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 Hyundai i20 WRC
 Hyundai i20 WRC

In just over a year since its establishment, Hyundai Motorsport is ready to join the ranks of the competitive FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) next week with two Hyundai i20 WRC cars entered into the prestigious Rallye Monte-Carlo, round one of the 13-rally 2014 WRC season.

The Alzenau-based Hyundai Shell World Rally Team will line up against experienced opposition in the gruelling Monte-Carlo event with just six months of testing under its belt – a total of 8,000km amassed over 16 test sessions in Europe. Rallye Monte-Carlo will therefore act as a continuation of the team’s impressive learning curve as it adapts to the rigours of the WRC.

As a brand new entrant to the WRC, Rallye Monte-Carlo will mark the first appearance of the Hyundai Shell World Rally Team and the Hyundai i20 WRC in the series and will also herald the competitive debuts of Belgians Thierry Neuville and Nicolas Gilsoul, as well as Spaniards Dani Sordo and Marc Martí behind the wheel of their respective Hyundai i20 WRCs.

Rallye Monte-Carlo represents an enormous challenge for the nascent team being one of the trickiest and toughest rounds on the WRC calendar. Despite its inspiring achievements to date in preparing two Hyundai i20 WRC cars for competition in such a short space of time, the Hyundai Shell World Rally Team has set realistic objectives for the initial rallies of 2014: to accumulate as much mileage as possible with both cars and to gain valuable experience in competition. Each rally will mark another important step forward in the team’s ongoing development.

“We have established a young team of highly talented professionals at our factory for this moment,” said Team Principal Michel Nandan. “At Rallye Monte-Carlo, the huge amount of work that we have collectively carried out so far will be put into practice. This rally has been the first major target in our development schedule and finally we’re there; it’s a hugely significant and special moment for us all. Of course, the ‘Monte’ is a complicated and unpredictable event to start with but it’s great to debut on such an iconic rally,” continued Nandan. “We have two very good drivers who have given the whole team a big boost. We all know that Thierry can achieve outstanding performance levels despite his young age, while Dani has a lot of experience in WRC and at Rallye Monte-Carlo. I can definitely say that we have a very good mix! We have not set any results targets because our first priority is to finish the rally with both cars, to learn as much as possible and to use that as a base to improve for the following events,” he concluded.

The Hyundai Shell World Rally Team prepared for the first event of the season last month with a week of testing in the French Alps with Neuville and Sordo sharing duties behind the wheel of the Hyundai i20 WRC. The Belgian and the Spaniard also completed an additional day of pre-event testing this week.

For Neuville – who will drive Hyundai i20 WRC number 7 – this year will mark his fourth participation at the ‘Monte’ as well as being his first event as a Hyundai Shell World Rally Team driver: “Nicolas (Gilsoul, co-driver) and I are really looking forward to embark on this new adventure with the Hyundai Shell World Rally Team and to tackle this first event with the team and the Hyundai i20 WRC. I can’t say that Rallye Monte-Carlo is one of the events I like the most. It is so difficult to find a good rhythm and it can be very easy to lose time with the wrong tyre choice. You can’t really predict what you’ll find around each corner; there can be black ice and you can go off the road so easily with a small mistake,” said Neuville.Our aim is to finish the event and get some good experience and mileage to further develop the Hyundai i20 WRC. We carried out some good testing ahead of the rally where we drove the car in very different weather conditions. Although it is very difficult to recreate the exact same conditions we will find on the event and to test everything, we will give it absolutely everything.”

On his seventh outing at Rallye Monte-Carlo, Sordo (Hyundai i20 WRC #8) will bring a wealth of past experience and a proven track record to the team in its debut event: “Marc (Martí, co-driver) and I are delighted to be starting this season with the Hyundai Shell World Rally Team on the team’s debut at Rallye Monte-Carlo. This is an event where I feel really comfortable and I have a very good experience on these roads although it’s such an unpredictable rally anything can happen depending on the weather conditions you find along the way. We want to finish this rally and give the team as much feedback as possible to continue the development work,” said Sordo. “We did a few days of testing with the Hyundai i20 WRC in December and one additional day this week. The first impression is positive although we all know there’s still a lot of work to do. The aim of the pre-event test was to get to know the car as much as possible in first instance but at the same time we had to find the best set-up for the event. Even though we joined the team officially only one month ago, we already have a good feeling about the team everyone is motivated, working hard and willing to do the best job possible,” the Spaniard concluded.

A classic in the WRC calendar, Rallye Monte-Carlo celebrates its 82nd edition this year with the first being held back in 1911. This year’s edition features the return of the event to the Haute-Alpes region with an itinerary that includes 15 stages, totalling 383.88 kilometres of competitive tarmac stages run over three days. The changeable weather means the stages are incredibly treacherous making tyre choice a fundamental key to success on this event. Crews will have 40 tyres available (plus five for Shakedown) - supplied by the team’s technical partner Michelin - to choose from among four different compounds. With no Rally 2 regulations - which allow restarting after a retirement on the following day – Rallye Monte-Carlo will be an even trickier affair which requires drivers to be extremely careful as a single mistake could mean the end of the event.

