WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP 2024

2024

VM kalendern 2024

FIA World Rally Championship calendar 2024:
25 – 28 January Rallye Monte-Carlo (Asphalt/Ice)
15 – 18 February Rally Sweden (Snow)
28 – 31 March Safari Rally Kenya (Gravel)
18 – 21 April Croatia Rally (Asphalt)
9 – 12 May Vodafone Rally de Portugal (Gravel)
30 May – 2 June Rally Italia Sardegna (Gravel)
27 – 30 June ORLEN 80th Rally Poland (Gravel)
18 – 21 July Tet Rally Latvia (Gravel)
1 – 4 August Secto Rally Finland (Gravel)
5 – 8 September EKO Acropolis Rally Greece (Gravel)
26 – 29 September Rally Chile Bio Bío (Gravel)
31 October – 3 November Central European Rally (Asphalt)
21 – 24 November FORUM8 Rally Japan (Asphalt)




24-04-17 WRC leader Thierry Neuville seeks redemption at Croatia Rally
Belgian driver aims to shake off his recent slump in the Balkan capital city.

Points leader Thierry Neuville is in need of a change of fortunes if he is to stay ahead of Toyota Gazoo Racing rival Elfyn Evans at Croatia Rally this week (18 – 21 April), round four of the 2024 FIA World Rally Championship.

Neuville, who drives an i20 N Rally1 car for Hyundai Motorsport, opened his season in fine fashion by winning Rallye Monte-Carlo, but issues in Sweden and Kenya have prevented the Belgian from recording a podium finish since.

He arrives in the capital city Zagreb eager to reverse his fortunes and secure a much-needed win to maintain his six-point lead over Welshman Evans, who triumphed here last year.

“Croatia is one of the most demanding Tposearmac rallies I have ever competed in,” he said. “There are lots of blind corners, crests and jumps – something very unusual for a Tarmac event.

“Finishing in the top three is crucial to maintaining the championship lead, [but] our biggest target is to push for a top-step finish.”

Attended by over 300,000 spectators in 2022 and 2023, Croatia Rally presents a unique mix of surfaces ranging from smooth asphalt to badly broken concrete.

Fluctuating grip levels on the undulating roads pose a challenge and, despite the overall high speeds, narrow passages and numerous blind crests and turns demand a cautious approach from competitors. Weather adds another layer of complexity to the already demanding conditions as, if it rains, the surface becomes muddier and slipperier with each car that passes.

It’s a rally that has previously suited Toyota well, with Japanese machinery topping the podium in every edition since 2021. Eight-time world champion and past winner Sébastien Ogier joins Evans in the GR Yaris line-up, as does Takamoto Katsuta.

Hyundai fields three cars for Neuville, Ott Tänak and Andreas Mikkelsen while M-Sport has entered a pair of Puma Rally1s for Adrien Fourmaux, currently third in the points, and Grégoire Munster.

Just three years ago, Fourmaux raised eyebrows when he took a Fiesta World Rally car to fifth overall on his top-flight debut in Croatia. This time he starts the rally fresh from back-to-back podiums in Sweden and Kenya, eager to net his maiden victory.

The rally starts in Zagreb on Thursday (18 April). Ahead lie 20 stages totalling 283.28km before Sunday afternoon’s finish.

The official Home of World Rallying: wrc.com

24-03-31 Pride of the plains Kalle Rovanperä takes dominant Safari Rally win
Toyota driver celebrates victory on Sunday after mastering Kenya's tough terrain for the second time.

Kalle Rovanperä became a two-time winner of Safari Rally Kenya on Sunday afternoon after he finished the legendary African fixture with a 1m 37.8s victory margin having led since Friday morning.

In by far the most gruelling FIA World Rally Championship round so far this season, it was Rovanperä’s meticulous balance of both speed and maturity that ultimately secured his 12th career victory.

The Finn, co-driven by Jonne Halttunen, built a lead of almost one minute after winning all of Friday’s rock-strewn stages around Lake Naivasha, then kept his nose clean to end Saturday two minutes clear as the chasing pack ran into mechanical troubles and tyre damage.

That buffer allowed the two-time WRC champion to drive for a finish in Sunday’s final leg, which culminated amid stunning scenery at Hell's Gate with Kenyan President William Ruto in attendance.

Takamoto Katstuta completed a Toyota GR Yaris 1-2 as the Japanese marque extended its manufacturers’ championship lead to four points over Hyundai Motorsport, while M-Sport Ford Puma hotshot Adrien Fourmaux bagged his second consecutive podium 47.3s behind.

“It’s always special to win here,” Rovanperä beamed. “Also, a legendary event for Toyota. We’ve always been so good here and that’s continuing. Like they say in Africa: the car in front is always a Toyota!

“A big thanks to the team, everybody made a big effort to make the car work so well. I think me and Jonne did a good job, I don’t think you can have a better Safari Rally than we did. No issues, clever driving and I think it was a good effort.”

Elfyn Evans ended Friday in contention for a podium but a fraught Saturday, which saw the Welshman stop twice to carry out stage-side wheel changes, meant he finished over four minutes back from his team-mate Rovanperä in fourth overall. He remains second in the drivers’ championship behind leader Thierry Neuville, who trailed him by almost six minutes in fifth.

