VM kalendern 2020 VM kalendern 2021
23-26 jan Monte Carlo    
13-16 febr Rally Sweden    
12-15 mars Mexico    
4-6 sept Estland    
18-20 sept Turkiet    
15-18 okt Tyskland    
8-11 okt Italien    
19-22 nov Belgien    
4-6 dec Rally Monza    
Aktuell kalender med status pdf uppdaterad 2020-05-06
21-24 jan Monte Carlo    
11-14 febr Rally Sweden    
22-25 april Kroatioen *    
20-23 maj Portugal    
3-6 juni Italien    
24-27 juni Kenya    
15-18 juli Estland *    
29-1 aug Finland    
19-22 aug England *    
9-12 sept Chile    
14-17 okt Spanien    
11-14 nov Japan    
* Subject to agreement


20-10-19 Rally Estonia proved that a world top sports event with spectators can also be organized under the conditions of corona crisis
• Estonia proved to be a capable organizer in the crisis situation
• 26 000 local residents took part in the events of Rally Estonia
• The competition took place without any case of coronavirus infection in cooperation with the Estonian state, FIA, WRC Promoter and organizer

The first Estonian round of the FIA World Rally Championship was organized with only 63 days. Rally Estonia, held in exceptional circumstances, was the first global title competition with such a large audience that was organized under the conditions of COVID-19 and ended without any cases of infection. This safe big event was successful thanks to the joint effort and well-considered actions of organizers and spectators.

SYNLAB, the cooperation partner Rally Estonia, performed a total of 1337 coronavirus tests for the people involved in the organization and competition before and during the rally, all of which were negative.

A total of 26 000 local people took part in Rally Estonia events, including the people involved in the organization, competitors and teams, audience and local residents who were within the perimeter of the rally and their guests. The spectators who had to adapt to the exceptional conditions were very cooperative and sympathetically accepted the requirement to wear a mask in the rally spectator areas, established only two days before the start of the rally, are worthy of particular praise. This perception of personal responsibility was one of the important keys why, despite of the dramatic surge of virus before rally, no outbreaks of infection or new cases of infection occurred among the rally audience.

Jüri Ratas, Prime Minister of the Republic of Estonia: “If experts contribute wholeheartedly, even the impossible becomes possible. This is exactly the principle reaffirmed by Rally Estonia team this year. It is an obvious challenge to offer great experiences to rally fans all around the world for the first time and in a new level in the context of an indefinite crisis without endangering anyone's health. The organizers of the event that took place in Estonia this year had enough will and intelligence to deal with it excellently. I believe that this is just the beginning - thanks to Rally Estonia team rally fans will gather in Estonia and enjoy new experiences over and over again.”

Yves Matton, FIA Rally director: "Estonia’s confirmation for 2021 is the well-deserved reward for the hard work and commitment demonstrated by the Estonian Autosport Union and the Rally Estonia team to organise a safe and successful event with a solid COVID-19 protocol this year. This achievement was also made possible thanks to the support of the Estonian Government: together, they have fulfilled all expectations. I believe Estonia’s presence in the calendar also brings a fresh approach to the championship as they are showcasing new ideas - for example with the use of new technologies - which could very well benefit other countries. I look forward to next year’s edition.“

Jona Siebel, managing director of WRC Promoter: “In the current Covid-19 climate, we are fully committed to our duty of care to protect both the WRC family – and that means competitors, teams, officials, supplier and media – and the local community. Providing access in a safe and responsible way was the most important aspect of the championship’s restart event in Estonia. The absence of any new cases of Coronavirus infection during rally week is a clear indication of the success of the measures implemented and the willingness of everyone involved to adhere to those strict guidelines. The championship gained valuable experience and understanding of managing the challenges created by Covid-19 to carry forward. Estonia’s championship debut proved a massive success across all aspects of the event, even more so given the short time available to the organisers to prepare the rally. The reward for the entire organising team is a place in the 2021 calendar – an achievement that is fully deserved.”

Urmo Aava, director of Rally Estonia: “The organizing team of Rally Estonia has developed within 10 years into a team that can overcome even seemingly insurmountable difficulties. Our cooperation with all our partners is equally important. We are happy that we were trusted and obtained the right to organize the Estonian first WRC rally. When looking back to it today, I can say for sure that together we succeeded 101%. The three strategic partners have a very important role to play in all this. The state of Estonia which contributed to the conduct of the round of FIA ??WRC World Rally Championship both financially and structurally together with various ministries and agencies. The large ??work file Return to Motorsport, created by the International Automobile Federation FIA, was the basis for us to be able to successfully create our own documentation. FIA ??also involved its experienced professionals before and during the rally and this support was invaluable. WRC Promoter, with whom we have been cooperating since 2018. Estonia received this opportunity thanks to their trust and offering and their team was a great help for us in organizing the rally. The outputs provided by them were certainly extremely attractive to Estonia as an organizing country.“

Estonia manifested itself to the world as a capable country where it is possible to organize such a big event in a short time. This was ensured by the following factors, through which Estonia is now even better known in the world - highly developed innovative information technology solutions, safe environment for competitors as well as audience, strong legal system, clean and unspoilt nature, emotional but conscientious people with the highest hopes for themselves and others.

Rally Estonia is the round of the 2021 FIA World Rally Championship which will be held in Tartu and Southern Estonia on 15- 18 July 2021.
20-10-12 Rally Estonia is the round of the World Rally Championship 2021
Today, on 9 October, the FIA ??World Motor Sport Council approved the 2021 FIA World Rally Championship calendar by which Rally Estonia was confirmed as the official round of one of the most prestigious motorsport series in the world which will be held in Tartu and Southern Estonia already on 15-18 July.

Rally Estonia, held in September this year, was the first global title competition with such a large audience that was organized under COVID-19 conditions and ended without any cases of infection. The fact that the competition organized in Estonia will be in the WRC calendar next year is a great recognition for Estonia as the organizing country.

Prime Minister of the Republic of Estonia Jüri Ratas: “Estonia has become a world-class rally country. The opportunity to bring the whole rally world back to Estonia and organize an international competition on a larger scale means the trust that we have the ability to offer rally fans even more than before. We proved this with an exemplary event that was organized by Rally Estonia team in cooperation with sponsors and Estonian people with just 63 days this year. My heartfelt thanks to the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile FIA ??and WRC Promoter for the important recognition for the whole of Estonia, and I wish the organizers of the next Rally Estonia only success!”

Minister of Culture of the Republic of Estonia Tõnis Lukas: “In addition to the fact that an Estonian is a world rally champion, we are also masters in organizing world-class rallies! As long as we have not been given the right to organize the Olympic Games, we will organize every competition as if we were organizing the Olympics! I am extremely pleased that next year Rally Estonia will take place as a WRC event and will take the beautiful natural and cultural sights of Southern Estonia and Jõgeva county to hundreds of millions of people around the world. All the prerequisites for success are there - experience in organizing an ideal competition in difficult circumstances, good cooperation between the organizers and the state and an outstanding Estonian audience.”

Janis Kaal, member of the management board of the Estonian Autosport Union: “The confirmation of the inclusion of Rally Estonia in the 2021 World Championship calendar was expected and not at all surprising: this year the organizers proved that competitions at the highest level are excellently handled even in the most difficult conditions within an extremely tight time frame. Undoubtedly, this recognition is for the thousands of people who took part in the preparation and conduct of the rally in any way this year. I agree with those who say that the World Championship event on the home roads is the best opportunity for the local rally elite to unlock their potential and show their talent. I point out the fact that has perhaps been not much mentioned so far - the experience and information gained at similar sporting events that meet the highest standards is passed on by contributing to the rise in organizational level of local motorsport events. We hope that next year we can deal less with managing the health risks and that more resources can thus be used to create positive emotions.”

Urmo Aava, director of Rally Estonia: “The organizing team of Rally Estonia has developed within 10 years into a team that can overcome even seemingly insurmountable difficulties. But we have not done it alone. We have had strong partners throughout the years in the private, public as well as international sectors. In 2020 we had a unique opportunity to organize the first Estonian round of the FIA World Rally Championship. We thank the Estonian state for its comprehensive support through these years and the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile FIA and WRC Promoter for their trust and opportunities. Estonian rally fans have been praised all over the world and I agree with the latter. At this year's Rally Estonia, the rally audience showed themselves at their best in these difficult circumstances. When looking back today at Rally Estonia that was held in September, I can say for sure that together we succeeded 101%. This is confirmed by the fact that in 2021 Rally Estonia will be a round in the calendar of the FIA World Rally Championship.”

Rally Estonia is the round of the 2021 FIA World Rally Championship which will be held in Tartu and Southern Estonia on 15-18 July 2021.
20-10-11 Tom Kristensson vann överlägset i JWRC-klassen i Rally VM på Sardinien
Tom Kristensson med co-driver Joakim Sjöberg vann övertygande JWRC-klassen i Rally Italia Sardegna, som avslutades på söndagseftermiddagen. Marginalen blev till slut hela 11 minuter och 25 sekunder till tvåan Fabrizio Zaldivar från Paraguay. Det blev en härlig revansch efter det olyckliga motorhaveriet i förra tävlingen i Estland.

Tävlingen blev tuffare och svårare än förväntat på de sandiga och steniga vägarna på Sardinien, och det gick hårt åt bilarna, speciellt bilarna i JWRC, som är mer standardbetonade och inte lika tåliga som WRC-bilarna.

Tom och Joakim öppnade starkt och tog redan på SS 1 på fredagsmorgonen en ledning på drygt 20 sek före finnen Sami Pajari, en av förhandsfavoriterna. Ledningen släppte de sedan aldrig och kunde efter en förnuftig och taktisk körning sedan gå i mål som överlägsna segrare. Martins Sesks från Lettland, en annan av förhandsfavoriterna, drabbades av ett drivaxelbrott på fredagens näst sista sträcka, fick bryta för dagen, men kunde starta om på lördagen, dock med tidstillägg för de sträckor han inte kunde fullfölja på fredagen.
Samma problem drabbade Sami Pajari redan på lördagens första sträcka, men även han kunde starta om på söndagens avslutande fyra sträckor.
- Det är inte helt enkelt att leda med en stor marginal, man vill hitta ett bra tempo, men ändå inte ta för stora risker för att råka ut punkteringar eller köra sönder bilen, så visst blir det lite säkerhetmarginal i körningen. På söndagen var målsättningen att ta bilen i mål och bärga poängen för segern, säger Tom.
- Samtidigt får ju vi en poäng per vunnen sträcka, så det blir ju en avvägning. Nu tog vi fyra sträcksegrar, varav tre på fredagen, då det fortfarande var kamp.

Martins Sesks och Sami Pajari delade på de övriga sträcksegrarna med sex vardera, då det efter sina omstarter fokuserade på att ta så många sträcksegrar som möjligt.

Då alla de övriga klassen, förutom Tom och Fabrizio, hade problem kunder dock Sesks ta en tredjeplats, nästan 30 minuter efter Tom, och behöll ledningen i mästerskapet, medan Tom gick om
Sami, som blev femma, upp på en andra plats.
- En helt fantastisk känsla att vinna en så tuff och utmanande tävling och förbättra tredjeplatsen här från förra året, säger en glad och lycklig Tom efter målgången i Alghero på Sardinien. Jag är även så oerhört tacksam för alla som stöttar och hjälper mej så jag kan hålla på med det roligaste jag vet.
Efter 3 deltävlingar i JWRC leder Martins Sesks på 68 poäng före Tom på 58 och Sami Pajari 55.
Som det ser ut nu, om inte Coronapandemin ställer till det, så skall sista deltävlingen i JWRC köras i Ypres Rally i Belgien den 19-22 november. Tävlingen blir avgörande för vem av dessa tre som vinner årets JWRC, då man får 1,5 gånger poängen i tävlingen.

20-10-11 Skuffende helg for Mads Østberg og Torstein Eriksen i Rally Sardinia denne helgen
Mads Østberg og kartleser Torstein Eriksen i Citroen C3 R5, kom til Rally Sardina for å vinne. Det håpet ble knust allerede på første fartsetappe. Et teknisk problem oppsto allerede i første sektor av SS1. Uten service før etter SS4, var det en lang vei de måtte dra med seg problemet. Inn til service hadde Mads og Torstein tapt 5.33,2 minutter til lederen i WRC2 klassen. Da var nesten 30% av løpet unnagjort.

Selv om de var veldig raske, og hadde et feilfritt løp etter det, vant alle etappene i WRC2, så brakte ikke det dem lenger opp på resultatlisten enn til 4. plass. Mads hadde følgende kommentar etter målgang:
«Det var et skuffende resultat. Vi kom for å vinne og ble nummer 4. Det tekniske problemet vi hadde, kom helt overraskende, vi har aldri hatt dette problemet tidligere. Men det stoppet oss fra å vinne her. Vi beviste fart og feilfri kjøring. Jeg tok tilbake nesten tre og et halvt minutt av det tapte til vinneren på 171 km, det er godt over ett sekund per km, og det er mye. Jeg er fornøyd med det, men høy fart og feilfri kjøring fra SS5 gir verken bedre plass på resultatlista eller flere VM poeng. Men uten tekniske problemer skal jeg love at vi kommer sterkt tilbake neste gang,» avslutter han.

For spenningen i WRC2 VM ble helgen interessant. Det finnes noen mot-tvister i hvordan reglene er skrevet for fabrikks mesterskap og fører/kartlesermesterskap. Reglene sier best av 5 teller. Men reglene for hvordan man teller, og hvilke løp man kan stryke, framstår som uklare, og er skrevet forskjellig for fabrikks- og førermesterskap. Med to løp igjen i mesterskapet, Rally Ypres i Belgia, og Rally Monza i Italia, leder Pontus Tiedemand VM med 105 poeng. Mads er nummer 2 med 87 poeng. Pontus har imidlertid gjort unna 5 løp, mens Mads bare har gjort 4. Begge kan i teorien starte i de 2 gjenværende, Pontus for å forbedre 2 stk. 3. plasser, om det tillates. Mads kan bruke det ene til å score i sitt 5. løp, og det andre for å forbedre 4 plassen fra denne helgen, hvis det tillates. Poeng score for top 4 er 25, 18, 15, 12. Adrian Formaux fra Frankrike, har også en teoretisk mulighet til å vinne mesterskapet. Her er det om å gjøre å følge med i tiden som kommer.

Neste rally er på asfalt i Belgia, Rally Ypres, som går fra 19. til 22 november.
20-10-11 The C3 R5 still leads the WRC3 with Bulacia
The C3 R5 once again showed clear speed as it collected a number of WRC2 and WRC3 stage wins at Rally Sardegna and enabled Marco Bulacia to claim third place in the WRC3.

With six crews competing in Sardegna (Østberg-Eriksen, Bulacia-Der Ohannesian, Rossel-Fulcrand, Camilli-Buresi, Ciamin-Roche and Johnston-Kihurani), the #C3R5Family boasted a strong line-up at the sixth round of the World Rally Championship.

Having won eleven out the sixteen stages in the hands of Mads Østberg, the C3 R5 was once again one the leading lights of the WRC2 category at this, one of the most demanding events of the season. It was therefore all the more frustrating that the car lost time on the opening stages of the rally due to a transmission issue. The points for fourth place may nonetheless prove decisive in the WRC2 title fight.

In the WRC3 too, the C3 R5 showcased its competitiveness with a total of seven stage wins scored by all of its crews. A competitiveness that was rewarded by the fine third place of Marco Bulacia, adding to his victory in Mexico and runner-up spot in Turkey and who continues to top the championship standings. Held up on SS2 by a puncture, he then put together an intelligent race, including one stage win, to sneak onto the podium. Fellow C3 R5 drivers Yohan Rossel and Nicolas Ciamin also deserved to feature on the podium. The two Frenchmen had made a fine start to the rally, ending the first leg second and third in the category respectively. However, on Saturday morning, both drivers suffered mechanical issues. They confirmed their high performance level on the stages with a fastest time apiece when they returned to action on Sunday. Meanwhile, Eric Camilli – brilliant winner in the WRC3 at Monte-Carlo – was impressive on his return to the category, running in second position on day one before suffering a technical issue and then having to retire at the start of the second leg following an off.

Didier Clément, Head of Customer Racing, Citroën Racing

“It has been a difficult weekend for all of us. The car was very quick – it shows it every weekend, at every rally – but for once, we a bit short on reliability. It’s frustrating because the speed was definitely there and our drivers showed that they were capable of putting C3 R5 among the front-runners on pretty much every stage of this very demanding Rally Sardegna. We are constantly working, every day, to provide our crews with an increasingly reliable and powerful car. This weekend was tough, but I have no doubt that our teams will be back stronger at the next events on the calendar.”

Marco Bulacia, third in the WRC3 with the C3 R5
“After the puncture at the start, we didn't give up. We kept driving well in the hope of moving back up the standings, so I am extremely pleased with our result. I was really comfortable in my C3 R5. The car was very efficient and easy to drive on these rough stages. If we decided to take part in a fifth round, as permitted by the regulations, we would choose to compete at Monza.”

Mads Østberg
“Obviously, I'm disappointed with the start of the race, although there are a lot of positives to take away from the weekend, with two good legs on Saturday and Sunday. We did our very best to move back up the standings. We did manage to make up four of the six minutes lost on Friday morning. We’re now going to focus on the remaining tarmac rounds: we know the car is very competitive on this surface and I feel confident in my ability to fight for the win.”
20-10-11 Sordo holds on for Sardinia double in thrilling finale
Spaniard claims a third WRC victory with impressive showing at Rally Italia. Dani Sordo held off FIA World Rally Championship title-chasing pair Thierry Neuville and Sébastien Ogier to seal back-to-back Rally Italia Sardegna wins on Sunday afternoon.

The Spaniard, driving only his second WRC rally this year, came under intense pressure as the duelling duo ate into his half-minute lead in the final four gravel speed tests. He hung on to win this sixth round by 5.1sec in a Hyundai i20.

It marked a third WRC victory for 37-year-old Sordo, who was never headed after taking the lead on Friday morning. It was also his second consecutive triumph on the Mediterranean island after a dramatic last-gasp success in 2019.

“This place is really special, and we have seen a strong performance across the whole team. I’m not particularly pleased with my pace today. We had a big lead coming into Sunday morning, but I wasn’t able to set the same times as Thierry and Ogier, so things were a bit too close by the end,” he said.

Behind, team-mate Neuville and Ogier fought tooth-and-nail. After trading places all rally, Ogier defended second throughout Sunday, until a blistering drive from his Belgian rival enabled him to snatch the position by 1.0sec in a tense final stage shootout.

“I was on the limit and pushed very hard,” admitted six-time champion Ogier, who won six of the rally’s 16 rocky tests over three days in northern Sardinia. “It was intense the whole weekend. We gave everything in the last stage and there is not much more I could have done.”

Hyundai’s 1-2 promoted the Korean squad into the lead of the manufacturers’ series with a seven-point advantage over Toyota Gazoo Racing. Just 6.1sec covered the podium places, the smallest margin in championship history.

Elfyn Evans holds a 14-point lead over Toyota team-mate Ogier in the drivers’ standings with two rounds remaining. The Welshman guided his Yaris to fourth, just over a minute behind Sordo.

Teemu Suninen led initially but after slipping back with mechanical problems on his Ford Fiesta, the Finn finished fifth, 31.6sec behind Evans.

It was a disappointing weekend for world champion Ott Tänak. Suspension problems on his i20 cost time on the opening morning. He recovered to sixth and gained maximum bonus points in the rally-closing Wolf Power Stage, but trails Evans by 28 points in the title fight.

The penultimate round takes competitors to Belgium for the first time. The asphalt Renties Rally Ypres Belgium takes place on 19 - 22 November.

Final positions:
1. D Sordo / C del Barrio ESP Hyundai i20 2hr 41min 37.5sec
2. T Neuville / N Gilsoul BEL Hyundai i20 +5.1sec
3. S Ogier / J Ingrassia FRA Toyota Yaris +6.1sec
4. E Evans / S Martin GBR Toyota Yaris +1min 02.3sec
5. T Suninen / J Lehtinen FIN Ford Fiesta +1min 33.9sec
6. O Tänak / M Järveoja EST Hyundai i20 +2min 27.5sec

FIA World Rally Championship (after round 6 of 8)
1. E Evans 111pts
2. S Ogier 97pts
3. T Neuville 87pts
20-10-11 2 plass til Ole Christian Veiby på Sardinia
Etter en rally-helg hvor punkteringene nesten sto i kø, kjørte Kongsvinger-gutten allikevel i dag inn til 2. plass i VM-runden på den italienske middelhavsøya Sardinia. – Jeg er veldig fornøyd med å ta andre-plassen i dag, sier Ole Christian.

3 punkteringer og en demper som gikk opp gjennom panseret var med på å forstyrre vinnersjansene, men Ole Christian og kartleser Jonas Andersson ga seg ikke og kjørte seg opp på resultatlistene gjentatte ganger i løpet av helgen.
- Det begynte veldig bra på fredag, med ett par etappeseiere, og vi var også raskeste R5 på ett par fartsetapper. Var veldig fornøyd med det. Men med punkteringer så tapte vi mye tid. Vi må se litt på hvorfor punkteringene skjedde, for 2 av de burde absolutt ikke skjedd. På fredag ettermiddag slo også en demper opp gjennom panseret, og da ble det spennende og se ikke bare om vi klarte å fullføre etappen, men også om vi kom oss til service. Så med tanke på alt dette, så er jeg fornøyd med andreplassen. Uten alt dette så burde jo kjøringa ha holdt til seier!

Rally Italia Sardinia startet fredag morgen, og totalt er det kjørt 16 fartsetapper på grus i løpet av helgen. Ole Christian og Jonas følte seg litt fram på

SS1, men klinket til med raskeste tid på SS2 og tok ledelsen i klassen. Så ble det ett lite tidstap på SS3 etter en punktering, før det igjen ble raskest tid på SS4 og Veiby klatret til 2plass totalt i klassen. Etter service ble det en god tid igjen på SS5, men demper-problem ga ett tidstap på over ett minutt på dagens siste fartsetappe og dagen endte på fjerdeplass.

Lørdag ble det en ny punktering, men dagen endte likevel på tredjeplass totalt i klassen. Kun 0,4 sekunder bak Eyvind Brynildsen som lå på andre. Med 4 prøver på søndag var det duket for sekundstrid mellom nordmennene, men Veiby tok andreplassen etter første fartsetappe og beholdt den helt til målgang, selv om han innrømmet å ha hatt første-plassen i sikte underveis.
- Vi startet dagen med over ett minutt opp til Pontus, men tenkte vi fikk se etter første prøva om det kanskje kunne være mulig å ta igjen han. Klinte til ordentlig på de to neste og tok igjen ganske mye, men skjønte også at det ville bli for mye og ta igjen alt. Men vi prøvde ihvertfall!

WRC2-klassen ble altså vunnet av svenske Pontus Tidemand i en Skoda. Veiby tok andreplassen med sin Hyundai, mens norske Eyvind Brynildsen tok tredjeplass, også han med en Skoda. Mads Østberg, som fikk tekniske problemer på fredag, tok fjerdeplassen i en Citroën.

Resultat totalt WRC2 Rally Italia Sardinia
1 Tidemand
2 Veiby +28,8
3 Brynildsen +49,7
4 Østberg +2.08,3
20-10-11 Oliver shows stunning pace on Sardinian debut
19-year-old Oliver Solberg demonstrates exceptional speed on tough Sardinian roads
Monster Energy driver is seventh fastest overall on Rally Italia’s toughest stage
The Swede was the class of the WRC3 field
“We came to learn and I think we learned quickly!"

Teenage Swede Oliver Solberg stunned the rally world with another sublime performance on his Rally Italia-Sardegna debut this weekend.

On just his sixth World Rally Championship start ever, the Monster Energy-backed ŠKODA driver set an incredible seventh fastest time on the opening stage of the Alghero-based event on Friday.

According to the world’s rallying elite, the 12-kilometre Tempio Pausania stage was the most complicated and technically challenging road on the route. Across his first 12 competitive kilometres on Sardinia, Oliver was more than a second per kilometre faster than his nearest rival in the WRC3 category.

He was seventh fastest overall beating five competitors with stronger WRC cars.
The #32 Fabia Rally2 evo was in the top 10 overall for all but two stages before a puncture cost him time late on Saturday.

Oliver’s astonishing run – and his hopes of a second consecutive top-10 result in the WRC – came to an end when he overshot a corner on the last stage of day two. The ŠKODA’s front wheels dropped into a ditch and made reversing impossible. Oliver’s stunning run was done.

He returned for the final day, gathering more experience of one of the most specialised rounds of the series.

“Of course I’m disappointed when I think back to the result we could have made here,” said Oliver.

“If I’d braked one second earlier, we would have been eighth overall with another WRC 3 win. But there’s no point to think like this. We came here to Sardinia for the first time to understand what is the road like and to get some experience of events and surfaces like this one. I never drove rough rallies before and it’s really a different way of driving to places like Estonia (the previous WRC round where Oliver won his class and finished ninth overall).

“The first stage was really cool. It was a big, big challenge: so narrow, so technical, twisty and with mud in places, lots of grip level changes. I was really happy with this one. It’s sometimes hard to find a flow and rhythm in stages like this, but I did that and really went with it.

“After that we had some small things, a spin here, then some small issues and then the puncture on Saturday. It’s frustrating, we’d just got back to the lead when I braked just a second too late.

“Honestly, I thought we’d drop a few seconds, take reverse and carry on. I couldn’t believe it when it was all over. So tough. But OK, this is the sport sometimes.

“Sunday was a day for experience and driving those stages, the ones by the beach, was incredible. These are the roads I watched for so many years on the television. To be here and doing this is special – but they were so tricky and so narrow!

“Overall, this is positive. We came to learn and I think we learned quickly!”
20-10-11 Seger på första försöket för Tidemand i Italien
Det första VM-rallyt på Medelhavsön gick som en dans - om än ingen lätt dans - för Pontus Tidemand som på söndagen säkrade sin tredje WRC 2-seger för säsongen och sin allra första vinst i Rally Italia Sardegna. I och med det stärker han också sin och teamet Toksport WRT:s ledning i det totala mästerskapet.

Utan tidigare erfarenhet från det italienska VM-rallyt var Pontus Tidemand beredd på en tuff tävling med hård konkurrens. Ett tufft rally blev det definitivt, men konkurrenterna fick han snabbt en bra lucka till. Redan efter fredagen hade Pontus en halvminuts ledning och ytterligare en problemfri dag på lördagen gav en ledning på strax över minuten inför de sista sträckorna.
- Det svåraste var att kunna ge max när allt är så obekant. Men det här är en tävling som egentligen passar mig och min körstil bra, och med lite mer erfarenhet kommer den nog bli en av mina favoriter, så det var bara att kämpa på och göra vårt bästa för att hålla i, berättar Pontus, som har sällskap av Patrik Barth i kartläsarstolen.

På söndagen var målet att nå målet, med övertaget i behåll och som så många gånger förr parera körningen för att inte ta onödiga risker. Med en så god ledning behövde Pontus inte känna sig alltför hotad, men det är ändå ingen lätt sits att befinna sig i när man har tävlingens slutliga resultat i sina händer.
- Man ser alltid fram emot en spännande närkamp men nu fick vi under en stor del av rallyt köra vårt eget race och fokusera på uppgiften att få det bästa tänkbara resultatet. Att vara i den positionen är inte så enkelt som man kan tro - man har tillräckligt med distans för att inte behöva köra galet, men man måste vara tillräckligt snabb för att inte förlora för mycket tid eller tappa koncentrationen, samtidigt som man till varje pris vill undvika problem som kan göra att man blir av med hela försprånget, förklarar Pontus.

Även denna gång tog han sig igenom de avslutande sträckorna på ett lugnt och sansat sätt fram till sista sträckan där han gjorde en sista push för att slutligen stänga dörren bakom sig. Han satte en snabb tid och kunde därmed säkra sin tredje seger för säsongen tillsammans med Toksport WRT. Tack vare det stärker han också sin och teamets ledning i årets WRC 2-mästerskap.
- Jag är otroligt glad att vi faktiskt lyckades i vår första tävling här, för det var verkligen ingen självklarhet på förhand. Bilen har fungerat perfekt, precis som teamet i och utanför bilen. Nu tar vi maxpoäng den här helgen också och det är kanonbra för mästerskapsställningen. Jag är redan taggad på att se vad som händer under de kommande tävlingarna, summerar en nöjd Pontus.

Resultat WRC 2 Rally Italia Sardegna 2020
1. Pontus Tidemand (SWE) 2:51:58.4
2. Ole Christian Veiby (NOR) +28.8
3. Eyvind Brynildsen (NOR) +49.7
4. Mads Østberg (NOR) +2:08.3
20-10-10 Sordo closes on repeat Rally Italia win after dramatic Saturday
Spaniard excels to maintain lead over Sébastien Ogier. Dani Sordo strengthened his lead at Rally Italia Sardegna on Saturday in his pursuit of back-to-back victories on the Mediterranean island.