Rallye Monte-Carlo gets underway on Monday, January 13 with the traditional Ceremonial Start in the Principality’s glamorous Place du Casino. However, the real action will start on Wednesday with the Shakedown followed by the first proper day of competition on Thursday.

Minister Announces Funding Support for Wales Rally GB  

Minister Announces Funding Support for Wales Rally GB
Minister Announces Funding Support for Wales Rally GB
Minister Announces Funding Support for Wales Rally GB
Minister Announces Funding Support for Wales Rally GB

Last year’s Wales Rally GB was one of the most successful on record, providing the region with a multi-million pound boost, attracting thousands of spectators and watched by 600 million viewers world wide.

The interim results have been warmly welcomed by Economy Minister Edwina Hart who today announced funding support for the Rally for the next two years with the aim of replicating this success.

The Minister said: “Wales Rally GB is one of our flagship events which gets worldwide coverage so I am particularly pleased that efforts to revitalise the event and attract more spectators and entries are paying off.

“The people of North and Mid Wales are incredibly supportive of the event and local authorities and businesses have all reported increased economic activity in the area due to the Rally. We want to maximise the benefits coming to Wales and build on this momentum which is why I have agreed in principle funding for Wales Rally GB over the next two years.”

The Welsh Government will provide up to £1.5m per annum to support the staging of the Rally in 2014 and 2015, subject to evaluating the impact of the events against agreed targets.

Andrew Coe,Chief Executive of Rally organiser International Motor Sports, said: "We are, of course, absolutely delighted for the on-going commitment from the Welsh Government. The move to a new base in north Wales really revitalised the event in 2013 and we are already making exciting plans to build on that success with an even bigger and better Wales Rally GB in November.

“What's more we now also have the fillip of a top Welsh driver, Elfyn Evans, competing in a front-running world championship team and that's another major boost both for Wales Rally GB and the sporting scene in Wales."

The Minister said the Welsh Government will also support an automotive conference and student industry awareness day in 2014 and 2015 to run alongside the Rally and a reprint of the Motor Sport Directory to promote Welsh businesses in the sector.

RALLY’S PIONEERING LADY TO OPEN PAISLEY’S MONTE CARLO RALLY.

One of the most famous drivers in the world and a pioneer for female achievement will lead the cars off for the Monte Carlo Classic Rally from Paisley on January 23rd.

Rosemary Smith, a tall, blond Dublin dress-maker, rose to international prominence in 1965 when she defeated her male counterparts to win the famous Tulip Rally.

She become only the second fully contracted international lady rally driver of her time, alongside Pat Moss, sister of Formula One legend, Stirling Moss.

Throughout her career Smith recorded major wins, taking on male counterparts while refusing to eschew the painted nails and false eye-lashes that marked her femininity.

Now the Dubliner is set to return to Scotland, at the age of 76, to drive the lead car at the 2014 Monte Carlo Classic Rally in Paisley- an event which kick-started her professional rallying career.

After the 1962 start from Blythswood Square in Glasgow, Smith was approached to take a paid works drive with Rootes, the group which manufactured the famous Hillman Imp at Linwood.

She is looking forward to revisiting that defining start, as she leads the classic cars on their epic 2688km odyssey to the French Riviera from Paisley Abbey.

“I competed in the rally about 8 times, three times from Glasgow. It’s great to be coming back,” said the driver, recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award in Dublin last month.

“It was after my first Monte from Scotland that I was approached by Rootes.

“We had skidded and slid all the way from Glasgow to the finish. I was a total greenhorn. I knew rallying, but not in the snow and ice of the Alps.

“In fact, I was ready to give up for good when the approach was made and I originally said, no.

“My mother later wrote a letter to say I’d a change of heart and that was the start.” When Smith won her first international rally outright, with English female co-driver Val Domleo in a Hillman Imp, she was sent flowers by Elizabeth Taylor and Roger Burton.

A telegram arrived from the Irish Prime Minister and the media swarmed the airport to speak to the glamorous lady who had succeeded in a male-dominated sport.

For her special lead role on January 23rd, Monte Carlo Classic Rally organisers are fittingly preparing a Hillman Imp for her to lead the cars over the start ramp in Renfrewshire.

“I didn’t think a lady defeating the men would be of any great interest to anyone but the reaction was quite astonishing,” she recalls.

“People asked me questions like, ‘why do you paint your nails if you’re a rally driver? Why stick the false eye-lashes on? But it was because I wanted to be me. I didn’t want to be a man.”

