VM kalendern 2022
20-13 jan Monte Carlo    
24-27 febr Rally Sweden    
21-27 april Kroatien    
19-22 maj Portugal    
2-5 juni Italien    
23-26 juni Kenya    
14-17 juli Estland    
4-7 aug Finland    
18-21 aug Ypres Rally Belgium    
8-11 sept Grekland    
29-2 okt Nya Zeeland *    
20-23 ijt Spanien    
10-13 nov Japan    
* Subject to contract

22-05-22 Solberg seger på ikoniskt specialsträcka
Tiotusentals rallyfans jublade när Oliver Solberg krossade allt motstånd i sin klass vid det legendariska Fafe-sträckan i Rally Portugal i söndags.

20-åringen hade ingen anledning att hålla igen på tävlingens sista specialsträcka – som också var en så kallat "power stage" (bonuspoängs-sträcka). Han slog klassvinnaren Yohan Rossel med hela 15,6 sekunder på den 11,18 kilometer långa sträckan.
- Fantastiskt att avsluta rallyt med sträckseger och en positiv upplevelse. Det var speciellt att vinna just den här sträckan och bli en del av Fafe-historien, sa Oliver Solberg efter mötet med den massiva publiken.

Hyundai-föraren vann totalt två sträckor i Rally2-klassen. Han var dock chanslös i totalen då en styrarm brast och såg till att Solberg fick dra sig ur andra halvan av lördagens körning.
- Jag är faktiskt inte riktigt säker på vad som hände. Jag träffade ingenting, men plötsligt brast styrarmen i fronten. Vägarna i den här tävlingen var tuffare än någon hade sett dem tidigare. Vi jobbade hårt och fixade problemet inför eftermiddagens sträckor, men problemet kom tillbaka redan på andra sträckan och vi tvingades bryta.
- Lyckligtvis körde vi igenom alla sträckorna. Vi är trots allt här för att skaffa oss erfarenhet och förstå vägarna, sa 20-åringen. Teamet reparerade bilen och gjorde den startklar på söndagen.

Oliver Solberg borde egentligen ha stått över Rally Portugal, men sponsorerna Monster Energy, HTB Racing och Schaktmiljö gick samman och hyrde en Hyundai i20 N Rally2-bil så att han ändå kunde köra VM-tävlingen.
22-05-22 Hat-trick hero Rovanperä supreme in Rally de Portugal
Toyota scores 1-2 finish on gruelling gravel roads. Kalle Rovanperä claimed his third FIA World Rally Championship victory in as many events in Portugal on Sunday afternoon to open a commanding lead in the points standings.

The Finn trailed long-time leader and Toyota GR Yaris team-mate Elfyn Evans for the first two days at Vodafone Rally de Portugal before relegating the Welshman on Saturday evening. He extended a slender advantage on the short final leg to win by 15.2sec.

Rovanperä’s triumph on the first gravel fixture of the season followed success on Sweden’s snow and ice and Croatia’s asphalt. He holds a 46-point championship advantage after four of 13 rounds.

Victory looked near-impossible for Rovanperä who started Friday’s opening leg first in the order. He cleaned the sandy roads to leave more grip for those following, but the 21-year-old avoided trouble on the punishing rock-strewn roads before pouncing on Evans.

Maximum bonus points for winning the final Wolf Power Stage over the legendary Fafe speed test was the icing on the cake.

“At the moment it seems we are on a really good drive,” he smiled. “Starting first here and to fight for the win like this, it was really nice. We saw a lot of issues and tough conditions this weekend and our car was perfect as always so everybody can be really happy.”

Second was the best result of the season for Evans, who won six of the 21 speed tests compared to Rovanperä’s eight. It marked a return to form for the man who has finished championship runner-up for the last two seasons after a torrid start to the year.

“We definitely needed a result, that’s for sure,” he admitted. “Of course, we’re disappointed with the outcome of today, but I take my hat off to Kalle. From my side it’s nice to be back on the podium and we should be able to build from here.”

Toyota Gazoo Racing was on course to lockout the podium with Takamoto Katsuta holding third ahead of the final stage. But a fast-closing Dani Sordo, making his first appearance of the season in a Hyundai i20 N, moved ahead in the final kilometres by 2.1sec.

Thierry Neuville fell away from the victory fight on Friday when a front wheel fell off his i20 N on a liaison section. He drove the final two stages with just two-wheel drive and plunged from second to seventh. He recovered to take fifth, 18.4sec behind Katsuta.

