WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP 2023

2023

VM kalendern 2023
Monte-Carlo: 19 – 22 January
Sweden: 9 – 12 February
Mexico: 16 – 19 March
Croatia: 20 – 23 April
Portugal: 11 – 14 May
Italy: 1 – 4 June
Kenya: 22 – 25 June
Estonia: 20 – 23 July
Finland: 3 – 6 August
Greece: 7 – 10 September
Chile: 28 September – 1 October
Central Europe (AUT, CZE, GER): 26 – 29 October
Japan: 16 – 19 November





23-01-23 Record-breaking Ogier claims ninth Monte-Carlo victory
Frenchman triumphs at 2023 season opener, heading home Kalle Rovanperä in 1-2 finish for Toyota.
Sébastien Ogier celebrated a record ninth triumph at Rallye Monte-Carlo, confirming a lights-to-flag victory at the opening round of the 2023 FIA World Rally Championship on Sunday afternoon.

Ogier is undertaking selected drives for Toyota Gazoo Racing this year and kicked off his part-time campaign with a stellar performance in the French Alps, mastering twisty asphalt roads to head GR Yaris team-mate Kalle Rovanperä by 18.8sec in a dominant 1-2 for the Japanese squad.

His nine victories span three decades and have been achieved with five different manufacturers. Topping off Ogier’s perfect weekend was the fact that co-driver Vincent Landais celebrated his maiden win at world level.

The Frenchman led the season opener from start to finish after charging to a lead of over 30 seconds during Friday’s first full day of action in the mountains above Monaco.

Rovanperä reduced that deficit to just 16.0sec heading into Sunday’s finale, but Ogier, who was denied glory by a late puncture 12 months ago, kept his cool to maintain the buffer throughout the final four speed tests.

"It's huge," Ogier beamed. "I love this rally. It's the one which gave me the dream right at the beginning and I am so happy for Vincent. For me it's nice, but for him it's a dream to take his first win.

"We still need to enjoy these moments and that's why we are still here [in the WRC], to catch some victories like this. To win a famous one like Monte has no price."

Rovanperä finished on a high by winning the Wolf Power Stage to add five bonus points to his tally. As the highest-placed full-time driver, the young Finn’s title defence is off to a solid start.

"It was a good one," he agreed. "I think we can be quite happy with second place."

Heavy tyre wear prevented Hyundai i20 N driver Thierry Neuville from making any gains on Rovanperä. After 18 stages, the Belgian was forced to settle for third overall, 27.8sec ahead of Elfyn Evans.

For Evans, there were thoughts of what could have been. Were it not for a rear puncture which cost the Welshman over 40 seconds on Friday, a 1-2-3 finish for Toyota could well have been on the cards.

Ott Tänak went easy on his soft compound tyres in preparation for an all-out attack on the bonus points-paying Wolf Power Stage, but he missed out on the benchmark time by just half a second. Ending his M-Sport Ford Puma debut with a top-five result, Tänak felt like he’d made positive steps.

“It's a long season ahead but this is a positive start,” the Estonian remarked. “At least we have scored some points already - unlike the previous three years!"

Takamoto Katsuta was lucky to finish the event after limping through the finale with damaged rear suspension. The Yaris youngster held onto sixth overall by 14.9sec from Dani Sordo, whose Hyundai was plagued by a hybrid unit fault all day.

The championship switches to Scandinavia next month for the only pure winter round of the season. Rally Sweden takes place in Umeå on 9 - 12 February.

Overall classification:
1. S Ogier / V Landais FRA Toyota GR Yaris 3hr 12min 2.0sec
2. K Rovanperä / J Halttunen FIN Toyota GR Yaris +18.8sec
3. T Neuville / M Wydaeghe BEL Hyundai i20 N +44.6sec
4. E Evans / S Martin GBR Toyota GR Yaris +1min 12.4sec
5. O Tänak / M Järveoja EST Ford Puma +2min 34.9sec
6. T Katsuta / A Johnston JPN Toyota GR Yaris +3min 32.6sec

Drivers' championship points (after round 1 of 13):
1. S Ogier 26pts
2. K Rovanperä 23pts
3. T Neuville 17 pts

The official Home of World Rallying: wrc.com
23-01-22 Oliver Solberg visade topp-speed i Rally Monte-Carlo
Tio av 18 sträcksegrar gav ett övertygande generaltest i Rally Monte-Carlo för Oliver Solberg (21) i jakten på karriärens första VM-titel.

Oliver avslutade tävlingen med att sätta den snabbaste tiden av alla WRC2-bilar på Col de Turini Powerstage.