Smith famously won the Coup de Dames at the 1966 Monte Carlo Rally but was later controversially disqualified, along with 9 others, for a headlight infringement.

Monte Carlo Classic Rally Organiser, Douglas Anderson, said: “It is a real privilege to have Rosemary come over from Ireland to start this year’s event from Paisley.

“She has such a strong connection with the Monte and, of course, the Hillman Imp, which was manufactured at Linwood close by. She tells me she has photographs of herself at the Linwood factory and I look forward to hearing some of her stories. She is a remarkable individual.”

Renfrewshire Council Leader Mark Macmillan said: "We are sure the event will be a fantastic spectacle for residents and visitors alike.

"Rosemary's fascinating story really showcases the rich history of this great event, and its close links to Renfrewshire's proud car-manufacturing heritage - and we look forward to celebrating that later this month."

WYLIE CONTINUES IMPRESSIVE RISE UP MOTOR RACING RANKS 

 “RISING STAR” WYLIE IS SELECTED BY FAMOUS MOTOR RACING CLUB
Ross Wylie racing at the Nürburgring in Germany  (17-18 August)

Scottish youngster to race for reigning British GT Champions in 2014

Ross Wylie continues his impressive progression up the motor racing “ladder” after being snapped up by reigning British GT Champions Beechdean Motorsport for 2014.

The 22-year-old from Thornhill near Dumfries will pilot an Aston Martin Vantage in the GT4 category of this year’s 10-race British GT series.

2014 marks only Wylie’s third full season of motor racing after eight years in karting and Ross is excited to be moving his career forward once more with a respected team that swept fellow Scot Jonny Adam to the BGT title last year.

“I’m really excited to be joining Beechdean and racing an Aston Martin Vantage which will be very, very cool,” confirmed Ross.

“Beechdean are the reigning British GT champions and have decided to run in the GT4 category for the first time and that’s the class I’ll be contesting for them.”

Wylie claimed extremely creditable fifth and sixth positions in the final standings of the Volkswagen Scirocco Junior R-Cup and Volkswagen Racing Cup last year.

Having not raced on 10 of the 11 tracks Ross visited last year, the talented Scotsman nevertheless chalked up six top-six (Junior) placings in the German series and the same number in the UK-based championship – including a combined four wins.

Ross continued: “Racing in BGT will be a completely different adventure for me. The races are much longer in duration and feature two drivers, the Aston will have much more power than I have ever had at my disposal previously while I’ve never raced a rear-wheel-drive car.

“I’ve not ‘shared’ my racecar with another driver and it’s vital that my co-driver Jake Giddings and I work well together.

“It is hard to say where we will position ourselves without being out on track but I am confident with this team around me, we can challenge for GT4 class honours. I certainly won't be racing to make up the numbers.”

Andrew Howard, who established Buckinghamshire-based Beechdean Motorsport in 2001 and won the 2013 BGT “crown” along with Adam, commented: “Beechdean AMR is very excited about running an Aston Martin Vantage GT4 in the 2014 British GT Championship. We have a new driver line up of Ross and Jake Giddings, both are new to GT racing but bring great potential to a rapidly growing category.

“Beechdean started its Aston Martin journey in the GT4 Vantage, winning at FIA GT4 level and the 2007 Britcar 24 hour race, so it's great to return with the 100th Vantage GT4.

“Whilst it's going to be a challenge for Jake and Ross racing against some very experienced competitors, we do believe they both have the potential to follow in the footsteps of Aston Martin accomplished racing drivers such as Jonny Adam. We are looking forward to starting our testing programme and then the first race at Oulton Park at Easter.”

Wylie hopes to begin testing the Aston for the first time next month while the opening rounds of the series take place at Oulton Park, Cheshire, on Easter Monday (21 April).

“My ambition is to one day race at Le Mans and hopefully follow in the footsteps of fellow Dumfries driver Allan McNish,” concluded Wylie. “Jonny [Adam] is now a ‘factory’ Aston Martin driver and his career path is certainly one I’d like to follow.”

Craig Gibson & Chris Lees Spins at Knockhill on Grant Construction Stages 2014. Photo by Iain Provan
Ken Wood & Michael Cruickshank Grant Construction Stages Knockhill January 2014. Photo by Iain Provan
Ross Carbry & Kyle Livingstone, sideways, Grant Construction Stages, Knockhill January 2014. Photo by Iain Provan

The Scottish Tarmack Rally Championship is coming to Kintyre! The Machrihanish Air Base, near Campbeltown in Argyll and Bute, will host the inaugural event in July 2014, with up to 100 competitors expected to compete.

Organised by Dunfermline Car Club (DCC), who have been rallying and organising such events for more than 40 years, the rally is expected to attract rally enthusiasts from all over the UK and beyond, and will be managed by an army of professionals and volunteers.

The expected dates of this hottest new entry into the motor sport calendar will be the weekend of July 5 and 6, 2014, subject to official approval.