Brake problems cost Craig Breen sixth. The Irishman conceded two places on the final day in his Ford Puma, allowing Ott Tänak into sixth in an i20. The Estonian steadily gained ground after two Friday punctures ended his challenge.

Competitors face more hot weather and rough roads as the WRC moves to the Mediterranean island of Sardinia next month. Rally Italia Sardegna is based in Alghero on 2 - 5 June.

Final positions:
1. K Rovanperä / J Halttunen FIN Toyota GR Yaris 3hr 44min 19.2sec
2. E Evans / S Martin GBR Toyota GR Yaris +15.2sec
3. D Sordo / C Carrera ESP Hyundai i20 +2min 17.3sec
4. T Katsuta / A Johnston GBR Toyota GR Yaris +2min 19.4sec
5. T Neuville / M Wydaeghe BEL Hyundai i20 +2min 37.8sec
6. O Tänak / M Järveoja EST Hyundai i20 +4min 45.7sec

FIA World Rally Championship (after round 4 of 13)
1. K Rovanperä 106pts
2. T Neuville 60pts
3. T Katsuta 38pts

22-05-21 Rovanperä steals Saturday Rally de Portugal lead from Evans
Finn carries 5.7sec lead into final day. Kalle Rovanperä snatched the Vodafone Rally de Portugal lead from team-mate Elfyn Evans on Saturday night to set up a thrilling finale.

The Finn trailed Evans by almost 20sec midway through the longest leg of the event before crushing the Welshman this afternoon. He will carry a 5.7sec advantage into Sunday’s closing day in pursuit of his third straight rally win.

Evans had led this fourth round of the FIA World Rally Championship for virtually the entire distance in his Toyota GR Yaris, but Rovanperä won this afternoon’s opening two tests to trim the deficit to 9.9sec.

Then rain in the second pass of the long Amarante stage handed Rovanperä a vital advantage. It became increasingly heavy and with Evans starting four minutes after his colleague, he conceded almost 14sec and the lead.

“I’m sure we could have done a bit more in places,” reflected Evans later. “The rain did not help us in the long one, but Kalle has driven well. We have to keep the pressure on tomorrow and see what is possible.”

Earlier Evans had the best of a morning which was heavily influenced by tyre choice. Both

favoured Pirelli’s soft compound Scorpion rubber which offered more grip on the powdery Cabreira Mountain roads than the harder option chosen by others.

Takamoto Katsuta ensured a Toyota Gazoo Racing lockout of the top three after overhauling Dani Sordo for third this morning. Katsuta defeated the Hyundai i20 N pilot on all but one stage to carry a 5.7sec advantage into the overnight halt, almost two minutes off the lead.

Both must keep an eye on a charging Thierry Neuville. The Belgian climbed two places to fifth this morning but was almost a minute behind team-mate Sordo at the midpoint. A blistering drive in Amarante before the rain took hold enabled him to close to within 30.1sec.

Ford Puma team-mates Pierre-Louis Loubet and Craig Breen lost time on hard tyres this morning. Loubet’s choice was compounded by a spin and he fell behind the Irishman when jammed windscreen wipers hindered his visibility in the rain.

Set-up improvements to the dampers and chassis at the mid-leg service encouraged Breen who demoted Loubet by 14.3sec in sixth. He ended more than 90sec behind Neuville.

Sunday’s finale is all about the extraordinary Fafe, its big jump before the finish and its crowds. Five tests clustered around the town total 48.87km, with the rally-closing Wolf Power Stage in Fafe offering vital bonus points.

Leading positions:
1. K Rovanperä / J Halttunen FIN Toyota GR Yaris 3hr 13min 46.7sec
2. E Evans / S Martin GBR Toyota GR Yaris +5.7sec
3. T Katsuta / A Johnston GBR Toyota GR Yaris +1min 50.1sec
4. D Sordo / C Carrera ESP Hyundai i20 +1min 55.8sec
5. T Neuville / M Wydaeghe BEL Hyundai i20 +2min 25.9sec
6. C Breen / P Nagle IRL Ford Puma +4min 00.4sec
22-05-20 Evans ahead after vicious Friday at Rally de Portugal
Loeb and Ogier sidelined by gruelling conditions. Elfyn Evans mastered a brutal opening leg at Vodafone Rally de Portugal to lead Toyota Gazoo Racing team-mate Kalle Rovanperä on Friday night.