The Spaniard completed the penultimate leg of this sixth round of the FIA World Rally Championship with a 27.4sec advantage. In a frantic battle behind, Sébastien Ogier edged Thierry Neuville in the day’s final speed test to reclaim second.

Sordo, who scored a dramatic last-gasp victory in 2019, won one of the six gravel speed tests in the north of the island in a Hyundai i20. But that was enough to stretch his overnight advantage by 10sec with Sunday’s short finale remaining.

“It’s a good feeling to be here,” he said. “This afternoon I was managing my tyres. It’s important to keep Seb and Thierry in the back. I know them both and they will try tomorrow. We need to keep concentrated to the end, until the very last kilometre.”

Teemu Suninen, second after Friday’s leg in a Ford Fiesta, fell back from the podium scrap to leave Ogier and Neuville in a titanic duel for second and the opportunity to reduce their points deficit to championship leader Elfyn Evans.

Frenchman Ogier demoted Neuville in the opening test, only for the Belgian to reverse the places in the morning’s final special stage. But a minor error near the finish of the last test when he slid into a bale allowed Ogier back in front by 1.5sec.

“I was trying very hard and I lost maybe 2sec on the bridge when I was a little bit too late on the brakes. When you push to the maximum that happens,” admitted the i20 driver.

Ogier won four tests in his Toyota Yaris and the duelling duo were half a minute clear of fifth-placed Evans. The Welshman lost time this morning with an overly-cautious approach to protect his tyres while, in contrast, too much aggression this afternoon cost vital seconds.

A differential problem, which affected the use of his Ford Fiesta’s handbrake in tight corners, slowed Suninen this morning. The Finn was back to full speed after the mid-leg service and had almost 1min 20sec in hand over labouring world champion Ott Tänak in sixth.

Gus Greensmith retired his Fiesta from sixth after the alternator belt broke while Kalle Rovanperä’s weekend turned from bad to worse. After a troubled day yesterday, the young Finn ripped both rear wheels off his Yaris after drifting wide and bouncing off two trees.

Sunday’s final leg is based in the island’s north-west. Cala Flumini (14.06km) and the stunning coastal Sassari - Argentiera (6.89km) are driven twice, with the latter forming the final bonus-points paying Wolf Power Stage, before the afternoon finish in Alghero.

Leading positions:
1. D Sordo / C del Barrio ESP Hyundai i20 2hr 14min 35.5sec
2. S Ogier / J Ingrassia FRA Toyota Yaris +27.4sec
3. T Neuville / N Gilsoul BEL Hyundai i20 +28.9sec
4. E Evans / S Martin GBR Toyota Yaris +58.4sec
5. T Suninen / J Lehtinen FIN Ford Fiesta +1min 06.9sec
6. O Tänak / M Järveoja EST Hyundai i20 +2min 25.3sec
20-10-10 Stärkt ledning för Tidemand på Sardinien
Pontus Tidemand och co-drivern Patrik Barth har tagit sig igenom ännu en dag av Rally Italia Sardegna utan problem. Inför finaldagens fyra sträckor har de en minuts ledning.
- Det är fortfarande en stor utmaning att möta sträckorna för första gången, men där vi befinner oss nu är det inte läge att pusha. Vi måste först och främst fokusera på att komma i mål på varje sträcka på bästa och säkraste sätt. En minut är en bra ledning men det finns hela tiden i bakhuvudet att det räcker med att vi åker på en punktering så försvinner vårt försprång snabbt, säger Pontus.

Pontus intog förstaplatsen redan under fredagen och startade lördagen med ett övertag på en halvminut och en begynnande kamp med Adrien Fourmaux. Men efter att fransmannen tvingades bryta var tidsglappen så pass stora att ingen riktigt kunnat rå på svenskarna utan den stora fighten har utvecklats om placeringarna bakom Pontus.
- Än är vi inte säkra. Att det kan svänga snabbt har vi fått se hos konkurrenterna den här helgen så mycket kan hända på de 40 kilometrarna som är kvar. Vår enda plan är att hålla ledningen under kontroll, inte ta några risker och försöka nå mål på bästa sätt, säger Pontus om strategin inför de avslutande sträckorna.

Rally Italia Sardegna WRC2 efter SS12/16:
1. Pontus Tidemand (SWE) 2:22:23.6
2. Eyvind Brynildsen (NOR) +1:03.9
3. Ole Christian Veiby (NOR) +1:04.3
4. Mads Østberg (NOR) +3:31.1
5. Nikolay Gryazin (RUS) +23:23.0
20-10-09 Dani Sordo impresses on return to lead Rally Italia after Friday
Dani Sordo delivered a flawless drive to lead Rally Italia Sardegna on Friday night following a six month lay-off. Huge compressions, endless twists and turns and loose gravel provided a tough challenge for crews, but the Spaniard stayed on track to open a 17.4sec advantage in his Hyundai i20 after six stages in northern Sardinia.

M-Sport Ford man Teemu Suninen was second in his Ford Fiesta, followed by title challenger Thierry Neuville, a further 17.8sec behind in another i20.

Sordo, competing in his first WRC event since March’s fixture in Mexico, opted to take five medium compound tyres aboard his Hyundai for both loops. As the times rolled in, it was clear the Spaniard’s decision had paid off as he claimed four stage wins.

“Of course I am really happy to come back like this. We always say that road position is very important here and we had a really good one today, but at the same time we pushed hard and made time with good tyre choices,” said the rally leader.

Suninen’s day got off to a flying start. The Finn snatched a surprise lead in the rally-opening Tempio Pausania speed test, his time a whopping 12.4sec clear of the rest of the field.

However, he was unable to match Sordo’s pace on the day’s remaining tests and his decision to carry two hard compound tyres for the final loop didn’t go the right way.

“It was a silly mistake for us to take two hard tyres. We expected to see an increase in road temperatures, but when we got there it was fully in shadow so we didn't get any grip advantages,” he explained.

Neuville had his own issues to contend with. After struggling with the set-up of his Hyundai, two stalls followed, and valuable time was kissed goodbye as he struggled to get the car restarted. He holds third, 35.2sec adrift of his leading team-mate.

Sébastien Ogier rounded out Friday’s opening leg 0.8 sec behind his title rival in fourth, followed by Toyota Yaris team-mate Elfyn Evans who was 15.9sec further back. Running first and second on the road respectively and with no clean line to follow, both struggled to find traction.

Gus Greensmith continued to show potential with a consistent run over Friday’s relentless stages. The Englishman brought his Fiesta back to service in sixth, trailing the leading pace by 01min07.1sec.

Ott Tänak’s championship hopes were dealt a heavy blow when his Hyundai picked up a suspension issue in the opening stage. He was forced to limp through the following three stages before a repair could be made in service, dropping almost two minutes. He ended eighth.

Kalle Rovanperä also endured a frustrating Friday. The 20-year-old was sixth before his Yaris picked up a steering issue in the penultimate speed test, plunging him down to ninth.

Esapekka Lappi pulled over in SS2 with an engine issue on his Fiesta. It proved terminal and the M-Sport Ford team has confirmed the Finn will not restart on Saturday. Japanese hotshot Takamoto Katsuta also took an early bath after going off the road when he overcooked a tightening right-hander. He is expected to restart tomorrow.

Saturday is the longest leg of the weekend, with 101.69km of flat-out action tightly packed into six daunting tests. Service in Alghero after the fourth stage of the day will be the only respite for crews.

Leading positions
1. D Sordo / C del Barrio ESP Hyundai i20 1hr 12min 40.9sec
2. T Suninen / J Lehtinen FIN Ford Fiesta +17.4sec
3. T Neuville / N Gilsoul BEL Hyundai i20 +35.2sec
4. S Ogier / J Ingrassia FRA Toyota Yaris +36.0sec
5. E Evans / S Martin GBR Toyota Yaris +51.9sec
6. G Greensmith / E Edmondson GBR Ford Fiesta +1min 07.1sec
20-10-09 Croatia and Estonia named in 2021 WRC calendar
· WRC Promoter releases 2021 FIA World Rally Championship calendar
· Croatia joins WRC fixture list for the first time
· Estonia retained after late call-up to host successful 2020 restart
· Covid-19 strategy plays major role in calendar structure

Munich, 9 October 2020 – Croatia will host a round of the FIA World Rally Championship for the first time after being named in the 2021 calendar on Friday (9 October).

Estonia is also included in the 12-round series after being called-up at short notice to host a widely-praised post-lockdown restart event in September. It was the Baltic state’s first WRC appearance.

Kenya’s iconic Safari Rally and Japan, which were both included in this year’s schedule but cancelled due to the pandemic, are also listed. Spain returns after a year’s absence.

The season features nine European events and three outside Europe. It has been strategically designed to allow for a continued Covid-19 impact on international sport by scheduling the majority of rounds from June onwards.

The calendar was approved by the FIA, world motorsport’s governing body, and WRC Promoter managing director Jona Siebel said it would appeal to both competitors and WRC fans alike.

“The inclusion of Croatia to the WRC for the first time is an exciting new challenge to our fixture list and brings huge anticipation,” he added.

“Estonia’s championship debut a few weeks ago proved a massive success, even more so given the short time available to the organisers to prepare the rally. It fully deserves to retain its slot for 2021.”

The 2021 championship in detail
The season kicks-off with the traditional season-opening Rallye Monte-Carlo in the French Alps. It will be followed by Rally Sweden, the series’ only pure winter fixture.

Croatia forms the third round and will be held on 22 - 25 April. It is the opening pure asphalt encounter and will be based in capital city Zagreb.

Portugal’s late-May fixture is the first of three hot weather gravel rounds. It is followed in June by Italy and Kenya, which completes the opening half of the championship.

The cancellation of this year’s Safari Rally Kenya, one of global motorsport’s legendary contests, means the WRC returns to Africa, the world’s second largest continent by size, for the first time since 2002.

Fast dirt road rounds in Estonia and Finland open the season’s second sector in July ahead of August’s United Kingdom date.

WRC Promoter is in discussion with the UK governing body, Motorsport UK, which is working to confirm the required government funding. An announcement is expected to be forthcoming.

Two of the final three rounds take place outside Europe. Chile and Spain precede Japan, which hosts the coveted final round in November. Japan’s inclusion, 11 years after the previous WRC fixture there, marks mainstream Asia’s first appearance since then.

WRC Promoter develops strategy to combat effects of pandemic

The continued consequences of Covid-19, which led to the loss of several WRC rounds in 2020, had a major influence on the calendar structure.

After the opening rounds in Monte-Carlo and Sweden, winter events which cannot be moved from their early year dates, the season pauses for more than two months to allow maximum time for the effects of the pandemic to ease.

No rounds outside Europe are scheduled before late June and only a third of the 12 rounds will be held across the first five months of the year.

“Covid-19 has hit international sporting events extremely hard. WRC has not been spared, leading to the unfortunate cancellation of several events throughout 2020,” said Siebel.

“So, in developing the 2021 FIA World Rally Championship calendar, we had to take pragmatic and strategic decisions on the continuing impact on global travel next year.

“We could not foresee any long-haul events being held in a safe manner for the public, or for our large group of travelling staff, suppliers, competitors and media, for the first five months of 2021.

“It’s essential our event organisers are fully committed to managing the difficult Covid-19 controls we can expect to be in place next year while delivering high-quality championship rounds. I’m confident the 12 rallies chosen for next year will not let us down,” he added.

In a further measure, rallies in Turkey, Latvia, Belgium, Greece, Italy (Monza) and Argentina will be on a reserve list of contingency events in case of Covid-19 issues, the latter as an option for non-European rounds.

The 2021 calendar is:
1 Monte-Carlo 21 - 24 January
2 Sweden 11 - 14 February
3 Croatia 22 - 25 April*
4 Portugal 20 - 23 May
5 Italy 3 - 6 June
6 Kenya 24 - 27 June
7 Estonia 15 - 18 July*
8 Finland 29 July - 1 August
9 UK 19 - 22 August*
10 Chile 9 - 12 September
11 Spain 14 - 17 October
12 Japan 11 - 14 November

* Subject to agreemen
20-10-09 Oliver Solberg chockade rallyvärlden
Oliver Solberg leder WRC3-klassen i det italienska VM-tävlingen på Sardinien efter den första dagen. Det svenska stjärnskottet inledde dagen med att chockera rallyvärlden när han slog fyra förare i toppklassen på den första specialsträckan - inklusive regerande världsmästare Ott Tänak.

Över de 12,08 kilometrarna krossade 19-åringen konkurenterna i WRC3-klassen och slutade 13,1 sekunder före närmaste konkurrent. Nästan 1,1 sekunder per kilometer är som en evighet räknat i rally, och det är extremt sällsynt med en sådan skillnad. Det är minst lika sällsynt att en WRC3-bil matchar hastigheten på WRC-klassens grymma bilar.

Den regerande världsmästaren Ott Tänak distanserades med 11,1 sekunder, och andra VM-stjärnor i toppklassen som blev ifrånkörda av den svenska tonåringen var Thierry Neuville och Gus Greensmith.

Specialsträckan "Tempio Pausania" anses vara det tekniskt svåraste under årets VM-säsong.
- Jag kände inte att det gick särskilt snabbt på första specialsträckan, men jag hittade snabbt flytet och lyckades hålla det hela vägen. Men jag är helt medveten om att det var ett mycket speciellt sträcka och att det inte skulle fortsätta på den vägen hela rallyt, säger Oliver Solberg, som kör en Skoda Fabia Rally2 på Sardinien.

Senare samma dag stötte Solberg junior på små problem, bland annat snurrade han på det tredje sträckan och förlorade 20 sekunder. Ändå leder han WRC3-klassen med 6,4 sekunder över Johan Rossel från Frankrike. Oliver Solberg ligger på 10:e plats totalt i VM-tävlingen, och han är också snabbast bland R5-bilarna (WRC2 och WRC3) hittills.

WRC3-klassen är tredje nivån i Rally-VM. Bilarna har färre hästkrafter (strax under 100) än toppklassen och saknar några viktiga tekniska funktioner.

Oliver Solberg tog sin första VM-seger i Rally Estland förra månaden, även de i WRC3-klassen. 19-åringen debuterar på de svåra grusvägarna på Sardinien, och han kör sitt sjätte VM rally någonsin. Tävlingen fortsätter med sex nya specialsträckor på lördag och avslutas på söndagen efter totalt 16 sträckor.
20-10-09 Pontus Tidemand leder Rally Italia Sardegna
Mästerskapsledande Pontus Tidemand är i full färd med att tackla sitt första Rally Italia Sardegna. Trots bristen på tidigare erfarenhet från tävlingen har han tagit täten i WRC2-klassen och leder med en halvminut.
- Det går knappast att säga annat än att det har varit en bra dag när man är i ledning. Men det har inte varit lätt att köra de här sträckorna för första gången. Det knepigaste var att hitta en bra rytm när man inte riktigt vet exakt hur man bäst tar sig igenom, säger Pontus.

Sex sträckor stod på fredagens program, varav den långa förmiddagen bestod av två sträckor som upprepades utan serviceuppehåll. De förrädiska stenarna tittade upp ur de sandtäckta vägarna framförallt under andra loopen och orsakade många punkteringar, men den här gången klarade sig Pontus och kartläsaren Patrik Barth fint.
- Vi har som tur är klarat oss utan problem och bilen funkar bra. Vi kan absolut hitta mer fart men det är svårt att ge de där sista tio procenten när allt är nytt, men vi ska göra vårt bästa för att försvara vår position imorgon. Tävlingen är lång så vi får helt enkelt ta en dag i taget, konstaterar Pontus.

Rally Italia Sardegna WRC2 efter SS6/16:
1. Pontus Tidemand (SWE) 1:16:30.8
2. Adrien Fourmaux (FRA) +31.9
3. Eyvind Brynildsen (NOR) +1:11.9
4. Ole Christian Veiby (NOR) +1:25.3
5. Mads Østberg (NOR) +5:02.5
20-10-09 Rally Monza to form 2020 FIA World Rally Championship finale
ACI Rally Monza joins 2020 FIA WRC calendar in season-closing slot
· Italian asphalt encounter to take place on 4 - 6 December
· Monza’s iconic race circuit set to decide destiny of world titles
Munich, 9 October 2020 – 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.

Next rally: Rally Italia Sardegna, 8 - 11 October 2020.
20-10-07 Elfyn Evans promises it's business as usual as he defends WRC lead
Championship frontrunner unfazed by being the man to beat in Italy. Elfyn Evans is adamant his position at the top of the FIA World Rally Championship will not affect his approach to Rally Italia Sardegna (8 - 11 October).

The Welshman opened an 18-point lead over Toyota Gazoo Racing team-mate Sébastien Ogier when becoming the first driver to win twice this year in Turkey last month. He insists he won’t be distracted by the biggest margin enjoyed by the series leader this season.

“Anything can happen between now and the end of the season. One retirement and the whole thing is on its head again. I’m not thinking about it,” said the Toyota Yaris driver, who also won in Sweden in February and is hunting a maiden world title.

“Ultimately, it’s better to be out front than behind, but all I’m thinking about right now is the next rally. All I can do is look at the event that’s in front of me. That’s Sardinia this week,” added Evans, who made his debut at the highest level there as a late replacement in 2013.

After being postponed from June due to Covid-19, this sixth round is staged in the autumn for the first time since 2012. It means cooler temperatures and possible rain, but the narrow and sandy gravel roads are likely to be as rocky and rutted as normal on the second pass.

20-10-07 Rally Italia Sardegna nästa tävling i JWRC för Tom Kristensson
Just ni förbereder sig Tom Kristensson och co-driver Joakim Sjöberg för den tredje deltävlingen i JWRC, Rally Italia Sardegna på Sardinien.

Tävlingen startar på fredag morgon från Alghero, och fram till målgången på söndag eftermiddag skall man ha avverkat 18 specialsträckor på drygt 26 mil, 9 sträckor som körs två gånger vardera, samtliga på grusunderlag. På grund av Corona är tävlingen helt publikfri, och det råder strikta restriktioner för de tävlande och teamen, bl.a. mätning av kroppstemperaturen med jämna mellanrum.
- Sträckorna är som vi förväntat oss, sämre väg på vissa sträckor och bättre på andra, rapporterar Tom från rekognoseringen, eller "reccen" som man säger på fackspråk, och som körs under tisdag och onsdag.
- Det är i stort sett samma sträckor som vi körde förra året här, och vi vet att vägen ser lite annorlunda ut, framför allt på de sämre och lösare sträckorna, när vi kommer efter WRC-bilarna i tävlingen. Det är inte alltid man kan ta det spår man tänkt efter reccen, utan får anpassa sig till hur det ser när vi kommer.
- Fördelen med att tävlingen körs senare på året i år är att det inte är så varmt, just nu är det en behaglig temperatur på drygt 20 grader, och det gör att däcksslitaget blir mindre. Dock kommer det fram en hel del stenar, så det gäller att försöka undvika punkteringar, analyserar Tom
- Jag har en helt annan känsla inför tävlingen i år än förra året, eftersom jag nu vet vad som väntar oss.
- Fokus är att göra allt så bra som möjligt, och ta sträcksegrar. förra året tog vi inte en enda trots att vi blev trea i tävlingen, och eftersom varje sträckseger ger en poäng är det viktigt i poängsammandraget.
- Oturen från Rally Estonia med havererad motor är nu glömd, och vi ser bara framåt, vi vet vad vi kan och vi skall njuta av tävlingen, avslutar Tom från en paus i reccen.

Ställningen i JWRC inför tävlingen är att segraren i Rally Estonia, Martins Sesks från Lettland leder på 47 poäng före finnländaren Sami Pajari 39 poäng och Tom på tredje plats med 29 poäng efter sin seger i Rally Sweden. Sesks och Pajari blir de främsta konkurrenterna, men även några italienska hemmaförare vill nog blanda sig i leken om topplatserna.

Samtliga deltagare i JWRC kör identiska bilar, framhjulsdrivna Ford Fiesta Rally 4 från M-Sport.
20-10-07 Mads Østberg og Torstein Eriksen vil sikre VM tittel
Mads Østberg og kartleser Torstein Eriksen i Citroen C3 R5 håper å sikre seg verdensmestertittelen når de skal gjøre Rally Italy Sardegna førstkommende helg. Rallyet starter i Alghero fredag morgen den 9. og avsluttes søndag den 11. Men andreplassen vil tittelen være vunnet, med ett løp til å kjøre.

”Jeg må si at vi er veldig motivert for å vinne løpet,” sier Mads i en kommentar, “det er ikke planen å safe for å sikre mesterskapet. Det er gode konkurrenter vi må slå. Men vi har bevist at vi er raskest og har vunnet alle de forrige rundene vi har deltatt i. Vi håper å gjenta det. Vi har en veldig god bil, vi hadde en veldig god pre-event test, jeg liker dette rallyet og vi er godt forberedt. Vi må ha fullt fokus fra start til mål, hvis vi unngår problemer er sjansene gode for en fjerde seier på rad. Og med det mesterskapet også,” avslutter Mads.

Rallyet kan følges på, hver etappe kan sees live på WRC + All live.
20-10-06 Tidemand taggar upp för Sardinien-debut
Det börjar gå mot slutspurten i årets något förkortade WRC-serie. Rally Italia Sardegna är näst på tur och det värmländske rallyesset Pontus Tidemand kommer till medelhavsön som ledare i WRC 2-mästerskapet. Han är redo, motiverad och spänd på en ny, stor utmaning när han tar sig an den italienska deltävlingen för första gången.

Pontus Tidemand och kartläsaren Patrik Barth har haft en riktigt bra säsong i rally-VM:s WRC 2-klass tillsammans med det tyska teamet Toksport WRT. Det har blivit pallplats i samtliga tävlingar, däribland två segrar, och efter den senaste av dessa två - en imponerande insats på Turkiet tuffa vägar - leder de mästerskapet.
- Det känns förstås jättebra, säger Pontus. Vi visar att vi är att räkna med och att vi vill vara med i fighten. Men mästerskapet är långtifrån avgjort. Jag körde rekognosering här på Sardinien en gång för några år sen men jag har aldrig tidigare tävlat här. Kanske att det sätter oss i ett underläge jämfört med våra största konkurrenter, men vi ska göra allt vi kan för att ge dem en match och siktar på att plocka poäng.

Under de två veckor som gått sen tävlingen i Turkiet har Pontus bland annat varit på ett intensivt test i Tyskland med Skoda Motorsport och han intygar att kläderna inte har svalnat än:
- Jag har knappt hunnit sitta ner sen vi lämnade senaste rallyt och just nu känns det bara positivt. Det har blivit en hel del körning under de här veckorna så jag hoppas lite på att jag fortfarande är kvar i tävlingsbubblan och att det går lättare att kasta sig in i ett nytt event då.

Rally Italia Sardegna har sitt säte kring den omåttligt populära serviceplatsen i Alghero och tävlingens 16 specialsträckor körs på öns karaktäristiskt sandiga vägar. De är snabba men smala och kantas av buskar, träd och stenar, något som inte ger mycket till utrymme för misstag.
- Vägarna är inte lika steniga och knaggliga som i Turkiet, men de är långt ifrån släta och man gör bäst i att ha huvudet med sig här också och ha en hållbar strategi. Vi ska dessutom ta oss igenom sträckorna två gånger på förmiddagarna innan vi kommer till service så där vill man inte göra någon stor tabbe. Det kommer bli svårt och riktigt tufft men framförallt kul och vi vill inget hellre än att få ännu ett bra resultat att ta med oss hem härifrån, säger Pontus.

Nuvarande ställningen i WRC 2
1. Pontus Tidemand (SWE) 80poäng
2. Mads Østberg (NOR) 75p
3. Adrien Fourmaux (FRA) 66p
4. Nikolay Gryazin (RUS) 51p
5. Ole Christian Veiby (NOR) 33p
6. Eyvind Brynildsen (NOR) 27p
7. Rhys Yates (GBR) 22p

Tidsplan Rally Italia Sardegna 2020
12:01 Shakedown Olmedo (3,79 km)

07:50 SS1 Tempio Pausania 1 (12,08 km)
08:44 SS2 Erula – Tula 1 (21,78 km)
10:03 Regroup – Tempio Pausania Viale Fonte Nuova
10:40 SS3 Tempio Pausania 2 (12,08 km)
11:34 SS4 Erula – Tula 2 (21,78 km)
14:07 Service Alghero
16:14 SS5 Sedini – Castelsardo 1 (14,72 km)
16:59 SS6 Tergu – Osilo 1 (12,81 km)
18:17 Flexi Service Alghero

05:15 Service Alghero
07:37 SS7 Monte Lerno 1 (22,08 km)
08:38 SS8 Coiluna – Loelle 1 (15,00 km)
09:31 Regroup – Pattada – Nuraghe Lerno
10:07 SS9 Monte Lerno 2 (22,08 km)
11:08 SS10 Coiluna – Loelle 2 (15,00 km)
13:58 Service Alghero
16:08 SS11 Sedini – Castelsardo 2 (14,72 km)
17:02 SS12 Tergu – Osilo 2 (12,81 km)
18:20 Flexi Service Alghero

07:15 Service Alghero
08:15 SS13 Cala Flumini 1 (14,06 km)
08:36 Regroup – La Pedraia
09:08 SS14 Sassari – Argentiera 1 (6,89 km)
10:00 Regroup - Alghero
11:10 SS15 Cala Flumini 2 (14,06 km)
11:31 Regroup – La Pedraia
12:18 SS16 Sassari – Argentiera 2 Wolf Power Stage (6,89 km)
13:25 Service Alghero
15:00 Podium Ceremony Alghero service park
20-09-20 Evans wins gruelling Rally Turkey to regain title lead
Welshman benefits from rival Ogier retirement as Loeb finishes in third. Elfyn Evans won a mad Rally Turkey on Sunday afternoon to reclaim the lead of the FIA World Rally Championship.

He soared from fourth to grab his second victory of the season in a Toyota Yaris by 35.2sec after a remarkable final morning when punishing rocky roads caused chaos for his rivals. He leads the standings by 18 points with two rounds remaining.

The Welshman was the only front-running driver to escape from the clutches of the fearsome 38.15km Çetibeli speed test with his car intact early this morning as his adversaries were laid low by punctures and mechanical problems.

"It has been a tough weekend," said Evans. "We tried to drive well and stay in the middle of the road and that rewarded us. I'm well aware that a bit of luck needs to go your way and I never like to inherit positions from others in that way, but that's the nature of Rally Turkey."

Overnight leader Thierry Neuville finished second in a Hyundai i20, 24.2sec clear of team-mate Sébastien Loeb. The hopes of both ended when they punctured in Çetibeli, Neuville conceding 1min 45sec and Loeb 1min 20sec.

Belgian Neuville was arguably the fastest driver of the weekend, winning seven of the 12 special stages and leading on two separate occasions.

Championship leader Sébastien Ogier dropped 1min 15sec with a similar problem. He remained on course for a podium until he stopped in the second pass through the stage with smoke pouring from the engine bay of his Yaris.

Kalle Rovanperä finished fourth, more than 90sec adrift of Loeb after also falling victim to the Çetibeli curse. The points garnered by Evans and the teenage Finn enabled Toyota Gazoo Racing to extend its manufacturers' championship lead to nine points over Hyundai Motorsport.

Gus Greensmith was a career-best fifth in a Ford Fiesta after escaping the carnage. He headed team-mate Esapekka Lappi who limped through the final stage with a broken damper, having also joined the puncture victims earlier.

Teemu Suninen retired his Fiesta in Çetibeli with broken suspension, while Pierre-Louis Loubet stopped in the same test with engine troubles.

The championship switches to the Mediterranean island of Sardinia next month for the sixth and penultimate round. Rally Italia Sardegna is based in Alghero from October 8-11.

Rally Turkey final standings
1. E Evans / S Martin GBR Toyota Yaris 2hr 43min 02.7sec
2. T Neuville / N Gilsoul BEL Hyundai i20 +35.2sec
3. S Loeb / D Elena FRA Hyundai i20 +59.4sec
4. K Rovanperä / J Halttunen FIN Toyota Yaris +2min 35.9sec
5. G Greensmith / E Edmondson GBR Ford Fiesta +4min 08.3sec
6. E Lappi / J Ferm FIN Ford Fiesta +5min 36.2sec

FIA World Rally Championship (after round 5 of 7)
1. E Evans 97pts
2. S Ogier 79
3. O Tänak 70
20-09-20 Tidemands styrkor gav honom segern i Turkiet
Med smart taktik kommer man långt - i Pontus Tidemands fall ända till toppen. I helgens Rally Turkey bevisade han att huvudet ibland väger tyngre än gasen när han lät sin tidigare erfarenhet från det turkiska VM-rallyt bana väg till seger. Det betyder även att han går upp i ledning i WRC 2-mästerskapet.