Event organiser David Hatrick commented: “Together with the Machrihanish Air Base owners, who have been fantastic in helping to organise this inaugural event, and the wider community of Campbeltown and its surrounding areas, we feel this will be a fantastic opportunity to bring the whole area together for a fun-filled weekend.

“Above all, it’s a chance to put to good use the base, which was sold to the community from the American Armed Forces in 2010.”

Mr Hatrick added: “This will be a two-day event, with scrutineering and documentation of the competing rally teams taking place on the Saturday morning, followed by a selection of challenging stages in the afternoon and early evening.”

“Already the feedback from the nation’s best rally drivers and co-drivers, not forgetting of course the huge army of motor sport fans, has been amazing.”

On the Saturday night it is hoped there will be food and drink available, with the potential for fantastic live entertainment and music for the spectators and the rally crews.

The Sunday morning will see the thrilling finale, with teams competing in the final stages of the rally. This will be followed by the highlight of the weekend for the competitors and motor sports fans: the prize giving

Chris Collie & Quiton Milne. Photo by Iain Provan
Stuart Walker. Photo by Iain Provan
Steven Hay. Photo by Iain Provan
Photo by Iain Provan
Ross Hunter. Photo by Iain Provan
Garry Adam. Photo by Iain Provan
Gerry Gaffney. Photo by Iain Provan
Chris Collie had headed to Knockhill for the Grant Construction Knockhill Stages Rally looking to shakedown the car ahead of the start of the 2014 Scottish Rally Championship. The weather was changeable all day making tyre selection crucial, however, Chris did not have Intermediate tyres which, on reflection, he thinks would have been the ideal choice.
 
With a quality field entered, Chris was seeded at car 3. The first stage was slippery on the outskirts of the track and after a few 'moments' the “cobwebs” were dusted off, and Chris managed to post the quickest time and jumped straight into the event lead.
 
From there, the day went very well. Spins on stages 4 and 5 saw the loss of some time, however Chris managed to stay ahead of the chasing pack. With the weather turning to rain and then snow, there was a change to full wet compound tyres which initially, made the car a handful in the tricky conditions, however Chris’s determination allowed him to avoid any major incidents and to maintain his lead.
 
With the win in sight, Chris managed to hold off the challenge of the following competitors, who were only seconds behind, to take the victory. A good result with Chris recording his first ever outright win and a great start to the 2014 season!
 
At the end of the event Chris was quick to thank his stand in navigator for the day, Quintin Milne, and to thank Tim Finch and the guys at TF Rallyesport for preparing and looking after the car!
 
With one sponsor, Titan Torque, confirmed for the 2014 SRC season, Chris has shown what he is capable of.
 
Stuart Walker, in his Evo 8, was a close second to Chris and was followed, in third place overall, by Lee Hastings in his Impreza.
 
Steven Hay took class One honours in his Corsa in front of James Thomson and Alison Woodcock in their Nova.
 
Class Two winner was Iain Wilson in his Nova with John and Nick Rintoul finishing second in their Skoda Fabia.
 
Class Three was taken by Ross Hunter in his Peugeot 205, with the Honda of Graeme Schoneville following in second place.
 
Class Four was an all Escort finish with Gary Adam followed by Ross Marshall
 
Class Five finished with the Evo of Gerry Gaffney first followed by the Subaru of Stuart Paterson     

McRae rally car leads the pack at Race Retro 

 1977 Ford Escort Mk2 Escort RS1800 Gp4 Historic Rally Car
 1977 Ford Escort Mk2 Escort RS1800 Gp4 Historic Rally Car

One of the most instantly recognisable historic rally cars is among the first entries into Silverstone Auctions’ sale at Race Retro on Saturday 22nd February.

Offered with an estimate of £65,000 to £85,000, the Eddie Stobart liveried 1977 Ford Escort MK2 RS1800 Gp4 Historic Rally Car is one of the most competitive ever. Built by leading specialists Prepfab Motorsport Engineering, and having been tested by the late Colin McRae, the car was driven to victory by the rallying legend’s father, Jimmy McRae, in the 2006 Roger Albert Clark Rally.

Commenting on the car, Nick Whale, managing director, Silverstone Auctions, said: “We’re incredibly proud to offer a competition car with such provenance. Given the high octane surroundings of Race Retro the car is a perfect fit and is sure to prove popular with historic motorsport fans.”

After it debut season win, ‘LSV171’ continued to post victories throughout the following year taking first place in the pre-1981 category of the 2007 British Historic Championship. The McRae connection continued in 2008 when the car was driven to another category victory by Alister McRae in the Colin McRae Memorial Rally. 

In 2009 the car was treated to a show condition rebuild and has since competed in the 2010 and 2011 Rally Clásico Isla Mallorca. The car comes with MSA stage rally logbook and Historic Rally Vehicle Identity Form, plus MoT and tax until May 2014.