Neuville now heads Evans by six points but endured a troublesome week aboard his Hyundai i20 N. Fuel pressure problems on Saturday cost the Belgian several minutes and suspension damage on Sunday, inflicted by a rock on the racing line, added insult to injury. His colleagues, Esapekka Lappi and Ott Tänak fared worse.

Lappi’s problems included two broken gearboxes over the course of the week while Tänak could only climb back to eighth overall behind WRC2 runners Gus Greensmith and Oliver Solberg after his car sustained broken suspension on Friday.

Completing the top 10 were gentleman driver Jourdan Serderidis in a Puma and Škoda Fabia Rally2 star Kajetan Kajetanowicz.

The WRC returns to asphalt for next month's Croatia Rally which takes place from 18 - 21 April. The event is based in capital city Zagreb.

Overall classification:
1. K Rovanperä / J Halttunen FIN Toyota GR Yaris 3h 36m 4.4s
2. T Katsuta / A Johnston JPN Toyota GR Yaris +1m 37.8s
3. A Fourmaux / A Coria FRA Ford Puma +2m 25.1s
4. E Evans / S Martin GBR Toyota GR Yaris +4m 20.2s
5. T Neuville / M Wydaeghe BEL Hyundai i20 N +10m 17.5s
6. G Greensmith / J Andersson GBR Škoda Fabia +18m 5.4s

Drivers' championship standings (after round 3 of 13):
1. T Neuville 67pts
2. E Evans 61pts
3. A Fourmaux 46pts

The official Home of World Rallying: wrc.com

24-03-31 Punktering "grusade” chansen till seger, men utökad ledning
Två punkteringar skilde Oliver Solberg från segern i helgens Safari Rally Kenya, men Solberg utökade sin totalledning i rally-VM.

Mästerskapsledaren Solberg var väl nöjd med Safari-prestationen även om det inte blev någon seger.

Punktering på den tredje (1.51,5 minuter efter) och fjärde specialsträckan (1.46,8) förstörde segerchansen. I mål var britten Gus Greensmith med svenske kartläsaren Jonas Andersson 1.23,1 minuter snabbare än Solberg. Teamkamraten i Skoda vann VM-tävlingen i näst största klassen (WRC2).

Oliver Solberg och kartläsaren Elliott Edmondson var snabbast eller näst snabbast på varje etapp där de inte fick punktering. Av 17 problemfria sträckor vann duon 11.
– Jag får vara nöjd med det här resultatet, men jag är förstås också är lite besviken. Jag kom hit för att vinna, men samtidigt är det bra att öka ledningen i mästerskapet, sa Oliver Solberg.

22-åringen vann förra VM-tävlingen på hemmaplan i Sverige.
– Chansen till seger gick förlorad första dagen. Även om punktering på två sträckor efter varandra är ren otur, visste vi att Safari Rally bjuder på överraskningar och spänning. Det är en del av den här tävlingen, sa han.

Solbergs nästa WRC2-start är inte helt fastställd. Det enda som är klart är att 22-åringen inte kommer till start i nästa tävling i VM-kalendern, Rally Kroatien.
– Vi måste vara strategiska kring programmet. Jag vill verkligen vinna titeln den här säsongen. Allt är riktat mot det målet. På så sätt är andraplatsen i Kenya en framgång, sa Oliver Solberg.
24-03-30 Kalle keeps it clean on Saturday to close in on Safari triumph
Finn avoids trouble on drama-filled penultimate day in Kenya.

Kalle Rovanperä took a significant step towards clinching his second Safari Rally Kenya victory, steering clear of trouble while his WRC counterparts encountered difficulties on Saturday.

Amidst the most eventful day of this FIA World Rally Championship season thus far, which was marked by fluctuating conditions ranging from dry and dusty to wet and muddy, Rovanperä was one of few stars to enjoy a clean run. He widened his lead to an impressive 2m 8.9s as drivers including Thierry Neuville, Elfyn Evans and Takamoto Katsuta faced significant setbacks.

Despite dominating every stage the previous day, Rovanperä adopted a more conservative approach on Saturday's roads near Lake Elmenteita, located south of the rally's Naivasha base. He initially headed Toyota GR Yaris team-mates Evans and Katsuta until the pair fell behind after sustaining punctures in the morning.

Thierry Neuville emerged as Rovanperä's closest threat, but his challenge was short-lived after his Hyundai i20 N encountered a fuel system issue during the afternoon’s first stage at Soysambu. Neuville dropped more than two-and-a-half minutes as he nursed the problem through the remaining two stages, which opened the door for Katsuta to reclaim the runner-up spot ahead of M-Sport Ford Puma man Adrien Fourmaux.

Rovanperä’s Saturday standing will earn him 18 points provided he completes Sunday’s stages. Katsuta will receive 15 while Fourmaux, who ended 3m 13.3s off the lead, gets 13.

"The lead is now quite good,” said the two time world champion, “so of course we took it carefully.

“It's not so enjoyable when you have a big lead and in a stage like [Sleeping Warrior] you just go around every rock, it's scary. Tomorrow is still a tough day and we will try to finish the job.

