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AUTOMOBILE: Rally du Spain - WRC -24/10/2013

27 October

The Qatar M-Sport squad put in a solid performance in the penultimate round of the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) at RallyRACC Rally de España this weekend with the Cumbrian outfit’s range of Ford Fiesta rally cars accounting for 60 per cent of the overall top-ten.

Having been on course for another podium before a puncture put paid to his efforts, Thierry Neuville finished the event in fourth position with Evgeny Novikov fifth, Mads Østberg sixth and Hayden Paddon completing his competitive debut in a new-generation world rally car in eighth place respectively.

There was a mission in store for the Qatar M-Sport technicians yesterday evening as they converted the fleet of Ford Fiestas from their asphalt to gravel specification – ready for today’s loose-surface tests.

Despite this being done during the longest service of the year, the team had to work quickly in near perfect synchronisation. Changing everything from the suspension components, gearboxes and brakes to the jack foot height and sumpguards, the transformation of each car was completed in just 75 minutes.

Embarking on the final tests, the crews turned their hand back to gravel. Running third on the road with less than a 30 second deficit to the battling duo ahead, Qatar World Rally Team’s Neuville looked well placed to challenge.

But as low sun and hanging dust played havoc with the status quo, it looked as though he and co-driver Nicolas Gilsoul would have a fight on their hands, and when they picked up a right-rear puncture through the first pass of ‘Pesells 1’ (SS11), they found themselves relegated to fifth place overall.

Determined as always, Neuville was focused on recovering as many points as possible for his championship campaign. With his adversary, Jari-Matti Latvala, finishing second – and taking just one point from the points-paying Power Stage – the Belgian’s fourth place and Power Stage victory was enough to see his advantage reduced by just four points. With a 14-point margin going into the final round, the 25-year-old will be resolute on maintaining the upper hand.
In the Qatar M-Sport World Rally Team, Novikov and co-driver Ilka Minor continued their good run through the Spanish terrain. Keeping his Fiesta RS WRC firmly planted to the stages, the Muscovite found the perfect balance between being cautious when necessary and unleashing his customary dose of ‘maximum attack’ when comfortable.

Having set some strong times over the course of the event, Novikov was combining speed with a clever and considered approach. His strategy paid dividends, and he and Minor added another top-five finish to their 2013 tally.

Progressing on the loose-surface terrain, Østberg and co-driver Jonas Andersson were demonstrating their true potential behind the wheel. Benefiting from a better road position on the morning stages, the Norwegian was back where he belonged – posting top-three stage times on two of the three stages.

As the road cleaned for the afternoon loop, Østberg remained on form – piloting his Fiesta RS WRC to another hat-trick of top-three stage times to secure sixth place overall.

In the third Qatar M-Sport World Rally Team Fiesta RS WRC, Paddon and co-driver John Kennard were finding their feet on what was their first taste of a modern world rally car. With no gravel testing, it was somewhat of a baptism of fire for the New Zealander.

Adapting the set-up to suit his driving style for the afternoon loop, Paddon upped the pace. Comfortably in the top-ten on individual stage times, the youngster finished his competitive debut in the Fiesta with a creditable eighth place finish.

Elsewhere, in WRC 2, there was disappointment for Elfyn Evans and Daniel Barritt. Recovering well from yesterday’s final stage incident, the pairing were on course to climb the leader board with a second fastest time through the first stage of the day (SS10). Unfortunately the duo would go no further as their Ford Fiesta R5 developed a clutch issue before the first pass of ‘Pesells’ (SS11).

With just one round remaining in this year’s FIA World Rally Championship, the team are now focussed on securing a good result on home soil at Wales Rally GB – a favoured hunting ground for both the team and their young crews.

Thierry Neuville (4th) said:

“Most importantly we have only lost four points to Jari-Matti [Latvala] in the championship, even if I think we could have done better – especially on the Tarmac. OK, we didn’t feel 100 per cent confident with the set-up, but when we made some changes on Saturday afternoon we were able to set fastest times and win the Power Stage. All of these are positive things.

“Also don’t forget that this was the first time for us in the stages today. Especially with the dust, the conditions were very difficult which meant that checking the pacenotes wasn’t easy. At the same time, it was the first time for us doing a rally where a strategy can pay.

“We maybe didn’t see our best performance here this weekend, but we have certainly learnt a lot and it wasn’t a bad weekend by all means.”

Evgeny Novikov (5th) said:

“I am quite happy with our performance this weekend. We pushed to the maximum when we felt confident and played it clever when the conditions were a bit more tricky and I think that that was a good strategy for us. We were able to set some good times and to finish in the top-five which was my goal for this weekend.”