Nick added: “We’re now in our third year of hosting the Race Retro sale and early indications are that this year’s sale will attract even more interest than ever before. Of course, as well as offering prestigious competition cars, we’re also welcoming entries of quality classic road cars and motorcycles as well as modern supercars. However, as space is limited, we’d encourage those looking to submit an entry to contact us as soon as possible.”

FROM MONTE-CARLO TO MACAO: CITROËN RACING TO FIGHT ON ALL FRONTS IN 2014

Citroën Racing has presented details of its 2014 sporting programmes. For the first time ever, Citroën will be competing simultaneously in two FIA World Championships, in both the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) and the FIA World Touring Car Championship (WTCC). This commitment to motorsport is also reflected in the products of the Brand, which has today unveiled a limited edition DS3 Cabrio Racing.

From the kick-off of the WRC on 14 January at Monte-Carlo to the chequered flag at the final race of the WTCC on 16 November at Macao, Citroën Racing is set to experience 306 intense days of competition, with two World Championships and a total of 25 races.

“We are embarking on a challenge that is not just sporting, but also technical and logistical. The entire team has been very enthusiastic and creative in preparing for the coming season as effectively as possible,” commented Yves Matton, Citroën Racing Team Principal. “We are very fortunate to be able to take on this double programme. Despite the difficult economic conditions facing the automotive industry, the trust placed in us by the senior management of PSA and the support of our partners have enabled us to implement our plans successfully. We are going to reach more countries, in all four corners of the planet, and we are going to have so many more opportunities to promote Citroën and showcase its Créative Technologie.”

“We are not starting from scratch in either championship. Our experience in rallying and the FIA’s desire for regulatory stability mean we can approach the WRC side of things in a relatively relaxed frame of mind. We have opted for the crews of Kris Meeke/Paul Nagle and Mads Østberg/Jonas Andersson to represent us in the Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team. Our aim is to support their progress so that they are able to challenge for victory at certain events. Khalid Al Qassimi/Chris Patterson will also be competing in a few rounds of the WRC, but their main objective will be the Middle East Rally Championship.”

“The challenge awaiting us in the WTCC is also very motivating, but we need to learn about everything in this discipline. We feel that we have worked well on the Citroën C-Elysée WTCC, even though we have no real basis for comparison given that the regulations are new for all of the competitors. Yvan Muller believes the car has been well designed and this assessment has reassured us in terms of the direction we have taken. We can’t wait to go up against our rivals on track to get confirmation! Alongside Yvan and Sébastien Loeb, we are delighted to confirm our third driver, José-Maria López.”

 

FIA WORLD TOURING CAR CHAMPIONSHIP (WTCC)

The clock counts down for Citroën Racing to the opening round of the World Touring Car Championship, scheduled to start on 5-6 April 2014 in Marrakech. The team has come a long way since it officially announced it would be taking part in the championship earlier this year, on 19 July. Once the CAD drawings had taken on physical form, Citroën C-Elysée WTCC completed its first on-track tests. Since then, the car has undergone a series of development sessions, with the twin objective of obtaining a quick and reliable car.

Central to the project since its inception, Sébastien Loeb was the first driver to be confirmed on the team. This is unquestionably the greatest challenge that the 39-year-old nine-time World Rally Champion has taken on in his career. With the modesty befitting of a beginner, he has started from scratch in his attempt to learn about the inner workings of a racing category that is fundamentally different to the one in which he has excelled. To achieve his goal, the Alsatian driver has taken part in a variety of track racing events, notably winning several races in GT.

In securing the services of Yvan Muller, Sébastien Loeb’s teacher and rival, Citroën Racing has played a trump card for this new adventure. After starting out in single-seater racing and proving unbeatable in ice racing, “the other Alsatian” is above all one of the most experienced touring car drivers in the world, having competed in 20 seasons. In winning his fourth world title in 2013, Yvan became the most successful driver in the history of the WTCC and he almost certainly isn’t done yet.

Alongside the two Frenchmen, José-Maria López will be the third driver to compete for Citroën Racing. Having come close to a Formula 1 drive after an impressive career in single-seater racing, the Argentinian quickly adapted to GT and touring car racing. Competing in the very popular TC2000, “Pechito” won the Argentinian national championship in 2008, 2009 and 2012 (Súper TC). His experience of the WTCC is limited to the meeting held on the Termas de Rio Hondo racetrack in 2013. However, he made quite an impression, producing a stunning performance to win the second race.