Fourmaux survived a front-left tyre delamination in the final stage and is now on track to secure his second top-three finish in consecutive rallies following his maiden podium in Sweden. He led fourth-placed Evans, who suffered a total of four punctures, by over two minutes.

A visibly upset Neuville completed the top five more than 11 minutes adrift of the leading pace with WRC2 frontrunners Gus Greensmith and Oliver Solberg behind.

Kajetan Kajetanowicz was eighth ahead of Jourdan Serderidis and Ott Tänak, who restarted following his Friday retirement. Tänak faced further problems which included a loose bonnet pin, malfunctioning intercom and excessive dust inside his Hyundai, but remains within touching distance of the two drivers ahead of him.

Sunday’s finale features three stages - each run twice - covering both sides of Lake Naivasha.

Leading positions after Saturday:
1. K Rovanperä / J Halttunen FIN Toyota GR Yaris 2h 48m 50.2s
2. T Katsuta / A Johnston JPN Toyota GR Yaris +2m 8.9s
3. A Fourmaux / A Coria FRA Ford Puma +3m 13.3s
4. E Evans / S Martin GBR Toyota GR Yaris +5m 35.6s
5. T Neuville / M Wydaeghe BEL Hyundai i20 N +11m 48.6s
6. G Greensmith / J Andersson GBR Škoda Fabia +15m 2.0s

The official Home of World Rallying: wrc.com
23-03-29 Unstoppable Rovanperä leads Toyota top three in Kenya
Finnish star dominates Friday as Hyundai's Esapekka Lappi and Ott Tänak retire.
Kalle Rovanperä dominated Friday’s opening leg of Safari Rally Kenya to build a 56.9-second lead on a dream day for his Toyota Gazoo Racing team.

The Finn, winner of the FIA World Rally Championship for two years running, was simply untouchable as he and co-driver Jonne Halttunen romped to fastest times on all six of Friday’s rugged gravel speed tests around Lake Naivasha.

His team-mates Elfyn Evans and Takamoto Katsuta made it a GR Yaris 1-2-3, the Japanese marque capitalising on what unravelled into a disastrous afternoon for rival team Hyundai Motorsport after its drivers Esapekka Lappi and Ott Tänak bowed into retirement.

Lappi had been Rovanperä’s nearest challenger at the day’s midpoint, but a transmission failure sidelined his i20 N car in the first stage after service. That elevated Tänak to second until his similar machine stopped in the following Geothermal test with broken steering after hitting a rock.

Evans and Katsuta were on hand to pick up the pieces and complete Toyota’s podium lockout. They were split by just 3.9s after Evans moved ahead in the final stage of the day.

“I have to be happy with that,” Rovanperä smiled. “For sure, on the last one the conditions were quite rough, and I think from every car [the ruts] get a bit deeper in places. I didn't take any risks and I was going around all the stones to try and keep the car in one piece. I would have loved to go even faster, but at this point this is okay!”

Championship leader Thierry Neuville became Hyundai’s only hope, although the Belgian encountered troubles himself with tyre damage in SS3. The flailing rubber punched a hole in his Hyundai’s bodywork, forcing the Belgian and co-driver Martijn Wydaeghe to don goggles and dust masks for the final stage of the morning.

A more positive afternoon saw Neuville edge closer to podium position. Beaten only by Rovanperä in Kedong 2, he trails Katsuta by a mere 6.5s heading into Saturday’s penultimate leg.

M-Sport Ford’s Adrien Fourmaux had to contend with his Puma surfing on its sump guard in some of the rougher sections, but he coped well to hold fifth after a relatively clean day. The Frenchman ended almost two minutes back from the lead with team-mate Grégoire Munster – contesting his first Safari in Rally1 machinery – a similar distance behind.

With Oliver Solberg hampered by tyre troubles, Gus Greensmith built a commanding lead in WRC2 and also placed seventh overnight. Jourdan Serderidis, Kajetan Kajetanowicz and Solberg completed the top 10.

Saturday is the longest day of the rally and features six stages totalling 160.96km. Up first is Soysambu, which starts at 08:01 (local).

Leading positions after Friday:
1. K Rovanperä / J Halttunen FIN Toyota GR Yaris 1h 16m 22.6s
2. E Evans / S Martin GBR Toyota GR Yaris +56.9s
3. T Katsuta / A Johnston JPN Toyota GR Yaris +1m 0.8s
4. T Neuville / M Wydaeghe BEL Hyundai i20 N +1m 7.3s
5. A Fourmaux / A Coria FRA Ford Puma +1m 46.6s
6. G Munster / L Louka LUX Ford Puma +3m 34.2s

The official Home of World Rallying: wrc.com
24-03-28 President William Ruto welcomes WRC to Kenya
Head of state gets into the Safari Rally spirit as Thierry Neuville wins opening stage on Thursday.
Kenyan President William Ruto launched the 71st edition of Safari Rally Kenya from Nairobi, the capital city, today (Thursday 28 March). The event marks the third round of this year’s FIA World Rally Championship.

Dressed for the occasion in WRC-branded racing overalls, Ruto flagged away the leading crews as they drove over the ramp in downtown Nairobi. From there, the cars headed to the rally-opening super special stage at the nearby Kasarani Stadium where thousands of fans were vying for every possible vantage point.