Rally Turkey benämns som ett av WRC-kalenderns mest svårbemästrade event och i år var inget undantag. De gassande temperaturerna på runt 30-strecket i kombination med oförlåtande steniga vägar skördade snabbt sina offer - även Pontus och co-drivern Patrik Barth fick smaka på Turkiets trubbel redan under den första korta tävlingsdagen.
- I fredags hade vi tre punkteringar. Den första på shakedown på morgonen och de andra två på öppningssträckorna. Som tur var hade vi det i bakhuvudet att punkteringar kommer att komma, det var bara en fråga om när. Vi fortsatte bara enligt planen att köra smart och hoppades att det skulle löna sig i slutändan, säger Pontus och återigen visar han sin förmåga att hålla huvudet kallt och se helheten i uppgiften.

Lördagen var en lång och väldigt krävande dag, men till skillnad från sina konkurrenter som åkte på problem, klarade sig Pontus och Patrik fläckfritt genom att växla mellan att gasa på och köra taktiskt. I slutet av dagen ledde de klassen med en relativt stor marginal på en och en halv minut.

Rallyt avrundades med en mastig finaldag på söndagen, där bland annat rallyts längsta sträcka på närmare fyra mil väntade. Vad planen var för den svenska duon rådde det inga tvivel om - att ta hand om försprånget hela vägen till mål. Det innebar att hålla ett stabilt tempo utan risker och helt enkelt att hålla sig borta från trubbel.
- Att starta med en så lång sträcka var tufft som attans med damm och stenar överallt, men vi mer eller mindre cruisade genom den med god marginal eftersom vi hade tiden på vår sida. Andra gången var vi snabbare men tog ändå inga risker. De två kortare sträckorna kunde vi verkligen njuta av att köra och det kändes fantastisk att komma i mål och veta att vi har säkrat poängen vi kom hit för, säger Pontus, som till och med tog ytterligare två sträcksegrar i tillägg till de fyra han tog under lördagen.

I och med segern tar Pontus ledningen i det totala WRC 2-mästerskapet och kan konstatera att han haft en bra säsong hittills med pallplats i samtliga VM-tävlingar han deltagit i, inklusive en vinst även i Mexiko.- Det här var vad vi ville ha ut av den här helgen, nu är vi med i leken på riktigt. Patrik och Toksport-teamet gör ett utomordentligt jobb och vi är i en perfekt position. Nu är det bara att ladda på inför nästa tävling, avslutar Pontus.

Resultat WRC 2 Rally Turkey 2020
1. Pontus Tidemand 2:56:02.4
2. Adrien Fourmaux +1:42.9
3. Eyvind Brynildsen +1:08:24.7
20-09-19 Belgian Neuville on top at Rally Turkey after dramatic Saturday
Loeb and Ogier stay in touch as Tänak retires with steering problem. Thierry Neuville thrived in Rally Turkey's gruelling conditions on Saturday to build a substantial lead during an enthralling and topsy-turvy leg.

He won three of the six punishing speed tests to close the penultimate day of this fifth round of the 2020 FIA World Rally Championship with a 33.2sec advantage in his Hyundai i20.

Rocky mountain roads and high temperatures took a heavy toll on championship leader Sébastien Ogier, world champion Ott Tänak and title challenger Elfyn Evans who all suffered in the toughest conditions the WRC season has to offer.

Eventually Friday leader Sébastien Loeb, driving another i20, and fellow Frenchman Ogier ended tied on time, with Loeb claiming second on a tie-break.

Ogier and Neuville swapped seconds during the three morning tests, the former holding a slender 1.6sec lead at the mid-leg service in his Toyota Yaris.

Neuville was unhappy with his car's balance, but set-up changes improved his confidence. Two afternoon stage wins, to add to a morning success, promoted him into the lead as Ogier fell to fourth with a puncture and a suspected hydraulic problem.

"The afternoon was much better than the morning," said Neuville. "We worked on the set-up and I was happier with the car in the rough sections. But nothing is done. Tomorrow has the roughest stage of the rally and we need to avoid punctures and damage on the car, but we still need to drive fast."

Ogier recovered to second and was joined by Loeb, who won the final stage to leap from fourth after losing time this morning with a poor tyre choice.

"We had an electronic issue I believe, I don't know exactly what," said Ogier. "The consequence was that I was losing the shifting and also I was losing the hydraulic pressure, so only going in front-wheel-drive. It's a little disappointing but happy to be here tonight."

Evans was fourth in his Yaris after holding second in the early afternoon. Tyre troubles cost the Welshman almost 40sec and he ended 27.6sec adrift of the duelling Sébastiens.

Tänak's hopes of defending his title suffered a massive hit when a steering problem caused his i20 to spear off the road in the day's opening test and he retired.

Kalle Rovanperä was fifth in another Yaris, 18.0sec behind Evans after suffering a front right puncture, while Teemu Suninen completed the top six in a Ford Fiesta.

Sunday's finale promises a sting in the tail with the longest closing day on a WRC round for more than four years. Two passes through the rally's longest and toughest stage allied with a double run through a short test add up to 88.86km. The closing Marmaris Wolf Power Stage offers bonus points to the fastest five drivers.

Leading positions after Saturday:
1. T Neuville / N Gilsoul BEL Hyundai i20 1hr 36min 38.6sec
2. S Loeb / D Elena FRA Hyundai i20 +33.2sec
3. S Ogier / J Ingrassia FRA Toyota Yaris +33.2sec
4. E Evans / S Martin GBR Toyota Yaris +1min 00.8sec
5. K Rovanperä / J Halttunen FIN Toyota Yaris +1min 18.8sec
6. T Suninen / J Lehtinen FIN Ford Fiesta +1min 35.0sec
20-09-19 Tidemand toppar i Rally Turkey
Årets kanske tuffaste VM-rally är i full gång och Pontus Tidemand har kopplat grepp om ledningen i WRC 2-klassen efter tävlingens andra dag.

Efter en inledning kantad av punkteringar på fredagen laddade Pontus Tidemand batterierna ordentligt över natten för att tackla Rally Turkey på bästa sätt under lördagen.
- Vi började dagen med en sträcka på över tre mil och vi såg till att ta det säkra före det osäkra. Det kanske verkade för försiktigt, men erfarenheten säger att det är det enda sättet att tackla det här rallyt. Man måste snabbt bedöma när man ska pusha och när man ska använda huvudet, säger Pontus.

På följande sträckor la han däremot i en högre växel och började knappa in på Adrien Fourmaux i täten. När det sen blev fransmannens tur att åka på en punktering, tog Pontus och kartläsaren Patrik Barth över ledningen, som efter fyra sträcksegrar av sex möjliga är så mycket som en och en halv minut.
- Det här har varit tufft för alla, jag är bara glad att vi klarade dagen utan problem, säger Pontus. Vi har en bra ledning nu, men här kan det försvinna otäckt snabbt om man gör ett misstag eller kör på en av alla tusen stora stenar som ligger på vägarna. Det är fortfarande många mil kvar imorgon då vi har helgens längsta sträcka. En utmaning blir det, men vi ska fortsätta köra smart och inte ta några risker nu när vi har en bra chans här.

Rally Turkey WRC 2 efter SS8/12:
1. Pontus Tidemand 1:43:44.2
2. Adrien Fourmaux +1:32.2
3. Eyvind Brynildsen +59:29.4 (brutit under dagen)

20-09-18 Veteran Loeb turns back clock to lead Rally Turkey after Friday
Frenchman becomes oldest driver to lead WRC round over tough gravel roads. Sébastien Loeb was the surprise leader of Rally Turkey on Friday night after a vintage performance from the nine-time world rally champion.

Rocky mountain roads, endless twists and turns and dust provided gruelling conditions, but the 46-year-old Frenchman used all his guile to complete the short opening leg with a 1.2sec advantage. He became the oldest driver to lead an FIA World Rally Championship round.

Team-mate Thierry Neuville, driving an identical Hyundai i20, was second, just a tenth ahead of championship leader Sébastien Ogier in a Toyota Yaris. Less than five seconds covered the top seven after a frantic opening to this fifth round of the season.

Loeb, competing on his first rally since January's season-opening fixture in Monte-Carlo, was second in the two speed tests, despite never having driven these roads before. He has won in Turkey on three occasions.

"I didn't expect to be leading tonight. The last stage, I had a lot of pressure at the start because we didn't find the road so good. I had precise notes so I was able to do it and leading the rally tonight is the best thing that can happen," he said.

Despite covering only 25.22km of a 221km rally, Friday night's action was pivotal. Drivers are reseeded for Saturday in reverse order of classification, handing an advantage to the frontrunners who can expect cleaner and grippier roads lower down the start order.

Neuville led by 3.3sec following the first Içmeler stage before dropping behind his colleague. He held off Ogier who had the best visibility as the road opener and won the following Gökçe test.

Ogier topped a Toyota trio, with Elfyn Evans 0.8sec behind in fourth and teenager Kalle Rovanperä a further six-tenths adrift. Teemu Suninen completed the top six in a Ford Fiesta, just 4.2sec off Loeb's pace. World champion Ott Tänak was seventh in another i20.

Saturday is the longest leg of the weekend. It journeys west of Marmaris and packs 107.38km into three rugged coastal tests, which are driven morning and afternoon. Service in Asparan between the loops offers welcome respite from the demanding conditions.

Leading positions after Friday:
1. S Loeb / D Elena FRA Hyundai i20 18min 50.9sec
2. T Neuville / N Gilsoul BEL Hyundai i20 +1.2sec
3. S Ogier / J Ingrassia FRA Toyota Yaris +1.3sec
4. E Evans / S Martin GBR Toyota Yaris +2.1sec
5. K Rovanperä / J Halttunen FIN Toyota Yaris +2.7sec
6. T Suninen / J Lehtinen FIN Ford Fiesta +4.2sec

20-09-17 Leader Ogier chases more Turkey success to boost 2020 title tilt
Frenchman needs to hold off rivals Evans and Tänak on tough gravel roads. Sébastien Ogier starts Rally Turkey (September 18-20) knowing a repeat of his victory 12 months ago would be a major step in his quest to regain the FIA World Rally Championship.

The series is boiling up into another thrilling finale with just three rounds of a Covid-shortened season remaining. As so many times previously, the six-time champion is calling the shots at the top of the standings.

He is nine points clear of Toyota Yaris team-mate Elfyn Evans, with Ott Tänak, the man who ended Ogier's title winning spree last season, a further four back in third. The trio have put daylight between themselves and their rivals, each having claimed one win to date this year.

Turkey features some of the toughest terrain in the championship. The mountain speed tests are tricky and technical, the rocky gravel roads pose big demands on hard-working mechanical components and the heat is intense.

The Yaris has not been at its best in the Marmaris-based event previously, but following a confidence-boosting test on similar roads in Greece, Ogier believes the Japanese manufacturer has made progress.

"To repeat last year's result this time is not going to be easy. It's a tough rally for everybody, but for us opening the road will be especially challenging, I'm sure," explained the Frenchman, whose 2019 win came in a Citroën C3.

"We had some very good tests recently to prepare for the event, and I believe we have definitely made some improvements and some steps forward with the car."
20-09-17 INTERVIEW: "I needed help to guide me on the right path" - Solans
Jan Solans broke through last season with victory in the Junior World Rally Championship and the Spanish driver has revealed that rally legend compatriot Carlos Sainz was a big inspiration behind his 18-point victory over chief rival Tom Kristensson of Sweden.

The 22-year-old comes from a motorsport family and received a Junior R2 Scholarship in 2018 so he could drive a Ford Fiesta R2T the following JWRC season, in which he won in Italy and Great Britain to seal the title - two years after his brother Nil Solans did.

Here is what he had to say ahead of Rally Turkey from September 18-20 where he will line up with co-driver Mauro Barreiro in the WRC3 category:

1. What was it like to win the JWRC title?
For me, it was like a dream come true to win the Junior World Rally Championship. Winning a world championship has been one of my goals from the beginning of my motorsports career. Honestly, I didn't expect to win the Junior WRC in my first year. In the WRC you normally need a lot of experience to be successful, so winning in my first year was unexpected.

2. Did your brother Nil play a big part in your entry into the rallying world?
I have a really good relationship with Nil and he has always been my teacher. He's older than me, so he has more experience. He has competed in the Junior WRC for three years, so he knows perfectly how the championship works and what must be done to achieve success. I'm really grateful for his help and everything he has done for me.

3. Was there sibling rivalry growing up or even now you are both in your twenties?
With Nil, there has never been rivalry between us. In rallies, you mainly compete against the clock rather than against other drivers. Even so, in the rallies we have both competed in we always help each other with pace notes and places where we need to take care. We're always in touch and trying to help each other.

4. Were you gripped the moment you tried rallying and how young were you?
My family has always been involved in the world of motorsport. Since I was a child I always wanted to compete in rallying. However, in Spain, you must be 18 and have a driving licence to compete. I started out with karting, then in autocross with a cross kart. I won the Junior Cross Kart Spanish Championship then - when I was 18 years old - I started rallying with Mitsubishi and Repsol, and have been going step by step since then.

5. You did a lot of co-driving initially. Was that a possible career course for you or simply aimed at making you a better rally driver?
At the beginning, I did some co-driving because I wasn't yet 18. It was the best way to learn how everything about rallying works. I did some rallies as a co-driver with my brother. I think it was the best way to introduce myself into the world of rally.

6. Spain has a rich history in motorsport. Who were your driving inspirations?
Without any doubt Spain has a rich history in the world of motorsport. We have some really great icons and some really great drivers. From my point of view, Carlos Sainz was the most revolutionary. He created a lot of impact around the world - he has also done a lot for the Spanish sport. Now we have Dani Sordo, another talented driver that I really appreciate. We also have Fernando Alonso in Formula One.
20-09-15 Tidemand satsar högt bland Turkiets bergstoppar
Efter tredjeplatsen i Estland ligger Pontus Tidemand och hans co-driver Patrik Barth tvåa i de totala ställningarna i årets WRC 2-mästerskap - ett väldigt lovande utgångsläge för att fortsätta poängjakten tillsammans med Toksport WRT. Nu är det dock inte hastighet som står i främsta rummet, utan smart körning, när VM-cirkusen når Turkiet.
- Vi satsar utan tvekan på toppen. Jag har tävlat i Turkiet två gånger tidigare och även om jag vet exakt hur svårt det är, känns det bra att jag har erfarenhet med mig. Dessutom vet jag att Skodan är en stark bil som passar perfekt i ett tufft rally som det här, säger Pontus.

Rally Turkey är en av årets hårdaste utmaningar i VM-serien. Med höga temperaturer, ibland på över 30 grader, och väldigt skrovliga vägar med mycket stora stenar, ställs höga krav på både man och maskin. Bland sydvästra Turkiets berg är det en klok strategi som är det vinnande konceptet snarare än fart.
- Det gäller att undvika problem i den utsträckning det går och att ha lite flyt, förklarar Pontus. Man måste nästan räkna med att åka på någon punktering under tävlingen, men det är samma utmaning för alla. Sträckorna är i stort sett samma som förra året så jag känner att jag har koll på dem och i ett såpass speciellt rally som det här betyder den erfarenheten mycket.

Rallybasen är belägen nära staden Marmaris och tävlingen startar i stadskärnan på fredag eftermiddag för att sen följas av två inledande sträckor. Lördagen är den distansmässigt längsta dagen och är exakt identisk med programmet från 2019, medan det på söndagen är upplagt för en rafflande avslutning med bland annat rallyts längsta sträcka.

Tidsplan Rally Turkey 2020 (svensk tid +1 timme)
09:01 Shakedown Asparan (4,70 km)
17:08 SS1 Içmeler (13,90 km)
18:21 SS2 Gökçe (11,32 km)
20:06 Service Asparan

07:57 Service Asparan
08:50 SS3 Yesilbelde 1 (31,79 km)
10:08 SS4 Datça 1 (8,75 km)
11:06 SS5 Kizlan 1 (13,15 km)
13:32 Service Asparan
14:50 SS6 Yesilbelde 2 (31,79 km)
16:08 SS7 Datça 2 (8,75 km)
17:06 SS8 Kizlan 2 (13,15 km)
18:27 Service Asparan

06:27 Service Asparan
07:30 SS9 Çetibeli 1 (38,15 km)
09:08 SS10 Marmaris 1 (7,05 km)
09:43 Service Asparan
11:10 SS11 Çetibeli 2 (38,15 km)
13:18 SS12 Marmaris 2 Wolf Power Stage (7,05 km)
14:15 Podium Ceremony Asparan service park
20-09-06 Tänak flies to Estonia win despite late fright
Estonian delights with top spot on home turf and third in standings. Ott Tänak survived a late scare to deliver a popular home victory at Estonia’s first-ever FIA World Rally Championship round on Sunday afternoon.

He led most of the way to win the three-day gravel road Rally Estonia by 22.2sec in a Hyundai i20. Team-mate Craig Breen completed a 1-2 for Hyundai Motorsport and matched his career-best result.

Estonia was the 600th WRC round since the championship began in 1973 and marked the championship’s return after a six-month pause due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Tänak was the pre-event favourite and after taking the lead early in Saturday’s opening leg, the Estonian was never headed. But his bid for a maiden victory with the Korean manufacturer almost came unstuck in the penultimate speed test.

He swiped a bank with the rear of his i20, but the damage proved cosmetic only and he eased through the final special stage to secure his first victory for the team.

“To be in the bush and then bring it home, I’m happy to win with Hyundai for the first time,” he said. “We had some previous knowhow and if you race at home, even if you don’t know some roads, you feel the support you get from the people around. It’s a great feeling.”

Tänak climbed to third in the championship, 13 points behind leader Sébastien Ogier. Second for an emotional Breen enabled the squad to close the gap to manufacturers’ series leaders Toyota Gazoo Racing to five points.

Breen finished only 4.7sec clear of Ogier, admitting his attempt to measure his pace in the final stage allowed the Frenchman to come closer than intended. It was, however, a hugely impressive performance from the Irishman who is not a regular WRC starter.

Ogier headed a trio of Yaris finishers, satisfied that a podium keeps his hopes of a seventh world title on track, but disappointed he did not have the grip to match Tänak’s pace on Saturday afternoon.

Elfyn Evans and Kalle Rovanperä were fourth and fifth, both losing time with tyre troubles. Rovanperä incurred a 60sec penalty last night for working on his car in a prohibited zone, but the 19-year-old earlier became the youngest driver to lead a WRC rally at just 19.

Takamoto Katsuta rolled out of what would have been a career-best fifth place. His error promoted the Ford Fiestas of Teemu Suninen and Esapekka Lappi to sixth and seventh, the Finns swapping places after Lappi lost time with a big spin.

Round five takes crews to Rally Turkey which is based in Marmaris on 18 - 20 September.

Final Positions
1. O Tänak / M Järveoja EST Hyundai i20 1hr 59min 53.6sec
2. C Breen / P Nagle IRL Hyundai i20 +22.2sec
3. S Ogier / J Ingrassia FRA Toyota Yaris +26.9sec
4. E Evans / S Martin GBR Toyota Yaris + 41.9sec
5. K Rovanperä / J Halttunen FIN Toyota Yaris +1min 18.7sec
6. T Suninen / J Lehtinen FIN Ford Fiesta +2min 39.6sec

FIA World Rally Championship (after round 4 of 7)
1. S Ogier 79pts
2. E Evans 70pts
3. O Tänak 66pts
20-09-06 Motorhaveri stoppade Tom Kristensson i Rally Estonia
Ett motorhaveri redan på sträcka tre på lördagsförmiddagen grusade alla förhoppningar för SMK Hörby föraren Tom Kristensson, med co driver Joakim Sjöberg, till en topplacering i andra deltävlingen i JWRC, Rally Estonia i Estland.
Annars hade tävlingen börjat på bästa sätt med en andraplats på fredagskvällens korta stadssträcka och sträckvinst på lördagens drygt 2 mil långa förstasträcka.
- Motorn bara dog på den tredje sträckan, och vi kollade elkablar och lite annat direkt men inget hjälpte, så det var bara att parkera, säger Tom
- Vi hade dock förhoppningen att servicefolket skulle kunna hitta felet och fixa det så vi skulle kunna starta om på söndagen enligt de s.k. Rally 2-reglerna. Även om vi fått ett rejält tidstillägg för de sträckor som var kvar på fredagen, så hade vi haft möjligheten att plocka några poäng och ta sträcksegrar och få bonuspoäng för detta Och inte minst fått lite mer mil i bilen inför de resterande tävlingarna
- Tyvärr visade det sig att det var ett rejält motorras, så en omstart var utesluten, säger en något bedrövad Tom
- Då kändes det bara tomt, trots att vi vet att i den här branschen kan allting hända. Vi hade stora förhoppningar, speciellt som jag gillar och vet att jag kan göra bra ifrån mej på den typ på sträckorna som finns här.

Nu är ändå inte allt hopp ute för en slutlig topplacering i mästerskapet, då en av 4 deltävlingar får räknas bort och att poängen i finaltävlingen räknas upp med faktorn 1,5.
- Det är bara att använda, det i sportsammanhang klassiska uttrycket, det är bara att bryta ihop och komma igen. Om någon dag så ser vi fram mot nästa deltävling på Sardinien i början av oktober.

JWRC-klassen vanns nu av lettländaren Martins Sesks före Sami Pajari från Finland och hemmaföraren Robert Virves. I mästerskapet leder Martins Sesks på 47 poäng före Sami Pajari, 39 poäng och Tom på tredje plats med 29 poäng.

För den andre svensken i JWRC, Pontus Lönnström slutade tävlingen även i sorti. På lördagen brast en drivaxel, men det blev omstart på söndagen, men ett nytt drivaxelbrott satta då definitivt stopp för vidare tävlande.
- Jag vill ge ett stort beröm till arrangörerna som, trots att man fick hoppa in som VM-arrangör efter tidigare under året inställda tävlingar, bjöd på en fin och välorganiserad tävling. Framför allt fungerade det bra med allt extra på grund av Corona restriktionerna, avslutar Tom från Tartu.

Det har blivit ytterligare förändringar i kalendern för JWRC i höst. Rallye Deutschland som skulle körts i mitten av oktober har tvingats ställa in på grund av Tysklands restriktioner. Rally Italia Sardegna har flyttats fram och körs den 8-11 oktober och ny finaltävling blir Renties Ypres Rally Belgium i Belgien den 19-22 oktober.
20-09-06 Tuff helg för Pontus Lönnström i Estland
Rallyföraren Pontus Lönnström och kartläsaren Stefan Gustafsson körde i helgen Rally Estonia, den andra deltävlingen i Junior-VM i rally för säsongen. Det blev en strulig tävling för Pontus och Stefan som bitvis visade bra fart, men tvingades bryta både lördag och söndag på grund av drivaxelbrott.
– Vi är några erfarenheter rikare efter denna helg. Men körmässigt är jag inte helt nöjd. Vi fick bara köra fem sträckor totalt i helgen med alla problem vi hade. Det har var fräna vägar och bra att få prova åka på det. Men den farten vi haft är jag inte helt nöjd med. Vi startade om idag och tänkte försöka hitta mer fart, men sen börjar man tveka lite och det är svårt att hitta motivationen när man brutit och tappat chansen på ett bra resultat. Vi trodde att vi skulle vara med bättre men det är väldigt svårt att första gången i ett nytt land hänga med de som har mycket erfarenhet av vägarna, säger Pontus.

Redan om två veckor sitter Pontus och Stefan i en rallybil igen, då körde finalen i Rally-SM i Sandviken där de har chans att ta dubbla SM-guld i klassen Otrimmat 2WD och i Junior-SM.
– Vi ser mycket fram mot SM. Egentligen hade vi inga tankar på att åka hela SM. Men nu när vi har chans på guld finns det inget att spara på, avslutar Pontus.
20-09-06 Med denne seieren gjorde Mads og Torstein et ekte hattrick
Med denne seieren gjorde Mads og Torstein et ekte hattrick, da de før lockdown vant begge løpene de deltok i, Rally Monte Carlo og Rally Sweden.

Mads ledet WRC2 fra første etappe, men mistet ledelsen etter å ha punktert på SS4, med cirka 30 sekunders tap. Etter det vant de alle WRC2-etapper fra SS 5 til og med SS 17. De tok tilbake ledelsen etter SS6 og kontrollerte seieren derfra og inn. I mål var de 1 minutt og 28,4 sekunder før nummer to, Adrien Fourmaux og Renaud Jamoul. Pontus Tidemand med Patrik Barth som kartleser fulgte som nummer 3, 2 minutter og 50,1 sekunder etter Mads og Torstein.

“Det var veldig bra å komme i gang igjen», sier Mads i en kommentar. «Vi hadde et helt problemfritt rally, bortsett fra punkteringen. Som kom som lyn fra klar himmel, etter at vi landet litt hardt etter et sidelengs hopp. WRC2 er en fabrikks supportert klasse, og det er viktig for Citroen, som det er for Torstein og meg å vinne VM tittelen. Vi kontrollerte løpet fra SS6 og til mål uten å ta noen sjanser, uten «tilbud» og uten en eneste skrape i lakken», sier Mads med et smil. «WRC2 bruker samme R5 bilklasse som privatteamene i WRC3. Det er mange sterke team og gode førere i WRC 3. Derfor titter vi ofte over på den klassen, av prestisjemessige årsaker. Med tidstapet etter punkteringen, i tillegg kjører vi mange biler foran de beste WRC3 førerne, og derfor har dårligere feste, bestemte vi oss tidlig for ikke å risikere noe for noe som ikke betyr noe. Vi fokuserte på vårt mesterskap, som vi fikk et godt grep på etter denne seieren, og er superfornøyd med å vinne WRC2, og bli nummer 10 totalt. Selv om vi hadde en WRC3 bil på plassen foran oss på totallisten.»

Mads og Torstein leder mesterskapet med 75 poeng, etter å ha deltatt i 3 av de 4 løp som har gått. Tidemand/Barth er nummer 2 med 55 poeng. Gryazin/Aleksandrow følger på 3 med 51 poeng.

Neste WRC-runde er Rally Tyrkia. Citroen har bestemt at de ikke melder på Mads og Torstein der. De to gjenstående løp for Citroen, Mads og Torstein er Rally Italia/Sardinia og Rally Belgia. Men det kan forandre seg p.g.a. Covid 19, selv om antall løp neppe blir færre.
20-09-06 Oliver delivers stunning win on the world stage
- 18-year-old scores first WRC points with stunning Rally Estonia class win
- Faultless drive from the Monster Energy-backed driver to take ninth overall
- Wins nine from 17 stages in WRC3; second fastest on seven
- “Now I know my world championship speed and I’m happy.”

A Solberg standing on the roof of his car is nothing new in the World Rally Championship.

Oliver followed firmly in family footsteps set down by his world champion father Petter with a stunning victory at Rally Estonia, dominating Rally2 and finishing a staggering ninth overall.

Monster Energy driver Oliver was on commanding form through the Tartu-based WRC round to win WRC3 and place his family run Volkswagen Polo R5 at the very top of the classification for Rally2 machinery. A top-10 result means WRC points for the first time in his career.

Rally2 cars are the backbone of the second tier of the WRC – it’s where the champions of tomorrow are found.

This weekend Oliver drove the drive of a champion.
Through a changeable opening day, Oliver and co-driver Aaron Johnston showed both supreme speed and total confidence to move into a clear lead. If Saturday was about outrageous pace, Sunday was about exceptional rally management.

Eighteen-year-old Oliver drove like a seasoned professional from the first until the final stage.
“I’m so happy,” said Oliver. “We made a good result on this rally last year (WRC Promotional event, where Oliver finished seventh overall). I thought it was possible to make a podium finish, but I just didn’t know how would be the speed against the other R5 factory cars. Now I know my world championship speed and I’m happy.

“To make this result, to win and to be in the top-10 overall is amazing. Yesterday we were pushing in some places, but when it was tricky – and sometimes it was really tricky – or on the small roads I was taking it more sensibly. We had two punctures on the first day and that made me even more cautious in sometimes. Once we had built the advantage, I wanted to take two spare wheels to protect this result.

“Estonia was a lot of fun this weekend. I love these fast roads. OK, we have had some ruts in some places, but that’s good for the experience to understand how the car is working in these conditions.”

Understandably, Petter was a very happy father on Sunday afternoon.
“Oliver’s speed has been very, very impressive here,” said the three-time FIA world champion. “We have seen with his wins in Latvia that he likes the fast stages, but to come here and do this at the WRC level was really special.

“He was really in control of this thing. It was not easy to be running in the ruts and in the conditions which were changing, but he was so sensible and so clever. This is good. Do you think he takes after me?”

Oliver’s next outing will be on the Rally Fafe Montelongo (October 2-4), where he will continue his pursuit of the European Rally Championship.
“We made a good start in ERC,” said Oliver, “so it’s nice to go to these rallies to push for the championship. There are no clashes with our WRC programme, so it’s no problem for us to do both [WRC3 and ERC].”