Mads Østberg (6th) said:

“I am very happy and very relieved this afternoon. The last few months have been quite difficult and I was really struggling to find the rhythm and get in the right frame of mind. It is so nice to start the day and be fast – to have the confidence, enjoy the ride, know you’re not going to make a mistake and still be fast. It’s a very good feeling. I’ve had this feeling before, but it has been some time so I am very happy to be back at the top, at least on gravel.”

Hayden Paddon (8th) said:

“Of course it is good to get to the finish as that was obviously one of our goals. This weekend has been a big learning curve for us though. We were a bit disappointed with how today went because we never really got a feeling for the car and struggled for confidence. We made some improvements this afternoon and made some good progress, but there is still a long way to go. We just need to go home, do some homework, and figure out what the answers are.”

Elfyn Evans (DNF) said:

“Performance wise, I think we can take a lot from this rally. Especially on Saturday, we might not have been able to match Robert [Kubica], but when compared to some of the world rally cars I think we had good pace.

“Unfortunately, I made a silly mistake on yesterday’s Super Special and that affected our retirement today when the [Ford] Fiesta R5 developed an issue with the clutch. Obviously it is very disappointing for the whole team, but we just need to keep focussed and look forward to GB.”

Team Principal, Malcolm Wilson OBE, said:

“Sadly we have not achieved the result we were hoping for this weekend, but to come away with Thierry [Neuville] still holding a strong second place in the Drivers’ Championship is not bad at all. He has 14 points over Jari-Matti [Latvala], so I think we can all look forward to a good battle between them in GB.

“It is very satisfying indeed to see so many of our Ford Fiestas in the top-ten. That in itself is a fantastic result and testament to all the hard work that goes on behind the scenes back at base.”





Anita Rudd
Media Qatar M-Sport World Rally Team

Photo Exclusive and Copyright:

André Lavadinho

Admin and Translation: Pablo MACHI
Rally Report Magazine Argentina

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Rally Report Magazine Argentina 13 años




This post is also available in: English (Inglés) Deutsch (Alemán) Español

WRC A FULL 2013 / 2014


29 de Diciembre 2013

Cuando todo indicaba que la firma inglesa que distribuye y arma en sus instalaciones de Cumbria, los autos que representan a la compañía norteamericana del ovalo en el WRC, o sea Ford desde 1997 con la responsable gestión de Malcom Wilson, en el día de ayer surgió la versión que su empresa habría acordado un contrato de tres años con Vodafone para participar cómo patrocinador principal de la escuadra británica en el campeonato del mundo de rallyes que organiza la FIA a partir del mítico Rally de Montecarlo a mediados de enero.
Pero al parecer no es tan concreta la opción cómo se vislumbraba para la sustitución del patrocinio de Qatar, tras la determinación del príncipe qatarí, Nasser Al-Attiyah, de dejar de lado por un año la actividad rallística y centrarse al certamen ecuménico de Rally Raid con el equipo alemán que conduce Sven Quandt, X-Raid Team. Mirando el objetivo máximo la edición del Dakar Argentina, Bolivia y Chile 2014 con el MINI ALL4 Racing.
Con esta incertidumbre comenzará M-Sport, el año en el Rally Mundial, si o no Vodafone en los laterales de los competitivos Fiesta RS WRC del finlandés Mikko Hirvonen, el inglés Elfyn Evans, en el día de su cumpleaños número 25 y el polaco Robert Kubica, quien entreno en esta jornada en Europa con vistas a su debut en el ERC Janner Rally con la Fiesta versión RRC by M-Sport con el apoyo del lubricante de su país, Lotos.








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FIA ERC 2014 event preview: 31 Int. Jannerrallye, Oberosterreich


28 December 2013

EVENT PREVIEW: 2014 FIA European Rally Championship, round one of 12
31 Int. Jännerrallye, Oberösterreich, 3-5 January 2014 (Austria)

ERC Ice Masters to chase success on 2014 season-opener in Austria

Some of Europe’s best drivers will prove their worth as Ice Masters when the 2014 FIA European Rally Championship powers into action on the 31 Int. Jännerrallye, Oberösterreich from 3-5 January 2014.

The asphalt showcase, which first ran in 1969 and attracted 100,000 spectators when it hosted the opening round of the 2013 ERC, is based in Freistadt, 40 kilometres north of the city of Linz in Upper Austria. The stages in the spectacular Mühlviertel region use fast, undulating country roads, with ice and snow adding to the challenge facing the crews.

As well as counting as the first event of the 12-round ERC schedule, which will enjoy extensive coverage on Eurosport, the rally is also the opening event of the Austrian and Czech championship seasons. It provides the first opportunity for drivers to chase ERC Ice Master points, an exciting new initiative developed by ERC promoter Eurosport Events.