Neuville, who carries a three-point championship lead into this round, edged his Hyundai i20 N partner Ott Tänak by a single tenth over the 4.84km opener, while reigning champion Kalle Rovanperä completed the top three just 0.7s further back.

Having recorded two non-finishes in Kenya from three previous attempts, Neuville is well aware that the going will get tougher from Friday onwards.

"It will be a challenging event,” he affirmed. “Our fingers are crossed that, this time, we can get through without any technical problems or mistakes. I think we are well prepared, and I am feeling good in the car, so it's always good to start a rally like this.”

Africa has been home to two of Takamoto Katsuta’s four WRC podiums. Driving a Toyota GR Yaris identical to Rovanperä’s, he dropped just 0.9s whilst posting the fourth-best time ahead of Hyundai rival Esapekka Lappi.

Elfyn Evans, currently second in the points, went sixth-quickest in his Toyota with M-Sport Ford Puma youngster Adrien Fourmaux following closely behind. Gus Greensmith set the pace in WRC2, taking eighth overall in a Škoda Fabia RS, while Grégoire Munster and Oliver Solberg completed the top 10.

The action resumes at 08:15 local time on Friday morning with the first of the day’s six stages. The biggest challenge will be the 31.50km Kedong test, which makes up the finale of the morning and afternoon loops.

Leading positions after Thursday:
1. T Neuville / Martijn Wydaeghe BEL Hyundai i20 N 3m 19.9s
2. O Tänak / M Järveoja EST Hyundai i20 N +0.1s
3. K Rovanperä / J Halttunen FIN Toyota GR Yaris +0.7s
4. T Katsuta / A Johnston JPN Toyota GR Yaris +0.9s
5. E Lappi / J Ferm FIN Hyundai i20 N +1.5s
6. E Evans / S Martin GBR Toyota GR Yaris +1.7s

The official Home of World Rallying: wrc.com
24-03-27 WRC’s most gruelling challenge awaits at Safari Rally Kenya
Africa beckons as the WRC hits gravel for the first time this season.

This week's Safari Rally Kenya (28 – 31 March) promises to deliver one of the most arduous tests since its triumphant return to the FIA World Rally Championship calendar three years ago.

After a six-week break since navigating the sub-zero forests of Sweden, drivers and teams now face a completely different challenge as round three of the season begins on Thursday amidst the captivating plains and vibrant wildlife of Africa.

This year’s Safari Rally has been strategically moved forward in the calendar to reclaim its historic March slot, aligning perfectly with Kenya’s rainy season. Pre-rally downpours muddied some of the roads during recce, and many of the cars are running snorkels – which allow the engine to breathe - to deal with potentially flooded sections.

In Kenya, all eyes are on Toyota Gazoo Racing. The GR Yaris Rally1 team has won every edition since 2021, and even claimed a sensational top-four sweep here 12 months ago. Despite its formidable track record, however, Toyota is still searching for its first triumph of the season.

Elfyn Evans, Takamoto Katsuta and reigning world champion Kalle Rovanperä will each hope to change that. Rovanperä topped the podium in 2022, while Katsuta – who hails from Japan – has netted an impressive two podiums from three Safari starts.

Hyundai Motorsport stands ready to challenge Toyota's African supremacy, and to extend its success streak with i20 N drivers Thierry Neuville, Ott Tänak and Esapekka Lappi. Rallye Monte-Carlo winner Neuville currently leads the drivers’ championship by three points from Evans, while a hungry Lappi recorded his second career victory last time out in Sweden.

M-Sport Ford enters Kenya on a high after young Frenchman Adrien Fourmaux scored his maiden podium at the previous round. The British team fields a trio of Puma Rally1 cars for Fourmaux, Grégoire Munster and gentleman driver Jourdan Serderidis.

The rally starts in capital city Nairobi on Thursday lunchtime. Ahead lie 19 gruelling special stages around Lakes Naivasha and Elmenteita covering 367.76km before Sunday afternoon's finish in Naivasha.

The official Home of World Rallying: wrc.com
24-03-25 WRC stars stunned by Magical Kenya
Safari Rally Kenya launches with up-close wildlife encounters in the breathtaking Maasai Mara.

The legendary Safari Rally Kenya began with a unique twist as the FIA World Rally Championship’s (WRC) top drivers embarked on an extraordinary safari adventure in the world-renowned Maasai Mara National Reserve.

Leading drivers including current championship leader Thierry Neuville of Hyundai Shell Mobis World Rally Team and second-placed Elfyn Evans of Toyota Gazoo Racing World Rally Team immersed themselves in a complete two-day safari experience alongside M-Sport Ford’s Grégoire Munster and the WRC2 pairing of Nicolas Ciamin and Yannick Roche.

Away from the intense rally schedules, the drivers bonded amidst Kenya’s breathtaking landscapes, immersing themselves in the rich and colourful Maasai culture and indulging in once-in-a-lifetime encounters with the region’s iconic wildlife.

Highlights included a hot air balloon ride at sunrise, providing panoramic views of rhinoceroses and elephants in their stunning natural habitat. They were also treated to close-up encounters with lions, water buffalo, giraffes and hippopotamuses, among other awe-inspiring creatures.

“It has been a great experience, it was a really nice welcome,” expressed Neuville. “The hot air balloon was the highlight. In such a beautiful landscape it was very unique.