A furious fight in the morning became a matter of survival this afternoon as heat, dust and punishing rock-strewn roads took a heavy toll in this first gravel fixture of the FIA World Rally Championship season.

Evans won four of the eight special stages in his GR Yaris to head his Finnish colleague, who twice topped the timesheets, by 13.6sec after almost 125km of action.

The Welshman’s low start position meant he enjoyed the benefit of better grip on roads swept clean by the early starters. In contrast, championship leader Rovanperä endured the worst conditions from first in the running order.

Evans demoted Thierry Neuville, who led after Thursday night’s short speed test in Coimbra’s streets, with an opening stage victory. He won the next, too, but was powerless to halt a charging Sébastien Loeb who snatched a 0.5sec advantage.

When Loeb slammed his Ford Puma into retirement against a wall just metres into the next stage, Evans was back ahead and avoided multiple hazards on the deteriorating roads.

“They were quite extreme conditions,” he said. “Everybody was trying to pick a way through and to a point it was a lottery but, of course, you have to try to drive as quick as you can as well. You can always say you could have gone faster, but would you still be here or not?”

Second was beyond Rovanperä’s hopes. “We were scooping a lot of dust into the car. Sometimes I couldn’t really breathe or see anything” he smiled.

Season debutant Dani Sordo was third in a Hyundai i20, half a minute behind. The Spaniard had 5.2sec in hand over Takamoto Katsuta in another GR Yaris, the Japanese driver handing that time away with a spin.

Sébastien Ogier was on course to make it a great day for Toyota Gazoo Racing as he steered his GR Yaris into third. Two afternoon punctures stranded the Frenchman roadside with no more spare wheels onboard.

Twice Gus Greensmith had a tyre come off the rim on his Ford Puma. His progress was further stifled when dust filled the cockpit but the Briton persevered to hold fifth, a minute off the lead.

M-Sport Ford team-mate Pierre-Louis Loubet was sixth, the Frenchman’s hopes of a top three ending when he overshot a penultimate stage junction.

If Friday was tough, Saturday is even more daunting. Almost half the rally’s competitive distance is packed into two loops of three speed tests in the Cabreira Mountains. Crews have the respite of mid-leg service and a coastal street stage in Porto ends the day after almost 165km of action.

Leading positions:
1. E Evans / S Martin GBR Toyota GR Yaris 1hr 25min 43.3sec
2. K Rovanperä / J Halttunen FIN Toyota GR Yaris +13.6sec
3. D Sordo / C Carrera ESP Hyundai i20 +44.4sec
4. T Katsuta / A Johnston GBR Toyota GR Yaris +49.6sec
5. G Greensmith / J Andersson GBR Ford Puma +1min 00.7sec
6. P-L Loubet / V Landais FRA Ford Puma +1min 15.6sec
22-05-19 WRC rally legends toast championship’s 50 golden years
World champions spanning six decades kicked off the FIA World Rally Championship’s 50th season celebrations in style on Wednesday at a star-studded gala in Portugal.

Title-winning drivers, co-drivers and team managers created the biggest ever gathering of WRC champions in Matosinhos. The event launched five days of celebrations at Vodafone Rally de Portugal (19 - 22 May) during the first gravel fixture of the sport’s innovative hybrid era.

Nine-time champion Sébastien Loeb (FRA) and eight-time winner Sébastien Ogier (FRA) took a break from preparations for round four of the 2022 series to attend the gala, which recalled some of the most memorable moments across 50 years.

They were joined by Walter Röhrl (DEU), Marcus Grönholm and Ari Vatanen (both FIN), Miki Biasion (ITA), Carlos Sainz (ESP), Petter Solberg (NOR) and Ott Tänak (EST). Between them they have amassed 28 titles.

Robert Reid, Derek Ringer and David Richards (all GBR), Luis Moya (ESP), Christian Geistdörfer (DEU), Tiziano Siviero (ITA), Timo Rautiainen (FIN) and Martin Järveoja (EST) represented the champion co-drivers.

Michèle Mouton (FRA) and Fabrizia Pons (ITA), the only female pairing to win a WRC event outright, were present, along with WRC Ladies’ Cup winners Louise-Aitken-Walker (GBR) and Isolde Holderied (DEU), their co-driver Tina Thörner (SWE), and Christine Driano (FRA).