Vinnare av tävlingens näst största klass blev teamkamraten Nikolay Gryazin i Toksport-teamet. Solberg slutade så småningom på en sjätte plats, 2.15,2 minuter efter ryssen.

En punktering i torsdagskvällen kostade totalt runt två minuter. På lördagen försvann ytterligare några sekunder på grund av en skadad hjulupphängning.
– Men vi hade inga VM-poäng att tävla om, så totalresultatet var inte så viktigt i den här tävlingen. Tio sträcksegrar av 18 möjliga är ganska tillfredsställande för mig. Syftet var att lära känna den nya bilen och ta reda på vilken speed vi kunde hålla. Vi lyckades bra på båda punkterna, sa Oliver Solberg.

Nästa race för Oliver Solberg blir VM-tävlingen på hemmaplan i Sverige den 9-12 februari. Där börjar också den officiella VM-säsongen i WRC2-klassen.
23-01-21 Vigilant Ogier puts one hand on Monte-Carlo crown
Sébastien Ogier sits on the brink of a record-breaking ninth Rallye Monte-Carlo victory after producing another faultless drive in the French Alps on Saturday.

Having built up a sizeable advantage of over half a minute on Friday, Ogier’s attentions switched to lead preservation as the Monaco-based fixture headed into the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence for six asphalt speed tests totalling 111.78km.

With today’s running order based on reverse rally classification, Ogier had to contend with the most polluted road conditions as gravel, rocks and mud were swept onto the stages by those running higher up the field.

Ogier, who drives part-time for Toyota Gazoo Racing, took a vigilant approach. He was in no mood for risk-taking and desperate not to repeat last year’s disappointment, where a sharp rock caused a late puncture which put the brakes on his victory bid.

But, as a result of his caution, the 39-year-old saw his buffer more than halved by charging GR Yaris colleague Kalle Rovanperä. He heads into Sunday’s finale 16.0sec clear at the top.

Ogier is confident he has enough time in hand but, with four treacherous stages still remaining, anything could happen. Victory here would put him top of the Rallye Monte-Carlo roll of honour, beating the record he currently shares with old foe Sébastien Loeb.

"I think it should be enough,” he said. “The last one was the most dangerous one for punctures so I took it easy and I am happy that stage is over now."

Reigning champion Rovanperä started strongly and won two of the morning’s three stages to put some distance between himself and Hyundai i20 N star Thierry Neuville.

Neuville responded by claiming two benchmark times himself, but a big push from the former under the darkness of Ubraye – Entrevaux left Neuville 16.0sec adrift of his rival in third.

Elfyn Evans made it three Toyotas in the top four with a solid comeback drive following his Friday puncture. The Welshman leapfrogged Ott Tänak in the day’s second stage and never strayed outside the top-three times for each test, ending 24.5sec off the heels of Neuville.

For M-Sport Ford returnee Tänak there were feelings of both relief and disappointment after a technical fault left his Puma with heavier steering than normal.

Although it left him unable to put up a fight against Evans, the flipside of Tänak’s issue was that the power steering did not fail completely – something he would have been dreading as there was no mid-leg service in the schedule.

Yaris youngster Takamoto Katsuta climbed to sixth overall after leapfrogging Dani Sordo on the first run from Le Fugeret to Thorame-Haute. Sordo, who now holds seventh, continued to feel puzzled by the lack of competitiveness in his stage times.

Sunday’s finale returns to the Alpes-Maritimes. The familiar Luceram / Lantosque opens proceedings and is followed by a re-run of La Bollène-Vésubie / Col de Turini, which crews have already driven in anger on Thursday evening. Both stages are repeated once again with the latter forming the Wolf Power Stage where bonus points are available.

Leading positions after Saturday:
1. S Ogier / V Landais FRA Toyota GR Yaris 2hr 27min 11.5sec
2. K Rovanperä / J Halttunen FIN Toyota GR Yaris +16.0sec
3. T Neuville / M Wydaeghe BEL Hyundai i20 N +32.0sec
4. E Evans / S Martin GBR Toyota GR Yaris +56.5sec
5. O Tänak / M Järveoja EST Ford Puma +1min 37.3sec
6. T Katsuta / A Johnston JPN Toyota GR Yaris +2min 15.7sec

The official Home of World Rallying: wrc.com


23-01-20 Ogier sweeps up with Monte-Carlo masterclass
Frenchman holds commanding lead over team-mate Kalle Rovanperä after dominating Friday's stages.
Sébastien Ogier outclassed his FIA World Rally Championship peers to end Friday at Rallye Monte-Carlo with a commanding lead.

Driving a GR Yaris for Toyota Gazoo Racing, the eight-time world champion won four of the six French Alps speed tests to lead the opening round by 36.0sec from colleague Kalle Rovanperä after 145km of competition.