“It was beautiful scenery and a great experience getting very close to the elephants.”

For Evans, it was an opportunity to do something out of the norm. He said: “It is a different experience to normally when we travel, especially in Europe, so [it was] nice to do.”

Meanwhile, Munster appreciated the chance to bond with his fellow competitors outside of the rallying environment. The Luxemburg driver said: “When you are on the rally between stages you don’t have a lot of time to really socialise and you have a bit of pressure and a lot of mechanical stuff to do. So here, having two days just to socialise and experience things you wouldn’t do normally, is quite nice.”

Accompanying the WRC stars was Kenya’s Principal Secretary of Tourism John Ololtuaa, who emphasised the significance of showcasing Kenya’s natural beauty to the world.

“It is important that [the drivers] came to the Maasai Mara.” Ololtuaa said. “We wanted them to experience the beauty that is here. It becomes part and parcel of projecting to the world what we have as Kenya.”

The rally official starts on Thursday (28 March) from the Kenyatta International Conference Centre in Nairobi.
24-03-23 Oliver Solberg vill nå toppen ensam
Seger i tävlingen och utökad ledning i rally-VM är Oliver Solbergs mål i kommande helgens Safari Rally Kenya.

Skoda-fabriksföraren och kartläsaren Elliott Edmondson anländer till Naivasha i Kenya i delad ledning i mästerskapets näst största klass (WRC2).

Fransmannen Yohan Rossel vann säsongens första VM-tävling i Monte-Carlo och delar förstaplatsen med Solberg.

Grundliga förberedelser och intensiva ansträngningar på varenda specialsträcka krävs för att säkra de eftertraktade 25 VM-poängen som en seger ger.
– Safari Rallyt är en unikt tävling på VM-kalendern. Det gör en enorm skillnad att ersätta snö i Sverige med extrem värme i Afrika. Varje sträcka kan upplevas som helt olika tävlingar, säger Oliver Solberg.

Solberg vann förra VM-tävlingen. På sin hemmatävlingen i Sverige skapade han också rallyhistoria genom att bli den första WRC2-föraren att avsluta en tävlingsdag (första dagen) bland de tre bästa totalt i tävlingen.

VM-tävlingen i Afrika är säsongens tredje av 13. Den körs över 19 specialsträckor och 368 kilometer fördelade på tre dagar. 22-åringen har startat Safari Rally Kenya tre gånger. Två av dem slutade han bland de tio bästa totalt i respektive klass.
24-03-11 Rally Islas Canarias set to join WRC Calendar in 2025
The FIA World Rally Championship is set to visit Canary Islands in the next two seasons, marking the championship's return to Spain.*

The FIA World Rally Championship is set to return to Spain next season to take on the fast-paced asphalt roads of the Canary Islands, it was announced today (Monday 11 March).

Following in the footsteps of Tet Rally Latvia and ORLEN 80th Rally Poland, both of which have used the pathway of the FIA European Rally Championship (ERC) to join WRC in 2024, Rally Islas Canarias will move from the ERC to WRC in 2025 and 2026.

First run in 1977, Rally Islas Canarias has continuously been part of the ERC since 2016 and in 2026 will celebrate its 50th edition, as part of the pinnacle of rallying. It is intended to run exclusively on Gran Canaria in 2025, before expanding to include other islands for its 50th anniversary.

Today's announcement was made in front of media on Gran Canaria and, in addition to WRC Promoter and Todo Sport, was attended among others by Canary Islands President Fernando Clavijo, President of the Island Council of Gran Canaria Antonio Morales and FIA World Motor Sport Council Member and Real Federación Española de Automovilismo (RFEDA) President Manuel Aviñó.

“Bringing the Rally Islas Canarias to the WRC has been the reward for many years of work. It was a goal desired by several generations, and now, together with WRC Promoter, it has become within reach,” expressed Germán Morales, CEO of the event promoter Club Deportivo Todo Sport.

“Since adding the European Rally Championship to our portfolio of championships, we have been left with little doubts about the capabilities of the rally management team to run this rally next year on the WRC calendar,” expressed WRC Promoter Managing Director Jona Siebel.

“We are enthusiastic about having Spain back on the WRC calendar and are encouraged to see our clearly defined strategy to have an opportunity for ERC events to have a pathway to WRC coming to fruition as Rally Islas Canarias follows on from Latvia and Poland in 2024.”

Moving from the ERC to WRC calendar will have the added benefit of the expected influx of thousands of fans who will make their way to the popular European holiday destination, combining the fast-paced action on the blistering-quick stages with a kickstart to their summer.

The rally promises smooth, twisting asphalt surfaces which rise and dip across the volcanic inlands. While coastal temperatures are renowned for favourable year-round beach-going weather, drivers need to be prepared for changeable weather conditions as the stages snake their way through the islands’ mountainous interiors.

The WRC most recently visited Spain in 2022 when the rally was based out of the Catalunyan beachside resort of Salou.
*Pending World Motor Sport Council approval
24-01-28 Masterful Neuville opens 2024 campaign with victory in Monte-Carlo
Belgian keeps Sébastien Ogier at bay to bank his 20th FIA World Rally Championship win.