Oliver Solberg in numbers:
Rallies started: 38
Rallies won: 9
WRC rounds started: 5
WRC class wins: 1
WRC debut: Wales Rally GB (2019)
Number of titles won: 9*
20-09-06 Tidemand på pallen i krävande Rally Estonia
Som nykomling i WRC-sammanhang bjöd Rally Estonia på en tuff utmaning för rallyeliten när världsmästerskapet gjorde comeback i helgen. Pontus Tidemand fann sig snabbt i en strid för pallplats som höll i sig ända till sista sträckan då kan kammade hem tredjeplatsen.
- Det har varit grymt kul att vara tillbaka i VM och äntligen få kämpa på den här nivån igen. Men det har inte varit lätt. Vi var förberedda på ett väldigt tufft rally med hårt motstånd, men oavsett hur väl förberedd man är, vet man aldrig riktigt vad som väntar förrän man är igång. Jag kände snabbt av att det var ett halvår sen man satt i en sådan här bil under en sådan här tävling, säger Pontus.

Med ett komprimerat schema under tre tävlingsdagar istället för fyra, startade Rally Estonia med en kort öppningssträcka på fredagskvällen. Pontus och co-drivern Patrik Barth gick ut starkt och satte en andratid, endast 0,2 sekunder från ledningen. Men det var inte förrän på lördagen som den stora uppgiften drog igång när de längre sträckorna skulle bemästras för allra första gången. Till en början hade den svenska duon svårt att hitta rytmen, men allteftersom blev känslan bättre och tiderna allt mer stabila.
- Vi gjorde hela tiden framsteg och hittade tillslut ett okej tempo som faktiskt kändes bättre än vad tiderna visade. Men det är svårt att helt komma in i det och behålla känslan när sträckorna är nya och dessutom förändras såpass mycket mellan förmiddag och eftermiddag när andra loopen körs, förklarar Pontus.

När de sista sträckorna startade på söndagen hade Pontus pallen inom räckhåll med bara 12,9 sekunder till tredjeplatsen. Planen var en ordentlig attack från start, något som snabbt tog en vändning när de fick problem med turbon redan på morgonen. Trots att det kostade tid försökte de hänga med så bra de kunde - vilket lönade sig när ryssen Nikolay Gryazin hamnade i trubbel på den allra sista sträckan. Pontus och Patrik seglade då förbi och knep tredjeplatsen i sista stund.
- Pallen är alltid huvudmålet och den här gången kändes det mörkt. Samtidigt vet man att man aldrig ska ge upp utan kämpa på, för vad som helst kan hända och det är inte över förrän mållinjen passerats. Det var trist att inte kunna pusha på som vi ville idag men jag får ändå vara nöjd med tävlingen. Med tanke på hur lite vi kört de senaste månaderna känns det som vi gjorde vad vi kunde utefter våra förutsättningar. Jag är också glad att vi säkrar poäng för teamet, det var av stor vikt för säsongen som helhet, summerar Pontus.

Resultat Rally Estonia WRC 2
1. Mads Østberg 2:08.10.9
2. Adrien Fourmaux +1:28.4
3. Pontus Tidemand +2:50.1
4. Eyvind Brynildsen +2:52.2
5. Nikolay Gryazin +3:52.6
20-09-05 Home hero Tänak supreme on home roads in WRC return
Ott Tänak excels as favourite leading Rally Estonia with stellar Saturday. Ott Tänak lived up to his billing as pre-event favourite to lead the FIA World Rally Championship’s restart event at Rally Estonia on Saturday night.

Driving on home roads, Tänak shrugged aside the series’ six-month Covid-19 lay-off to head Estonia’s first world rally by 11.7sec.

On a superb day for his Hyundai Motorsport squad, team-mate Craig Breen held second in an identical i20 World Rally Car.

Estonia became the 33rd country to stage a championship round as the series reached a landmark 600th event since it began in 1973.

Tänak celebrated by taking an iron grip on the blisteringly fast sandy roads on which he developed his career.

Teenager Kalle Rovanperä grabbed the lead in this morning’s opening speed test.

Tänak was only fourth after being hampered by a soft tyre, but charged to the front on the next stage and built a 6.8sec mid-leg margin over Breen.

The repeated roads were rougher this afternoon, but Tänak doubled his lead before throttling back, content to have won three of today’s 10 stages.

“This afternoon, especially, the middle stages were really rough,” he said. “I know I can’t risk anything, I need to come through if I want to fight for the championship. It’s been a demanding and tricky day, so high-speed and rough.”

Breen’s part-time programme brings less chance to impress, but the Irishman laid claim to being driver of the day. He won two stages and was second on three more. “You feel a super-hero on some of these stages, they are some of the fastest I’ve driven,” he said.

Hyundai was on course for a clean sweep of the top three as Thierry Neuville was on Breen’s heels. But his i20 bounced out of a rut, swiped a bank and smashed the rear right suspension, leaving the Belgian stranded.

Championship leader Sébastien Ogier replaced Neuville in third. The Frenchman, driving a Toyota Yaris, won two stages but was hindered by two tyres delaminating and a final test stall.

Ogier trailed Breen by 17.0sec and headed team-mate Rovanperä by 6.2sec. The young Finn’s early lead vanished with a puncture which relegated him to eighth, but he recovered to snatch fourth from fellow Yaris driver Elfyn Evans in the final stage.

Evans was third initially but struggled to retain his rhythm and tyre troubles saw him slide back to fifth. The Welshman had 25.1sec in hand over team-mate Takamoto Katsuta, the Japanese youngster belying his lack of experience to stay on course for a career-best sixth.

Sunday’s final leg follows a similar format, with two identical loops of three stages south of Tartu adding up to 84.94km. The rally ends at the Kambja Wolf Power Stage, which features bonus points to the fastest five drivers.

Leading positions after Saturday:
1. O Tänak / M Järveoja EST Hyundai i20 Coupe 1:15:08.4
2. C. Breen/ P. Nagle Hyundai IRL i20 Coupe + 11.7sec
3. S. Ogier / J Ingrassia FRA Toyota Yaris + 28.7sec
4. K. Rovanperä / J Halttunen FIN Toyota Yaris +34.9sec
5. E Evans / S Martin GBR Toyota Yaris +36.8se
20-09-05 Tidemand i estländsk pallkamp
Med den första hellånga dagen av Rally Estland avklarad, befinner sig Pontus Tidemand mitt i en tajt kamp för en åtråvärd pallplacering i WRC 2-klassen.
- Det var lite tricky med att hitta rytmen i morse när tempot är så högt, berättar Pontus. Det blev bättre och bättre för varje sträcka, men jag får nog erkänna att jag kände av att det var ett bra tag sen jag satt i en sådan här rallybil. På eftermiddagen var det som att köra ett helt nytt rally igen, spårigt, uppkört och en annan karaktär på vägarna.

När lördagens 11 sträckor är körda, ligger Pontus och kartläsaren Patrik Barth på fjärde plats, men inte mer än 12,9 sekunder från tredjeplatsen.
- Vi har kul och njuter, både av fighten och av att vara tillbaka i VM. Det är fortfarande en bra bit kvar imorgon och vi förbättrar oss hela tiden. Vi ska göra vad vi kan för att få med oss ett gäng poäng, säger Pontus.

Rally Estonia WRC 2 efter SS11 av 17
1. Mads Østberg 1:20:34.8
2. Nikolay Gryazin +37.8
3. Adrien Fourmaux +45.5
4. Pontus Tidemand +58.4
5. Eyvind Brynildsen +1:28.5
20-09-03 WRC comes back to life with Tänak hoping to close gap
Rally Estonia marks first event since March as home hero targets victory. The FIA World Rally Championship roars back into post-lockdown action this weekend when Rally Estonia (4 - 6 September) hosts the series for the first time.

It is nearly six months since the coronavirus pandemic halted the championship after the third round in Mexico. A revised calendar begins in the Baltic state, which has the honour of hosting the series’ 600th rally since it started in 1973.

Estonia becomes the 33rd country to stage a WRC round and the rally operates under strict protocols to ensure a safe restart. Social distancing, mandatory pre-event testing, the use of face coverings and the creation of team groups have been introduced to limit the Covid-19 risk.

Sébastien Ogier carries an eight-point championship lead over Toyota Yaris team-mate Elfyn Evans into the super-fast gravel road encounter, which runs to a condensed format of three days instead of four.

However, all eyes will be on world champion and home hero Ott Tänak. He is 24 points adrift of Ogier in fifth place and eager to make up lost ground after a massive opening round crash in January’s season-opener.

The Hyundai i20 pilot’s knowledge of the sandy roads and big jumps around Tartu in the south-east of the country makes him many people’s favourite, especially after two recent victories in warm-up rallies in Estonia.
“It’s nice to be back in the championship again,” Tänak said. “Having the first event back in Estonia is special for us. It’s a big thing for Estonia to run a WRC event. I really hope we have a home advantage and it’s most important we really use it.
20-09-03 Återstart i JWRC för Tom Kristensson och Joakim Sjöberg i helgen i Rally Estonia
Efter ett uppehåll ända sedan Rally Sweden i februari på grund av Corona, är det i helgen äntligen återstart i JWRC för Tom och Joakim i den nyinsatta tävlingen Rally Estonia i Estland. För WRC blir det den fjärde deltävlingen i årets mästerskap, där det avkortade Rally Mexico i mars, innan Corona slog till med full kraft.

Tävlingens huvudort är Tartu i sydöstra Estland och börjar med en kort sträcka på dryga kilometern intill serviceplatsen på fredagskvällen, och sedan skall man avverka totalt 17 sträckor på samanlagt drygt 230 km, under lördagen och söndagen i området Otepää, samtliga på grus.

I JWRC är det 12 anmälda ekipage, och alla kommer att köra med den uppdaterade Ford Fiesta Rally4 från M-Sport.
- Jag har inte känt på bilen ännu, det blir först på shakedown på fredag morgon, men uppdateringarna har gjort den bl.a. lite starkare, och jag tror inte att det blir något problem att komma underfund med hur de fungerar, säger Tom.

Tävlingen är omgärdad av strikta Corona regler, bl. a. krävdes det ett godkänt test i Sverige före avresan och ytterligare ett godkänt test inom 12 timmar när Tom och Joakim kom till Estland plus en del annan pappersexercis-
- Vi åkte hit redan i slutet på förra veckan för att vara på den säkra sidan, men testerna och allt annat gick bra, säger Tom.
- Tuffa utmanande sträckor med skiftande karaktär med en hel del lyft, men samtidigt fantastiska, rapporterar Tom efter den avslutade rekognoseringen på torsdagsmiddagen.
- Det har kommit en del kraftiga regnskurar nu på förmiddagen, så det lär inte damma i alla fall och det kommer att bli ett drömrally säger Tom entusiastiskt

Som ledare mästerskapet kommer Tom att jagas hårt av främst Matins Sesks från grannlandet Lettland, och två i mästerskapet, och snabbe hemmaföraren Ken Torn. Det andra svenska ekipaget Pontus Lönnström och Stefan Gustavsson kommer säkert även köra för seger, man hade ett fint genrep i SM-tävlingen snapphanerallyt för någon vecka sedan
- Vi kommer att satsa på att vara fortsatta ledare efter tävlingen, men det blir hårt, avslutar Tom.
20-09-02 Estonia’s WRC debut features the world’s best drivers and driverless vehicles
This week, Estonia joins the list of 33 countries honoured with the chance to host a WRC stage. Rally Estonia finds place on September 4th to 6th and not only brings in action the beloved rally cars and world’s best drivers, but also features self-driving vehicles.

The preparations for Estonia’s WRC debut are in full swing and the organizers are paying a great deal of attention to the mass gathering recommendations regarding COVID-19 in order to make the first WRC stage during these unprecedented times safe and special for all the rally fans around the world.

“Organizing such a big event in such a small country with such a tight schedule is definitely a challenge and an opportunity at the same time. Being trusted with this amazing task, we devote ourselves to showing both the whole Estonia and FIA that Estonia is capable of fulfilling such an exceptional duty,” says Urmo Aava, the Director of Rally Estonia.

Even though Rally Estonia had only 63 days to organize the whole event they decided to not only tribute the art of rally but also showcase a little something that Estonia has to offer to the world. “This is an opportunity to deliver the stream of the astonishing rally from our tiny country to more than 100 million people all over the world and we wish to add more to the experience,” Aava adds.

Estonia is known for its diversified landscape both in nature and in the tech-world. As the live stream takes the viewers on a journey through the rally stages that feature picturesque gravel roads in the middle of the domed landscape, it also sheds a light on the smart solutions developed in Estonia. The service area located in the Estonian National Museum features a center for the media that will be serviced by an all-electric autonomous shuttle developed and manufactured by Auve in Estonia.

Auve’s self-driving shuttles started out from a cooperation project with TalTech university and have now evolved into road legal vehicles that currently operate in Estonia and Finland. The shuttle is aimed at covering the last-mile distances by seamlessly completing the public transportation chain without any additional modifications to the existing infrastructure.

During the rally, Iseauto will be serving the last mile for the media and attend the exhibition in Estonian National Museum that features the Estonian automotive history. “Motorsport has always been a driver of innovation in the automotive industry and therefore it is an honour for us to be a part of this WRC stage. The beauty of this sport lies in the collaboration between the smartest innovators and the greatest drivers and while Iseauto does not compete with the world’s best drivers on the challenging rally stages, it does complete the exhibition with a glimpse into the future and demonstrates its solutions for enhancing daily commutes” said Auve Tech CEO Johannes Mossov.

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20-09-01 VM-äventyret fortsätter för Pontus Lönnström i Estland
Rallyföraren Pontus Lönnström från Nora fortsätter efter ett halvårs uppehåll sin debutsäsong i Junior-VM i rally när serien återstartar med Rally Estonia i Estland till helgen. Det är årets andra tävling i Junior-VM, JWRC, efter premiären som kördes i Sverige i februari. Där Pontus och hans kartläsare Stefan Gustafsson slutade 8:a efter att ha kört punktering redan på rallyts första sträcka. De visade bra fart i avslutningen av Svenska Rallyt med sträcksegrar, som de hoppas kunna bygga vidare på i Estland.
– Det ska bli väldigt skönt att det äntligen drar igång igen. Det ska bli spännande att äntligen få komma iväg och köra, säger Pontus som för några veckor sedan vann SM-rallyt i Hässleholm som uppladdning inför Estland.

Tävlingen i Estland var inte planerad att ingå i VM i år. Men efter att kalendern fick göras om på grund av coronasituationen blev Estland ersättningstävling, och Pontus ser fram mot att få köra tävlingen.
– Jag är glad över att det blev just Estland. Tävlingen verkar frän med sina snabba vägar, som jag tror passar oss bra. Så jag ser fram mot helgen.

I Junior-VM tävlar alla deltagare i identiska Ford Fiesta från M-Sport Poland. Till Estland får alla den nya Rally4-bilen, en uppgraderad bil jämfört med den Pontus och Stefan körde i Sverige. Och det var just i en Rally4-Fiesta som de vann samtliga sträckor i SM-deltävlingen i Hässleholm.
– Det var lite svårt att komma in i nya bilen från start i Hässleholm. Men mot slutet fick vi till körningen riktigt bra och det gick över förväntan, det blev en riktigt bra genomkörare inför Estland, fortsätter Pontus.

Sedan första tävlingen i Sverige i februari har Pontus och Stefan haft mycket tid att analysera och gå igenom sin första tävling i Junior-VM och dragit lärdomar som blir viktiga inför fortsättningen av året.
– Vi har hittat många saker som kan bli bättre, men tar också med oss det som var bra. Som avslutningen med två sträcksegrar, det blir viktigt att få en bra start på rallyt denna gången, säger Pontus som har höga målsättningar:
– Målet är högt, vi vill vara med och slåss om segern. Men det är mycket bra motstånd och högt tempo i klassen, så det blir inte lätt, avslutar Pontus.
20-09-01 Motiverad Tidemand redo för helt ny VM-utmaning
Väntan har känts oändligt lång men nu är det äntligen dags för VM-rally igen efter nästan ett halvårs uppehåll. Toksport World Rally Team tror fortsatt på Pontus Tidemand och ger honom chansen igen i WRC 2, denna gång i nykomlingen i VM-sammanhang: Rally Estonia.
- Det här blir en helt ny utmaning för de flesta av oss i startfältet, vilket gör det lite extra spännande. Vägarna är supersnabba och tekniska, med många hopp och krön och jag hoppas det ska påminna om det finska rallyt, för det gillar jag, säger Pontus, som trots att några månader passerat sen senaste VM-tävlingen fortfarande har segern i Mexiko färskt i minnet.
- Visst kändes det som vi hade något riktigt bra på gång och teamet kände detsamma, och det tog oss till startlinjen igen. Nu hoppas jag att vi kan fortsätta där vi slutade och kämpa för ännu ett bra resultat och viktiga poäng i WRC 2-mästerskapet.

Under de senaste månaderna har förstås den internationella sporten tvingats ta en paus, men Pontus har tagit alla möjligheter att hålla ringrostigheten borta. I början av juni deltog han i Rally Sweden Lockdown, där han slutade tvåa, och senare samma månad hoppade han in i rallycrossbilen för All-Star Magic Weekend" i Höljes, för att förra helgen göra säsongspremiär i EM i rallycross.

Efter EM-premiären hann han knappt packa om väskan förrän det bar av till Tyskland för test med SKODA Motorsport.
- Det är så viktigt att få tid bakom ratten och jag är tacksam att jag har fått de här tävlingarna under sommaren. Att sen få gå tillbaka till rallybilen förra veckan kunde inte ha kommit mer lägligt med tanke på Estland. Jag känner mig faktiskt så varm i kläderna och förberedd som jag kan bli i nuläget, säger Pontus som i sällskap av kartläsaren Patrik Barth även genomförde ett test på plats i Estland nu under måndagen.

Totalt 28 ekipage är anmälda i RC2, eller Rally 2, som samlingskategorin för R5-bilarna kallas, och Pontus är beredd på en ordentlig fight.
- Konkurrensen kommer minst sagt att bli tuff. Jag är som sagt glad att jag fått köra en del under de här månaderna, men jag vet också att många av mina motståndare legat i rejält på sistone. Efter en så här lång paus tror jag alla är taggade att komma ut och köra så det lär bli åka av, skrattar Pontus.

Rally Estonia körs för tionde gången men gör först nu intåg i VM-serien och gör Estland till den 33:e nationen att stå värd för ett WRC-event. Serviceplatsen är belägen i Tartu, medan merparten av sträckorna är lokaliserade till Otepää, som kallas Estands "vinterhuvudstad", i södra delen av landet. Totalt ska 12 specialsträckor på sammanlagt drygt 230 kilometer klaras av under helgen.

Tidsplan Rally Estonia 2020 (svensk tid +1 timme)
09:01 Shakedown Abissaare (6,23 km)
19:08 SS1 Tartu (1,28 km)

06:38 Service Raadi
07:40 SS2 Prangli 1 (20,23 km)
08:21 SS3 Kanepi 1 (16,89 km)
09:08 SS4 Otepää 1 (9,60 km)
10:00 SS5 Mäeküla 1 (14,76 km)
11:19 SS6 Elva 1 (11,72 km)
13:14 Service Raadi
14:37 SS7 Prangli 2 (20,23 km)
15:18 SS8 Kanepi 2 (16,89 km)
16:08 SS9 Otepää 2 (9,60 km)
17:00 SS10 Mäeküla 2 (14,76 km)
18:19 SS11 Elva 2 (11,72 km)
19:34 Service Raadi

06:02 Service Raadi
07:35 SS12 Arula 1 (6,97 km)
08:09 SS13 Kaagvere 1 (15,46 km)
09:08 SS14 Kambja 1 (20,05 km)
10:49 SS15 Arula 2 (6,97 km)
11:28 SS16 Kaagvere 2 (15,46 km)
13:18 SS17 Kambja 2 Wolf Power Stage (20,05 km)
15:30 Podium Ceremony Raadi service park
20-08-26 New date confirmed for Italy’s 2020 FIA WRC fixture
· Italy advances three weeks in FIA World Rally Championship calendar
· Rally Italia Sardegna to be held on 8 - 11 October 2020
· Switch avoids date clash with F1 Grand Prix at Italy’s Imola circuit
· ADAC Rallye Deutschland called off due to Covid-19 pandemic

Munich, 26 August 2020 – Italy’s 2020 FIA World Rally Championship fixture at Rally Italia Sardegna will move forward by three weeks to 8 - 11 October.

The request to reschedule came from event organiser Automobile Club d’Italia and was agreed by the FIA, motorsport’s governing body, and WRC Promoter following the forced cancellation of ADAC Rallye Deutschland.

The switch avoids a clash with Formula 1’s Gran Premio dell’Emilia Romagna, which will be held at Italy’s Imola circuit on the same late- October weekend on which Rally Italia Sardegna was scheduled.

The move forward offers the prospect of better weather on the Mediterranean island for the gravel road fixture, as well as additional daylight hours as Europe moves deep into autumn.

Angelo Sticchi Damiani, president of Automobile Club d’Italia, said finalising a date which aligned with other championship calendars was a tricky task.

“In ACI we have worked hard to redefine the new dates for the 2020 Rally Italia Sardegna,” he explained. “It has not been easy to find the right days which could put together the needs of all stakeholders and could work well for the region of Sardinia.

“In this very difficult year ACI has wanted, as already shown with the F1 GPs in Monza, Mugello and Imola, to protect national and international motorsport by confirming also our competition. I personally thank the region of Sardinia for their absolute support to make all this happen.”

The change was made possible after ADAC Rallye Deutschland was called off. The Bostalsee-based event on 15 - 18 October was scheduled to be round six of the season, but organisers have cancelled it due to restrictions on mass gatherings in Germany related to Covid-19.

The 2020 calendar is:
1 Monte-Carlo 23 - 26 January
2 Sweden 13 - 16 February
3 Mexico 12 - 15 March
4 Estonia 4 - 6 September
5 Turkey 18 - 20 September
6 Italy 8 - 11 October
7 Belgium 19 - 22 November
20-08-22 MOMU exhibition "Estonian Motorsport 1921-2021" opens at the Estonian National Museum
The exhibition "Estonian Motorsport 1921-2021" of MOMU - Motorsport Museum will be opened at the Estonian National Museum (ERM) on August 25th. Celebrating together the 100th anniversary of Estonian motorsport in 2021, with Rally Estonia, the first ever FIA World Rally Championship round in Estonia occurring from the 4th – 6th September.

From the 25th of August to 13th of September (except 01.09-07.09 when ERM will be the Rally Estonia headquarter and closed) you will be able to see 100 years of the most important Estonian motorsport exhibits brought in from their usual location, MOMU in Turba, Estonia. You can see a large variety of formula cars, rally cars and motorcycles, and much more, which has left its important mark in the history of Estonian motorsport. During Rally Estonia, the participants of the WRC rally can also get acquainted with the exhibition, to not only show that Estonia has strong athletes and good organizers, but also as a manufacturer of valued racing cars.

On August 28th, 1921, the first motorsport competition was held in the young Republic of Estonia, Tallinn - Rapla - Tallinn Rally. It is largely considered as the start of Estonian domestic motorsports. The exhibition is dedicated to the soon-to-be first one hundred years of Estonian motorsport. In addition to the large number of enthusiasts, the racing equipment industry was also very developed in Estonia. The first factory to manufacture racing machines was Saar & Co, which made racing motorcycles, Tempo, were being built before 1940. During the USSR times, the production of racing equipment expanded greatly when the Estonian engineering culture quickly developed and many companies were engaged in production: Tallinn Car Repair Testing Plant, Tartu Car Repair Testing Plant, a small company Kavor, joint ventures ESTTEC and Viro, and factories Vihur and Teras. In addition, smaller more limited quantities of racing equipment for many various fields were manufactured by smaller companies and motorsport clubs.

The largest car racing equipment manufacturer in Estonia was the Tallinn Car Repair Test Plant (abbreviated - TARK), whose production of formula cars reached a total of 1,331 cars, and in addition, roughly 4,000 karts were built for youth sports. In 1985, the factory became the second largest in the world in terms of formula cars produced (The largest at the time was Lola located in the UK).

Today, these traditions are kept alive, and one of the best examples is the Formula Student team, whose members have built highly innovative machines over the years, from internal combustion engine formula cars to self-driving electric formula cars.

The exhibition also features a large variety of model cars from collector Rauno Paltser. More than 100 models related to Estonian rally drivers can be seen, from Uno Aava's 1967 East African Safari Rally Moskvich model to Ott Tänak & Martin Järveoja's 2020 WRC Sweden Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC model. The exhibition also features 5 models of Markko Märtin - Michael Park’s winning cars from their time in the WRC, as well as all 12 winning models of the Ott Tänak - Martin Järveoja’s WRC cars. As the exhibition at the ERM is related to Rally Estonia, you can also see the Suzuki, Citroen and Ford models driven by Rally Estonia director Urmo Aava during his career, as well as 10 different models with Rally Estonia history.

Rally Estonia 2020 is held on 4-6 September on the roads of Tartu, Otepa¨a¨, Elva, Kanepi and Kambja municipalities. Rally Estonia is a round of the FIA World Rally Championship.
20-08-19 Belgium added to 2020 FIA World Rally Championship
· WRC Promoter and FIA confirms adjusted 2020 WRC calendar
· Renties Ypres Rally Belgium joins fixture list for the first time
· Asphalt event takes over prestigious season-closing slot
· Final round in Japan called off due to Covid-19 travel restrictions
· News images available at

Munich, 19 August 2020 – Belgium will host a round of the FIA World Rally Championship for the first time after Renties Ypres Rally Belgium was added to the 2020 calendar.

The asphalt event will take place on 19 - 22 November, replacing Rally Japan as the eighth and final round of the season.

Japan’s return to the WRC after a 10-year hiatus has been regrettably called off due to border entry restriction policies imposed by the government due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Belgium will become the 34th nation to stage a WRC round since the series started in 1973.

Ypres was first held in 1965 and has become established as one of Europe’s most demanding rallies. Previous winners include current Hyundai Motorsport WRC driver and home hero Thierry Neuville in 2018 and team-mate Craig Breen last season.

It will feature about 300km of special stages across three full days of competition. Sunday’s final leg will be focused on the iconic Spa race circuit, with the rally-closing Wolf Power Stage featuring the famous Eau Rouge / Raidillon section of the track.

A service park in the heart of Ypres’ historic Grote Markt will be the rally hub and Simon Larkin, WRC Promoter’s senior director events, said the rally would provide a unique test for competitors.

“For many years Ypres was a hugely popular cornerstone of the FIA European Rally Championship. Its elevation to the WRC will provide one of the sternest challenges of the year for competitors and a fitting finale to the 2020 season,” he said.

“Its tricky mix of narrow asphalt lanes and 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.”

FIA Rally Director Yves Matton said: “We’re very disappointed Rally Japan will not happen this year due to the pandemic, in particular given all the hard work undertaken by the Japanese authorities, the Japanese Automobile Federation and the organising team. I thank them for that.

“Belgium has a great tradition and passion for rally, evidenced by the number of Belgians in various roles – drivers, mechanics, team principal, journalists – in the WRC. The route will showcase the DNA of the rally as it crosses the country by linking Ypres to Spa-Francorchamps, two iconic venues of Belgian motorsport,” he added.

Jan Huyghe, board member for Ypres promoter Club Superstage, said it had always been an ambition of the club to host a WRC round in Belgium.

“It’s a tremendous honour because as an organiser you always want to reach the highest level,” he added.

“Ypres Rally has a cast-iron reputation in terms of organisation and safety and the city of Ypres has had the rally in its genes for 56 years. Rally is integral to the region and we receive a lot of support and facilities from the city to organise our rally in a unique historical context.”

A disappointed Koji Takahashi, chairman of the Rally Japan 2020 executive committee, said the focus would now turn to preparations for the 2021 event in the Aichi and Gifu regions. Japan is one of nine rounds already confirmed for next season’s FIA WRC calendar.

The 2020 calendar is:
1 Monte-Carlo 23 - 26 January
2 Sweden 13 - 16 February
3 Mexico 12 - 15 March
4 Estonia 4 - 6 September
5 Turkey 18 - 20 September
6 Germany 15 - 18 October
7 Italy 29 October - 1 November
8 Belgium 19 - 22 November
20-07-31 FIA WRC’s Rally Turkey finalises September date change
· Turkey advances one week in FIA World Rally Championship calendar
· Gravel road fixture to run on 18 - 20 September 2020
· Switch increases opportunities to add further rallies to WRC schedule

Turkey’s 2020 FIA World Rally Championship fixture will move forward by one week to 18 - 20 September.

WRC Promoter has agreed a switch with the Turkish Automobile Sports Federation (TOSFED), organiser of the Marmaris-based gravel road encounter, which has been rubber-stamped by motorsport’s governing body, the FIA.

