ireland in August
· British event shelved due to continuing Covid challenges
· Focus turns towards securing 2022 WRC round in Northern Ireland
Belgium will stage a round of the FIA World Rally Championship for the first
time after Renties Ypres Rally Belgium was today (Friday) added to the 2021
The asphalt event will take place in August on a date to be confirmed. It
will replace the UKs proposed fixture in Northern Ireland, which has
unfortunately been deferred for this year due to uncertainty over public funding
relative to the Coronavirus pandemic.
Belgium will become the 35th nation to stage a WRC round at the second
time of asking since the series started in 1973. Last Novembers
round in Ypres was called off due to Covid-19.
Ypres was first held in 1965 and has become established as one of Europes
most demanding rallies. Previous winners include current Hyundai Motorsport
driver and home hero Thierry Neuville in 2018 and team-mate Craig Breen the
The rally will feature three days of competition with an atmospheric service
park in Ypres historic Grote Markt.
Jona Siebel, managing director of WRC Promoter, the commercial rights holder
for the championship, said Ypres would be an appetising encounter for teams,
drivers and co-drivers.
Ypres has been a hugely popular cornerstone of European rallying for
more than half a century. Its elevation to the WRC will provide one of the
seasons sternest challenges and Im delighted the championship
will finally visit Belgium after last years unfortunate delay,
Its tricky mix of narrow asphalt lanes with big ditches lining the roads,
allied with some stages in the dark and the potential for mixed weather, will
provide plenty of thrills and spills for fans.
Siebel acknowledged the difficulties of Rally Northern Ireland obtaining the
required government support in such challenging times.
Its sad the WRC will not enjoy the beauty of Northern Ireland
this year, but the pandemic continues to impact the global economy. Our enthusiasm
for a WRC round there remains strong and we look forward to continuing our
discussions for 2022, he said.
FIA Rally Director Yves Matton said: The 2021 calendar has been developed
against the backdrop of the challenges brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic
and we knew we would possibly face ongoing issues in this new year.
Bobby Willis and his team have put in a lot of work and efforts to bring
the WRC to Northern Ireland and were very disappointed there will be
no rally in the UK this year, he added.
It is a chance for Ypres Rally Belgium to step in after last years
attempt. It will showcase the DNA of rally with a route that links Ypres to
Spa-Francorchamps, two iconic venues of Belgian motorsport. I very much look
forward to it.
In October, Renties Ypres Rally Belgium was named on the WRCs 2021 reserve
list and Alain Penasse, president of event organiser Club Superstage, said
the rally was ready to take its place on the calendar.
Last year our volunteers proved they could switch quickly and organise
a WRC event at short notice. Sadly it didnt happen, but we will be delighted
to welcome the WRC for the first time in mid-August, he said.
Broadly speaking, we will use last years proposed format again.
This was clearly appreciated by the participants as the entry list for the
2020 edition looked impressive with 140 teams registered.
Rally Northern Ireland promoter Bobby Willis explained that requisite public
funding was unavailable to support a successful WRC event this year due to
the uncertainty surrounding the pandemic.
Tourism Northern Ireland recognises that hosting Rally Northern Ireland
in 2021 represented a positive opportunity to profile the region globally,
and would serve to celebrate Northern Irelands motorsport heritage.
However, it feels Covid-19 could diminish the substantial economic benefits
WRC historically bestows upon its host regions, and therefore investment would
not represent best value for public money at this time.
We must accept the situation for 2021 and focus on our discussions to
explore the avenues for 2022, he said.
The agreement in principle between WRC Promoter and Renties Ypres Rally Belgium
is subject to FIA and ASN (national sporting authority) agreement.