The gala, attended by 250 guests, was held in the rally’s Exponor headquarters. Portugal was a host country in 1973’s inaugural WRC season and this year’s event marks the championship’s 619th round.

The celebrations continue over the weekend with almost 30 classic cars charting the WRC’s history on display. They include an Alpine A110, the model which won the first WRC round at Rallye Monte-Carlo. They will also take part in demonstration runs at special stages.

The gala was organised by championship commercial rights holder WRC Promoter and motorsport’s governing body, the FIA.

“It was a truly special occasion,” said WRC Promoter managing director Jona Siebel. “We were honoured by the presence of title winners from all six decades of the WRC’s history for an evening of celebration, joyous memories and good old-fashioned fun.

“The festivities continue for the next four days and it will be pure nostalgia to watch some amazing title-winning cars driving special stages ahead of today’s superstars fighting for tenths of a second.”

FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem was an enthusiastic guest. “There are so many memories and it is such a special moment to be here among your own family,” he said.

“It is an immense pleasure to be present at Rally de Portugal and celebrate the champions, alongside WRC Promoter and all the partners and friends of the sport. I would like to extend my gratitude to Automóvel Club de Portugal’s president, Carlos Barbosa, for hosting the festivities as part of the rally event.”
22-05-19 Solbergs sponsorer fixade Portugal-start
Planen var att Oliver Solberg skulle stå över Rally Portugal. Istället gick 20-åringens sponsorer in och såg till att Oliver står på startlinjen i helgens VM-tävling.

Inför säsongen fick Oliver besked om att "dela" en bil med spanjoren Daniel Sordo i värstingklassen. Efter att ha kört säsongens tre första VM-tävlingarna i Monaco, Sverige och Kroatien, är det nu Sordos tur på portugisiskt grus.

För att Oliver inte ska missa mycket viktig erfarenhet genom att stå över en VM-tävling, gick sponsorerna Monster Energy, HTB Racing och Schaktmiljö samman och hyrde en Hyundai i20 N Rally2-bil till det unga stjärnskottet.
- Jag är evigt tacksam mot mina sponsorer som ger mig den här chansen. I rally betyder erfarenhet av de olika tävlingarna så mycket, och nu ser de till att jag inte missar den här möjligheten i Portugal, säger Oliver Solberg.

Han kommer att tävla i den näst högsta klassen tillsammans med bland andra Andreas Mikkelsen, Teemu Suninen och ett rekordstort startfält som innehåller många förare i världsklass.
- Jag kan inte säga annat än att det var lite tråkigt att lämna över "nycklarna" till värstingbilen i20 N Rally1 till Dani Sordo. Samtidigt är det enligt plan och som det ska vara i år. Rally2 skiljer sig mycket
från Rally1-bilen. Men det är bra för mig att få erfarenhet av olika bilar i så många tävlingar som möjligt.

Rally Portugal är säsongens första grusrally.
- Det är alltid svårt att veta vad det är för grepp vi kan förvänta oss. Eftersom vi är nära Atlantkusten kan vädret förändras både snabbt och drastiskt. Dessutom kommer vi att tävla på en mängd olika vägytor med damm, lera och stenar. Vi vet att detta är ett ganska tekniskt rally, och både däckval och noter kommer att vara viktiga.

Solbergs mål är att skaffa erfarenhet och genomföra tävlingen. Samtidigt vill han slåss om topplaceringar både på specialsträckorna samt totalt i Rally2-klassen. Tävlingen är det första den här säsongen där Oliver Solberg kan dra nytta av sina egna noter från fjolåret (5:e plats).
– Det råder ingen tvekan om att vi hade bra erfarenhet förra året. Nu måste vi bygga vidare på det, säger Solberg.

Rally Portugal drar igång med en kort sträcka på torsdagskvällen och avslutas efter 21 specialsträckor på söndag eftermiddag.
22-05-18 Legends Loeb and Ogier renew rivalry at Rally de Portugal
French duo back in action at opening gravel fixture. Rallying superstars Sébastiens Loeb and Ogier face-off for the second course of their FIA World Rally Championship season rivalry at Vodafone Rally de Portugal (19 - 22 May).

The sport’s two most successful drivers are reunited in battle after serving up a tasty dish at January’s season-opening Rallye Monte-Carlo. Loeb became the oldest event winner in history at 47 after snatching victory in an epic tussle.

Three rounds further down the road, they return from competing in other disciplines to add extra spice to the opening gravel fixture of both the season and the WRC’s hybrid era.

