WRC 2 A FULL 2018
AN AMBITIOUS SEASON KICKS OFF AT THE MONTE CARLO RALLY!.
The Sarrazin Motorsport team founded in April 2017 is preparing for the start of its first full season at the Monte Carlo Rally (24-28 January 2018).
For this kick-off, Stéphane Sarrazin (Hyundai i20 R5) and Quentin Giordano (Skoda Fabia R5) will be among the front-runners in their category.
Three weeks later, Jari Huttunen will begin his WRC2 programme under the HMDP banner in Rally Sweden (15-18 February).
Sarrazin Motorsport will also be present on the French national scene with the return of Brice Tirabassi in the French Gravel Championship, while Quentin Giordano will race in the Tarmac Championship.
Calmness rather than effervescence reigns in the Sarrazin Motorsport workshops even though the team, based in Alès in the heart of the Cevennes, is preparing to race in the oldest, most difficult and most famous event in the world on public roads – the Monte Carlo Rally!
The team has entered two cars for the opening round of the 2018 WRC: the no. 74 Skoda Fabia for Quentin Giordano-Vincent Landais and the no. 76 Hyundai i20 R5 for Stéphane Sarrazin-Jacques-Julien Renucci. Giordano, sixth in the WRC2 in 2015 and fourth 2016, will be having his fourth outing in the rally. Sarrazin has taken part in it five times finishing fifth in 2006, in the top 3 in 2009 as well as clinching a couple of fourth places in 2010 and 2011. While the crews aren’t aiming for outright victory they’re looking for a good result in RC2 (R5).
The 86th staging of the Monte Carlo Rally comprises 17 special stages, a total distance of 388 km divided into four legs during which the crews will have to battle with darkness, cold, rain, snow, ice and fog. This variety of conditions – sometimes all in the same stage- is what adds spice to the Monte. As always, the teams’ ability to suss out the best-adapted tyre choice will be the key factor in the race!
To stack all the odds in its favour the Sarrazin Motorsport team prepared for this event with two days’ testing at the beginning of January. The crews were able to evaluate the different types of rubber in both dry and snowy conditions and choose the appropriate setups. Now everything’s ready for the off.
NO BREATHING SPACE!
After the Monte Carlo Rally the team will have almost no breathing space as it will head for Sweden. Jari Huttunen’s programme will kick off in the second round of the world championship when he makes his debut in WRC2 under the HMDP banner, the development programme for young drivers set up by Hyundai Motorsport.
The 23-year-old Finn, who hit the headlines when he won the WRC2 category in the 2017 Rally Finland, will be racing in a world championship rally for only the fifth time. Huttunen will be making his debut in Rally Sweden and he can count on the guidance of Sarrazin Motorsport to tackle this programme in a relaxed frame of mind. After Sweden the young Finnish driver will also compete in Rally Mexico (8-11 March). The next events in his programme will be announced at a later date.
A week later, Sarrazin Motorsport will begin a new programme at the Rallye Le Touquet (16-18 March). Quentin Giordano, the runner-up in the 2017 French Championship with three podiums (Rouergue, Mont-Blanc and Coeur de France), will represent the team and he has set his sights on greater achievements. The 31 year old from the Vosges region will combine his sheer speed and experience to fight at the front and aim for victory on Tarmac.
The final part of the team from the Cevennes’ programme will start with the Rallye Terre des Causses (31st March-1st April), which will mark Brice Tirabassi’s comeback. The driver from the Var was the French Super 1600 champion in 2002 and Junior World Champion in 2003, and he is delighted to be back on his favourite surface at the wheel of a Hyundai i20 R5. Tirabassi is highly motivated by this challenge, and he is out to prove that he’s lost none of his skills behind the wheel as he too is aiming for victory with Sarrazin Motorsport.
Stéphane Sarrazin: “I’m very happy to be at the start of the Monte Carlo Rally in my own team. Over the past few months we’ve been working flat out to put together a professional, experienced group comprising in particular, Arnaud Mounier, Jacques-Julien Renucci, Séverine Labaune, Nicolas Klinger and Stéphane Fonta. But we’re still maintaining a family ambience to help the team and the crews enjoy personal fulfilment. It’s good that we’re starting the season with the toughest rally. Quentin Giordano will be in his Fabia and I will be in my Hyundai i20 so we’ll be able to work to help the Hyundai progress and prepare Jari Huttunen’s WRC2 programme. I haven’t raced in this rally since 2011, and I’m going to use my experience to aim for the best possible result. A tyre choice can decide the outcome of the race, and we hope we’ll be able to take the fight to the best R5s and be in the mix for victory in the RC2 class. I’m also delighted to announce Quentin’s and Brice Tirabassi’s programmes in the French Championship. We still have the capacity to welcome other drivers as we have Hyundais and Skodas for hire. 2018 looks like it’ll be a very exciting season for Sarrazin Motorsport!”
Quentin Giordano: “I got in contact with Stéphane Sarrazin last season through Arnaud Mounier. Stéphane’s a fighter who wants to win and also to pass on his passion. We worked together on my driving and note-taking. He accompanied me and helped me to progress and my runner-up spot in the French Championship owes him a great deal. He then made a big effort for us to set up this programme, which kicks off with the Monte Carlo. I’m now starting to accumulate a lot of experience in this rally in which I’ve done pretty well in the past. What I do know is that there’s no use in setting yourself a precise aim before the start. But I like these tricky conditions and I can’t wait to tackle the stages. After that we’ll focus on the French Championship. Last year was a learning one, which ended with the second step of the podium. So I’ll do everything to make 2018 a winning year despite being up against ever tougher opposition.”
Jari Huttunen: “I’m very honoured to be representing the Hyundai Motorsport Development Program in WRC2 this season. I’m gradually playing myself in and I’ll try and get the maximum out of each opportunity. Although it’ll be a tough competition we have a very good car and we’re in an optimistic frame of mind. We’ll try and transform all this into positive results.”
Brice Tirabassi: “I’m very happy to be making my comeback to racing. Last year, the idea was already trotting around in my head, but I wanted a full programme in good conditions. It was Jean-Jacques Renucci, my former co-driver, who pointed me in the direction of Sarrazin Motorsport. We soon hit it off and the idea of driving the Hyundai i20, a new car with a lot of potential, really appeals to me. The last time I competed in a rally was in 2010, but I’m not coming back just for the pleasure of racing. My aim is victory! At the same time, there are numerous parameters that I don’t control. For example, we don’t yet know which drivers will be title contenders and those who will be racing on an occasional basis. The possibility of reusing notes from previous years risks being a handicap for me. In any case, the essential is to return and dial myself back into driving on gravel. It’s the surface on which I made my debut and the one I like best.”
Media Sarrazin Motorsport
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Photos: Media Sarrazin Motorsport
23 January 2018
Categories: RRM ARGENTINA WRC 18 AÑOS