Close on 50 cars are entered for the international section of the Jännerrallye with Formula One race winner turned rallying superstar Robert Kubica the top seed in his Ford Fiesta RRC. The entry list also includes Austria’s ERC Production Car Cup champion Andreas Aigner, his ERC 2WD title-winning counterpart Zoltán Bessenyey from Hungary, plus the national champions from Austria (Raimund Baumschlager), Czech Republic (Václav Pech) and Poland (Kajetan Kajetanowicz).

The event features 18 stages over a competitive distance of 245.60 kilometres. A Qualifying Stage, held on the morning of Friday 3 January, will be used to decide the starting order among the priority drivers.


ERC aces to make performance step
Several ERC regulars will be taking a step up in performance in Austria. Andreas Aigner, Robert Consani and Hermann Neubauer are among those sampling more advanced machinery than they used in 2013, with Aigner and Consani both competing in Peugeot 207 Super 2000s and Neubauer armed with a Subaru Impreza R4 STI for the first time. Meanwhile, ERC 2WD runner-up Kornél Lukács will switch to a four-wheel-drive Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX having campaigned a Citroën C2R2 in 2013.

R5 cars out in force in the ERC
Three new-generation Ford Fiesta R5s are entered with Czech drivers Roman Odložilík and Pavel Valoušek, plus top Pole Kajetan Kajetanowicz all competing in the M-Sport-built cars. Valoušek scored the first ERC stage win for an R5-specification car last season, while Kajetanowicz bagged the car’s maiden outright victory in the ERC.

Young ERC hopefuls out to impress
Several future stars will be in action including young Latvian promise Vasily Gryazin, emerging Czech talent Jan Černý, rated Hungarian Kornél Lukács, rising Ukrainian Vitaly Pushkar, German hope Raffael Sulzinger and Simone Tempestini, the current Romanian Junior champion. Černý, Lukács, Pushkar and Tempestini will all be in contention for ERC Production Car Cup honours, where rapid Austrian Beppo Harrach is expected to provide their strongest opposition.

Tarabus to start ERC adventure in Austria
Jaromír Tarabus, a frontrunner in the Czech championship for several seasons, will begin his ERC campaign on the Jännerrallye, one of as many as eight rounds that Tarabus is due to tackle in his Kresta Racing-prepared ŠKODA Fabia Super 2000. Compatriot and European championship regular Antonín Tlusťák is also expected to contest several ERC rounds in 2014 in a Fabia.

Danhelová and Stratieva to chase ERC Ladies’ Trophy honours
Martina Danhelová and Ekaterina Stratieva will battle for ERC Ladies’ Trophy honours in Austria. Stratieva finished runner-up to 2013 champion Molly Taylor, while Danhelová made a one-off ERC appearance in her native Czech Republic last term.

What’s new in the ERC in 2014?
New rallies, new categories and new awards are all in store for the ERC in 2014. The Acropolis Rally, the Circuit of Ireland Rally, auto24 Rally Estonia and the Cyprus Rally are all new for the upcoming season, while Sibiu Rally Romania becomes a winter event. The FIA ERC Junior Championship will get underway on Rally Liepāja in late January; the ERC Manufacturers’ Cup begins in 2014, while surface specialists will be rewarded with the creation of the new ERC Asphalt, Gravel and Ice Master accolades.


ERC Production Car Cup champion steps up for home rally

A new year and a new car – how much experience do you have of your Peugeot 207 Super 2000?
“Not so much. I did some kilometres in a Race of Champions-style event on a rallycross track in Austria but for sure we will do a test before the rally because it is very important to prepare for the wet, icy and snowy roads you get on this event so you can get the confidence.”

So it sounds like the weather will be a big factor?
“It means there cannot be one real favourite for the victory because it is so easy to make a mistake and go off the road or to make the wrong tyre choice and lose one minute. The weather is changing all the time and it is not easy to be on the right tyres at the right time.”

Your choice of car gives you the chance to start the 2014 ERC season with an overall victory…
“Although it’s my home event I don’t have so much experience on these roads and there are a lot of good drivers doing this rally, including really strong drivers from Austria and Czech Republic. They know the stages very well and will be very fast.”

Is this a one-off drive or is there a chance that you will do more ERC events in this car?
“We don’t know yet. I am very happy to be at the start in this car and I will look forward to this but we are still waiting on decisions from some sponsors before we can look ahead for the rest of the season.”

How crucial will a strong result be in your efforts to secure more backing?
“Of course a good result is important but I don’t think it will make a big difference. The most important thing is to compete in the European Rally Championship when it comes to your country.”