The date change facilitates the opportunity to introduce additional events to the calendar in the second half of the season in what remains an evolving situation due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The switch means the event, round five of the championship, will be held two weeks after Rally Estonia (4 - 6 September) which restarts the WRC season following lockdown.

WRC Promoter managing director Jona Siebel thanked Turkey’s Ministry of Youth and Sports and TOSFED for agreeing the change.

“The date switch provides us with options if we wish to introduce further events to the 2020 calendar and we’re extremely grateful to TOSFED for its flexibility in what are challenging times for sport across the world.

“Marmaris, a popular holiday resort in Turkey, is open for business and welcoming tourists. Competitors and fans can feel confident about travelling there again after the Coronavirus lockdown.

“The event will, of course, run with Covid-19 protocols in place. FIA and WRC Promoter guidelines will be applied to Turkey’s health laws to create a safe environment for all involved and for fans to enjoy,” added Siebel.

TOSFED president Eren Üçlertopragi said: “We’re delighted to be welcoming the FIA WRC back to Turkey for the third time and will do all that’s required for running a safe and successful event under the required conditions.”

The 2020 calendar is:
23-26 jan Monte Carlo    
13-16 febr Rally Sweden    
12-15 mars Mexico    
4-6 sept Estland    
18-20 sept Turkiet    
15-18 okt Tyskland    
29-1 nov Italien    
19-22 nov Japan    

20-07-16 Klart med höstens tävlingar i JWRC för Tom Kristensson och Joakim Sjöberg
I dagarna har Internationella Bilsportförbundet, FIA, godkänt vilka tävlingar som i höst skall ingå i Junior VM, JWRC, i rally. Det blir 3 deltävlingar, och totalt 4 deltävlingar i årets mästerskap, mot från början 5 planerade. Den enda hittills avverkade är Rally Sweden i februari där Tom och Joakim vann.

Återstarten blir i Estland och Rally Estonia den 3-6 september, en nyinsatt tävling i WRC-kalendern. Därefter följer Rallye Deutschland den 15-18 oktober och avslutning sker i Rally Italia Sardegna på Sardinien den 29 oktober-1 november. De båda sistnämnda fanns i JWRC-kalendern redan från början, men tävlingen på Sardinien skulle körts i början av juni, men blev på grund av Corona pandemin framflyttad till i höst.

Nu kommer 3 av 4 tävlingar räknas i mästerskapet, och i stället för dubbla poäng i sista deltävlingen kommer det endast att bli 1,5 gånger poängen, medan bonuspoäng för sträcksegrar räknas för samtliga deltävlingar. Priset till den slutlige segraren, en Ford Fiesta R5 plus ett antal däck, kvarstår.
- Jag ser verkligen fram emot att få sitta i rallybilen igen, det har varit en lång och oviss väntan, säger Tom. Nu får vi bara hoppas att det inte kommer en andra våg av Corona pandemin som sätter käppar i hjulen.
- I Estland har jag inte tävlat tidigare, men karaktären på sträckorna liknar dem i både Finland och Lettland. I Finland vann jag förra året i JWRC och i Lettland har jag vunnit två gånger i Rally Liepaja, senast i JERC 2018, så jag har goda och positiva erfarenheter på den här typen av sträckor.
- Det enda orosmolnet är vi från Sverige inte får resa in i Estland just nu på grund av pandemin. Det gäller förutom mej och Joakim även våra svenska medtävlare Pontus Lönnström med co-driver Stefan Gustavsson.
- Arrangören i Estland har diskussioner med de estniska myndigheterna för att hitta en lösning, så jag hoppas att det löser sig på något sätt, det är ju ändå en dryg månad tills det är tid att resa.

I Rallye Deutschland har Tom tävlat både i Opel Adam Cup och för Opel Junior Team, när han körde tävlingen som extratävling, under året i JERC. Årets tävling är i samma område som tidigare, med bland annat sträckor i vinodlingarna på floden Mosels sluttningar, och det beryktade övningsfältet Baumholder med Panzerplatte. Där kör man på alltifrån betong, dålig asfalt och bra asfalt, och vägarna är på många ställen kantade med Hinkelstein, stridsvagnshinder i betong.
- Det gäller att ta i på asfaltvägarna, speciellt på Baumholder, som brukar fälla avgörandet, eftersom det är en stor del av tävlingen. Men där det är lätt att få punktering på de dåliga avsnitten

Finaltävlingen på Sardinien ingick i JWRC även förra året, där fick Tom sin "sämsta" placering för säsongen med en tredjeplats.
- Jag trivs på Sardinien, även om sträckorna till stor del består av lös grus och sand, och i år skall vi ta revansch och förbättra placeringen, avslutar Tom

Ställningen i JWRC efter Rally Sweden är att Tom leder på 28 poäng före Martins Seks från Lettland, 19 poäng och Ken Torn från Estland på 15 poäng.
20-07-09 Dennis Rådström och Johan Johansson värmer upp inför Rally-EM i Tjeckien
Värmländska rallyföraren Dennis Rådström och hans kartläsare Johan Johansson från Valdemarsvik har den senaste veckan befunnit sig i Tjeckien som uppladdning inför årets Junior-EM i rally, som startar helgen den 24-26 juli i den Italienska huvudstaden Rom. Dennis och Johan, som tävlar för det tjeckiska teamet ORSAK Rally Sport med en Ford Fiesta Rally4 från M-Sport Poland, har den senaste veckan kört ett test med den nya Rally4-Fiestan från M-Sport Poland och ställer nu till helgen upp i Tjeckiska mästerskapstävlingen Rally Bohemia för att få värdefull erfarenhet och mil i bilen innan EM.
– Testet gick bra, och det var första gången vi fick testa på nya Ford Fiesta Rally4 från M-Sport Poland på asfalt. Nya bilen är helt klart snabbare, den har mer grepp i bakvagnen och mer traction med de nya komponenterna i drivlinan. Det var väldigt kul att kunna få en bra känslan direkt. M-Sport Poland har gjort ett fantastiskt jobb med nya Rally4-bilen, säger Dennis.

Dennis och Johan har inte suttit i tävlingsbilen sedan de vann VM-tävlingen Rally Sweden i februari tillsammans med nya teamet ORSAK Rally Sport, och ser fram mot att säsongen äntligen drar igång.
– Det ska bli jättekul att få komma igång igen, säger Johan. Uppehållet har vart väldigt långt, så det känns nästan lite ovant att ta på sig overallen igen.

Helgens Rally Bohemia ingår i det Tjeckiska mästerskapet, och blir ett skarpt genrep för Dennis, Johan, teamet och nya Ford Fiesta Rally4 innan EM-premiären på asfalt i Italien om några veckor.– Känslan inför tävlingen är bra. Vi har kört igenom alla sträckor och det finns både snabba och krokiga partier med bred och smal väg. Man kan gena en del på sina ställen. Vi kommer ta Rally Bohemia som vilken tävling som helst för att komma in i tävlingsbubblan och få en perfekt genomkörare inför Rom. Vi kommer som vanligt att gör vårt bästa här i Rally Bohemia, avslutar Dennis.
20-07-04 Estonia to host September WRC restart as new date found for Italy
Baltic country will become 33rd nation in history to stage championship round. Estonia will become the 33rd nation since 1973 in FIA World Rally Championship history to stage a round when the 2020 WRC season restarts from September 4-6 following the release of the revised calendar.

Three rounds in Monte Carlo, Sweden and Mexico were staged before the global pandemic lockdown with six-time champion Sébastien Ogier holding an eight-point advantage over his Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT teammate Elfyn Evans thanks to his victory last time out.

Rally Estonia's debut joins the fixture list after running as a WRC Promotional Event in 2019 and was announced at a press conference in Tallinn on Thursday attended by Prime Minister Ju¨ri Ratas and WRC Promoter managing director Oliver Ciesla.

It will ensure an emotional weekend for reigning world champion Ott Ta¨nak, who will have the opportunity to compete in front of his home fans for the first time.

Rally Estonia will be a short format event with a shakedown and opening ceremony on Friday, then two legs on Saturday and Sunday. It will be based in Tartu, in the east of the country, with the service park at the Estonian National Museum.

Rally Italia Sardegna, based in Alghero, has been moved up from June to October 29-November 1 and its switch to autumn means crews will face cooler conditions on tough tracks in the north of the Mediterranean island.

Estonia's gravel road encounter precedes scheduled events in Turkey (September 24-27) and Germany (October 15-18) with Italy the penultimate round before the season-closing return of Japan (November 19-22).

Rally Argentina, which was postponed from April and traditionally attracts almost a million fans to Cordoba province, has unfortunately now been cancelled.

The championship will comprise at least eight events and WRC Promoter will continue its already advanced talks with Ypres Rally (October 2-4), with the aim of presenting Belgium as another available host country shortly. Talks with the Croatian Automobile & Karting Federation will also move forward.

2020 revised calendar
Monte-Carlo: January 23-26
Sweden: February 13-16
Mexico: March 12-15
Estonia: September 4-6
Turkey: September 24-27
Germany: October 15-18
Italy: October 29-November 1
Japan: November 19-22
*Belgium's Ypres Rally (October 2-4) and Croatia (TBC) remain as calendar options.
20-07-02 Newcomer Estonia hosts 2020 WRC restart in September
WRC Promoter confirms adjusted 2020 WRC calendar
· Estonia promoted into championship for the first time
· New date for Italy’s delayed round in Sardinia
· News assets available at

Munich, 2 July 2020 – Estonia will host the FIA World Rally Championship for the first time in September when the 2020 series restarts following an enforced break due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Rally Estonia (4 - 6 September) joins the fixture list after running as a WRC Promotional Event in 2019. The country will become the 33rd nation to stage a championship round since the series started in 1973.

In a revised calendar announced by WRC Promoter, Rally Italia Sardegna moves to 29 October - 1 November after being postponed in June as the virus temporarily halted the championship after three rounds.

Estonia’s gravel road encounter precedes scheduled events in Turkey (24 - 27 September) and Germany (15 - 18 October) in the new schedule. Next up is Italy, before the season-closing return of Japan (19 - 22 November), whose date also remains unchanged.

The championship will comprise at least eight events and WRC Promoter will continue its already advanced talks with Ypres Rally (2 - 4 October), with the aim of presenting Belgium as another available host country shortly. Talks with the Croatian Automobile & Karting Federation will also move forward.

Rally Argentina, which was postponed from its original date in April, and which traditionally attracts almost a million fans to Cordoba province, has unfortunately now been cancelled for the season.

Estonia’s WRC debut was announced at a press conference in Tallinn today (Thursday) attended by Prime Minister Jüri Ratas and WRC Promoter managing director Oliver Ciesla.

It will ensure an emotional weekend for reigning world champion Ott Tänak, who will have the opportunity to compete in front of his home fans on a WRC round for the first time.

Rally Estonia will be a short format event comprising two legs on Saturday and Sunday after a shakedown and opening ceremony on Friday. It will be based in Tartu, in the east of the country, with the service park at the Estonian National Museum. Full details will be announced shortly.

Rally Italia Sardegna’s switch from Europe’s early summer to autumn means crews will face cooler conditions on tough gravel tracks in the north of the Mediterranean island. It will be based in Alghero and details of the itinerary will be confirmed soon.

WRC successfully completed the first three rounds in Monte-Carlo, Sweden and Mexico before Coronavirus put the brakes on the series. Six-time champion Sébastien Ogier leads the drivers’ standings with his Toyota Gazoo Racing squad topping the manufacturers’ points.

WRC Promoter managing director Oliver Ciesla said a September restart allowed sufficient lead time for event organisers and competitors to be fully prepared.
“Today’s restart announcement sends a clear signal that the 2020 WRC is back in business,” he said.

“WRC Promoter has worked tirelessly with the FIA, our competitors, teams and potential rallies, in exceptional circumstances, to revise the calendar. Today’s news allows the WRC to restart at an appropriate time and ensure a season worthy of world championship status.

“Fans demonstrate huge passion for WRC in both Estonia and Italy. The expectation there, and across the sport in general, will build rapidly from now ahead of September’s championship restart,” added Ciesla.

FIA rally director Yves Matton said: “I am pleased to announce the 2020 WRC restart calendar following a few months of discussions that have required a great deal of flexibility from all stakeholders in unprecedented times.

“In light of this revised schedule, I am confident we will secure a minimum of eight events this year and this is thanks to the great commitment and work from organisers.

“As one of the newly proposed rounds, Rally Estonia will be reopening the season in September and I know the Estonian Autosport Union and organising team are putting all their efforts to deliver an event to world championship standards from an already solid foundation.

“Also, extensive work was made with ACI and organisers of Rally Italia Sardegna to reschedule the event and I am happy that they could find a workable slot at the end of October for this much-awaited encounter.

“Preparations for these rounds are now in full swing while paying the greatest attention to key planning recommendations for mass gatherings in the current Covid-19 context.

“We are naturally truly disappointed we couldn’t find a logistically viable solution to reschedule Rally Argentina, particularly given all the hard work undertaken by Automóvil Club Argentino and every member of the organisation,” concluded Matton.

All remaining events are eligible for competitors in the WRC 2 and WRC 3 support categories. Future dates for the FIA Junior WRC Championship will be announced separately.

The 2020 calendar is:
1 Monte-Carlo 23 - 26 January
2 Sweden 13 - 16 February
3 Mexico 12 - 15 March
4 Estonia 4 - 6 September
5 Turkey 24 - 27 September
6 Germany 15 - 18 October
7 Italy 29 October - 1 November
8 Japan 19 - 22 November
* Belgium’s Ypres Rally (2 - 4 October) and Croatia (date TBC) remain as further calendar options.
20-07-01 Väntans tider för Tom Kristensson om fortsättningen av årets Junior-VM i rally
Det rådande Corona pandemiläget runt om i världen gör att årets tävlingskalender för både Rally-VM och Junior-VM har ställts helt på ända.
I stora VM, WRC, har endast 3 av totalt 13 deltävlingar körts, Rally Monte Carlo i januari, Rally Sweden i mitten av februari och Rally Mexico i mitten av mars. De två senare blev båda avkortade, "Svenska" på grund av dålig vinter och Mexiko på grund av utbrottet av Corona.

Av de återstående är vårens tävlingar i Argentina, Portugal och Safari Rallyt i Kenya inställda, och den italienska deltävlingen på Sardinien är preliminärt flyttad till i början av december. Av höstens tävlingar är Rally Finland, Rally New Zealand och Wales Rally GB inställda. Kvar i kalendern, ännu så länge, är Rally Turkey i slutet av september, Rallye Deutschland i mitten av oktober och Rally Japan i andra halvan av november. Om dessa kan arrangeras beror på hur läget och restriktionerna ser ut i respektive land i höst, och framför allt vilka restriktioner som då gäller.

FIA och WRC jobbar även på att hitta ev. möjliga ersättningstävlingar, med avkall på att man inte fullt ut uppfyller kraven för en VM-tävling. I nuläget är inget klart. Man har sagt att det skall vara sju deltävlingar totalt för att det skall kunna räknas som ett fullvärdigt VM.

För Tom och hans kollegor i Junior-VM, JWRC, skulle mästerskapet avgöras i fem av de tretton ursprungliga deltävlingarna. Endast en har kunnat köras, Rally Sweden, där Tom och co-drivern Joakim Sjöberg vann.

Nästa deltävling var Rally Italia i början av april, den är preliminärt flyttad till början av december, Rally Finland i början av augusti och Wales Rally GB i slutet av oktober är båda inställda. Kvar just nu i den ursprungliga kalendern är endast Rallye Deutschland i mitten av oktober, men där gäller nuvarande restriktioner, som kan göra det svårt att genomföra tävlingen, till och med oktober.

Vilka tävlingar som eventuellt skall ersätta, eller om det blir färre deltävlingar i JWRC, har FIA och WRC inte kunnat ge besked om ännu.
- Det är bara att vänta och se, det är inget som jag kan påverka eller göra något åt. Det viktigaste är trots allt att man runt om i världen får bukt med pandemin, säger Tom.
- Jag brinner för motorsport och rally och såg verkligen fram emot årets säsong, men jag har största respekt för att detta just nu inte är det viktigaste. Liv, hälsa och arbetssituationen för människor, och funktionerna i samhället, främst belastningen på sjukvården, är det vi måste tänka på i första hand.
- Jag tror och hoppas dock att vi skall få besked snart hur det blir i höst, och att det skall kunna bli någon tävling.
- Under tiden är det bara att fortsätta att hålla fysiken igång, sköta körträningen genom min rallysimulator och njuta av sommaren.
20-06-25 WRC Promoter and ERC Rally Liepaja organiser colclude Combined ERC/WRC event discussions
RA Events and WRC Promoter have concluded their discussions over the possible inclusion of Rally Liepaja on the 2020 FIA World Rally Championship calendar alongside the existing FIA European Rally Championship event.

While there was interest from both parties and the support of Eurosport Events, the ERC promoter, for a combined rally, RA Events will now focus its efforts on making the planned second round of the ERC season from 14-16 August.
"Firstly, we thank WRC Promoter for recognising ERC Rally Liepaja as an event worthy of inclusion in the WRC. This is great testament to the work we have done since 2012 when we started preparations for the first Rally Liepaja in 2013. We also thank the FIA and Eurosport Events for their assistance," comments Raimonds Strokšs, RA Events director.
"In these past few days we have done an enormous job. We have shown to the WRC Promoter that we and the whole of Latvia are not afraid to work hard and accept a challenge as massive as organising a WRC event in such a short amount of time. However, due to various reasons, it has been agreed that the ERC Rally Liepaja will not be a new addition to the revised WRC calendar this year.
"We want to thank the Government of Latvia, our rally host cities, our partners, media and every single one of the rally enthusiasts for the trust they showed and support they provided. But we have to remember that Latvia and ERC Rally Liepaja were offered a unique opportunity. We were a step away from finding an agreement to host a WRC rally in the Baltics for the first time, and we are yet to find out what opportunities this might lead to in future.
"But over the last few weeks we never stopped working on preparing for the second round of the FIA ERC season and we can't wait to deliver another hugely successful edition of our rally, which has always been our objective," says Raimonds Strokšs.

As stated before, Rally Liepaja will host the FIA European Rally Championship round on August 14-16 and the route will lead from Talsi to Liepaja.

20-06-17 Estonian Autosport Union and Rally Estonia continue their joint efforts to host a WRC round in Estonia
A renewed 2020 WRC calendar should be announced in the coming days. Due to the coronavirus pandemic several WRC rounds have been cancelled. There is understanding that at least seven rounds must be held in order to hand out world championship titles. The situation requires new solutions and Estonian organizing team is willing to find and offer these to the World Rally Championship series. This might open a door to Estonia to host a WRC round in 2020 for the first time.

Urmo Aava, Rally Estonia director: „For the last 10 years we have been building our team and rally together with Estonian Government and sponsors. In 2014 Rally Estonia was the best round in FIA European Rally Championship series and this title opened many international doors to us. Also, it introduced Estonia as a country and travel destination. After three successful years in FIA ERC our team felt that we would like to move ahead and aim for the highest level in world rally – WRC. We started the work in 2017, in the next year we hosted a test rally and in 2019 the first official WRC Promotional Event. All these years we have laid a strong foundation to be able to offer an attractive as well as safe rally to the FIA and WRC Promoter. I can confirm that that we are in talks with the WRC Promoter to organize a WRC round in Estonia in 2020. We have submitted applications to several institutions and the answers to them should arrive in the following days. After that we can continue our discussions with FIA and WRC Promoter. Our goal is to present Estonia and Estonian autosport in the best possible light and in front of a maximum worldwide audience. It is important to all the parties involved to work together in order to get best value from such a major event. The Rally Estonia team and Estonian autosport in general are very glad and flattered about this opportunity. Our common goal is to host a great event which globally promotes Estonia and provides a positive economic impact.”

Janis Kaal, Chairman of the board of Estonian Autosport Union: “We are in a good situation where in addition to the reigning World Champions we also have local competence to organize top class sport events. Urmo Aava and his team have proved during the years that they are capable of organizing an event at the WRC level. Also, we are thankful that the Estonian government has been a great supporter. To organize an event at this level without the funding from government is impossible.”

The coronavirus pandemic has forced our sport to take a break. It has given us an opportunity to have discussions about the future of the autosport. Together we have reached an understanding how to strengthen cooperation and support the development of autosport. This helps us to bring the next World Championship titles and World Championship rounds to Estonia and not only in rally.
20-06-16 ERC Rally Liepaja considered for 2020 Season
WRC Promoter and the organisers of Rally Liepaja - RA Events - have begun talks about a possible inclusion of Rally Liepaja, a round of the FIA European Rally Championship, in the 2020 FIA World Rally Championship season.

The FIA World Rally Championship 2020 season has been severely impacted by the Covid-19 worldwide pandemic that has led to the necessary cancelation of five rallies and further postponement of another two. Last week FIA WRC Managing Director Oliver Ciesla confirmed that the WRC is in search of a unique solution for this season by possibly including rallies that have proved themselves in the international arena. Amongst those is Rally Liepaja. Since it was first run in 2013 Rally Liepaja has been highly regarded by the FIA European Rally Championship (ERC) promoter Eurosport Events, FIA and competitors. It is scheduled to host the second event of the 2020 FIA ERC season from August 14-16.
"RA Events and WRC Promoter held the first round of talks on Monday, where we discussed multiple organisational aspects, terms and conditions, and many other topics that need to be covered for Latvia to host a FIA World Rally Championship round alongside a round of the FIA ERC. I want to emphasize that this is just a first round of talks and neither of the parties are close to the final decisions on this matter," said RA Events director, Raimonds Strokšs.

"This will be a very challenging task as there is less than two months until the set event date. We will invite our partners - the Government of Latvia, our rally cities Liepaja and Talsi - to a discussion, in order to evaluate all the organisational workload, financial conditions and other aspects of the proposal. Only by working together and at a very rapid pace, can we find a solution to host a FIA WRC round in Latvia alongside the FIA ERC," concluded Strokšs.

Should agreement be reached to host a FIA WRC round in Latvia, discussions will then be concluded with Eurosport Events as to how a combined event would be managed in the best interests of the ERC and its drivers and teams, many of whom have competed on Rally Liepaja from the outset. Eurosport Events is a founding partner of Rally Liepaja and a key component of the event's ongoing success and the terms of its agreement will be honoured at all times.

Regardless of the result of above discussions, and as it has been previously stated, Rally Liepaja will retain its place in the 2020 FIA European Rally Championship. Running of the event is scheduled for August 14-16, 2020.

20-06-02 eSports WRC series reveals Toyota GR Yaris as top prize
eSports WRC series reveals Toyota GR Yaris as top prize
· 2020 eSports WRC champion to land all-new Toyota GR Yaris*
· Toyota Gazoo Racing becomes eSports WRC Championship presenting sponsor
· WRC manufacturer seals multi-year agreement to back tournament
· Assets to support this release can be downloaded for editorial use from

This season’s eSports WRC champion will drive away with a recently unveiled Toyota GR Yaris* road car in a multi-year agreement with Toyota Gazoo Racing to become the series’ title partner.

The eSports WRC Championship presented by Toyota Gazoo Racing is now in its fifth season with the battle for places in the grand final at a crucial point after seven of the 11 qualifying rounds.

Thousands of gamers are challenging for the Toyota GR Yaris prize on WRC 8, the official game of the FIA World Rally Championship. The tournament features many iconic special stages used in the real-life WRC from classic rallies including Monte-Carlo, Argentina and Finland.

The co-operation between WRC 8 publisher Nacon and Toyota Gazoo Racing celebrates the recent unveiling of the GR Yaris, an exciting new road car incorporating technology developed from the Japanese manufacturer’s successful WRC participation.

Featuring all-wheel drive and a punchy 1.6-litre, three-cylinder turbo engine which delivers 261DIN hp and 360Nm of torque, the lightweight GR Yaris will be a fitting prize for the eSports WRC champion.

After returning to the WRC in 2017 after a 17-year absence, Toyota Gazoo Racing won the manufacturers’ world title the following season with its Yaris World Rally Car. It then lifted the drivers’ crown last year.

WRC 8 is published by Nacon and development studio KT Racing under licence from WRC Promoter, which owns the commercial rights to the FIA World Rally Championship.

WRC Promoter managing director Oliver Ciesla highlighted the recent growth in eSports competition, particularly fuelled by the current enforced pause in global motorsport.

“Since physical events have been affected by recent circumstances, eSports is, now more than ever, a way for our fans to experience the thrill of motorsports competition even more intensely,” he said.

“The eSports WRC Championship has grown in stature over the last five years to become one of motorsport’s leading virtual competitions. We’re pleased to welcome the enthusiastic participation of Toyota Gazoo Racing, a WRC manufacturer team, to the tournament.”

The agreement between Nacon and Toyota Gazoo Racing will extend into further promotions spanning both WRC 8 and WRC 9, the latest instalment of the highly successful game to be released in September.

“We’re very proud of the progress we’ve made since the creation of eSports WRC, which has become inseparable from the development and work performed all year long on the WRC video games,” said Benoît Clerc, Nacon’s head of publishing.

“It has now become an unmissable event for every fan of off-road racing games. Thanks to the support of Toyota, the 2020 year will benefit from significant reinforcement, and we’re very impatient to continue collectively expanding WRC eSports.”

Andrea Carlucci, director of product and marketing management of Toyota Motor Europe, said: “We’re pleased to partner with eSports WRC to bring the excitement of rallying to more fans around the world.

“As one of the pillars of Toyota Gazoo Racing, e-motorsports is key for us to make motorsport and sports cars more accessible to more people and to foster a new generation of car lovers everywhere.

“With the growing interest in eSports, and our increasing sports car offering, we’re looking forward to working closely with our partners to bring our brand value and exciting products closer to consumers and fans,” he added.

Lebanese competitor Sami-Joe currently leads the 2020 eSports WRC Championship presented by Toyota Gazoo Racing. He claimed his second win of the year at Rally Portugal, moving a point ahead of 2017 and 2019 champion Lohan ‘Nexl’ Blanc with four rounds remaining.

Both could qualify for the grand final with victory at Italy’s Rally Sardinia next month.

WRC 8 is available on PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch.
20-05-20 WRC faces Moto GP on virtual Portuguese rally battleground
· WRC’s rising stars challenge home heroes in Portugal sim shootout
· MotoGP rider joins rally line-up for knockout eSports contest
· Three nights of furious WRC 8 competition streamed live for fans

Three of Portugal’s leading motorsport stars will compete for national pride against the FIA World Rally Championship’s young hotshots on the country’s virtual rally roads this weekend.

This week’s WRC fixture in Portugal was called off due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but fans can enjoy three nights of #RaceAtHome head-to-head sim action in the Vodafone Rally de Portugal eSports WRC Shootout (22 - 24 May). The tournament will be streamed live on Facebook.

Portugal’s home heroes are former national rally champion and WRC support series regular Bernardo Sousa and double national champion José Pedro Fontes. They will be joined by MotoGP World Championship rider Miguel Oliveira, runner-up in the 2018 Moto2 series.

The WRC challenge will be headed by WRC 2 high-flier Rhys Yates. The young Briton made a remarkable virtual driving competition debut to win last month’s eSports WRC Shootout on Rally Argentina’s roads – with a learner driver plate fixed to the back of his gaming rig.

He celebrated with a ‘shoey’ – downing a celebratory drink of tea from his shoe before ripping up the learner plate!

Bolivian WRC 3 driver Marco Bulacia, who lost to Yates in the final, returns in a bid to exact revenge. They will be joined by Frenchman Pierre-Louis Loubet, who lifted the WRC 2 world title in 2019.

The eight-strong field is completed by driver / co-driver partnership Sean Johnston and Alex Kihurani from the United States.

The shootout will use WRC 8, the official video game of the WRC and all competitors will drive Rally 2 category cars. Fontes, Bulacia, Johnston and Kihurani will be at the wheel of Citroën C3s, Oliveira and Loubet will pilot Hyundai i20s and Sousa and Yates will drive Fiestas.

The eight drivers will be pitted against each other on their simulators in a series of knockout special stages.

Friday night’s quarter-finals will take place on the iconic Fafe test, which climaxes with the famous big-air jump close to the finish.

The fastest driver from each pairing advances to Saturday’s semi-finals in the Amarante stage. Sunday’s title decider will be fought out over two tests. The Viana stage will precede a second pass through Fafe.

Fans can watch the tournament live on Facebook at 21.00 CET each night. The English language version is available on the WRC page at with the Portuguese version streamed at

Alongside the shootout, the seventh round of the hugely popular eSports WRC Championship will also take place this weekend on Portugal’s roads. Scheduled on 21 - 24 May, it is open to all players of the WRC 8 game.

Automóvel Club de Portugal president Carlos Barbosa said: “Unfortunately, this global health emergency brought by Covid-19 prevented us from hosting Vodafone Rally de Portugal this week.

