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8 November

As the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) embarks on the season finale at Wales Rally GB, the Qatar M-Sport squad will be looking to deliver a strong result. Having amassed eight podium finishes throughout the course of the 12 rounds to date, the UK-based team will be determined to add to that tally next week.

As an event which favours both the team and their young crews, the Welsh fixture holds a promising prospect for Qatar M-Sport. Returning to its traditional season-end slot, the rally is famed for its fast, undulating forest stages which are made all the more challenging by a constant threat of rain, fog, ice and even snow.

Although the season-closing date may be familiar, the event is all change. Having previously been based in Cardiff, this year will see the rally venture north to Deeside. The North Wales location brings with it an added test as over 50 per cent of the stages are either brand new, or not used in the championship for more than a decade.

One driver who knows how to tame any challenge thrown up by the Welsh forests is Qatar M-Sport World Rally Team’s Mads Østberg. Having tackled the event on seven previous occasions, it is fair to say that the Norwegian considers Wales Rally GB a home-from-home. The 26-year-old – who is partnered by Swedish co-driver Jonas Andersson – also knows how to get the best out of the Ford Fiesta RS WRC through the forest tracks. Indeed Østberg aided a clean sweep of the podium for M-Sport in 2011 when he piloted his Fiesta to an impressive second place overall.

Equally versed in the demands of this specialist event is Østberg’s Qatar M-Sport World Rally Team team-mate, Evgeny Novikov. This will be the Russian’s fifth appearance in Wales having made his WRC debut on the event in 2007. Novikov’s best result from the rally is sixth overall, but he and co-driver Ilka Minor will be looking to improve on that as they focus on continuing what has been a streak of top-five results behind the wheel of their Fiesta RS WRC.

Also making his fifth appearance at the Welsh fixture is Qatar World Rally Team’s Nasser Al-Attiyah. Partnered by co-driver Giovanni Bernacchini, the Qatari knows what it takes to master the Welsh conditions having secured a podium finish as part of his pre-championship winning year in the then P-WRC series in 2005. Needless to say, Al-Attiyah will be looking to finish his season on a high and is more than capable of piloting his Fiesta RS WRC to a top-five finish.
Despite being the crew with the least amount of experience in Wales, Qatar World Rally Team’s Thierry Neuville and Nicolas Gilsoul should not be discounted for a strong result. This will be only the second time that the Belgian does battle with the Welsh forests – and the first time behind the wheel of the Fiesta RS WRC – but that has not halted his pace in the past and Neuville will be going all out to finish his impressive season on a high.

Of course there is one driver in the Qatar M-Sport squad for whom a lack of experience in Wales poses no threat – local boy Elfyn Evans. Returning to the Ford Fiesta R5, the Welshman will be a real contender for victory in the WRC 2 category. Making his WRC debut at the event in 2007, Evans piloted a Ford Fiesta ST to class victory and will be looking to repeat that feat next week. Partnered by co-driver Daniel Barritt, this will be Evans’ third appearance on the event, but his local knowledge is sure to give him a strong advantage when it comes to taming the unpredictable nature of the Welsh terrain.

Mads Østberg said:

“I think it is fair to say that Wales Rally GB feels a bit like home to me. The roads and the surface are very similar to what we see in Norway and I have been here many times before which always helps. It is definitely one of my favourite events of the year.

“I don’t think that there is a secret to doing well here, it is just a case of feeling comfortable and confident with the conditions. The stages suit my driving style and it is in the really tricky, slippery conditions where I think we can show just how competitive we can be. I definitely want to be fighting for a top-three position next week, and we will be pushing to the maximum to achieve that.”

Evgeny Novikov said:

“I started my WRC career at this event in 2007, so it holds a lot of good memories for me. I have also competed here quite a few times before and this year I want to secure my best result from the event. Ilka [Minor, co-driver] and I have had some good top-five finishes recently, and we want to continue that in Wales.

“For a driver, the most challenging aspect of the rally is the constant change of grip. It can be really muddy and slippery in places, and with the weather being so unpredictable you need to be really focussed and judge the grip levels accordingly. Quite a lot of the stages will be new to us this year too, so we will need to have a really good recce to ensure we are fully prepared.”

Nasser Al-Attiyah said:

“I am really looking forward to this event and for the Qatar M-Sport teams to end their season on another high. This is an event which suits the [Ford] Fiesta, and I hope that at least one of our crews will be on the podium come the end of the rally – that would be the perfect way to end what has been a very encouraging season for Qatar and M-Sport.

“I like this event, but it is certainly a challenge. The stages are very fast and technical and there can be lots of changes in grip throughout each test. You need to have a really good recce, and also be able to react quickly when the stages are live. The fans in Wales are always very enthusiastic so it is a great way to end the season.”

Thierry Neuville said:

“Our main aim for this rally will be to finish strongly and secure second place in the drivers’ championship. Of course our plan was to win at least one rally this season, but we have not achieved that yet. With that in mind, I would like to be in the fight for victory next week and it would be great to finish the season with another podium for the team.

“Wales Rally GB is certainly a difficult event. There are lots of changes in grip – sometimes the ground can be wet, but there is actually quite a lot of grip, then all of a sudden it can get really muddy and you lose traction almost straight away. Given the time of year, it is very cold and we could even see some ice in places. The main challenge for the driver is to judge the grip correctly. You need to have a very good recce and analyse every aspect of the stages.”

Elfyn Evans said:

“I have some good knowledge of next week’s stages, but admittedly some more than others. I think Thursday and Sunday will be new for almost everyone, including me. One day I will know that perhaps others won’t is Saturday – hopefully that can be a really good day for us.

“Ultimately however, it is the weather conditions which pose the greatest obstacle. If we have the usual rain and fog it will be very challenging – especially on Thursday’s night stages which are particularly narrow and relatively unknown.

“It is going to be a tough four-day event – that is for sure. But if we can finish all of the stages without any issues and have a clean rally, I think that should be enough for us to secure a strong result.”





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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Rally Report Magazine Argentina 13 años




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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.


Media & Comunication TGS Worldwide
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Rally Report Magazine Argentina

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