Loeb has the harder task. The nine-time champion is an early starter in Friday’s opening leg and with conditions set to remain dry, grip will be low for those at the front on roads coated in slippery sand.

“I am fourth on the road and road cleaning is always a challenge in this kind of rally if it’s dry,” said the M-Sport Ford Puma driver.

“I don’t really know what to expect there so we need to do a good first day, and for the rest we will see where we are. Only one day of testing isn’t a lot when it’s the first time you are driving a car on gravel, but at the end I was happy with the feeling I had.”

Eight-time champion Ogier is chasing a record sixth victory in the country where he scored his first WRC win 12 years ago. He is helped by a start position four places behind his fellow Frenchman.

“Portugal is a special place for me,” admitted the Toyota Gazoo Racing driver. “It will be something different for me to not be starting near the front and hopefully that can be a bit of an advantage if it doesn’t rain.

“The biggest challenge will be getting back in the rhythm straightaway after only one test day on gravel. But at the same time, these cars are new for everyone on gravel.”

Ogier is joined in GR Yaris cars by championship leader Kalle Rövanperä, 2021 Portugal winner Elfyn Evans, who starts one place behind Ogier, and Takamoto Katsuta.

Rovanperä has won two of the opening three rounds, including a thrilling last-gasp success last time out in Croatia. He tops the standings by 29 points but is disadvantaged by opening the roads on dirt for the first time.

Loeb is part of a five-car M-Sport Ford entry, the biggest from a team in the hybrid generation. He is joined by Craig Breen, third in the points, Adrien Fourmaux, Gus Greensmith and Pierre-Louis Loubet.

Dani Sordo replaces Oliver Solberg at Hyundai Motorsport for his 2022 debut. The Spaniard is joined in i20 N cars by Ott Tänak and Thierry Neuville, podium finishers in Croatia.

The rally is based in the coastal city of Matosinhos. After Thursday night’s start in Coimbra, competitors face 21 speed tests covering 338.34km in north and central Portugal. It finishes on Sunday afternoon after a finale over the iconic roads of Fafe.

The rally marks the centrepiece of the WRC’s 50th season celebrations. The biggest ever gathering of champion drivers and co-drivers will attend and almost 30 classic cars will parade through several stages.
22-05-10 WRC rally greats celebrate 50 golden championship years
· FIA World Rally Championship salutes glorious half century
· Vodafone Rally de Portugal to host 50th season festivities
· Legendary names to attend largest ever gathering of WRC champions
· Historic cars to parade through famous special stages

The biggest ever gathering of FIA World Rally champions will celebrate the series’ half-century at a star-studded festival in Portugal next week.

Title-winning drivers, co-drivers and team managers will honour the WRC’s 50th season in Matosinhos during five days of celebrations at Vodafone Rally de Portugal (19 - 22 May), this year’s fourth round.

A host of historic cars will be displayed in the Exponor service park and fans will have a rare chance to see many in demonstration runs through special stages on all four rally days.

Champion drivers due to attend are Sébastien Loeb, Sébastien Ogier, Walter Röhrl, Ari Vatanen, Miki Biasion, Carlos Sainz, Marcus Grönholm, Petter Solberg and Ott Tänak. Between them they have amassed 28 titles.

FIA deputy president for sport Robert Reid, Luis Moya, Christian Geistdörfer, Tiziano Siviero, Timo Rautiainen, Derek Ringer, David Richards and Martin Järveoja are among the co-drivers due to appear.

The list is boosted by WRC Ladies’ Cup winners Louise-Aitken-Walker and Isolde Holderied, their co-driver Tina Thörner, and Christine Driano. Michèle Mouton and Fabrizia Pons, the only female pairing to win a WRC event outright, will also be present.

Other guests include FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem, WRC Promoter managing director Jona Siebel and Carlos Barbosa, president of rally organiser Automóvel Club de Portugal.

Nearly 30 classic cars will chart the WRC’s history. They include an Alpine A110, the model which won the first WRC round at Rallye Monte-Carlo in the hands of Jean-Claude Andruet.

Also participating are fire-breathing Group B monsters including Audi Quattro S1, A1 and A2 models and a Lancia Delta S4. Other favourites include a Lancia Stratos, Ford Escort RS1800 and Opel Ascona 400, alongside the more recent Toyota Corolla and Hyundai i20.

Many are provided by the Slowly Sideways group, the organisation headed by WRC photographer Reinhard Klein.