Yves Matton, Citroën Racing Team Principal; After spending the last ten years or so at the top of the WRC, we are excited about the idea of writing a new chapter in our shared history with Sébastien Loeb. We chose the WTCC because it is a form of racing with controlled costs, a genuinely international race calendar and a lot of media coverage. As was the case in cross-country/rally-raid and in WRC, we have attempted to secure the best drivers for our team. Yvan Muller has been heavily involved in development of the car and has been one of the driving forces behind the progress we have made. But we also have high expectations of José-Maria López, who has proven to be very comfortable at the wheel of the C-Elysée WTCC during his first tests…”

SÉBASTIEN LOEB (FRA)
Born on 26 February, 1974
Nine-time World Rally Champion (2004 to 2012)
WTCC races: 0
 
YVAN MULLER (FRA)
Born on 16 August, 1969
Ten-time winner of the Andros Trophy
WTCC races: 182
WTCC wins: 37
Four-time World Touring Car Champion (2008, 2010, 2011 and 2013)
 
JOSÉ-MARÍA LÓPEZ (ARG)
Born on 26 April, 1983
WTCC races: 2
WTCC wins: 1
Best finish in the WTCC drivers’ championship: 15th in 2013
 
FIA WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP (WRC)

With 93 wins and eight Manufacturers’ World Championship titles, Citroën Racing has the best competitive record among the teams currently competing in the WRC. This impressive heritage continues with Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team’s entry in the championship in 2014.

First seen in 2011, when the new regulations were introduced, the Citroën DS3 WRC will be contesting its fourth racing season. After winning three rallies this year in Monte-Carlo, Argentina and Germany, the DS3 WRC remains very quick on all road surfaces, even when up against more recent models.

The big changes for 2014 concern the teams nominated to score points towards the Manufacturers’ World Championship standings. Having competed in a DS3 WRC on two occasions last year, Kris Meeke prepares to tackle his first full season in the World Championship. The 34-year-old Northern Irishman has been part of the Citroën Racing family for a long time, since he competed in the 2005 and 2006 J-WRC in a C2 Super 1600. IRC Champion in 2009, Kris has only taken part in around ten rounds of the WRC in World Rally Cars, but he is extremely motivated to make the most of this opportunity.

A WRC regular since he was 19 years of age, Mads Østberg is actually more experienced than his new team-mate. The 26-year-old Norwegian has already competed in 65 rallies, with his record including six podium-finishes and one win (Portugal 2012). For his fourth full season, Mads has opted to challenge himself by joining a team that in the past he has often tried to beat. A naturally aggressive driver, Mads Østberg is counting on combining his turn of speed with Citroën Racing’s expertise as he goes in search of that winning feeling again.

Competing predominantly in the Middle East Rally Championship in a Citroën DS3 RRC, Khalid Al Qassimi will also be taking part in a selection of WRC events. The Abu Dhabi driver will line up in Sweden, Portugal, Italy and Spain.

Yves Matton, Citroën Racing Team Principal; “Thanks to the support of our partners, especially Total and Abu Dhabi Racing, we are pleased to be able to continue Citroën Racing’s involvement in WRC. The team has the expertise and experience that will help our crews to establish themselves among the leading drivers in the Championship. Kris and Mads both have quite a bit to learn, in different areas. Our aim is to help them reach a level where they will be able to make a real impact and win rallies.”

KRIS MEEKE (GBR)
Born on 2 July, 1979
Co-driver: Paul Nagle (IRL)
First WRC rally: 2002 Wales GB Rally
WRC races: 40
Best finish in the WRC drivers’ championship: 11th in 2011
 
MADS ØSTBERG (NOR)
Born on 11 October, 1987
Co-driver: Jonas Andersson (SWE)
First WRC rally: 2006 Rally Sweden
WRC races: 65
Best finish in the WRC drivers’ championship: 4th in 2012
 
KHALID AL QASSIMI (UAE)
Born on 18 February, 1972
Co-driver: Chris Patterson (GBR)
First WRC rally: 2004 Acropolis Rally
WRC races: 52
Best finish in the WRC drivers’ championship: 12th in 2009 and 2010

 

CUSTOMER RACING

From the DS3 R1 to the DS3 WRC, Citroën Racing offers a genuine development programme with a progressive and consistent range of rally customer racing products. At national level, the Citroën Racing Trophy (DS3 R3) and Junior Citroën Racing Trophy (DS3 R1) promote accessibility to the world of racing and help to find talented young drivers. In 2014, seven European countries will be running a national Trophy. In the Middle East, five Emirati drivers, selected by Citroën Racing and Abu Dhabi Racing, will be taking part in a programme next year in DS3 R3s.

At the next level up, the Citroën Top Driver series runs at six rounds of the WRC3. In their DS3 R3s, the best talented young drivers attempt to win the chance to compete in the WRC2 in a Citroën DS3 R5 the following season.

Two drivers will be taking particular advantage of the Citroën Racing driver development programme in 2014. Winner of the Junior Citroën Racing Trophy, Frédéric Hauswald will be competing in the Citroën Racing Trophy in a DS3 R3 prepared by the Henri Laurens high school in Saint-Vallier. After winning this year’s Citroën Top Driver championship, Sébastien Chardonnet will be competing in six rounds of the WRC2 championship in a DS3 R5.

