Tag: motorsport.com

WRC: Mikkelsen takes lead in Sweden after Ogier and Latvala crash

Volkswagen’s balance of power shifts to its young Norwegian as its star names shunt.

Andreas Mikkelsen has taken a shock lead in Rally Sweden after his Volkswagen team-mates Sebastien Ogier and Jari-Matti Latvala both went off during the final forest rally stage of the day.

Ogier spun early in SS9’s Torsby stage, losing well over 30s. He ended the stage with many of his dashboard alarms flashing, as the off had filled his car’s radiators with snow.

“We hit a snowbank in a slow corner,” said Ogier. “I made a mistake, braked a bit too late and went spinning backwards. I got stuck as well. I had to push and take risks, it was the only chance to do something.”

Meantime, just a few minutes later, Latvala crashed on the exit of a right-hander just 600 metres from the end of the stage, ditching his VW Polo just as he was poised to take the lead overall.

“Basically I came too fast into the corner and expected the grip to be better,” he said. “I kept full throttle but it went to the ditch and the whole car got stuck-in. Everything is OK with the car, it’s just that we got stuck.”

Mikkelsen inherited the lead, and was incredulous when told of the news.

“Why? So Seb has a problem as well?” he asked. “OK, that makes things interesting. But Seb will never give up.”

Thierry Neuville set the fastest time on the stage, elevating his Hyundai to second overall. “If we had the quick-shift and the better engine, we would be right in the fight,” he said.

Mikkelsen leads Neuville by 19.7s, with Citroen’s Mads Ostberg now third. Ogier has dropped to fourth, 26.1s off the lead. Latvala lost 8m26s, and is now completely out of contention for victory.

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WRC: Tidemand grabs shock lead of Rally Sweden after opening stage

Snow and ice spectacular kicks off with thrilling spectator stage in Karlstad.

Pontus Tidemand, the 24-year-old Swede, starred in an RRC-spec M-Sport Fiesta to grab the lead of Rally Sweden around the twisting 1.9km Karlstad superspecial on Thursday evening.

Tidemand, a star in rallycross, completed the stage in 1m32.1s, 0.3s ahead of a fired-up Mads Ostberg in his works Citroen DS3. Although defeated on the stage, Ostberg was delighted to beat world champion Sebastien Ogier in their head-to-head run, even if Tidemand stole the show overall.

“It was quite good, a proper rallycross start,” said Ostberg. “The stage was quite nice, so I pushed a little but but not too hard.

“I said to myself I want to show Ogier how it’s going to be this weekend. I really mean that it’s possible [to win] this weekend. When I start well on a superspecial, it has to be good.”

Ogier made a very slow start from his inside lane on the side-by-side layout, and could only manage the seventh-fastest time, 1.1s off the pace.

“It’s a long rally, and it will be not so difficult to beat me if he drives a little bit well,” said Ogier of Ostberg. “I had a really bad start, everything was lost there. Conditions were not bad, it was a nice stage.”

Jari-Matti Latvala was further 0.4s off the pace in third, with the first of the Hyundai’s, Thierry Neuville, in fourth.

Andreas Mikkelsen was fifth quickest in his VW Polo, after running wide on long left-hander.

Several drivers bemoaned a complete lack of traction off the startline, while warm ambient temperatures on the stages have been tipped to cause disruption this weekend.

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F1: Strategy Group rejects bid by Marussia to keep 2014 car

The F1 Strategy Group has rejected Marussia’s request to use its 2014 chassis this season, sources have confirmed.

Changes to the regulations related to front chassis height for 2015 mean that most of last season’s chassis are illegal, including the Marussia. Other rule changes can in theory be dealt with.

Given the financial problems that forced the team into administration the team’s only chance to carry on in its current form would be to utilise last year’s chassis, which used a Ferrari power unit and gearbox. Even if approval had been given the team would have had to come to an arrangement with Ferrari over its £16m debt.

The Strategy Group includes Mercedes, Ferrari, Red Bull, McLaren and Williams on a permanent basis, as well as the next best placed constructor, which this year is Force India. Only proposals that emerge intact from the Strategy Group can go onto the F1 Commission, and then to the World Motor Sport Council.

One step forward, two steps back

It was announced earlier this week that Marussia had apparently found a way forward and that it was exiting administration as of February 19, but options now appear to be limited for John Booth and his colleagues.