*History was made on the Jännerrallye in 1981 when a four-wheel-drive car was used in competition for the first time. Driving an Audi Quattro, Franz Wittmann won by a margin of more than 20 minutes.
*Speaking of iconic rally cars, event regular Stig Blomqvist will drive a Quattro course car as part of the 30th anniversary celebrations of his world rally title triumph in 1984.
*The first Jännerrallye took place in 1969 but a lack of finance meant there was no event between 1986 and 2001. The event didn’t run in 2010 due to a permit issue.
*Ernst Haneder is a baker in Jännerrallye host town Freistadt when he’s not competing. A brush with a telegraph pole ended his hopes of a finish last season.
*Apple strudel and Wiener schnitzel are two popular Austrian dishes. In Upper Austria, dumplings are a favourite, while the Linzer Torte is a cake made from ground nuts and raspberry jam.

ŠKODA driver Jan Kopecký claimed what would be the first of six ERC victories during his title-winning season by repeating his Jännerrallye triumph of 12 months previously. In a dramatic finish, Kopecký beat Bryan Bouffier (Peugeot 207 S2000) to victory by half a second after he fought back from a late puncture. Multiple Austrian champion Raimund Baumschlager finished third. Austria’s Beppo Harrach clinched the Colin McRae Flat Out Trophy for his performance to win the ERC Production Car Cup. Hannes Danzinger recovered from a puncture to win ERC 2WD in a Renault Clio.


Starts: 19:30hrs, Friday 3 January, Messehalle, Freistadt
Finishes: 17:28hrs, Sunday 5 January, Messehalle, Freistadt
Headquarters: Messehalle, Stieranger 8, 4240 Freistadt
Service park: Stieranger, 4240 Freistadt
Facts and figures:
Entries received: 49
ERC appearances: Three (since restructuring of ERC in 2004)
Stages: 18
Stage distance: 245.60 kilometres (138.40 kilometres leg one, 107.20 kilometres leg two)
Liaison: 579.26 kilometres
Total: 824.86 kilometres
Surface: Snow and ice-coated asphalt

Media accreditation and media centre:
Wirschaftskammer (WKO building), Linzer Straße 11, 4240 Freistadt
Accreditation times:
07:30hrs-22:00hrs, Friday 3 January
07:30hrs-22:00hrs, Saturday 4 January
Media centre opening times:
07:30hrs-22:00hrs, Friday 3 January
07:30hrs-22:00hrs, Saturday 4 January
07:30hrs-22:00hrs, Sunday 5 January

Free Practice (for FIA/ERC priority drivers): 09:30hrs, Friday 3 January, Freistadt Trölsberg (1.99-kilometre stage approximately three kilometres from the event service park)
Qualifying Stage (for FIA/ERC priority drivers): 10:30hrs, Friday 3 January, Freistadt Trölsberg
Shakedown (for all other drivers): 11:00hrs-15:00hrs, Friday 3 January, Freistadt Trölsberg
Driver photo/interview opportunity: 14:00hrs-15:00hrs, Friday 3 January, Pferdeeisenbahn Museum, Kerschbaum 61, 4261 Rainbach (eight kilometres from service park)
Presentation of competing cars: 16:00hrs, Friday 3 January, Stadtplatz, Freistadt
Start order selection: 16:30hrs, Friday 3 January, Stadtplatz, Freistadt
FIA Action for Road Safety photocall: 16:40hrs approx., Friday 3 January, Stadtplatz, Freistadt
Pre-event press conference: 17:15hrs, Friday 3 January, Wirschaftskammer (WKO building), Linzer Straße 11, 4240 Freistadt (200 metres from the service park)
Ceremonial start: 19:30hrs, Friday 3 January, Messehalle, Stieranger, 4240 Freistadt
Post-event press conference: 18:30hrs, Sunday 5 January, Messehalle, Stieranger, 4240 Freistadt, Austria. Top-three drivers and co-drivers in attendance
Event media contact: Armin Holenia,, +43 6642012700
Television coverage: Daily highlights will be broadcast on Eurosport. Go to the Watch it on TV section of for more information
ERC Rally Radio: Live throughout the event at or through the ERC app
Results, standings, live timing and text commentary:





Media FIA ERC 2014

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Rally Report Magazine Argentina 13 años




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WRC A FULL 2013 / 2014


28 de Diciembre 2013

Vodafone será el patrocinador oficial de M-Sport a partir del Rally blanco de Suecia, valido por el FIA World Rally Championship 2014 en el mes de febrero en los Ford Fiesta RS WRC de Mikko Hirvonen, Elfyn Evans y Robert Kubica.


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