Thierry Neuville celebrated his 20th world rally win at Rallye Monte-Carlo on Sunday afternoon, banking a perfect score of 30 points alongside co-driver Martijn Wydaeghe.

The Hyundai i20 N star opened his 2024 FIA World Rally Championship title bid with a sublime performance in the French Alps, mastering the ice-patched mountain roads to head Toyota Gazoo Racing rival Sébastien Ogier by 16.1sec.

Neuville shrugged aside early engine issues before launching an attack on Saturday, overtaking both Ogier and his GR Yaris team-mate Elfyn Evans to storm into the lead with a slender 3.3sec advantage. A clean sweep of fastest times in Sunday’s final leg cemented his position ahead of the nine-time Rallye Monte-Carlo winner.

"I don't have the words, to be honest,” beamed an elated Neuville after finishing the final stage on the iconic Col de Turini. “It was just so great this weekend, I felt so comfortable in the car.

“The whole team was doing an amazing job and I think the whole package was working really well. There are always things to improve so of course we need to continue working, but we are very happy to win this rally,” he added.

Ogier led for a single stage on Saturday afternoon, but the Frenchman could not repel Neuville despite his best efforts. “It's been a nice battle with Thierry. Well done to him, he has been really fast this weekend,” he admitted.

Evans held the upper hand after the first two legs but time ebbed away from him on Saturday, not helped by a hybrid unit problem. He eventually finished 29.1sec behind his team-mate Ogier.

Ott Tänak placed fourth on his first rally back in Hyundai colours. Mystery engine problems hindered the 2019 WRC champion throughout the rally although a stage win on Saturday morning proved his potential with the i20 N car.

Adrien Fourmaux equalled his career-best result by finishing fifth overall in his M-Sport Ford Puma. Behind him was Hyundai’s Andreas Mikkelsen, with Takamoto Katsuta almost three minutes further back after sliding off the road on Friday.

Yohan Rossel claimed the WRC2 victory with a last-gasp Wolf Power Stage push, climbing to eighth overall in the process. He passed Pepe López in the finale while Nikolay Gryazin rounded out the top 10. Jan Cerný took victory in WRC3 and Mauro Miele won the WRC Masters Cup, while López topped the WRC2 Challenger standings.

Round two of the WRC takes place on the snow and ice of Sweden. The series' only pure winter fixture is based in Umeå on 15 – 18 February.

Overall classification:
1. T Neuville / Martijn Wydaeghe BEL Hyundai i20 N 3h 9m 30.9s
2. S Ogier / V Landais FRA Toyota GR Yaris +16.1s
3. E Evans / S Martin GBR Toyota GR Yaris +45.2s
4. O Tänak / M Järveoja EST Hyundai i20 N +1m 59.8s
5. A Fourmaux / A Coria FRA Ford Puma +3m 36.9s
6. A Mikkelsen / T Eriksen NOR Hyundai i20 N +5m 34.6s

Drivers' championship standings (after round 1 of 13):
1. T Neuville 30pts
2. S Ogier 24pts
3. E Evans 21pts
24-01-28 Oflyt i VM-genrepet för Oliver Solberg
Oliver Solberg visade upp sig med fyra sträcksegrar i Rally Monte-Carlo, men två punkteringar förstörde chansen till en topplacering i genrepet till fighten om VM-titeln.

22-åringen fortsatte att imponera i säsongens första VM-tävling som avslutades i hamnen i Monaco på söndagseftermiddagen.

Tävlingen i Monte-Carlo räknades inte med i mästerskapet för Oliver Solberg, så ett sämre resultat i helgen påverkar alltså inte hans mästerskapssäsong.

Under fredagen tog Skoda-föraren fyra segrar på de totalt sex specialsträckorna med sin Fabia RS Rally2 och höll en fjärdeplats totalt i den näst största klassen. Men dagen efter bjöds på två punkteringar i snabb följd och bara ett reservhjul.
– Det var vårt eget val att bara ta med ett reservhjul. Om vi ??hade haft två hade det varit bra och vi kunde ha fortsatt tävlingen. Men reglerna är tydliga; du måste ha fyra däck med luft på bilen, sa Oliver Solberg.

Tävlingen tjuvstartade med två specialsträckor i mörker på torsdagen.
– Det var utmanande att hitta komforten och känslan i bilen. Vi gjorde lite ändringar efteråt och i fredags var bilen riktigt fin att köra. Att vinna sträckor är bra, men jag tror att vi fortfarande hade mer i oss. Vi var långt ifrån maxgränsen för vad vi kan prestera.

Solbergs officiella säsongspremiär i WRC2-mästerskapet äger rum i hemmatävlingen Rally Sweden i Umeå den 15-18 februari.
24-01-27 Neuville heads Ogier in Rallye Monte-Carlo thriller
Belgian ends Saturday with 3.3s lead over eight-time WRC champion.
Thierry Neuville has set up the perfect Sunday showdown at Rallye Monte-Carlo after dethroning Sébastien Ogier in Saturday’s final stage, provisionally netting himself 18 points.

Hyundai i20 N star Neuville was undoubtedly the man to beat in the morning. Having held third last night, he pinched second place from Ogier on the day’s first ice-patched speed test and stormed into the top spot before midday as time ebbed away from overnight leader Elfyn Evans.