“But there’s nothing preventing us from hosting a virtual rally, precisely during the week Vodafone Rally de Portugal should take place. So that’s what we’ve decided to do with professional drivers, at the same time as the Portuguese round of the eSports WRC Championship, aimed at all WRC 8 players. May the best drivers win!”
20-05-05 Carlos Sainz crowned The Greatest WRC Driver
· Double world champion Sainz voted the greatest by WRC fans
· Spanish hero wins knockout poll featuring 20 WRC stars
· Sainz beats nine-time champion Sébastien Loeb in close final
· Over 300,000 votes cast on WRC website during month-long contest
· News assets available at

Carlos Sainz has been crowned The Greatest WRC Driver of all time in a poll of fans and expert journalists on the FIA World Rally Championship’s official website.

The double world champion, from Spain, defeated Sébastien Loeb in the head-to-head final. Sainz claimed 57.28 per cent of the vote in a close climax to the contest.

The competition on captured the imagination of rally fans across the globe with more than 80,000 votes cast in the final. More than 300,000 votes were polled during the month-long tournament, organised by WRC Promoter and supported by Pirelli.

“I cannot be more happy and more proud about this recognition,” 58-year-old Sainz told fans. “Thank you very much for bringing me first to the final and, of course, secondly for allowing to me to win this recognition against Sébastien Loeb.

“I don’t need to tell you how much I rate Sébastien Loeb and how much he deserves to be the greatest. But I have to say not only him, all the world champions merit this recognition. But somebody has to win and, in this case, it has been myself.

“I gave everything to rallying. Rallying has been my life, rallying has been my dream and today rallying and the whole family of rallying is giving me a big smile and this big recognition,” he added.

Sainz, nicknamed El Matador, won the drivers’ world title in 1990 and 1992 with Toyota and scored 26 WRC wins from 196 career starts. He was one of the WRC’s most consistent performers and also finished second or third in the championship on a remarkable nine occasions.

He stood on the podium in almost half the rallies he started and was renowned for his attention to detail and pre-event preparation.

All 18 champions since the introduction of the WRC drivers’ title in 1979 were joined in the competition by two wildcard entries.

A tournament-style knockout draw brought drivers into head-to-head battles against each other. Every day, fans and a panel of expert journalists voted for their favourite from each pairing.

Sixth seed Sainz defeated Hannu Mikkola in the opening round of the competition before toppling third-ranked Tommi Mäkinen. He then beat six-time champion Sébastien Ogier, seeded second, in the semi-final.

Loeb, nine-time world champion and top seed, eclipsed Richard Burns and Walter Röhrl in the early rounds. He then ousted Flying Finn Juha Kankkunen in the semi-final.

The panel of six expert journalists could not split the two drivers in the final as each gained three votes. It meant the ultimate decision rested with the fans and Sainz’s incredible popularity carried him to victory.

The panel of journalists comprised Julian Porter (WRC commentator and broadcaster), Marco Giordo (Autosprint magazine, Italy), Reiner Kuhn (Motorsport aktuell, Germany), David Evans (DirtFish, USA), Loic Rocci (AUTOhebdo, France) and José-Manuel González (WRC+ All Live commentator, Spain).

WRC Promoter managing director Oliver Ciesla was bowled over by the huge response to the competition.
“Firstly, my congratulations to Carlos for adding the title of The Greatest WRC Driver to his numerous achievements,” he said.

“He was already a WRC legend thanks to his incredible driving skills in the most brutally tough and unforgiving terrain on the planet. This accolade confirms the esteem in which he is held by both fans and pundits. He is known as King Carlos – now he is officially the King of the WRC!

“Sébastien is statistically the most successful driver in WRC history. But we wanted fans to think beyond the numbers in choosing their greatest.

“The popularity of this competition far exceeded our hopes. We wanted it to provide some fun for our fans when there is no WRC action, but its popularity grew and grew across the media. To receive more than 300,000 votes is remarkable – a big thanks to everyone who took part,” added Ciesla.
20-04-27 Yates wins eSports WRC Shootout on sim driving debut
British driver Rhys Yates triumphs in eSports WRC contest
· Competition viewed by almost 700,000 fans
· WRC’s rising talent showcased in WRC Shootout
· Three nights of furious competition streamed live for fans
Rhys Yates made a remarkable virtual driving debut to win the FIA World Rally Championship’s eSports WRC Shootout.

The young Briton ripped up the learner driver plate fixed to the back of his virtual driving rig after defeating Bolivian teenager Marco Bulacia in a tense head-to-head final in his first #RaceAtHome eSports tournament.

Organiser WRC Promoter turned the spotlight on the sport’s stars of the future during three nights of intense action streamed via the WRC’s social media channels. Nearly 700,000 fans viewed the tournament across the championship’s platforms.

Yates, more usually seen at the wheel of M-Sport Ford’s Fiesta R5 in the WRC 2 support series, overcame 10 other young chargers on WRC 8, the championship’s official video game.

After successfully negotiating the qualifying round, Yates ousted M-Sport Ford team-mate Adrien Fourmaux in the quarter-finals. In the semi-final he defeated Romania’s Raul Badiu, who previously won the Junior WRC eSports warm-up event.

The final was fought out over two classic gravel speed tests from Rally Argentina. The real-life South American event was due to take place last weekend before being postponed due to the global Covid-19 pandemic.

Yates was fastest through Cuchilla Nevada by more than seven seconds after Bulacia spun off the road. He extended his advantage by a further two seconds with a measured drive through El Condór, while Bulacia’s hopes ended when he rolled his Citroën C3.

Yates prepared for the tournament by acquiring a sim-rig, complete with seat, wheel, pedals and a handbrake in an attempt to match the set-up of his competitors. But the new kit wasn’t an immediate hit.

“I couldn’t get used to it,” he said. “In the end I went back to the hand controller for the qualifying rounds. When I got through that and I knew I was into the more serious competition, then I set aside time each day to get on the sim and go through the stages.

“Waiting on the start line in the final I was really nervous. We were going head-to-head, so I’d changed my approach from going absolutely flat out to make my best possible time and now I was more focused on getting to the finish with no mistakes. There was one shot.

“Winning is what it’s all about for me, so to have won the eSports WRC Shootout is great. There were some big names in there from the world of rallying and to have won and been quicker than all of them is something I’m happy with,” added Yates, who celebrated with a victory drink of tea from his shoe!

Bulacia, who shares the lead in the real-life WRC 3 category after winning in Mexico last month, overcame Oliver Solberg in the semi-finals.

“It was a great competition and a whole lot of fun too. I think the people here in Bolivia were happier yesterday when I beat Oliver to reach the final than after my WRC 3 victory at Rally Guanajauato Mexico!” he joked.

WRC Promoter managing director Oliver Ciesla said the eSports WRC Shootout provided great entertainment for fans and competitors alike.

“The tournament generated some exceptional competition, with a gripping final. To achieve nearly 700,000 views on the WRC’s social media channels was remarkable, and well above our expectations.

“These are trying times for everybody and to be able to bring together some of rallying’s brightest rising stars from around the world was a great achievement.

“Congratulations to Rhys. We’ve seen his speed already this season and now we’ve had this confirmed in virtual time too. He was super-quick throughout the competition and is a worthy winner,” he added.

Video footage of the quarter-finals, semi-finals and final is available to view at
20-04-20 More than 11,000 gamers join Solbergs at HTB Racing Rally Monte Carlo
Solbergs stunned as 11,405 (and counting) join Solberg World Cup in association with DirtFish
Lukáš Matêja takes opening round HTB Racing Rally Monte Carlo
Codemasters delighted with biggest ever gaming community

It was a classic Monte. In the words of a Solberg, it was a proper one. The conditions were that nightmare mix of snow, ice, melting ice and dry asphalt – more often than not – all in one stage.

But they came to have a go at the opening round of the Solberg World Cup in association with DirtFish.

And they came in their masses to enjoy this DiRT Rally 2.0-based event. By the end of the 12-stage HTB Racing Rally Monte Carlo, an unbelievable 11,405 gamers had signed up to challenge Oliver Solberg and his father Petter – the 2003 World Rally Champion competing in a virtual rally for the first time.

Oliver completed the event 15th overall – the same position he climbed to driving his Volkswagen Polo R5 on the real Rally Monte-Carlo in January – and was pleased with his times through the event.

“It was tricky,” he said. “Monte is never easy and this is where this thing is so realistic! The ice and snow coming in places like the Col de Turini really made you focus so hard on the tyre choices and how hard you wanted to push.

“On the game, we have the damage turned really high, so if you clip a rock or something then you are going to get a puncture or some suspension damage. It’s incredible when you are in the middle of the stage, you completely lose yourself in this game. I came to the end and my concentration was so hard, it was amazing.

“But, more than the competition, the number of people who have joined us in this Solberg World Cup in association with DirtFish. Did you see, more than 11,000 – that’s just incredible. It’s crazy! Thank you.”

Petter testified to the realistic damage simulation, getting a puncture early in the HTB Racing Rally Monte Carlo. He recovered to finish a fine 143rd.

“I’m pretty happy with that,” he said. “It was not easy. Like Oliver said, you get so focused in there. I didn’t have so much experience of driving rally cars like this, so that result is good for me. The pace is so, so high. These guys are completely on the limit everywhere, but I know from experience that the mountains can bite you!

“Like Oliver said, we have to say a big thank you to all of the people who have joined us. When we started talking about doing this, we hoped we would get a few hundred people to take part, maybe even a thousand. But now, 11,000 for the championship, that’s fantastic!”

Lukáš Matêja won the HTB Racing Rally Monte Carlo opener, finishing 11.081s ahead of everybody in his Volkswagen Polo GTI R5.

The Solberg World Cup in association with DirtFish moves on to Circle K Norge Rally Värmland for round two, where the winter conditions continue on some of the finest, fastest flowing Swedish roads around.

Circle K Norge Rally Värmland is open for competition between the 11,405 gamers from today (Monday April 20).

Codemasters, the firm behind DiRT Rally 2.0, is delighted with the numbers joining the Solberg family’s gaming community in the game.

Codemasters Game Director Ross Gowing said: “We have been overwhelmed with the response from players who wish to compete in the Solberg World Cup while the sporting calendar takes a backseat. We have a proud history working with Oliver and Petter, and for them to create and deliver our most competitive and active DiRT Rally 2.0 competition is testament to the respect they hold within the world of rally."

Follow the latest Solberg World Cup in association with DirtFish updates on Oliver’s social media channels: @oliversolberg01.
20-04-17 Oliver back to WRC action for #RaceAtHome
Oliver Solberg will take on the world’s finest and fastest emerging rally talents when he tackles the FIA World Rally Championship’s eSports WRC Shootout (#RaceAtHome) Rally Argentina next week.

Prior to the arrival of COVID-19, 18-year-old Oliver would have been making the final preparations for his first trip to compete in South America at Rally Argentina proper, initially scheduled to start from Villa Carlos Paz, west of Buenos Aires, next week.

The global pandemic has, however, spiked global motorsport plans and left Oliver and co. turning to the virtual world via the WRC 8 game.

“The competition will be a cool one,” said Oliver. “The roads and the stages in the game are really technical – just like the ones in real life! It’s going to be a close race, that’s for sure.

“When you are in the simulator practising you can just push the ‘reset’ button when you slide wide or make a spin or something. But in these competitions, if you make a mistake then you are finished – the pressure is really something like what we have in the real life.

The stages chosen for the event are El Condor, Parque Tematico and Cuchilla Nevada, all classics from one of the WRC’s most iconic rallies on the calendar.

The qualifying rounds for #RaceAtHome eSports WRC Shootout start on Monday with the main competition coming in the quarter-finals, screened live on the WRC’s Facebook channel at 2100 CET on Tuesday April 21.

The semi-finals run in the same place at 2100 CET on Wednesday April 22, with the final on Thursday April 23, same time and same place.

WRC Promoter managing director Oliver Ciesla is looking forward to watching the rivalry between the series’ future champions.

Ciesla said: “While the WRC is paused as the coronavirus outbreak continues, we’ve turned the spotlight on the championship’s stars of the future for the eSports WRC Shootout.

“Of course, our drivers are missing real-life competition, we all are. But I’ve no doubt their competitive spirits and adrenaline will surge as much as ever behind the WRC 8 wheel on Rally Argentina’s tricky stages.

“Virtual driving is a fast-growing part of motorsport and this shootout sits alongside our popular eSports WRC Championship, which continues through the WRC hiatus. I hope our fans will enjoy watching the Shootout from home before competing themselves in our eSports Championship.”

The gaming simulator is pretty busy in the Solberg household right now, with Oliver and his father, 2003 World Rally Champion Petter, competing against over 9000 other racers in their own Solberg World Cup.
20-04-17 WRC’s young stars primed for battle in eSports tournament
· WRC’s rising talent headlines eSports WRC Shootout
· Three nights of furious competition streamed live for fans
· Entry list topped by Loubet, Solberg and Veiby
Eleven of the FIA World Rally Championship’s eager young chargers will fight for virtual rally glory when they face off in WRC Promoter’s eSports WRC Shootout next week (21 - 23 April).

The future stars from the championship’s talent-packed support series will #RaceAtHome in the three-night speedfest on WRC 8, the official video game of the WRC.

Competitors from WRC 2, WRC 3 and the FIA Junior WRC will be pitted against each other on a selection of demanding gravel special stages from Rally Argentina. The real-life South American event was due to take place next week before being postponed due to the global Covid-19 pandemic.

The cast is headlined by 2019 WRC 2 Pro champion Pierre-Louis Loubet, and current season WRC 2 manufacturer team drivers Adrien Fourmaux, Ole Christian Veiby and Rhys Yates.

Also invited to compete are WRC 3 joint leader Marco Bulacia, fellow teenage star Oliver Solberg and Junior WRC challenger Raul Badiu.

The 11 drivers firstly face a qualifying round. The fastest eight go forward to the quarter-final head-to-head shootout in the classic El Condór stage. The four duels will be streamed on the WRC Facebook page at 21.00 CET on Tuesday (April 21).

The winners move into the semi-finals, to be decided on the famous Parque Tematico theme park stage on the edge of Villa Carlos Paz and streamed at 21.00 CET on Wednesday (April 22).

The final will be fought out over two stages, returning to El Condór and also featuring Cuchilla Nevada. It is scheduled for the same time on Thursday (April 23).

The eSports WRC Shootout follows last weekend’s successful Junior WRC trial event, which attracted tens of thousands of fans from across the world who followed the exciting action on Facebook.

WRC Promoter managing director Oliver Ciesla said the eSports WRC Shootout was a great way to entertain fans and keep competitors in trim.

“While the WRC is paused as the Coronavirus outbreak continues, we’ve turned the spotlight on the championship’s stars of the future for the eSports WRC Shootout,” he explained.

“Of course, our drivers are missing real-life competition, we all are. But I’ve no doubt their competitive spirits and adrenaline will surge as much as ever behind the WRC 8 wheel on Rally Argentina’s tricky stages.

“Virtual driving is a fast-growing part of motorsport and this shootout sits alongside our popular eSports WRC Championship, which continues through the WRC hiatus. I hope our fans will enjoy watching the Shootout from home before competing themselves in our eSports Championship.”

The full list of invited entrants for the eSports WRC Shootout is:
Raul Badiu (Romania): Lies fifth in the FIA Junior WRC after the opening round in Sweden. Won last weekend’s Junior WRC eSports trial event.

Marco Bulacia (Bolivia): Joint leader of WRC 3 after winning the category at last month’s Rally Guanajuato Mexico.

Elia de Guio (Italy): The only co-driver in the event and partner to Junior WRC challenger Enrico Oldrati. Second in the Junior WRC eSports trial.

Adrien Fourmaux (France): Touted as a future WRC star after winning France’s renowned Rallye Jeunes talent-spotting scheme. Drives for M-Sport Ford in WRC 2.

Pierre-Louis Loubet (France): Won WRC 2 Pro in 2019 and will step up to the headline World Rally Car category when the WRC resumes.

Catie Munnings (Great Britain): Former children’s TV presenter and ex-European ladies rally champion. Now competing in the Junior WRC.

Roland Poom (Estonia): Twice a Junior WRC podium finisher in 2019 and stepped up to WRC 3 in 2020.

Yohan Rossel (France): French asphalt champion who competes in WRC 3 with support from Citroën Racing.

Oliver Solberg (Sweden): Teenager competing in WRC 3 after becoming the youngest rally winner in European Championship history in 2019.

Ole Christian Veiby (Norway): Represents Hyundai Motorsport N in WRC 2 and boasts plenty of experience in the WRC’s support categories.

Rhys Yates (Great Britain): Switched from two wheels to four and lifted the English Championship in 2015. Drives for M-Sport Ford in WRC 2.

The fifth round of the hugely popular eSports WRC Championship will also take place next week on Argentina’s speed tests. Scheduled on 23 - 26 April, this event is open to all players of the WRC 8 game.

20-03-28 Solbergs stunned by overwhelming response to race one
The Solberg RACE proves a huge hit with 4,500 gamers joining
Late puncture costs Oliver Solberg a top-10 position in Rally Argentina
Australian racer Jarod Konig takes a six-second win after 12 DiRT Rally 2.0 stages
More The Solberg RACE news to come early next week

When 18-year-old Oliver Solberg first thought about running his own event on DiRT Rally 2.0, he dreamed of a thousand gamers joining him in Argentina.

In the end, more than four times than number came in an overwhelming show of support for the project. And the pace? The pace was incredible, with Australian Jarod Konig taking victory by 6.081s from Frenchman Jonathan Schaeffer. Predictably for the rally hotbed that is Finland, Jyväskylä wasn’t forgotten with Flying virtual Finn Marko Räisänen (resident of Neste Rally Finland’s hometown) taking third place.

The top three will all take away prizes including signed Oliver Solberg gloves and one of Petter’s exclusive TW Steel watches. In addition to the podium places, the Solbergs are also randomly selecting 10 further competitors to send prizes to.
“This has been crazy popular,” said Solberg. “When I started to plan this I was thinking: “It would be really cool if we could get close to 1000 people doing it. But you know 1,000 people is a lot.

“In the end we had nearly 4,500 people competing and that’s really a lot of people! I want to say a massive thanks to everybody for having a go and making this a great event.”

Solberg finished 18th after a late puncture dropped him out of the top 10.
“The competition was so close,” he said. “Those guys at the top were just amazing. Their speed was something else and I have to take off my hat to them. I have to work on this. I know what I am doing to try to make [stage] records, but I don’t know where they find this speed. I was very impressed, but now I need more recce time!”

Solberg is already considering another event – with more details coming next week.
“Why not do this again,” he said. “The reason we are doing this is to take people’s minds from what’s going on - to give them a distraction and something to be happy about. For that week, I think we did that and, if we can do it again, why not?

“But if we do another one, then I need to make a better recce. I need to find some more speed!”
20-03-24 Finnish WRC driver talks Ogier, Rovanperä and his life in motorsports
Esapekka Lappi will not forget the recent Rally Mexico in a hurry after the driver was forced to retire when the Ford he was driving unexpectedly caught fire.

The 29-year-old from Pieksämäki and co-driver Janne Ferm escaped the blaze unhurt but had to withdraw from the race.
Here is what the M-Sport Ford WRT driver had to say now he is back home in Finland:
Now you have had time to reflect on the car burning up in Mexico, how do you feel?

The feeling after the race hasn't really changed. It was a bit of a panic anyway. After seeing it afterwards, for sure you can be wiser always after the accident and maybe it would have been wiser to move the car slightly away from the people and stop quite quickly. Stop pumping the oil out of it. It is easy to say afterwards. Janne is fine. No drama. We were unhurt. It is serious, but I am not in shock.

How did the other drivers feel after Ott Tänak and Martin Järveoja's huge crash in Monte Carlo?

We always know that the risk is present every time you jump in the car. We need to understand that if they crash in sixth gear and, let's say, stop immediately then that is going to hurt badly. The car kept continuing all the time, though, which is not normally that bad. If you start to be scared about that, then you will stop your career. The speed is getting higher, but thankfully also the safety is getting better.

Now you have spent a decade in rallying, what has changed most about the sport?

What I didn't like about circuit racing is that when you are competing against each other all the time, another driver can ruin your race very easily. It is not happening in rally and it is what I really like. It is mainly you, the co-driver, the clock and the car. It is only about you. On circuits, when you put a lot of money in and somebody ruins your race in the final race then all your money goes. It is not a nice feeling. I really like the feeling and the atmosphere in the rally paddocks and the service parks. On circuit racing, the drivers are fighting and the parents are fighting. In rallying, it is more friendly!
20-03-22 Solberg WRC RALLY. I've got my racing boots on. Have you?
Hello everybody!
These are difficult times for us all and I want you to know that me and my family are wishing you and your families lots of good wishes. We will get through this!

I know our routines are very different at the moment; many of us are at home and have some time to fill. We want to help you as much as we can and we have an idea..

That's why on Monday (March 23) we are kicking off the The Solberg RACE. We invite all of our media friends, amazing sponsors and incredible fans from across the globe to compete against each other in our very own Argentina Rally on DiRT RALLY 2.0. Full details on how to take part will be revealed on Monday on my social media (@oliversolberg01) and also my father's (@PetterSolbergWRX, @Petter_Solberg, @petterwrc03), After joining you have one week to have one go at the event.

You are only able to compete once on every stage and register one result between Monday and Friday (that doesn't mean you can't make a really long recce, just like the good old days, the good old, old days - even before papa was driving ??).

Argentina is one of the events I was really looking forward to and felt so sad that it has been postponed. So I thought, why don't we just carry on? Why don't we all go to Argentina. Virtually.

This is a really tough time for us all, but we're here and our love of this fantastic sport didn't change. If something good can come from this time, it's the chance for us to bring the media as well as all our fantastic partners and fans even closer to us (you know what I mean!).

So, for now, maybe the time has come to forget the virus for a moment and focus on your set-up for Argentina. It's going to have to be a good one to beat me, my mum and my dad.

My dad would like to talk to you as well, but he's actually already in his recce!

This is the first time we have ever tried to do something like this and you, our friends in the media are such an important part of my new journey – and this new and a little bit unexpected adventure. If you can help to promote this that would be fantastic. We will keep you informed with lots of details about how the rally is going.

20-03-20 Rally Argentina flyttas fram
Rally Argentina flyttas fram pga coronaviruset och landet har stängt sina gränser.

Planeringen för Rally Portugal, Rally Italien och Rally Kenya fortgår.
20-03-18 Dennis Rådström gör ERC3 Junior satsning i nya Ford Fiesta Rally4
Rallyföraren Dennis Rådström från Torsby och hans kartläsare Johan Johansson, Valdemarsvik, kommer i år att satsa på ERC3 Junior-klassen i Rally-EM där de kommer köra den nya M-Sport Polen-byggda Ford Fiesta Rally4 i sin jakt på EM-titeln tillsammans med teamet ORSAK Rally Sport.

Den nyligen lanserade EcoBoost-drivna Ford Fiesta Rally4, är en utveckling av den enormt framgångsrika Fiesta R2 2019 som, liksom den nya Fiesta Rally4, byggdes och utvecklades på M-Sport Polens moderna anläggning i Krakow, Polen.

Rådström kommer att attackera några av de mest ikoniska sträckorna i Europa med ett av de mest ikoniska märkena inom rally. Rådström och den nya Rally4 Fiestan har en tuff utmaning framför sig: Fiesta R2 2019 stod för enormt starka prestationer under ERC3 Junior 2019, med fyra segrar på fem tävlingar.

Den nya Fiesta Rally4 för 2020 är förbättrad på i stort sett alla plan för att leverera mer kraft och vridmoment att driva de förstärkta drivaxlarna med genom uppdaterade och förbättrade utväxlingar. Hjulupphängningen har också uppdaterats för att förbättra Rally4:s väghållning, som har förbättrats ytterligare tack vare en minskning i vikt genom ett lättare avgassystem. För att komplettera detta har Fiesta Rally4 ett aggressivt nytt utseende tack vare tillägg av air vents på motorhuven som också fungerar som ett extra kylhjälpmedel.

Dennis Rådström har tre års erfarenhet från Junior WRC med ett starkt CV i en mycket konkurrenskraftig serie, med 58 sträcksegrar, sju pallplatser och två segrar. I sin debutsäsong i FIA Junior WRC 2017 slutade han aldrig utanför topp-fem, och tog sträcksegrar på fyra av de fem rallyna han körde. 2018 sågs den unga svensken leverera mer imponerande prestationer, inklusive att ta sin debutseger i Junior WRC i Rally Sweden - hans hemmatävling. Han utmanade om mästerskapet igen 2019. Där slutade Rådström på tredje plats i mästerskapet, med två pallplatser och mesta sträcksegrar av alla förare i mästerskapet - med 34 snabbaste tider.

Dennis Rådström sa: ”Jag hade turen att ha varit med i utvecklingen av Fiesta Rally4 under vintern och jag är verkligen imponerad av vad M-Sport Polen har uppnått. R2 2019 var redan ett extremt konkurrenskraftigt paket men Rally4-uppdateringen passar mig verkligen, den extra kraften ger den en ny nivå så att du kan attackera hårdare. Jag har alltid gillat ERC-kalendern, så jag ser verkligen fram emot de exotiska tävlingarna som ERC har att erbjuda, varje rally är speciellt på sitt sätt. Målet för mig i år är, som alltid, att vara så snabb som möjligt och pusha mig till gränsen - det är så jag ser på rally. Vi har tre års erfarenhet av Junior WRC, vilket har varit en riktigt bra skola och jag kommer att använda den kunskapen i ett försök att vinna ERC3 Junior-mästerskapet. Tvåhjulsdrivna klassen har alltid varit väldigt tuff i ERC, vilket är något jag verkligen ser fram mot, jag har inte sett alla konkurrenter i ERC än men jag är säker på att det kommer att vara tight som alltid och jag är redo för utmaningen."

Maciek Woda, styrelseledamot, M-Sport Polen, sa: ”Ford Fiesta Rally4 har uppdaterats för att erbjuda förare ännu bättre förutsättningar för att kunna ta sig an konkurrensen. Dennis är en förare som har visat sin förmåga att konsekvent köra en bil på dess gräns för att nå toppen. Vi alla på M-Sport Polen ser verkligen fram emot att se vad Dennis och Johan kommer att göra i European Rally Championship. Vi har arbetat med Dennis i över tre år nu och har sett honom utvecklas till en extremt konkurrenskraftig förare i FIA Junior WRC Championship, där han var en utmanare till mästerskapet vid två tillfällen. Jag är övertygad om att med den nya Ford Fiesta Rally4 kommer Dennis att vara utrustad med den bästa utrustningen för att köra för ERC3 Junior-segrar och mästerskapet.”
20-03-15 Ogier secures sixth Rally Mexico victory as event ends day early
Frenchman eight points ahead of Evans in title race as Argentina postponed. Sébastien Ogier scored a record-equalling sixth Rally Guanajuato Mexico victory on Saturday night after the event was brought to an early conclusion.

The rally ended a day early in the face of fast-changing travel restrictions connected with the global COVID-19 virus outbreak.

After snatching the lead on Friday morning, the Frenchman kept his Toyota Yaris on the road in sizzling hot conditions. As many of his rivals hit trouble, Ogier was level-headed and ended with a 27.8sec advantage over Hyundai i20 driver Ott Tänak.

In doing so, he claimed his first victory for the Toyota Gazoo Racing team and equalled the six victories achieved by fellow countryman and nine-time world champion Sébastien Loeb.

"A victory is a victory of course, but this one feels different from any other. I want to thank my team, they have done a fantastic job," Ogier said after moving to the top of the FIA World Rally Championship standings after three rounds.

Tänak was left to rue what could have been. Had it not been for rear suspension damage when he hit a wall on Friday morning, he could have been in with a shot of the win.

After losing 40sec, the Estonian delivered an impressive comeback drive to leapfrog Teemu Suninen on Saturday afternoon for a gutsy second place.

Suninen was 10.1sec further back, picking up valuable championship points after a difficult weekend for the M-Sport Ford team. His team-mate Esapekka Lappi retired in dramatic fashion when his Fiesta became engulfed in flames on Friday.

"Actually, it's more than I hoped for at this rally. We were able to have a consistent pace and stayed away from problems. At the end, we lost one brake which basically stopped the fight. Even without those issues, I don't think I would have beaten Ott," he said.

Elfyn Evans was fourth, 35.5sec adrift of the podium finishers in another Yaris. The championship leader ahead of the rally was unable to match the pace of the leaders as he struggled with road cleaning duties on Friday.

He ended 1min07.1sec ahead of team-mate Kalle Rovanperä, who gained more valuable experience on his gravel debut in a Yaris.

Thierry Neuville had a disappointing weekend. Mechanical gremlins forced him out on Friday, but he returned to action on Saturday and claimed five stage victories in his i20 en route to finishing 16th.