The WRC was launched in 1973 and 35 countries have staged rounds since. Portugal was a host in the inaugural season and this year’s event marks the championship’s 619th round.

The celebrations kick off with a gala dinner in the service park on Wednesday 18 May. More than 200 WRC luminaries will attend.

On Thursday afternoon, historic cars will be displayed in the start city of Coimbra. Demonstration runs will take place through the evening’s super special stage. Further displays and parades will take place at Lousada on Friday evening and Saturday night’s Porto-Foz street stage.

Röhrl will head a group of cars driven through Sunday’s fabled Fafe stage between the two competitive passes. Fafe graced Portugal’s fixture in 1973 and the Pedra Sentada jump is among the championship’s most popular spectacles.

The celebration is organised by championship commercial rights holder WRC Promoter and motorsport’s governing body, the FIA.

“Everyone has their own memories of the thrills, spills and excitement from the WRC and this is a marvellous one-off opportunity for those who have helped make the championship so special,” said WRC Promoter managing director Jona Siebel.

“The list of WRC greats coming to Portugal, both human and mechanical, is mouth-watering and a reminder of what a wonderful sport we have the great fortune to be involved in.

“But this is also for the fans. The sights and sounds of great cars from yesteryear being driven through the stages will evoke spine-tingling memories from those watching roadside.”

FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem said: “Since its inaugural season in 1973, the FIA World Rally Championship has delivered spectacular action for global audiences. It has featured the most iconic cars, historic locations and legendary drivers and co-drivers who have secured a special place in the annals of motorsport.

“The FIA has continuously driven evolution in a sporting and technical sense: this year is no exception as the WRC ushers in hybrid technology, sustainable fuel and advanced safety measures.

“As the championship enters its 50th year, it’s time to reflect on those remarkable accomplishments, celebrate past and present champions and look ahead to a bright future. I look forward to the upcoming festivities at Rally de Portugal, where the legends will be reunited.”

22-04-24 Kalle Rovanperä grabs last-gasp Croatia Rally victory
Finnish championship leader snatches victory from Ott Tänak on the final stage. Kalle Rovanperä snatched an extraordinary Croatia Rally victory on Sunday afternoon as a downpour turned the event on its head in the final kilometres.

The Finn led from the start of the three-day rally in the hills around Zagreb in his Toyota GR Yaris, only for a storm in the penultimate speed test to wipe out his hard-earned advantage.

A resurgent Ott Tänak, whose gamble on softer Pirelli tyres gave his Hyundai i20 N a performance edge on the streaming asphalt, grabbed a 1.4sec lead.

The pendulum swung back towards Rovanperä as drier roads in the closing Wolf Power Stage offered hope, but the odds remained firmly in Tänak's favour as mud and dirt littered the final 14.09km.

Rovanperä threw caution to the wind and remarkably overturned the deficit to claim back-to-back FIA World Rally Championship wins by 4.3sec. Victory extended his points lead to 29 after three rounds of the 13-event season.

He had dominated the early stages of the event and was almost 90sec clear until falling into Tänak's clutches following a puncture on Saturday morning. He then rebuilt his lead to half a minute until the deluge set up a breathtaking finale.

"I was sure we could not be so fast with these tyres, but it's amazing," smiled Rovanperä. "We pushed really hard and I think we deserve it this weekend. For sure, it was the toughest win of my career."

It was a disappointing outcome for Tänak, whose victory drought dates back to February 2021. "I didn't take any risks, but Kalle obviously did a good drive," he said. "We were fighting for the win, but only because of clever decisions and tyre choices."

The Estonian finished 2min 16.7sec clear of team-mate Thierry Neuville. The Belgian overhauled Craig Breen on the final morning to claim a podium despite a torrid weekend that would have forced many to give up.

He and co-driver Martijn Wydaeghe were on the point of collapse after pushing their car for 800 metres into service on Friday, after stopping with alternator problems.

Time penalties and speeding fines knocked them further back and they almost gave up a podium in sight of the finish after hitting a bank and almost rolling.

Breen survived an overshoot and a spin to take fourth in a Ford Puma. The Irishman fended off a closing Elfyn Evans, whose fifth place marked a first points finish of the year for the GR Yaris driver. Japan's Takamoto Katsuta was a distant sixth in another Yaris.

The series switches to gravel for the first time in 2022 at Vodafone Rally de Portugal. The fourth round is based at Matosinhos on May 19–22.