Ogier seized control by reeling off back-to-back stage wins early in the repeated afternoon loop, but Neuville retaliated by outpacing the Toyota GR Yaris-driving Frenchman in the closing kilometres to carry a 3.3sec advantage into Sunday.

With Rallye Monte-Carlo marking the debut of the all-new WRC points structure, Neuville’s late charge will earn him 18 points providing he completes Sunday’s stages. Ogier will receive 15 while Evans, who ended the day 34.9sec off the lead in third, gets 13.

"It was perfection,” Neuville said of his drive on Pellafol - Agnières-en-Dévoluy. “Everything went well and I really enjoyed the car - it was incredible.

“It was important to take the points tonight but we also needed to keep the car on the road. I had a good feeling, so I went for it and it seems like it paid off," he added.

Ogier’s stage win at Les Nonières - Chichilianne was the 700th of his career. That feat moved him ahead of Finnish legend Juha Kankkunen (699 stage wins) into fourth on the all-time WRC list of stagewinners.

"I have been trying since the beginning of the rally, basically,” admitted the nine-time Rallye Monte-Carlo winner. “This [final stage] was no different, but Thierry did a good stage. It looks like we need to try harder tomorrow.”

Super Sunday brings the opportunity for the top performers over the course of the final day to collect up to seven points, in addition to the five bonus points also up for grabs in the rally-ending Wolf Power Stage.

Evans completed SS10 with no hybrid boost on his GR Yaris. Even with the issue fixed, he could not find an answer to the sudden speed of his peers. “I don’t know what's going on,” the Welshman admitted after yielding 16.9sec in SS12. “It didn't feel great, but that’s chronic.”

Hyundai man Ott Tänak’s hold on fourth was strengthened as he pulled away from his closest challenger Adrien Fourmaux, helped by his stage win on Pellafol / Agnières-en-Dévoluy. The pair were split by over one minute at close of play, with Fourmaux doubling down on his conservative approach after seeing his M-Sport Ford Puma colleague Grégoire Munster off the road in SS12.

Munster’s demise allowed Andreas Mikkelsen to claim sixth in his Hyundai, while Takamoto Katsuta climbed up to seventh following his costly ditch excursion on Friday.

Eighth place went to Nikolay Gryazin, who currently heads Pepe López in a thrilling duel for WRC2 supremacy. Yohan Rossel is also involved in the support category scrap and completed the top 10.

Sunday's final leg features three stages as crews journey south to Monaco. The trio add up to 52.12km before the rally finishes in the principality.

Leading positions after Saturday:
1. T Neuville / Martijn Wydaeghe BEL Hyundai i20 N 2h 37m 58.5s
2. S Ogier / V Landais FRA Toyota GR Yaris +3.3s
3. E Evans / S Martin GBR Toyota GR Yaris +34.9s
4. O Tänak / M Järveoja EST Hyundai i20 N +1m 46.9s
5. A Fourmaux / A Coria FRA Ford Puma +2m 54.0s
6. A Mikkelsen / T Eriksen NOR Hyundai i20 N +4m 21.2s

The official Home of World Rallying: wrc.com

24-01-26 Leader Evans under attack from Rallye Monte-Carlo expert Ogier
Toyota pair split by just 4.5s after leg two of WRC season opener.
Elfyn Evans leads Rallye Monte-Carlo after Friday’s second leg, but the Welshman is under increasing pressure from his Toyota Gazoo Racing team-mate Sébastien Ogier.

Evans had been 21.6sec clear of his GR Yaris Rally1 colleague after Thursday’s night-time loop, but Ogier is now looming large in the Welshman’s rear mirror after a stunning drive over Friday’s French Alps roads near Gap saw him whittle that deficit down to just 4.5sec.

Ogier won two of the morning’s three speed tests and climbed from third to second after Hyundai’s Thierry Neuville spun his i20 N in SS4. The Frenchman had moved to within 10.7sec of Evans by the day’s midpoint, with the bulk of the time being gained over the ice-patched special stage from La Bréole to Selonnet.

The pair were closely matched for much of the repeated afternoon loop, but it was again at La Bréole / Selonnet – held in darkness on its second run – where Ogier shone, outpacing his colleague by 4.1sec to set-up a thrilling showdown going into Saturday’s penultimate leg.

“It was a difficult start to the rally, but we expected that with our start position,” said Ogier, a nine-time winner of this event. “Now I am glad that we managed to be very close - tomorrow will be fun.”

Evans, who was never outside the top three times, admitted that conditions had been difficult to read.

“It never gets easier, this rally,” he explained. “[The last stage was] very difficult in the dark. I had a lot of information, but I couldn't see a lot of it to be honest - I just had to trust it. It's very difficult to read the conditions on the road. I'm happy to get through today without any issues.”

Neuville remained very much in the fight at the sharp-end and trailed Ogier by 11.6sec in third. He won three of the day’s six special stages and enjoyed a trouble-free run aside from his early-morning spin.

Ott Tänak was lucky to end the day 57.5sec further back in fourth after ice on a right-hander sent his Hyundai sliding into a ditch during SS3. It took spectators just 40sec to get the Estonian back on the road. Grégoire Munster and Takamoto Katsuta also went off at the same location, with the latter dropping more than five minutes.