Final positions:
1. S Ogier / J Ingrassia FRA Toyota Yaris 2hr 47min 47.6sec
2. O Tänak / M Järveoja EST Hyundai i20 +27.8sec
3. T Suninen / J Lehtinen FIN Ford Fiesta +37.9sec
4. E Evans / S Martin GBR Toyota Yaris +1min 13.4sec
5. K Rovanperä / J Halttunen FIN Toyota Yaris +2min 20.5sec
6. P Tidemand / P Barth SWE Skoda Fabia +10min 29.3sec

FIA World Rally Championship (after round 3)
1. S Ogier 62pts
2. E Evans 54
3. T Neuville 42
20-03-15 Efterlängtad seger för Pontus Tidemand i Rally Mexico
På grund av det rådande krisläget i världen avslutades Rally Mexico på lördagskvällen istället för på söndagen för att ge team och de som jobbar med mästerskapet en chans att ta sig hem innan gränser och flygplatser stängs ner.

Värmländske rallyesset Pontus Tidemand gillar Mexiko - på tre starter i det mexikanska VM-rallyt har han nu tagit lika många vinster. Han visade sig fullkomligen oslagbar under de tre tävlingsdagarna och kunde tillslut säkra segern i WRC 2 tillsammans med teamet Toksport WRT efter en strålande uppvisning på såväl grusvägar som smala stadsgator.
- Det här var exakt hur vi hoppades och kämpade för att helgen skulle sluta. Men inget kommer gratis i Mexiko och det kan svänga snabbt här så vi tog inget för givet även om vinst var målet. Känslan just nu, den har jag verkligen längtat efter, säger en segerglad Pontus.

Redan från Rally Mexicos första meter stod det klart att Pontus och kartläsaren Patrik Barth ville vara med i leken. De kopplade grepp om ledningen i WRC 2-klassen på torsdagens inledande stadssträckor och höll hårt i den.

Under fredagens långa specialsträckor imponerade de stort när de dominerade klassen och utökade ledningen till närmare en minut. Vid fredagens slut hade de varit snabbast på alla då körda sträckor och toppade både WRC 2-klassen och RC2, eller Rally 2, som samlingskategorin för R5-bilarna kallas.
- Allt funkade perfekt för oss från start, berättar Pontus. Det är lite tricky med däckval, omväxlande grepp och mindre kraft i motorerna på hög höjd, men jag gillar utmaningen i att hitta en bra och snabb rytm trots svårigheterna. Teamet gjorde ett grymt jobb och gav oss en fantastisk bil och vi kunde ladda på utan att ta risker som äventyrade chansen till ett bra resultat. Fredagen var en kanondag och vi kunde köra till oss lite luft ner till andraplatsen så vi hade något att ta av ifall oturen skulle vara framme.

Med en god ledning fanns det ingen anledning att vara våghalsig under lördagen, men de tuffa vägarna kunde ändå ha ställt till det för den svenska duon.
- Vi tog det lite försiktigt i början av dagen eftersom vi nog inte gjorde helt rätt däckval. Vi valde hårda, men skulle nog ha kört på mjuka istället. Vi lyckades ändå öka på vårt försprång, men fick en smygpunka som kostade lite tid, säger Pontus.

På eftermiddagen kom beskedet att man beslutat att tävlingen ska avslutas efter lördagens sista sträcka på grund av det globala utbrottet av COVID-19. Många länders gränser och flygplatser stänger och man vill ge tävlade och team en chans att tryggt ta sig hem i tid. På söndagens program stod endast tre sträckor och med mer än 75% av rallyt genomfört, kan fulla VM-poäng ändå delas ut.

Pontus var snabbast på fem av lördagens nio sträckor och kunde säkert kamma hem segern efter kvällens tre avslutande publiksträckor.
- Det har inte varit lätt, men det är det som gör det intressant. Vi försökte hålla balansen mellan ett hyfsat tempo och att ta det säkra före det osäkra och samtidigt undvika stora stenar. Det är oftast när man slår av på farten och slappnar av som misstagen kommer och vi ville verkligen ta den här segern för teamet. Jag är jättetacksam för att vi fick chansen att köra här, helgen kunde inte ha blivit bättre, konstaterar Pontus.

Med detta vinner alltså Pontus WRC 2-klassen och var också totalsnabbast bland R5-bilarna. Totalt i rallyt slutar han på sjätte plats, vilket är hans bästa resultat någonsin.

Resultat WRC 2 Rally Mexico 2020
1. Pontus Tidemand 2:58:16.9
2. Nikolay Gryazin +1:57.7
3. Ole Christian Veiby +5:02.9
20-03-14 Klassisk El Chocolate blev en hård motståndare för Oliver Solberg
El Chocolate - choklad. Alla älskar det, förutom Oliver Solberg. Den 18-åriga rallystjärnan hade ett tufft första möte med det berömda specialsträckan och var tvungen att bryta Rally Mexico redan på fredag.

15 år efter att hans pappa Petter Solberg vann Mexiko-VM kom Oliver för första gången till start i den populära tävlingen. Oliver sökte så mycket erfarenhet som möjligt och en plats på podiet från säsongens första VM-runda utanför Europa, men hoppet släcktes redan på rallyts tredje specialsträckan.

Det som började på det bästa tänkbara sättet, som snabbaste R5-bilen vid shakedown och två sträcksegrar på publikfavoriten Guanajuato, förvandlades plötsligt till en liten mardröm när Oliver och kartläsaren Aaron Johnston skulle bemästra grus, den tunna luften och den krävande terrängen på El Chocolate.

18-åringen var påväg att utöka ledningen i WRC3-klassen och hade positionen som bästa R5-bil innan olyckan var framme.
- En stor sten hade grävts fram och hamnat mitt i spåret av bilarna framför. Jag försökte undvika den, men såg stenen för sent och den slog hårt i skyddsplattan och skadade motorn. Att behöva bryta loppet så tidigt är oerhört ledsamt. Det är också sorgligt för alla runt omkring mig och Aaron som ligger i och jobbar så hårt, sa Oliver Solberg.

Bara timmar tidigare såg allt mycket ljus ut med mycket bra körning framför tusentals åskådare.

Jag har hört många historier om hur otroligt coolt det här rallyt är, och särskilt publiksträckan i Guanajuato, men ändå blev jag väldigt överraskad över den enorma atmosfären och stämningen.

Även med tydliga säkerhetsmarginaler fick 18-åringen den bästa tiden på båda varven på torsdagens sträcka.
- Det var underbart kul. Asfalten var väldigt halkig på vissa ställen, så vi tog det lite lugnare, vilket gav mig tid att kunna njuta av stämningen, sa han.

Efter missödet på fredagen visade det sig att skadorna på motorn var för omfattande för att kunna repareras. Så han var tvungen att kasta in handduken för resten av helgen.
- Jag visste att Rally Mexico skulle vara svårt med värmen, höjden och svårigheterna på sträckorna. Nu fokuserar jag på att åka hem för att arbeta med att utveckla både bilen och mig själv. Mexiko var fantastisk, men levererade inte det resultat vi hade hoppats på, sa Oliver Solberg.

Oliver Solberg i siffror:
Rally starter: 34
Rally segrar: 8
VM-tävlingar startade: 4
VM-debut: Wales Rally GB (2019)
Antal titlar: 9

20-03-14 Ogier tames slippery Friday roads to impress at Rally Mexico
Frenchman opens up lead over rivals as Neuville, Lappi and Sordo suffer. Flying Frenchman Sébastien Ogier edged towards a sixth Rally Guanajuato México victory after building up an encouraging lead in Friday's first full day of competition.

In sizzling hot conditions, the Toyota Yaris man avoided the drama of those around him to end the first full day's competition with a 13.2sec lead over M-Sport Ford pilot Teemu Suninen. Elfyn Evans was third, snatching the position from world champion Ott Tänak in the final speed test.

Ogier grabbed the early lead from Tänak in Friday's opening El Chocolate test and led for the remainder of the day. He capitalised on an uncharacteristic mistake by the Estonian, who nursed his Hyundai i20 to the end of the stage with rear suspension damage.

"I knew that being third on the road would give us a chance to make good time," said Ogier. "I think we have all had challenges today, like slippery roads and a lot of rocks to avoid, so it's never easy to drive here but I enjoyed it. There is a long way to go but at least we have the best road position."

Suninen's strong performance on the tricky gravel roads was overshadowed by the gut-wrenching retirement of team-mate Esapekka Lappi, whose Ford Fiesta became engulfed in flames immediately after the re-run of El Chocolate. Despite the best efforts of fire teams, the car burned out.

"On the stop line, Janne opened the door and said the car is burning. I didn't realise how big the fire was, so I tried to drive. Luckily we are fine, but I don't know what caused it," Lappi explained.

Championship leader Evans ended the leg third in a Yaris. Running first on the road, the Welshman struggled with low grip levels and rounded out the day 33.2sec back from the lead.

Despite dropping over 40sec during the day's opener, Tänak showed determination to climb back up the leaderboard. A daring drive through the Las Minas 2 speed test saw the i20 driver climb four places in one stage. Just 0.2sec separated him and Evans at close of play.

Tänak's return to the sharp end of the timesheets was partly due to the demise of team-mate Thierry Neuville. The Belgian was battling in the top three when his i20 ground to a halt with electrical gremlins. Dani Sordo's similar car also succumbed to technical maladies, making it a day to forget for the Korean manufacturer.

Kalle Rovanperä was fifth after a challenging day. He overcame a slow puncture to lie just 2.3sec further back from Tänak. Gus Greensmith steered clear of trouble to round out the top six in his Fiesta.

Leading positions after Friday:
1. S Ogier / J Ingrassia FRA Toyota Yaris 1hr 23min 09.2sec
2. T Suninen / J Lehtinen FIN Ford Fiesta +13.2sec
3. E Evans / S Martin GBR Toyota Yaris +33.2sec
4. O Tänak / M Järveoja EST Hyundai i20 +33.4sec
5. K Rovanperä / J Halttunen FIN Toyota Yaris +35.7sec
6. G Greensmith / E Edmondson GBR Ford Fiesta +1min 16.8sec
20-03-14 Tidemand i ledning i Mexiko
Rally Mexico fick en flygande start för Pontus Tidemand. Efter den första långa tävlingsdagen leder han WRC 2-klassen och är snabbast av alla R5-bilarna.

12 av Rally Mexicos 24 sträckor är avklarade och Pontus Tidemand och co-drivern Patrik Barth har briljerat från start. Redan på de inledande publiksträckorna på Guanajuatos gator greppade de WRC 2-ledningen med en tydlig plan för helgen.
- Vi bestämde oss för att köra de första två sträckorna på hårda däck för att spara på de mjuka till resten av helgen. Men vi fick till en bra start, berättar Pontus.

På fredagen gick han från klarhet till klarhet när han fortsatte att vara snabbast i klassen och dessutom dra ifrån och öka tidsglappet bakom sig.
- Vi tappade cirka 30-40 sekunder på morgonens första sträcka när vi kom ikapp Ole Christian (Veiby) som hade problem, men vi gjorde vad vi kunde för att hämta tillbaka så mycket tid vi kunde så snabbt som möjligt, säger Pontus.

De tappade aldrig någon placering utan fortsatte att dra ifrån och när dagen knöts ihop har de inte bara varit snabbast i klassen på samtliga sträckor så här långt i tävlingen, utan är även totalsnabbast bland R5-bilarna.
- Det har varit en riktigt bra dag för oss. Bilen funkar helt perfekt och vi har kört hårt, men på rätt sida om gränsen. Vi har ett försprång på 51 sekunder och det känns bra, men allt kan hända här i Mexiko och rallyt är långt så vi får fortsätta att vara smarta imorgon också, summerar Pontus.

Förutom klassledningen ligger Pontus även så högt som sjua totalt i tävlingen.

Rally Mexico WRC 2 efter 12 av 42 sträckor
1. Pontus Tidemand 1:27:25.9
2. Nikolay Gryazin +51.1
3. Ole Christian Veiby +5:39.1
20-03-11 World Rally Championship leader Evans faces gravel at Rally Mexico
Sweden winner faces the challenge of clearing the gravel roads for his rivals. Elfyn Evans heads the FIA World Rally Championship for the first time going into the opening gravel road fixture of the season in Mexico this week.

Toyota's table-topping star, who grabbed the points lead with victory in Sweden last month, knows his achievement will come at a cost at Rally Guanajuato Mexico (12 - 15 March), the year's first fixture outside Europe.

He must pay up in the mountains around Leon when he heads the start order for Friday's first full day on roads coated in dry and slippery gravel. Those tracks become cleaner and faster with the passage of every car as the dirt is swept aside.

With temperatures topping 30°C and blue skies expected all event, Evans' wish for rain to bind the loose gravel together looks a forlorn one.

"It was a bit of a long-shot for the rain. And it would have had to have been raining for quite a while to make that much difference because the surface dries quite quickly here," admitted the Welshman, who is tied on points with Thierry Neuville but leads on countback.

"We'll just get our heads down and get on with it. There's no point thinking about it or really talking too much about it. We almost have to forget about that and just focus on the job in hand."

Neither Neuville nor five-time rally winner Sébastien Ogier benefit that much from second and third in the order. But one man who does is Neuville's Hyundai i20 team-mate, world champion Ott Tänak, who starts sixth.
20-03-10 Ole Christian Veiby klar for Rally Mexico
Rally Mexico er sesongens tredje VM-runde, og det første løpet på grus. Ole Christian Veiby har ambisjoner om å kjempe om seier i WRC2-klassen med sin Hyundai i20 R5.

Når Rally Mexico starter torsdag kveld, er det første gang Ole Christian Veiby skal være med å konkurrere her. Men løpet er ikke fullstendig ukjent for Kongsvinger-gutten, som har vært med på løpets gjennomkjøring to ganger tidligere. - Rally Mexico er et nytt løp for meg, men vi har jo allikevel godt med erfaring. Jonas har vært kartleser her 9 ganger før, og jeg var med på gjennomkjøring i 2017 og 2018, så vi kommer ikke hit helt uten noe erfaring, jeg har en viss pekepinn på hva som venter. Kartleser Jonas Andersson har kjørt dette løpet 9 ganger før, med en annen plass i 2015 som beste resultat.

Rally Mexico er kjent for å være både varmt, røft og tøft for både bil, dekk og crew. I tillegg kjøres flere av prøvene på hele 2600 moh og den tynne luften gjør det utfordrende både for crew og for motor når det gjelder oksygenopptak. – Dette er ikke ett flat-out løp, her gjelder det å bruke hodet og ta vare på både bil og dekk. Den som gjør det best, er den som vinner. Prøvene i Mexico er en mix av alt, og veldig mange korte publikumsetapper. Men det er også noen raske prøver og prøver hvor du ikke kan kjøre så fort. Du kan ikke kjøre for bredt, det er lett å treffe noe som kan ødelegge hjul eller bil i veikanten. Man må også hele tiden være på vakt for at de foran har dratt med seg noen store steiner inn på veien. Mexico-grusen er mer sand og store steiner enn vanlig grus, og det gjelder å vite nøyaktig hvor du kan gasse på litt mer.

Rally Mexico sparkes i gang torsdag kveld i byen Guanajuato, med det som antagelig er den mest fargerike og spektakulære startseremonien av alle løp på VM-kalenderen. Både SS1 og SS2 kjøres på brostein gjennom tunneler som slynger seg under selve byen. Totalt skal det kjøres 24 etapper gjennom helgen, før det hele avsluttes på søndag. Ole Christian er optimistisk med høye ambisjoner for løpet. - Vi fikk en god dag med test på grus, og det virker lovende. Vi håper å kunne fortsette på den gode utviklingen fra Sverige, og selv om dette rallyet er ganske uforutsigbart, er målet helt klart seier i WRC2!

Dette er den tredje VM-runden for Ole Christian i 2020. Det ble andre plass i Rally Sweden, mens han måtte bryte etter å ha kjempet i teten på siste dag av Rally Monte-Carlo. I februar kjørte han også inn til overlegen seier i Numedalsrally for tredje gang på rad, etter å ha ledet løpet fra start til mål.

Tidsplan Rally Mexico
lokal tid oppgitt (norsk tid er – 7 timer)
Torsdag 12 mars
10:00 Shakedown (5,51km) (norsk tid 17:00) Se LIVE fra Shakedown på Ole’s Facebook side.
20:08 SS1 Street Stage GTO 1 (1,12km)
20:31 SS2 Street Stage GTO 2 (1,12km)

Fredag 13 mars
07:45 Service (norsk tid 14:45)
09:08 SS3 El Chocolate 1 (31,45km)
10:16 SS4 Ortega 1 (17,24km)
11:14 SS5 Las Minas 1 (13,69km)
12:12 SS6 Parque Bicentenario (2,71km)
13:52 Service (norsk tid 20:52
15:35 SS7 El Chocolate 2 (31,45km)
16:43 SS8 Ortega 2 (17,24km)
17:41 SS9 Las Minas 2 (13,69km)
19:21 SS10 Autodromo 1 (2,33km)
19:26 SS11 Autodromo 2 (2,33km)
20:14 SS12 Street Stage Leon (0,73km)

Lørdag 14 mars
07:45 Service (norsk tid 14:45)
08:58 SS13 Guanajuatito 1 (24,96km)
10:01 SS14 Alfaro 1 (16,99km)
11:08 SS15 Derramadero 1 (21,78km)
13:18 Service (norsk tid 20:58)
14:56 SS16 Guanajuatito 2 (24,96km)
15:59 SS17 Alfaro 2 (16,99km)
17:08 SS18 Derramadero 2 (21,78km)
18:38 SS19 Autodromo 3 (2,33km)
18:43 SS20 Autodromo 4 (2,33km)
19:26 SS21 Rock & Rally Leon (1,62km)

Søndag 15 mars
07:30 Service (norsk tid 14:30)
08:38 SS22 Otates (33,61km)
09:56 SS23 San Diego (12,76km)
11:18 SS24 El Brinco Power Stage (9,64km) (norsk tid 18:18)

Eurosport Norge – Rally Mexico på TV i Norge
03:00 fredag 13 mars LIVE fra SS1.
18:00 lørdag 14 mars Høydepunkter fra dag 1
18:30 lørdag 14 mars LIVE fra SS15 (prøven starter kl 18, programmet forskyves 30 minutter)
00:00 søndag 15 mars LIVE fra SS18
18:10 søndag 15 mars LIVE fra SS24 Power Stage
20-03-10 Tidemand ser fram emot högtflygande action i Rally Mexico
Säsongspremiären på hemmaplan gav inte bara en pallplats utan också mersmak. Nu är den värmländska rallyduon Pontus Tidemand och kartläsaren Patrik Barth på plats i Mexiko för att återigen göra upp om de åtråvärda placeringarna i WRC 2-klassen tillsammans med teamet Toksport WRT.

Den färgglada inramningen och de vackra vyerna gör utan tvekan Mexikos VM-rally till en av årets mest uppskattade tävlingar. Men vid sidan av det visuella väntar en utmaning som är krävande för såväl förare som bilar. De höga höjderna, mer än 2700 meter över havet, i kombination med temperaturer uppemot 30 grader ställer höga krav när det gäller uthållighet och material.
- När det är 30 grader på utsidan har vi närmare 50 grader inne i bilen. Den tunna luften stryper också motorerna, som kan tappa närmare 20 procent av effektiviteten. Man måste köra smart och rent eftersom det tar längre tid än vanligt att hämta upp sig från ett misstag, berättar Pontus.

Rally Mexico är säsongens första grustävling och totalt omfattar eventet 24 tuffa specialsträckor. Basen är belägen i staden Leon i området Guanajuato, som finns med på UNESCOs världsarvslista, och helgen inleds med två färgsprakande publiksträckor som varje år lockar ut stora folkmassor på Guanajuatos gator. Därefter väntar tre fullspäckade dagar med klassisk mexikansk rallyaction där de påfrestande långa grusvägarna mixas med intensiva och publikvänliga sträckor - bland annat körs en sträcka som inte ens är en kilometer lång, vilket gör det till den kortaste sträckan i rally-VM:s historia.

Det här blir Pontus tredje Rally Mexico och han kommer till start med goda minnen från tidigare år – i bagaget finns två tidigare segrar i WRC 2-klassen från 2017 och 2018.
- Jag är ett stort fan av Rally Mexico, säger Pontus. Det är en rolig tävling med mycket, och framförallt glada och entusiastiska, åskådare som triggar upp stämningen. Vägarna är häftiga och jag gillar upplägget med varierade sträckor och utmaningen i hur man får ut det bästa ur bilen på så hög höjd.

Under måndagen genomfördes ett test där Pontus och Patrik fick en försmak av vad de har att vänta sig de kommande dagarna.
- Bilen funkar lika bra som sist, precis som vårt teamwork både i och utanför bilen. Vi trivdes otroligt bra med Toksport i Sverige så det känns som vi har ännu en grym helg framför oss. Även om vi bara har haft en liten testdag nu, så är vi redo att ge oss ut och fighta. Vi siktar som vanligt högt och ska göra allt för att få till ett lyckat resultat, säger en laddad Pontus.

Tidsplan Rally Mexico 2020 (svensk tid -7 timmar)
Torsdag 12 mars
10:01 Shakedown (5,51km)
20:08 SS1 Monster Energy Street Stage GTO 1 (1,12km)
20:31 SS2 Monster Energy Street Stage GTO 2 (1,12km)

Fredag 13 mars
07:45 Rally Campus Service Park
09:08 SS3 El Chocolate 1 (31,45km)
10:16 SS4 Ortega 1 (17,24km)
11:14 SS5 Las Minas 1 (13,69km)
12:12 SS6 Parque Bicentenario (2,71km)
13:52 Rally Campus Service Park
15:35 SS7 El Chocolate 2 (31,45km)
16:43 SS8 Ortega 2 (17,24km)
17:41 SS9 Las Minas 2 (13,69km)
19:21 SSS10 SSS Autodromo Shell V-Power 1 (2,33km)
19:26 SSS11 SSS Autodromo Shell V-Power 2 (2,33km)
20:14 SSS12 Street Stage Leon (0,73km)
Rally Campus Service Park

Lördag 14 mars
07:45 Rally Campus Service Park
08:58 SS13 Guanajuatito 1 (24,96km)
10:01 SS14 Alfaro 1 (16,99km)
11:08 SS15 Derra Madero 1 (21,78km)
13:18 Rally Campus Service Park
14:56 SS16 Guanajuatito 2 (24,96km)
15:59 SS17 Alfaro 2 (16,99km)
17:08 SS18 Derra Madero 2 (21,78km)
18:38 SSS19 SSS Autodromo Shell V-Power 3 (2,33km)
18:43 SSS20 SSS Autodromo Shell V-Power 4 (2,33km)
19:26 SSS21 Rock & Rally Leon (1,62km)
Rally Campus Service Park

Söndag 15 mars
07:30 Rally Campus Service Park
08:38 SS22 Otates (33,61km)
09:56 SS23 San Diego (12,76km)
11:18 SS24 El Brinco – Wolf Power Stage (9,64km)
Rally Campus Service Park
14:00 Podium
20-03-08 Oliver Solberg redo för utmanande, tufft och coolt Rally Mexico
Ett halvt decennium efter att pappa Petter körde in till en populär VM-triumf i Mexiko kommer sonen Oliver Solberg att skriva sin egen historia i Guanajuato nästa vecka.

Tillbaka i den familjeägda Volkswagen Polo GTI R5 har 18-åringen lyssnat noga på sin fars råd. Även om bilarna, utrustningen och förarnas namn har ändrats sedan 2005, förblir utmaningarna i ett av rally-VM mest svårkörda tävling desamma.
- Precis som Monte-Carlo var i början av säsongen är Rally Mexico en unik utmaning. I Monaco är snö, is och ständigt föränderligt underlag det svåraste. I Mexiko finns vägar på över 2000 meters höjd, vilket ger mindre motorprestanda i den tunn luft, och själva vägarna är fulla av stenar, vassa kanter och faror, säger Oliver Solberg.

- Pappa har rekommenderat ett lite annorlunda sätt att köra. När man kan tappa upp till 25 procent av motoreffekten på grund av höjden måste man vara mer exakt i svängarna. Om du får problem i en sväng är det inte säkert att motorn har tillräckligt med kraft för att få bilen på rätt köl igen.

- Hur vägarna förändras är också en viktig faktor. Andra rundan på vissa vägar kan erbjuda extremt hårda förhållanden. Man måste vara på sin vakt efter stora stenar utgrävda av bilarna framför. Vi behöver all erfarenhet vi kan få, och det är oerhört viktigt att vi passerar mållinjen på söndagen. Det är mitt övergripande mål, säger 18-åringen.

- Jag har aldrig genomfört ett sådant rally tidigare. (Kartläsare) Aaron Johnston och jag måste arbeta extra noggrant med noterna för att helt lita på dem under hela rallyt. Att hålla sig borta från problem är den säkraste vägen till ett bra resultat.

Det kommer att vara Oliver Solbergs första rally på den sydamerikanska kontinenten, och förväntningarna är höga - särskilt för de mexikanska fansen.
- Jag har varit i Mexiko flera gånger tidigare med mina föräldrar när min pappa var aktiv,, men jag minns inte så mycket. Men vi har bilder av mig som sitter på min fars knä i hans Subaru. Jag har hört att atmosfären i Rally Mexico är väldigt speciell. Jag har studerat rallyt noggrant på video, och jag ser fram emot det första specialsträckan där vi går igenom flera tunnlar.
- Jag hoppas att de mexikanska fansen fortfarande kommer ihåg Solberg-namnet och ger mig lite stöd på vägen.

I Rally Mexico får Oliver också chansen att träffa sin barndoms-idol Ken Block, som också sponsras av energidryckstillverkaren Monster Energy.
- Jag ser fram emot att fa tävla mot Ken. Han är en riktigt cool kille. Det var roligt att han bjöd in mig i filmprojektet Gymkhana 10, och för Monster Energy är det fantastiskt att vi båda kör i Mexiko. Liksom alla andra kan jag inte vänta med att se hans Escort Cossie.

Rally Mexico:
Torsdag 12 mars
Shakedown - (5,51 km) 10:01
SS1 Monster Energy Street Stage GTO 1 (1.12km) 20:08
SS2 Monster Energy Street Stage GTO 2 (1.12 km) 20:31

Fredag ??13 mars
Service Leon 07:45
SS3 El Chocolate 1 1 (31.45km) 09:08
SS4 Ortega1 (17.24 km) 10:16
SS5 Las Minas 1 (13,69 km) 11:14
SS6 Parque Bicentenario (2,71 km) 12:12
Service León 13:52
SS7 El Chocolate 2 (31.45km) 15:35
SS8 Ortega 2 (17.24 km) 16:43
SS9 Las Minas 2 (13,69 km) 17:41
SS10 SSS Autodromo Shell V-Power 1 (2.33 km) 19:21
SS11 SSS Autodromo Shell V-Power 2 (2.33 km) 19:26
SS12 Street Stage León 90,73km) 20:14
Service León 20:44

Lördag 14 mars
Service Leon 07:45
SS13 Guanajuatito 1 (24,96 km) 08:58
SS14 Alfaro 1 (16.99 km) 10:01
SS15 Derramadero 1 (21,78 km) 11:08
Service León 13:18
SS16 Guanajuatito 2 (24,96 km) 14:56
SS17 Alfaro 2 (16,99 km) 15:59
SS18 Derramadero 2 (21,78 km) 17:08
SS19 SSS Autodromo Shell V-Power 3 (2.33 km) 18:38
SS20 SSS Autodromo Shell V-Power 4 (2.33 km) 18:43
SS21 Rock & Roll León (1,62 km) 19:26
Service León 19:56

Söndag 15 mars
Service Leon 07:30
SS22 Otates (33.61km) 08:38
SS23 San Diego (12,76 km) 09:56
SS24 El Brinco - Wolf Power Stage (9.64 km) 11:18
Mål Leon-service 12:38

Rally Översikt:
Rally Mexiko
12-15 mars
Bas: Leon
Yta: Grus
Total längd: 324,85 km (201,86 miles)
20-02-25 Tidemand till start i Rally Mexico
Efter framgångarna i Rally Sweden låter inte fortsättningen vänta på sig för Pontus Tidemand och kartläsaren Patrik Barth. Nu står det klart att de och teamet Toksport World Rally Team redan om några veckor är tillbaka i rally-VM, då i Rally Mexico.
- Teamet var väldigt nöjda med vår insats i Sverige så nästa tävling kom snabbt upp på bordet, berättar Pontus. Jag och Patrik fick verkligen blodad tand i Rally Sweden när allt flöt på så bra och vi var sugna på mer direkt. Toksport är väldigt professionella och samarbetet funkade jättebra så vi är både glada och tacksamma att vi snart är på väg över Atlanten för uppföljningen.