 

CITROËN DS3 CABRIO RACING

Citroën’s commitment to motorsport is also reflected in its products, like the individually numbered, limited edition Citroën DS3 Cabrio Racing unveiled today. Directly inspired by the concept car presented at this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed and the Frankfurt Motor Show, it combines all the qualities of the Citroën DS3 Racing with the pleasure of open-top driving provided by the DS3 Cabrio. A coherent combination, as the Citroën DS3 Cabrio has adopted a streamlined architecture (only 25kg heavier than the hatchback version), which means the car boasts responsive, agile handling.

Sporting the same distinctive design features as the Citroën DS3 Cabrio, this model also comes with resolutely Racing attributes such as the chrome-finish, twin exhaust pipes and the genuine carbon finish deployed on numerous bodywork components (air diffuser, a semi-rigid splitter in the front bumper, wraparound body sills, wing flares, etc.).

The cabin has also been given a very specific treatment. For example, the exclusive, matt-finish Moondust Grey bodywork colour is also used on the upper dash and on many interior trim items such as the central console of the instrument panel. The steering wheel inserts and the fascia panel cap are finished with a carbon fibre effect. Lastly, the dashboard also features the Crimson Red colour used on the vertical strip on the door interiors. The exclusive nature of the Citroën DS3 Cabrio Racing is clearly displayed with the Citroën Racing signature on the headrest of the front seats and a numbered identification plate located on the base of the gearshift lever.

Performance lies at the core of the Citroën DS3 Cabrio Racing. Its 207bhp, 1.6-litre engine, developed by Citroën Racing, benefits from the expertise of the eight-time World Rally Championship-winning team.

 

C-ELYSÉE WTCC TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS
 
CHASSIS
Structure: Reinforced body with welded, multi-point roll cage
Bodywork: Steel and composite fibre
 
ENGINE
Type: Citroën Racing – 1.6-litre turbocharged direct injection engine
Distribution: Double overhead camshaft, four valves per cylinder
Capacity: 1,598cc
Power output: 380bhp at 6,000rpm
Torque: 400Nm at 4,500rpm
 
TRANSMISSION
Type: front-wheel drive
Gearbox: Sadev six-speed sequential with manual control
Differential: Mechanical self-locking differential
Clutch: Carbon-fibre twin-disk
 
SUSPENSION SYSTEMS
Suspension: MacPherson FR+RR
Shock absorbers: Citroën Racing adjustable
Front brakes: 380mm ventilated discs with four-piston calipers
Rear brakes: 300mm ventilated discs with two-piston calipers
Steering: Hydraulic power-assisted
 
WHEELS
Wheel rims: 10x18’’
Tyres: Yokohama 660x275
 
DIMENSIONS, WEIGHT AND CAPACITIES
Length/width: 4,577/1,950mm
Wheel base: 2,700mm
Tracks: 1,750mm (FR and RR)
Fuel tank: 50 litres
Weight: 1,100kg with driver (regulations)

 

CITROËN DS3 WRC TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS
CHASSIS
Structure: Reinforced body with welded, multi-point roll cage
Bodywork: Steel and composite fibre

 

ENGINE
Type: Citroën Racing – 1.6-litre turbocharged direct injection engine
Distribution: Double overhead camshaft, four valves per cylinder
Capacity: 1,598cc
Power output: 300bhp at 6,000rpm
Torque: 350Nm at 3,250rpm

 

TRANSMISSION
Type: Four-wheel drive
Gearbox: Sadev six-speed sequential with manual control
Differentials: Mechanical front and rear self-locking differentials
Clutch: Cerametallic twin-disk

 

SUSPENSION SYSTEMS
Suspension: MacPherson FR+RR
Shock absorbers: Citroën Racing three-track adjustable
Front brakes: 355mm (tarmac) and 300mm (gravel) ventilated disks, with four-piston calipers
Rear brakes: 300mm ventilated discs with four-piston calipers
Steering: Hydraulic power-assisted

 

WHEELS
Wheel rims: 8x18’’ (tarmac) and 7x15’’ (gravel and snow)
Tyres: Michelin

 

DIMENSIONS, WEIGHT AND CAPACITIES
Length/width: 3,948/1,820mm
Wheel base: 2,461mm
Tracks: 1,618mm (FR and RR)
Fuel tank: 75 litres
Weight: Minimum 1,200kg/1,350kg with crew (regulations)

Honda’s 2014 WTCC Civic Takes Shape 

Honda’s 2014 WTCC Civic Takes Shape

Honda has released the first visual of its 2014 World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) challenger reflecting the all new technical regulations for the FIA WTCC which will come into force for 2014.