Adrien Fourmaux repaid M-Sport Ford’s faith in him by delivering an impressive third-best time in SS5. The 28-year-old is returning to the WRC’s top level having contested WRC2 in 2023, and he completed the top five aboard a Puma.

Andreas Mikkelsen, also returning to the top-flight for the first time since 2019, ended the day over one minute back from Fourmaux in sixth overall. Driving a Hyundai, the Norwegian found it difficult to trust the information in his pace notes with surface conditions changing constantly.

Seventh-placed Munster reached the overnight halt 28.2sec further back in his Puma, while WRC2 contenders Nikolay Gryazin, Pepe López and Yohan Rossel completed the top 10.

Saturday brings another full-on schedule with Esparron / Ozenet launching the day at 08.05. Les Nonières / Chichilianne and Pellafol / Agnières-en-Dévoluy follow before the trio are repeated, bringing the day's total competitive distance to 120.40km.

Leading positions after Friday:
1. E Evans / S Martin GBR Toyota GR Yaris 1h 25m 28.9s
2. S Ogier / V Landais FRA Toyota GR Yaris +4.5s
3. T Neuville / Martijn Wydaeghe BEL Hyundai i20 N +16.1s
4. O Tänak / M Järveoja EST Hyundai i20 N +1m 13.6s
5. A Fourmaux / A Coria FRA Ford Puma +1m 38.0s
6. A Mikkelsen / T Eriksen NOR Hyundai i20 N +2m 58.9s

The official Home of World Rallying: wrc.com

24-01-23 Legendary Rallye Monte-Carlo opens 52nd WRC season
It's a fresh start for the WRC stars as a new season begins in the French Alps.

The curtain rises on a brand-new FIA World Rally Championship season this week as the world’s toughest motorsport series roars back into action at the legendary Rallye Monte-Carlo (25 – 28 January).

Thirteen rounds await across four continents during the WRC’s 52nd season. Kicking off the new year in style, this week’s famous fixture has attracted a capacity entry of 70 cars.

Rallye Monte-Carlo, the oldest fixture on the WRC calendar and arguably the most unpredictable rally of the year, moves its base away from the Principality of Monaco and back into the French alpine town of Gap, where it was most recently based in 2021. The relatively straightforward asphalt roads high in the mountains are complicated by winter weather, placing an emphasis on cunning tyre choices.

Tactical twists: New points structure adds fresh dimension
The WRC now features a revamped points system that brings more excitement and intrigue to the rally’s closing stages on Sunday morning. The structure awards up to 18 points based on the general classification after Saturday, up to a further seven points for performances on Sunday, and maintains the traditional five bonus points for the rally-ending Wolf Power Stage.

These updates maintain the core concept of determining an overall rally victor. As always, the crew with the lowest total time across the entire event will be crowned the winner.

Driver line-ups: Market shuffles and fresh faces
Reigning manufacturers’ champion Toyota Gazoo Racing fields three cars for the season opener, led by last year’s runner-up Elfyn Evans who is starting his fifth season with the team. The Welshman is joined by Japan’s Takamoto Katsuta, who steps up to a full-time seat in one of Toyota’s point-scoring GR Yaris Rally1 cars. Nine-time Monte-Carlo winner Sébastien Ogier pilots the third Yaris while reigning world champion Kalle Rovanperä will complete a partial programme for Toyota in 2024, starting in Sweden next month.

Hyundai Motorsport has re-signed Ott Tänak after the Estonian spent last season with M-Sport Ford. Tänak won nine rallies with the Korean manufacturer between 2020 and 2022. Now he aims to make history and land a maiden drivers’ crown for the marque, having previously claimed the title himself behind the wheel of a Yaris in 2019.

Five-time championship runner-up Thierry Neuville of Belgium leads the i20 N Rally1 attack with Tänak, while reigning WRC2 champion Andreas Mikkelsen – back at WRC’s top level for the first time since 2019 - returns to pilot the team’s third car this week. He will alternate drives with Spain’s Dani Sordo and Finland’s Esapekka Lappi throughout the season.

M-Sport Ford fields a youthful line-up with Adrien Fourmaux and Grégoire Munster both tackling full campaigns aboard Puma Rally1 cars. Frenchman Fourmaux returns full-time to Rally1 with M-Sport, having competed in WRC2 – the WRC’s main support category - in 2023, while 2024 marks Munster’s first full season at the pinnacle of rallying, making him the first Luxembourger to achieve the feat.

Monte master Ogier aims to break records
Ogier bids for a record 10th Rallye Monte-Carlo victory on roads close to his birthplace near the host town of Gap. But the 40-year-old is taking nothing for granted, knowing exactly how challenging the roads can be.

“For me this is a must-do event and there’s a lot of hopes for this first rally,” he said. “I think it’s the rally that you need to respect more than any other as the conditions can be so challenging, which means that nothing is guaranteed. Numbers are never my main motivation, but if I could get a 10th win on this event it would be something very special.”

The rally starts in Monaco’s Casino Square on Thursday afternoon. Competitors face 17 speed tests covering 324.44km before Sunday afternoon’s finish back in downtown Monaco.

The official Home of World Rallying: wrc.com


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