Pontus har tävlat i Rally Mexico två gånger tidigare, 2017 och 2018, och båda gångerna har han slutat som segrare i WRC 2-klassen med sin SKODA Fabia R5. Nu hoppas han att kunna upprepa succén.
- Rally Mexico är en häftig tävling från start till mål och värmen och den tunna luften uppe i bergen där vi kör gör det till ett krävande rally, men jag tror och hoppas att det kan passa oss bra i år också. Vi fick en bra start på säsongen så nu behåller vi den känslan och fortsätter på samma positiva spår. Jag ser fram emot det här och att få tagga igång igen innan overallen kallnar, säger Pontus.

Rally Mexico avgörs mellan den 12 och 15 mars.
20-01-27 Solberg drives ŠKODA Motorsport-supported FABIA Rally2 evo in WRC
•Oliver to drive selected WRC 3 rounds in ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo
•18-year-old working in co-operation with ŠKODA Motorsport
•The 2020 programme will start at Rally Sweden on February 13
•Oliver: “This is a fantastic opportunity and huge honour for me

Eighteen-year-old rally star Oliver Solberg will drive a ŠKODA Motorsport-supported ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo (formerly known as ŠKODA FABIA R5 evo before the R5 category was renamed into Rally2 by the International Automobile Federation FIA) on selected rounds of this year’s WRC3 series, starting at next month’s Rally Sweden.

Oliver, who became the youngest ever winner of an FIA European Rally Championship round last season, tested the FABIA for the first time earlier this month. The ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo will be run in cooperation with ŠKODA Motorsport.

Oliver said: “ŠKODA has such an amazing history in the sport of rallying. Look back all the time and you see them there. From before I was born ŠKODA has been building World Rally Cars and more recently the FABIA R5 has been right at the front and winning in the WRC and all around the world for so many years.

“It’s a fantastic honour and a really huge honour for me to drive with the support of ŠKODA. I went to the ŠKODA Motorsport headquarters in Mladá Boleslav already and, wow, what a cool place that is. It was so impressive.”

Oliver was equally impressed with the ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo when he got behind the wheel.
“It’s not so difficult to see how this car is so successful,” he said. “I heard they sold already 330 FABIA rally cars around the world and I can say I agree with the decision those customers made! It’s a great car with really nice balance, grip and power.”

Before his Rally Sweden debut aboard a ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo, Oliver drove his Monster Energy-backed Volkswagen Polo Rally2 at the season-opening Rallye Monte Carlo (January 23-26).

“We still drive the Polo on some rounds,” said Oliver, who made his WRC debut at October’s Wales Rally GB. “The main thing for me now is to try to make experience on as many WRC rounds as possible this year.

“Everybody talks about how much experience you need and how important it is – I saw that for myself in Wales last year. These WRC rounds are tougher and longer than anything me and Aaron [Johnston, co-driver] have done before. But I’ve got to tell you, this year is like a dream for me. Driving in the world championship is all I ever wanted to do. OK being world champion is also something I’m still dreaming to, and with ŠKODA Motorsport’s support I’m really on the right road.”

Oliver’s co-driver Aaron Johnston is equally keen to get aboard the ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo.
“This is such a fantastic opportunity for us. To be supported by ŠKODA Motorsport, who have brought along many young talents over the years, is very special and I’m so proud to be part of this experience.”

Further details of Oliver and Aaron’s full program aboard the ŠKODA Motorsport-supported ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo will be available soon.
20-01-26 WRC2 win for Østberg in season opener Rallye Monte Carlo
The 88th Rallye Monte-Carlo lived up to the winter classic's reputation and proved complex on both the sporting and technical fronts due to the week's changeable, unpredictable weather conditions.

Mads Østberg and his co-driver Torstein Eriksen got to a perfect start for their 2020 title chances with victory in the R5 manufacturer class, WRC2. Mads' confidence behind the wheel of his PH Sport-run C3R5 helped him post six stage wins, as well as the second-best RC2 time on the Power Stage, where he took the time for a donut before the finish line to celebrate with the fans.

Mads Østberg (1st, WRC2 / 10th overall):
"We are very pleased with our performance this week, although we were unlucky on Friday when we dropped around 2m40s due to a damaged wheel rim. Our car was competitive from the start and we set some great stagetimes that led us to the WRC2 win. It was great to see an all-Citroën top five, and all the hard work put in last year means we should be able to target other victories this season."

20-01-26 Neuville seals revenge win at Rallye Monte-Carlo
Belgian driver makes up for narrowly missing out in 2019. Thierry Neuville delivered a stunning final day drive to score his first Rallye Monte-Carlo victory on Sunday – 12 months after missing out in the event’s closest-ever finish.

The Belgian won all four final-leg speed tests in the mountains above Monaco to charge from third, sealing a perfect weekend with maximum bonus points after winning the closing Wolf Power Stage by 0.016sec.

Last year Neuville was pipped by 2.2sec by French hero Sébastien Ogier. Revenge was sweet this time as the Hyundai i20 driver demoted Ogier and overnight leader Elfyn Evans to win the four-day opening round of the FIA World Rally Championship by 12.6sec.

Ogier overhauled Toyota Yaris team-mate Evans in the final speed test to finish 1.7sec ahead in second. Both drivers were making their Toyota Gazoo Racing debuts.

“The target was to win this rally and take revenge and it feels good right now,” said Neuville. “It’s something we’ve been fighting for for a very long time. Rallye Monte-Carlo is one of the most historic events that every WRC driver wants to win at least once, and we’ve done it.”

He led after Thursday night’s opening leg, but could only watch as Evans and Ogier traded the lead several times over the next two days. Neuville was not to be beaten, however, and he ended with nine fastest times from 16 special stages.

Ogier missed out on a seventh consecutive Monte win, but the Frenchman was satisfied with a podium start to his Toyota career. Evans failed to find the same pace which had taken him to the top of the standings ahead of Sunday’s finale.

Esapekka Lappi finished fourth in a Ford Fiesta, securing a record-breaking 250th consecutive points finish for M-Sport Ford. The Finn was almost three minutes adrift of Evans and more than a minute clear of Toyota debutant Kalle Rovanperä in fifth, a career-best result for the teenager.

Both moved ahead of Sébastien Loeb, who ended sixth after sliding off the road and dropping further time when a poor tyre choice left him driving with badly worn rubber.

The series moves to Sweden for round two as Torsby hosts the snow and ice encounter on February 13-16.

Final positions
1. T Neuville / N Gilsoul BEL Hyundai i20 3hr 10min 57.6sec
2. S Ogier / J Ingrassia FRA Toyota Yaris +12.6sec
3. E Evans / S Martin GBR Toyota Yaris +14.3sec
4. E Lappi / J Ferm FIN Ford Fiesta +3min 09.0sec
5. K Rovanperä / J Halttunen FIN Toyota Yaris +4min 17.2sec
6. S Loeb / D Elena FRA Hyundai i20 +5min 04.7sec

FIA World Rally Championship (after round 1 of 13)
1. T Neuville 30pts
2. S Ogier 22pts
3. E Evans 17pts
20-01-26 Solberg delivers on his Monte Carlo Rally plan
•Monster Energy driver Oliver Solberg impresses on his Monte debut
•18-year-old takes experience from measured approach to the season-opener
•That measured approach is still good enough for some top R5 times though…
•“Driving over the Col de Turini… now that was amazing!”

What happened?
For this week’s Rallye Monte-Carlo the emphasis was very much on Oliver gaining experience of his first ever Tarmac rally and only his second ever round of the FIA World Rally Championship (following his debut at last year’s Wales Rally GB).

Taking safe tyre options throughout the event, Oliver and co-driver Aaron Johnston took a sensible line through some of the world’s toughest stages in ever-changing conditions to pick up knowledge and experience for the coming years.

Even at that safe speed, they were able to post hugely impressive times, with a third fastest of all R5 class cars on the second run at the Cubans – Venterol test. The only incident for Oliver was when he clipped a kerb with the left-rear of his Monster Energy-backed Volkswagen Polo R5.

The highlight of the event came for Oliver when he drove the Monte’s most famous stage, the Col de Turini.

What did Oliver say?
“Everything everybody told me about the Monte was true. It is so difficult rally. So difficult!

“Everything we did on this event was new. I never competed on Tarmac before, everything we had done in the previous years had been getting ready for gravel rallies – which are the ones we will be doing most. We had a test before this event, but when we came to these conditions it was just incredible.

“Everybody said we would be on the wrong tyre for a lot of the time and this was exactly how it was. We were on the ice tyre for a long time on Saturday morning, doing these huge slides as the studs have no grip on the dry asphalt. All the time I was thinking: “Is this right?” And then you come to the full ice and snow and the tyre is perfect. Then you think: “Yes! This is right!”

“It was a real compromise of everything, but you have to come here to learn that and if you go to the ditch on the first day then you learn nothing. Sometimes I was maybe wanting to push a little bit harder, but I knew there was too much at risk.

“Even when I hit the kerb, I learned so much. It was literally at walking speed. I used the handbrake to rotate the car, but on the ice it slid too far. The wheel hit the kerb at a really low speed, but just at the wrong angle. We broke a bolt in the suspension and had to stop and make the repair ourselves. This doesn’t matter. I always said I wasn’t coming here for the race, I was coming here to learn and I learned so much!

“The problem is, I can’t wait another 12 months to come back – I want to go and do it all again now.”

Monster Energy moment of the rally?
“Definitely driving over the Col de Turini. Like every rally fan, for my whole life I watched cars coming over this incredible mountain road and to be there, to drive through that atmosphere with so many fans was just unbelievable. I’ll never forget this.”

What’s next?
Rally Sweden and Oilver’s home round of the World Rally Championship. Solberg Jr is excited every time he steps aboard a rally car, but this one will be special for lots of reasons. Stay tuned…

Rally detail
Rallye Monte-Carlo
January 23-26
Based: Monaco/Gap
Surface: asphalt/snow/ice
Competitive distance: 304.28km (189.07 miles)
Total distance: 1505.64km (935.60 miles)

Oliver Solberg in numbers:
Rallies started: 33
Rallies won: 8
WRC rounds started: 2
WRC debut: Wales Rally GB (2019)
Number of titles won: 9*
20-01-25 Elfyn Evans holds advantage in Monte-Carlo thriller
Welshman grabs narrow lead over Toyota team-mate Ogier. Elfyn Evans finished Saturday’s penultimate leg of Rallye Monte-Carlo with a narrow lead after a gripping see-saw battle with team-mate Sébastien Ogier in the French Alps.

The Toyota Yaris debutants swapped the lead on three occasions before Evans ended with a 4.9sec advantage over Ogier, with Thierry Neuville hot on their heels in his Hyundai i20.

Neuville won three of the day’s four speed tests and is only 1.5sec further back, leaving this opening round of the FIA World Rally Championship poised on a knife-edge ahead of tomorrow’s closing leg in the mountains above Monaco.

Studded winter tyres were essential for this morning’s two special stages which contained lengthy sections of snow and ice. Overnight leader Ogier stretched his advantage in the first, before Evans struck back to lead at the mid-leg service.

Rising temperatures ensured drier afternoon conditions when the two stages were repeated. The pair were tied after the first, with Ogier ahead on a tiebreak, before Evans fought back to snatch the lead for the third time in the rally.

The Welshman admitted he had a close escape after flirting with a ditch in the final stage.

“On the last corner of ice on the stage I decided to be a little optimistic with the throttle and off she went. I definitely used my lucky card for the weekend - it was a good job there was nothing in the ditch,” he said.

Ogier admitted a safety-first approach cost the lead. “I was a bit cautious in the last stage and I lost too much, but the gap is still very close and it’s a simple reset for tomorrow. We still have the chance to win,” he said.

Neuville was happier with the last-minute information provided by his safety note crew, which drives the stages a couple of hours before competitors to provide condition updates.

“We’re still in the fight for the win which is positive and we’re pleased with the performance today. We’ve had improvements in the corrections to our ice notes and that provided us with more confidence during the day,” said the Belgian.

Sébastien Loeb was fourth in another i20, more than two minutes further back, after swiping a bank this morning and spinning this afternoon. His errors allowed Esapekka Lappi to close to within 14.1sec in his Ford Fiesta.

Kalle Rovanperä was an untroubled sixth in another Yaris, ahead of Takamoto Katsuta who
spun this morning. WRC 3 leader Eric Camilli was eighth, ahead of WRC 2 frontrunner Mads Østberg and Nicolas Ciamin.

Sunday’s finale is based in the Alpes-Maritimes mountains above Monaco. It features two passes of two stages, covering 63.54km, and includes the legendary crossing of the Col Turini. The afternoon finish takes place against the backdrop of Monaco’s famous harbour.

Leading positions after Saturday
1. E Evans / S Martin GBR Toyota Yaris 2hr 28min 35.1sec
2. S Ogier / J Ingrassia FRAToyota Yaris +4.9sec
3. T Neuville / N Gilsoul BEL Hyundai i20 +6.4sec
4. S Loeb / D Elena FRA Hyundai i20 +2min 24.3sec
5. E Lappi / J Ferm FIN Ford Fiesta +2min 38.4sec
20-01-25 Ogier snatches Monte-Carlo lead as champion Tänak crashes badly
Estonian has lucky escape as French legend excels in Toyota debut. Rallye Monte-Carlo master Sébastien Ogier moved into position for a seventh consecutive victory after snatching a slender lead in the 2020 FIA World Rally Championship’s season-opener on Friday night.

The Frenchman, making his Toyota Yaris debut, ended the first full day’s competition with a 1.2sec advantage over Elfyn Evans after demoting his team-mate in the final kilometres. Thierry Neuville was hot on their heels, a further 5.2sec behind.

The main talking point was a massive crash for world champion Ott Tänak on his first drive in a Hyundai i20.

The Estonian’s car flew off the road after a compression in this morning’s Saint-Clément – Freissinières speed test. The car rolled multiple times before coming to rest on a road more than 100 metres down the hillside.

Tänak and co-driver Martin Järveoja climbed out of the badly-damaged car on their own before being taken to hospital, where they will remain overnight for observation.

"Our priority in such situations is always the condition of the crew first and foremost," said Hyundai Motorsport team principal Andrea Adamo. "It is customary after such incidents for hospital check-ups, the results of which were clear."

The Toyota duo dominated the day. Evans, also making his Yaris debut, won all three morning tests, where icy patches were a constant hazard, to relegate overnight leader Neuville and open a 3.3sec margin over Ogier.

Ogier turned the tables this afternoon. On drier roads, he won two stages to edge ahead.

"This morning I was a little bit cautious and was also having cautious information from my gravel crew," he said. "This afternoon we made some changes to the set-up and had a talk with our gravel crew and we were feeling more comfortable."

Evans admitted to a wary approach this afternoon as mud was dragged onto the road by the cars ahead.

Neuville won the final stage, but was frustrated to drop down the order. He was forced to call-up non competing team-mate Dani Sordo to drive his safety note car after regular pilot Bruno Thiry fell ill.

Sébastien Loeb was a lonely fourth in another i20. The nine-time world champion was 47.5sec adrift of Neuville and 48.3sec clear of Esapekka Lappi, who struggled with his Fiesta on his M-Sport Ford debut. The Finn also lost time after sliding into a field.

Saturday brings two loops of two well-known tests near Gap, totalling 75.20km. Teams then have their final chance to work on their cars before competitors make the long journey south to Monaco for the final overnight halt.

Leading positions after Friday
1. S Ogier / J Ingrassia FRA Toyota Yaris 1hr 43min 31.5sec
2. E Evans / S Martin GBR Toyota Yaris +1.2sec
3. T Neuville / N Gilsoul BEL Hyundai i20 +6.4sec
4. S Loeb / D Elena FRA Hyundai i20 +1min 06.9sec
5. E Lappi / J Ferm FIN Ford Fiesta +1min 57.2sec
6. K Rovanperä / J Halttunen FIN Toyota Yaris +2min 19.2sec

20-01-24 Thierry Neuville fires early warning to lead Rallye Monte-Carlo
Belgian rockets into the lead ahead of Ogier and Tänak at season opener. A sensational time through Thursday night’s second speed test rocketed Thierry Neuville into the lead of Rallye Monte-Carlo after the opening loop of stages in the French Alps.

The Hyundai i20 driver headed Sébastien Ogier’s Toyota Yaris by 19.1sec when the cars returned to service in Gap after the brace of night time alpine tests.

Seven-time Monte winner Ogier led after the opener, but not even the Frenchman could contain his rival’s speed through the 25.49km Bayons - Bréziers stage which followed.

Since the recce, all eyes had been on that second stage, with reports of plenty of ice remaining from last weekend’s snowfall. Universally, the drivers talked of the risk and reward of a big attack and it was the Belgian who was bravest.

He was rewarded with an astonishing time that was 25.5sec faster than anybody else. Neuville was calm and collected at the finish, saying: “They were tricky conditions. I was trying to read the road as well as I could and not take risks. I think we have done a good time.”

Like Ogier and his world champion team-mate Ott Tänak, Neuville opted for a mixture of soft and super soft Michelin tyres, shunning the studded option. Leading after the opening stage, a test Ogier described as ‘one of the easiest of the weekend’ courtesy of bone dry conditions, was the perfect start to his season as a Toyota driver.

Tänak was wide-eyed at the end of SS2, admitting: “I’m happy to be alive! That was more of a challenge than I expected.”

The Estonian is just three-tenths of a second ahead of Toyota Yaris newcomer Elfyn Evans. The Welshman was the fastest of the drivers to take a studded option in the second stage.

“The tyres helped us in some places,” he said, “but they hampered us a lot as well.”

Evans’ mood was lifted by news that he was 25.6sec ahead of the Rallye Monte-Carlo’s joint most successful driver, seven-time winner Sébastien Loeb in an i20. Loeb admitted the road was getting dirty in stage one, with plenty of leaves making the line more slippery.

Those leaves caused major issues for M-Sport Ford’s Fiestas. The discarded foliage gathered in the radiators and air intakes, choking the engine of air and sending temperatures soaring on all three works cars of Esapekka Lappi, Teemu Suninen and Gus Greensmith.

Worse was to come when Suninen retired with a transmission problem in the next test.

Friday brings the most intense leg with more than a third of the event’s total competitive distance tackled in three repeated tests south-east and east of the town. They add up to 122.58km.

Positions after leg 1:
1. T Neuville / N Gilsoul BEL Hyundai i20 26min 23.5sec
2. S Ogier / J Ingrassia FRA Toyota Yaris +19.1sec
3. O Tänak / M Jarveoja EST Hyundai i20 +25.1sec
4. E Evans / S Martin Toyota Yaris 26m +25.4sec
5. S Loeb / D Elena FRA Hyundai i20 +51.0sec
6. E Lappi / J Ferm FIN Ford Fiesta +1min 07.8sec
20-01-21 INTERVIEW: "We will fight hard to win" - Ogier excited for Toyota drive
Frenchman opens up on Toyota switch and hopes of winning the WRC title back.
Sébastien Ogier's incredible run of six FIA World Rally Championship titles came to an end last season when Estonian Ott Tänak claimed a maiden triumph, however the Frenchman believes he can win a seventh after his switch from Citroën to Toyota to cap a fine WRC career.

The Japanese team has a rich history in rally driving with 2020 Dakar Rally champion Carlos Sainz, Finnish great Juha Kankkunen and Frenchman Didier Auriol all winning titles driving the Celica, while they also have four constructors' titles.

After testing the latest Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT contender, the 36-year-old explained what he feels the Yaris car can produce from Monte Carlo onwards this week as he looks to win the title with a third different constructor before he finishes his WRC career.

Here is what the Gap native had to say:
Toyota has a rich WRC history with iconic cars and drivers, so what is it like to be part of that story?

It's definitely something special to be competing for Toyota with what they have achieved in the past and, of course, Juha. Toyota is such an iconic brand and we definitely hope to write some history together. On top of that, it's even more special for me personally because when I first started following rally I was rooting for Tommi (team principal Mäkinen) so it's actually a dream come true to be able to work with him now.

What are your first impressions of the Yaris WRC?
The car feels really good. We just had our last test before the season starts and I have a good feeling heading into the first event. Obviously, we don't know where we are compared to the other teams before the first couple of stages at Rally Monte Carlo but I’m confident.

It has been a while since you started the year without the championship, so how have you prepared mentally for 2020?

To be honest, I've been preparing in the same way as before. Nothing has changed really, but we will obviously fight hard to win the championship back.

Have you and Julien (navigator Ingrassia) changed your approach for this season?

As I say, nothing has changed for us. We are still the same as before and, if anything, the fact that we didn't win last year has just given us even more hunger to succeed.

What is it like being reunited with Elfyn Evans as a team-mate?

I know Elfyn from my time at M-Sport and I'm very happy to have him in the team. He is a really good driver and can give a lot of feedback to the team about the car and therefore push the development as well.
20-01-17 Oliver looks to load the odds in his favour in Monte Carlo
Oliver starts his World Rally Championship with a classic, the Monte
18-year-old can’t wait to take on the mountains in world’s most famous rally
Exciting year ahead for Monster Energy’s history-making youngster
Experience is everything for the family-run team in a Volkswagen Polo R5

The challenge:
Rallye Monte-Carlo is the oldest rally in the world. Naturally, things have changed a fair bit since it ran for the first time in 1911, but the concept’s still pretty similar: it’s about a bunch of cars driving through the French Alps, trying to work out who’s fastest.

Monster Energy-backed 18-year-old Oliver Solberg is taking to the hills high above the French Riviera for the first time next week.

Starting from Monaco’s world-famous Casino Square on Thursday (January 23) afternoon, the crews waste no time in getting to some of the season’s most complicated and challenging stages. The itinerary dictates the photographs and adulation of the principality will be followed by the 17.47-kilometre test from Malijal to Puimichel.

Two nighttime stages take Oliver and his co-driver Aaron Johnston back north to the service park in Gap, where the next two days are based. After Friday and Saturday in the Hautes-Alpes, it’s another trip south to the harbourside in Monte Carlo. Sunday’s final day comprises two stages run twice, one of which is arguably the most famous test in the history of the series. The road from La Bolléne-Vésubie to Piera Cava might not be instantly recogniseable, but the name of the mountain pass over which that road passes mostly certainly is. It’s the Col de Turini.

The switchback Alpine stages are just part of the challenge of Rallye Monte-Carlo. The other part comes in the shape of ever-changing weather and meteorological microclimates which deliver widely differing grip levels from one corner to the next.

Driving a Volkswagen Polo R5 run by his family’s team, Oliver will experience dry and wet asphalt, ice, snow, slush and just about everything in between this week. And, what’s more, because of the compromised tyre choice, he can just about guarantee he’ll be on the wrong tyre much of the time.

Get through and an appointment with Prince Albert II awaits you outside his Palace on a Sunday afternoon. Get through faster than anybody else and you become a member of an exclusive and distinguished band of motorsport heroes. You become a Monte Carlo winner.

Oliver’s answers:
Rallye Monte-Carlo’s waiting. How do you feel?
OS: It’s so exciting. I know I have been excited a lot by things in the last 12 months – competing in a Subaru in the same colours as my father in America, making my debut in the WRC with him in Wales, becoming the youngest driver ever to win a round of the FIA European Rally Championship – but this is reallyspecial. It’s Monte Carlo!

How much do you know about the event?
OS: I know it’s tough. One of the toughest. My Dad has told me a lot of stories about how difficult the rally will be. Because of the way rallies run, we have to choose our tyres for a loop of stages really early. Really early in the morning, we’ll be deciding on the tyres we’re still going to be using at lunchtime – you have to try to understand what the weather’s going to do.

It’s a gamble?
OS: It’s a big gamble – starting in the casino!

How was your test?
OS: Good. We drove near to Sisteron, where we were able to find some snow and ice. It’s so important to test in a place like this; it’s really important for me to get the feeling of what the car’s going to be doing when it’s on the wrong tyres. In a test like this, it’s a lot about preparing for the worst kind of situation. We did that.

What’s the key to Rallye Monte-Carlo?
OS: You’re asking me? Honestly, I don’t know for myself. I will find out next week. I think the biggest thing is to be comfortable in the car and to be able to find confidence. If you have those two things then you can deal a little bit more easily with what’s coming. If you go to this rally with a racing car set-up, ready to push hard then it’s easy to have some trouble.

What’s your approach?
OS: To take experience. This rally is so specific – we get one chance each season to come to Rallye Monte-Carlo and to build up some ideas and some knowledge of what the roads can be like and how the pacenotes work. This is the priority for me. I’m really not so worried about the times or the speed or anything like that, I just want to get to the end of the stages and keep building my experience.

You’re not competing in WRC 2 or WRC 3 in Monte Carlo, what’s the reason for that?
OS: I know this rally is going to be complicated. I never did anything like this before. Even if the roads are all dry, I still have done virtually nothing really on Tarmac. OK, we have some snow at home, but we have nothing like the Monte stages. For this time, I don’t want any pressure or anything, I want to go to this rally, enjoy it and make the experience.

Finally, you lived in Monaco for a while – do you remember much about that time?
OS: I do. It was a really cool place to live and the sun was always shining. The only problem with Monaco is that there wasn’t really enough space. When we moved back to the farm in Sweden, I could get out and about on the quadbikes and snowmobiles – there wasn’t much chance of doing that in Casino Square!

Rally detail
Rallye Monte-Carlo
January 23-26
Based: Monaco/Gap
Surface: asphalt/snow/ice
Competitive distance: 304.28km (189.07 miles)
Total distance: 1505.64km (935.60 miles)

Oliver Solberg in numbers:
Rallies started: 32
Rallies won: 8
WRC rounds started: 1
WRC debut: Wales Rally GB (2019)
Number of titles won: 9*

Want to know more?
Check the Words PR archive for chapter, verse and pictures of Oliver’s career to date.

Make a date
Oliver will be available in the service park, Gap on Wednesday January 22 (2045-2100) for any questions.

*Oliver’s first championship was the Norwegian Crosskart title in 2012, aged 11. He defended that win successfully and added a hat-trick of Nordic Crosskart crowns in 2014, 15 and 16. Two years later he’d switched to cars and harnessed the 600bhp on offer from a DS 3 Supercar to be crowned RallyX Nordic champ. The success kept on coming as he progressed into rallying with a hat-trick of titles (Latvian Rally champion, Baltic Rally Trophy and an Estonian class title) aboard the Volkswagen Polo R5 last season.
20-01-14 Ole Christian Veiby skal kjøre for Hyundai Motorsport i 2020
Ole Christian Veiby har fått fabrikks-kontrakt med Hyundai Motorsport og skal konkurrere i WRC2-klassen i en Hyundai i20 R5 i 2020. – Jeg er ganske stolt over at Hyundai Motorsport, som ble verdensmestere i rally i 2019, velger å satse på meg for neste år, sier Ole Christian.

Kongsvinger-gutten, som er regjerende norgesmester i rally, skal kjøre en Hyundai i20 R5 ‘20 med kartleser Jonas Andersson på minst 8 VM-runder i 2020. Team-kollega blir Nikolay Gryazin. R5-satsingen til Hyundai Motorsport vil driftes av RedGrey Team fra Estland i nært samarbeid med Hyundai Motorsport og de vil konkurrere for Hyundai Motorsport N, i WRC2-klassen, som er det nye navnet på WRC2pro-klassen. Det som tidligere var WRC2-klassen, har nå byttet navn til WRC3.

Ole Christian Veiby sier:
«Det er en ubeskrivelig god følelse, og jeg gleder meg til å kjøre for Hyundai Motorsport neste år. Jeg er ganske sikker på at vi kommer til å bli ett sterkt team. Jeg håper også at erfaringen jeg har fra andre R5-biler kommer godt med i videreutvikling av bilen. Jeg har jo fått konkurrert med i20’en ved ett par anledninger allerede, så jeg føler jeg kan sette ett hårete mål for sesongen, det er vel bare totalseier som gjelder!»

23-åringen har i 2019 sesongen konkurrert både i Rally-VM og Rally-NM, og kan skilte med en imponerende tredjeplass fra det legendariske Rallye Monte Carlo og seier i Sverige. Han vant også 4 av 5 kjørte NM-runder og ble dermed årets norgesmester i Rally.

Roy Snellingen, sportssjef i EVEN management sier:
«Vi i EVEN management er meget godt fornøyd med at Ole Christian og Jonas får denne muligheten i et knalltøft førermarked. Vi har med dette en solid sportslig pakke med mye kjøring som må til for å utvikle gutta ytterligere. Vi er allerede godt i gang med å planlegge neste sesong og det gjelder nå og utnytte erfaringen gutta har, maksimere alle nye muligheter og jobbe systematisk hard med et smil.»

Første løp på agendaen er klassikeren Rallye Monte-Carlo som kjøres på snø og is i de franske alpene 23 – 26 januar 2020. Her er både Ole Christian Veiby og Mads Østberg påmeldt i WRC2-klassen, og vi finner også Oliver Solberg på start-listen i en R5-bil.

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