By coincidence the Caterham administrator announced today that the team’s cars and other assets were going to be auctioned, meaning that the attempt to keep the team running as a going concern had been abandoned.

It remains to be seen whether or not this really is the end of the story for the two teams which both made their first appearances in Bahrain back in 2010.

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F1: Mexico on schedule for 2015 return

Organisers of this year’s revived Mexican Grand Prix have announced they are on course to bounce back into Formula One in November.

The country has been missing from the calendar since 1992, but the very same Hermanos Rodriguez circuit in Mexico City is currently being rejuvenated for its 2015 return.

“The demolition of the pits is finished,” Christian Epp, a director working with F1 circuit designer Hermann Tilke’s company, told the Spanish news agency EFE.

“We are halfway through the construction in that area and 60 per cent is ready,” he revealed.

“In early March we will put down the asphalt, which is scheduled to be completed in late July,” added Epp, who said work on the media centre begins next week.

“We are attacking the work on several fronts, it’s going very well and we feel comfortable about the timeframe,” he said, also revealing that Charlie Whiting visited the site in December.

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WRC: Ogier wins Rally Monte Carlo

In four days of varying conditions, it was the reigning champion that came out on top.

Sebastien Ogier is the 2015 Rally Monte Carlo champion, taking home the win over Jari-Matti Latvala by just about one minute.

Interestingly enough, Ogier only won 2 stages of the 15 specials that the drivers tackled over this four-day season opening event.

“Victory in Monte-Carlo means a lot – especially for me, so close to my home town, and at the first rally of the season. It’s a huge challenge but the satisfaction is even more when you make it. Conditions were so tricky this year, but it has been the best atmosphere of a rally I have ever known,” Ogier told WRC.com.

Latvala, who was unable to win a single stage of the 15 on the rally, ended up second overall, and while he never saw the front of the pack he is happy with the result in tough condition.

“I’m delighted. This is much more than I expected, before the rally I was thinking fourth or fifth. I must thank my ice crew for their information,” said Latvala.

Loeb’s bad luck
Despite ending the day eighth, rally legend Sebastien Loeb said he was happy with his performance after his suspension failure on day 2.

“It was great. Okay, disappointed because of the mistake, but I had some pleasure. I enjoyed the rally, a great atmosphere and great to be here.”

While 8th is nothing to write home again, Loeb can go home with the satisfaction of knowing that he won the most stages of the rally.

Right behind him in stage wins, with 4, was Robert Kubica. The pole was flying on the roads of Monte Carlo, but inconsistency and numerous minor mistakes caused the former F1 driver to retire before the final stage with damage.

Kris Meeke, who drove past Kubica’s stopped car on the penultimate stage said “He went off after the finish. I stopped and spoke to him, he said he lost the brake pedal on the finish. He has gone into a wall.”

Rounding out the top five was Andreas Mikkelsen, Mads Ostberg and German Thierry Neuville.

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WRC: Ogier holds lead heading into final day in Monte Carlo

The VW driver drove cautiously today, in tough conditions.

It’s not unusual to see rain, sleet, slush, snow and dry tarmac all in the same stage at Rally Monte Carlo.

So, when you start a leg with an almost 2 minute lead, you certainly drive cautiously in those conditions.

And that is just what reigning champion Sebastien Ogier did, giving up over one minute in an effort to manage the tough conditions over today’s 4 stages.

“We were safe with our tire choices today and I was very slow on every icy part. My studded tires weren’t the fastest option, but they were the safest for the snowy section in the final stage. I had nothing to risk by trying to drive quickly,” Ogier told WRC.com

Volkswagen currently holds 1-2-3 in the rally, with Jari-Matti Latvala and Andreas Mikkelsen now 42 seconds and another minute behind respectively.

Robert Kubica showed his speed this weekend outright winning the first stage of the day, after the scheduled first stage was cancelled for safety reasons.

Nothing special – just driving,” he said. “We had good tires (super-softs), but the conditions were very tricky. Our gravel crew did a very good job. I think I have driven nicely.”

Early leader and former world champion Sebastien Loeb is 9 minutes adrift from the leaders, struggling with the conditions like much of the rest of the field.

“We tried to use the slicks to see how it was. I had to be very careful in the middle bit. Not my best stage,” Loeb said.

Loeb’s teammate, Kris Meeke was fast on the day but his early rally issues have relegated him to the tenth spot overall. Meeke won the last stage, 8.5 seconds from Robert Kubica.