The Monaco-based fixture holds fond memories for Ogier, who was born and raised in the Hautes-Alpes. He is chasing down a record-breaking ninth victory this week.

Ogier set the tempo on Thursday night’s short opening leg and continued to assert the same dominance in the morning, stretching his advantage into double figures over team-mate Elfyn Evans despite nursing a hybrid unit fault.

When Evans dropped back after leaking 40sec with a rear-right puncture on SS5, Ogier was afforded room to breathe. He took less risks in the afternoon, even carrying an additional spare tyre, but still extended his buffer regardless.

"I am very satisfied,” Ogier reflected. “Obviously, the risk of punctures [in the last stage] was higher so I took things a bit more easy. I'm just happy to bring the car home tonight."

Rovanperä topped an intense battle with Hyundai i20 N driver Thierry Neuville. The pair were rarely split by more than a few tenths of a second, but Rovanperä found a slight edge in the afternoon to end 1.9sec clear.

Fourth overall went to Ott Tänak after challenging day spent learning the intricacies of driving M-Sport’s Ford Puma in competition for the first time. In the Estonian’s own words, his new steed did not feel “racey” enough, although he did admit to being comfortable in the car.

Tänak sits 16.3sec adrift of the podium heading into Saturday’s penultimate leg and faces increasing pressure from Evans, who put in an impressive recovery drive after his puncture to end 8.1sec behind.

Another 27.9sec in arrears and rounding out the top six is Dani Sordo, driving another Hyundai. The Spaniard appeared frustrated and felt that his times did not match up with the risks he was taking out on the stages.

Takamoto Katsuta was hampered by a handbrake issue on Thursday evening but enjoyed a trouble-free run aboard his GR Yaris. A series of top-four stage times promoted the 29-year-old to seventh overall ahead of Esapekka Lappi, who shared similar frustrations to Sordo in his i20 N.

The action switches west to the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence on Saturday for another 111.78km of competition. Le Fugeret / Thorame-Haute, Malijai / Puimichel and Ubraye / Entrevaux each run twice either side of another tyre fitting zone in Puget-Théniers. Again, there is no mid-leg service.

Leading positions after Friday:
1. S Ogier / V Landais FRA Toyota GR Yaris 1hr 26min 39.4sec
2. K Rovanperä / J Halttunen FIN Toyota GR Yaris +36.0sec
3. T Neuville / M Wydaeghe BEL Hyundai i20 N +37.9sec
4. O Tänak / M Järveoja EST Ford Puma +54.2sec
5. E Evans / S Martin GBR Toyota GR Yaris +1min 2.3sec
6. D Sordo / C Carrera ESP Hyundai i20 N +1min 30.2sec

The official Home of World Rallying: wrc.com
23-01-19 Masterful Ogier builds early Monte-Carlo lead
Frenchman makes his intentions clear as 2023 season gets underway on Thursday evening.
Sébastien Ogier threw caution to the wind on Thursday evening’s opening leg at Rallye Monte-Carlo to end a spectacular opening night of the 2023 FIA World Rally Championship season with a useful advantage.

Ogier, an eight-time winner in the French Alps, was in a league of his own as he blasted his Toyota GR Yaris to a brace of fastest times, heading team-mate Elfyn Evans by 6.0sec after 40.02km of competition.

An uncharacteristically dry start to this iconic event heightened the importance of tyre management, with several drivers overheating their rubber on the winding mountain passes around the Col de Turini.

Ogier, however, remained unphased and – for once – was delighted not to be opening the road. His late starting position played to his favour as he could pick out any tricky sections by spotting the tracks of his peers.
"It's never easy to start this rally at night, but at least the conditions were not so inconsistent," Ogier reflected. "There was only one really tricky corner and for once I was not starting first on the road, so I could benefit from seeing the lines from the others. That helped.
"I think it's been a good start for us and we are happy with that, but obviously there is a very long way to go.

Ott Tänak rounds out the leading trio 9.4sec adrift of second-placed Evans. It was a troublesome night for the Estonian as he kicked off his debut aboard one of M-Sport’s Ford Pumas.

An electrical issue on the liaison section prior to SS1 did nothing to calm Tänak’s nerves, and those tensions were raised further as he completed both stages without fifth gear.

Just one-tenth of a second behind is Hyundai star Thierry Neuville, who dropped around eight seconds by stalling his i20 N after sliding wide on a patch of black ice. Puma privateer Jourdan Serderidis fell foul to the very same corner but fared much worse, losing over a minute as spectators extracted his car from a ditch.