The Honda Civic WTCC render shows the subtle style of the wheel arch extensions, larger diameter wheels, sleeker aero package and extended rear spoiler. Add all this to increased engine power and the 2014 Honda WTCC racer is clearly ambitious to retain Honda’s Manufacturers World Championship crown and enable the drivers to challenge for the World Champion title.

Two works cars will be run by JAS Motorsport for Gabriele Tarquini and Tiago Monteiro with further Civics to be entered by private outfits Zengo Motorsport and Proteam Racing for Hungary’s Norbert Michelisz and Moroccan Mehdi Bennani respectively.

This announcement follows hot on the heels of the recent unveiling of the new 2014 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship Civic Tourer racer, with Matt Neal and Gordon ‘Flash’ Shedden confirmed as the Honda Yuasa Racing drivers for another season.

SEAT to launch Leon Eurocup one-make racing series 

SEAT to launch Leon Eurocup one-make racing series
SEAT to launch Leon Eurocup one-make racing series
  • SEAT continues its commitment to customer racing with exciting new race series
  • Six race weekends in six European countries, starting May 2014
  • New Leon Cup Racer with 330 PS available to order now for competition
  • Continuation of highly successful Leon Supercopa championships

SEAT is driving forward its rich motorsport heritage with the SEAT Leon Eurocup, a six-weekend customer racing series using the all-new Leon Cup Racer.

Taking place across six racing weekends beginning in May 2014, the Leon Eurocup will span six European countries and offer a substantial prize money pot. 

The star will be the SEAT Leon Cup Racer, a first-class motorsport machine with 330 PS and an extensive array of professional racing technology.

“Motorsport is deeply embedded in our brand. SEAT has more than 40 years of history here. With the SEAT Leon Eurocup, we offer an interesting opportunity for our motivated customer teams and our enthusiastic fans all over Europe,” says Dr. Matthias Rabe, Vice President of SEAT S.A. for Research and Development.“The Leon Cup Racer is an extremely high-performance race car. The new generation of the SEAT Leon provides an excellent basis for this, winning high praise from customers and motoring journalists alike.”

The SEAT Leon has already been one of the most successful race touring cars of recent years. In 2008 and 2009 it won WTCC titles for SEAT Sport, while the SEAT Leon Supercopa and Eurocup were among motorsport’s most popular One Make Series. The Supercopa championships ran from 2003 until 2013 in a total of eight countries, and the Eurocup from 2008 to 2010 in a total of nine countries.

“With the SEAT Leon Eurocup, we are delighted to be able to offer our customer teams a great series for the 2014 season,” says Jaime Puig, Head of SEAT Sport and responsible for the brand’s motorsport activities. “The SEAT Leon Cup Racer is an excellent vehicle and will thrill our fans with some fascinating competition.

The entire know-how of SEAT Sport has gone into the SEAT Leon Cup Racer. We are following on from the great sporting successes of years past.” 

The exact race calendar will be defined over the next few weeks. Each weekend will run from Friday to Sunday and includes two free training sessions, qualification, and two races. Winners can look forward to attractive prize money.

 

The SEAT Leon Cup Racer

The new SEAT Leon Cup Racer cuts an impressive figure. Its muscular stance on its 18-inch wheels is derived in part from a track that is almost 40 centimetres greater than that of the series production model.

The new front end has been designed for optimum aerodynamic efficiency and maximum airflow to the engine and brakes, while the substantial wheel arches, with their vents at the rear, enhance the cooling effect on the four-piston brake system.

The powerfully flared sills work together with the front spoiler, smooth under body, rear diffuser and two-stage roof spoiler mounted on a single support to provide maximum down force for high cornering speeds.

Nevertheless, the SEAT Leon Cup Racer fully retains the Leon design DNA. The distinctive full-LED headlights with their individual daytime running light signature have been carried over from the series-production model, as have the LED rear lights. The contour of the roofline is also that of the series-production model, likewise the characteristic lines and precise blisters of the side view.

Systematic weight reduction defines the interior, which is protected by a high-strength roll cage. Optimum safety is also provided by the bucket seat with HANS system for head and neck protection.

The basic form of the series cockpit has been retained, although the driver information and operating controls for the race car are focused on the multi-function steering wheel and the high-resolution TFT display behind it. This layout ensures that the driver always maintains maximum control of his racing machine.

The Leon Cup Racer is driven by the mighty propulsion of a two-litre, four-cylinder turbocharged engine. Its maximum power output is 330 PS, while its maximum torque stands at 400 Nm. Power transmission to the front axle on the standard version is courtesy of a six-speed DSG dual-clutch gearbox operated from the steering wheel, and an electronically controlled locking differential.

A preliminary purchase price for the Leon Cup Racer has already been set at €70,000 (excl. VAT). The first official orders for the Cup Racer can be accepted as of the end of November, with deliveries expected around April 2014.