“We tried the crossover combination of 2 studded and 2 super softs. I had a spin and lost 10 or 12 seconds – I could have been faster,” Meeke told WRC.com.

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WRC: Ogier leads, Loeb breaks in Monte Carlo

Sebastien Loeb will have a long way to battle back after a suspension part issue on the sixth and final stage of the day in Monte Carlo.

One-minute, 45 seconds is the gap from the reigning WRC World Champion Sebastien Ogier to Jari-Matti Latvala after 8 stages and two days of competition.

Again today, fickle weather made tire choice key, but Ogier said while he didnt have the right tire choice, he made it to the end of the stage.

“I had no idea that I was in the lead. Let’s wait and see. The tyres were not ideal for here, but it’s all I had,” he told WRC. com

The reason for his confusion was rally leader Sebastien Loeb’s drop of over 5 minutes in the final stage of the day.

Incidents all around

Rolling past the flying finish with ratchet straps holding parts of the car together on the rear end of his Citroen DS3, Loeb said the suspension broke after contact with a rock on the stage.

“It happened when I hit – a little bit – a rock in an icy place. Not too hard, but it broke – I don’t know exactly what – but something is wrong. I had to try really hard because I knew with the road conditions it was impossible in this (road) position, so I tried really hard with a different tyre choice and did a mistake. Will it get back to service? I will try.”

Ironically, Loeb’s Citroen team mate who had the best position to make the Citroen effort for a win two-fold, also fell out of contention in a very similar fashion to Loeb, but it is not expected that the Brit will be bale to limp his machine to service.

Lastly, while he made it to the end of the day, Robert Kubica had two major offs during the final stages of the day. The two incidents send Kubica down the running order.

“We had a massive moment at high speed. We went off, and thanks to the spectators we got back, then later at a junction we went off again, slid on the snow, hit a tree and punctured the tyre. We drove 10km like that,” he said.

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WEC: ByKolles Racing announces revised CLM P1 to compete in WEC, Le Mans

The car will also be put to the ultimate test at Le Mans in June.

ByKOLLES Racing, is pleased to announce its entry application in the 2015 FIA World Endurance Championship including the legendary 24 hours of Le Mans in LMP 1 with
the newly developed 2015 CLM P1.

The team’s endurance division has been competing in motorsport for over 14 years and has a wealth of experience and knowledge gained from successful participation in WEC, F1, DTM and other formula series.

With a new gear box, new front and rear suspension, aerodynamic modifications and performance upgrades throughout, including significant weight reductions, the team
have made real progress on the CLM P1.

A learning process

Commenting on the season ahead, ByKOLLES Director of Operations, Boris Bermes said: “We learnt a lot last year, we faced many challenges but we made very good progress against the odds however we were aware that significant improvements
needed to be made for the 2015 season. The team has worked hard since the end of least season to produce, what I believe to be a highly competitive car. As always, I’m cautiously optimistic about this year but let’s see what testing brings.”

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WRC: Kubica forms own world rally team

Robert Kubica has launched his own team to contest the world rally championship in 2015.

The Pole’s F1 career ended when he almost severed his hand in a 2011 pre-season rallying crash.

But he has since returned to driving, this time in the highest category in the world of rallying.

And in 2015, the 30-year-old will contest the world rally championship with a Ford Fiesta under the banner of his own team, entitled RK World Rally Team, the German news agency SID reported.

The first round of the season is this week’s rally Monte-Carlo. Kubica finished the 2014 championship in 16th place, driving for M-Sport.

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WRC: Loeb wastes no time at Monte Carlo

Sebastien Loeb found himself at the top of the charts after today’s shakedown at Rally Monte Carlo.

It’s only a slim margin, but Sebastien Loeb showed the racing world why he is one of the best.

More than 450 days since his last competitive ride in a WRC car, the Frenchman stuck his Citroen DS 3 on the top of the charts at the Rally Monte Carlo shakedown, a whole 0.4 s in front of team mate Kris Meeke.

“It’s not a bad way to come back to WRC. I immediately felt comfortable in the car but this won’t be an easy rally. The weather forecast looks tricky and so my low position in the road order could be an advantage or a disadvantage,” Loeb told WRC.com

Rounding out the top five on the short shakedown stage was last year’s world champion Sebastien Ogier, Andreas Mikkelsen and Robert Kubica, all within 2 seconds of the lead.

The shakedown special stage was held on a 3.5 km at Chateauvieux.

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