Reigning champion Kalle Rovanperä had to tweak his driving style to keep the soft compound tyres on the front of his Toyota from overheating. The Finn is currently sandwiched by Hyundai cars in sixth overall, 1.6sec adrift Neuville with Dani Sordo 15.0sec behind him.

Seventh-placed Pierre-Louis Loubet adopted a cautious approach to his first day as a full-time M-Sport Ford driver. The same could be said for Hyundai debutant Esapekka Lappi, a mere 1.1sec in arrears.

Fourth-fastest through La Bollène-Vésubie – Col de Turini was a promising start for Takamoto Katsuta, but things quickly turned sour when his Yaris developed a handbrake issue on the next test. The Japanese driver haemorrhaged time through the series of tight hairpin bends and languishes 57.0sec back from the lead in ninth overall.

Friday heads further north for two loops of three stages covering 105.34km. Morning and afternoon runs through Roure / Roubion / Beuil (18.33km), Puget-Théniers / Saint-Antonin (19.79km) and Briançonnet / Entrevaux (14.55km) are on the schedule.

Leading positions after Thursday:
1. S Ogier / V Landais FRA Toyota GR Yaris 26min 33.7sec
2. E Evans / S Martin GBR Toyota GR Yaris +6.0sec
3. O Tänak / M Järveoja EST Ford Puma +15.4sec
4. T Neuville / M Wydaeghe BEL Hyundai i20 N +15.5sec
5. K Rovanperä / J Halttunen FIN Toyota GR Yaris +17.1sec
6. D Sordo / C Carrera ESP Hyundai i20 N +32.1sec

The official Home of World Rallying: wrc.com
23-01-17 Rallye Monte-Carlo takes centre stage as 2023 WRC roars into action
All you need to know as the 2023 FIA World Rally Championship gets underway
 · 2023 WRC season begins this weekend in Monte-Carlo (19 - 22 January)
· World champion Kalle Rovanperä heads field
· Multiple off-season driver changes add intrigue to season-opener

The wait will soon be over. On Thursday evening, the opening stage of Rallye Monte-Carlo (19 – 22 January) gets underway – signalling the start of the 2023 FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) season.

Based out of the Principality of Monaco, Rallye Monte-Carlo is the jewel in the WRC's crown and the oldest event on the calendar. Treacherous and icy mountain passes in the French Alps provide a fitting backdrop for the opening round.

And what a season it’s going to be. With 13 gruelling rallies spanning five continents, global manufacturers battling for glory plus a host of exciting changes to the driver market, 2023 has all the ingredients for another thrilling campaign.

Setting out to defend its manufacturers’ crown, Toyota Gazoo Racing has retained the services of Kalle Rovanperä, who, at the age of 22, broke records last year by becoming the youngest WRC champion in history. As world champion, Rovanperä had the option to carry the number 1 on his car this year, but will stick with 69.

Joining the young Finn in the GR Yaris Rally1 line-up are Elfyn Evans and Takamoto Katsuta, with eight-time world champion Sébastien Ogier also set to contest selected rounds. Although Katsuta starts every rally, he will only score manufacturers’ championship points on events where Ogier is not present.

Hyundai Motorsport has put its trust in a combination of new and familiar faces to field its flurry of i20 N Rally1 cars.

Team long-termer Thierry Neuville will be desperate to secure his maiden world title, while newcomer Esapekka Lappi is delighted to be in a full-time seat after car-sharing with Ogier at Toyota Gazoo Racing last season. Craig Breen returns to the team having spent the past year with rivals M-Sport Ford. He will alternate drives with seasoned Spaniard Dani Sordo in the third car.

Another driver returning to their former home is 2019 world champion Ott Tänak, who joins British-based M-Sport Ford from Hyundai. M-Sport shaped Tänak’s early career and it was team owner Malcolm Wilson who gave him his first factory drive back in 2012.

M-Sport’s second Ford Puma will be campaigned by young Frenchman Pierre-Louis Loubet, whose impressive performances during a seven-round campaign last year have resulted in a full-time contract.

"This is a time of the year that always comes with great anticipation,” enthused WRC Promoter Managing Director Jona Siebel. “There have been a number of changes to driver line-ups since FORUM8 Rally Japan which only adds to the intrigue of what is about to unfold.

“The changes also extend to WRC2 which has arguably its strongest-ever entry list with no clear favourite and we will be endeavouring to give this category more coverage than ever before.

“I want to avoid using the word ‘off-season’ as we know the 2023 campaigns already started with testing some weeks ago and all teams, drivers, organisers, the FIA and the Promoter have been working around the clock to be ready for Col de Turini on Thursday night.”

The official home of World Rallying: WRC.com

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