Final positions after Sunday
1. K Rovanperä / J Halttunen FIN Toyota GR Yaris 2h 48m 21.5s
2. O Tänak / M Järveoja EST Hyundai i20 +4.3sec
3. T Neuville / M Wydaeghe BEL Hyundai i20 +2min 21.0sec
4. C Breen / P Nagle IRL Ford Puma +3min 7.3sec
5. E Evans / S Martin GBR Toyota GR Yaris +3min 46.0sec
22-04-24 Oliver Solberg bröt Kroatien-debuten
Efter att ha kämpat bland de fem bästa och imponerat första dagen av sin debut i Rally Kroatien fick Oliver Solberg bryta tävlingen på toppnivå. Brännskador baktill på bilen kunde inte repareras i tid för körning på söndagen.

20-åringen fick sladd på lördagens första (nionde av tävlingens) specialsträckor och körde av vägen. Situationen blev allvarligare när det extremt heta avgassystemet satte eld på växtligheten i vägkanten och skadade bilen så mycket att det var färdigkört.
– Dagen gick definitivt inte enligt planerna. Jag "tappade" bakändan på bilen och körde av vägen. De heta avgassystemet orsakade en brand bak i bilen. Därmed fick vi stoppa för dagen, sa Oliver Solberg. Skadorna visade sig vara så omfattande att det inte gick att reparera bilen i tid för mer körning.
– Det här var inte vad vi ville ha från vårt första besök i Kroatien. Visst är det en del av sporten, men ändå är jag väldigt ledsen för teamet, för mig själv och Elliott efter en bra första dag. Men vi har lärt oss mycket, och vi kommer tillbaka starkare, sa 20-åringen.

Nästa VM-tävling i rally kommer att äga rum i Portugal 19-22 maj.
22-04-23 Croatia Rally leader Rovanperä under pressure from Tänak
Estonian puts on a charge to reduce the Finn's lead to under 20 seconds. Kalle Rovanperä’s commanding Croatia Rally lead came under threat from Ott Tänak during Saturday's absorbing second leg.

FIA World Rally Championship leader Rovanperä began the second day of three in the hills near Zagreb with a seemingly impregnable lead of almost 90sec over the Estonian in his Toyota GR Yaris.

He ended with that advantage slashed to just 19.9sec after a puncture and Tänak's persistence set up an exciting Sunday finale.

Tänak had already trimmed Rovanperä’s lead when the Finn punctured his front left tyre on the morning's penultimate speed test amid heavy rain and thick fog at the Platak ski resort above the Adriatic coast.

The pair were the only frontrunners who had the advantage of Pirelli's wet weather tyres on all four corners of their cars. While Tänak pushed on through the gloom to win the stage in his Hyundai i20 N, Rovanperä conceded nearly 55sec.

Tänak sniffed the opportunity of a first victory for more than a year and nibbled back more time, despite an afternoon gearchange problem. But Rovanperä sent a clear message in the final test, setting fastest time to regain 5.1sec.

"This is my reply," said a defiant Rovanperä. "It was a good stage, full speed, but we still have a difficult day to come tomorrow."

Tänak admitted the Platak test was an eye opener: "In these conditions you don't care about the time, you’re just happy to make it through. It was like a different place in the world. This afternoon I didn’t have a good feeling to really push to the limits."

While conditions on the other stages were drier than yesterday, the weather deteriorated in Platak and the afternoon's repeat pass was cancelled.

Craig Breen and Thierry Neuville were blanketed by 4.9sec for the final podium place, almost a minute behind Tänak. Breen overshot a hairpin in his Ford Puma, while Neuville's torrid weekend took yet more twists.

He received a one-minute penalty overnight for speeding on Friday, which relegated him from second to fourth. His i20 N had to be pushed into service this morning and another 10sec penalty came for leaving a minute late.

Neuville clawed back almost 40sec from Breen to end hot on the Irishman’s heels and 49.9sec clear of Elfyn Evans. The Welshman won the opening test in a GR Yaris, but was reluctant to take risks when on course for his first points finish of the year.

Takamoto Katsuta rounded off the top six. The Japanese pilot dropped time with a puncture and an overshoot and was almost 3m 40s adrift of Evans.

Oliver Solberg crashed his i20 N out of fifth in the opening stage, which was cancelled as rescue vehicles attended a fire at the rear of the car.

Sunday's finale journeys north of Zagreb and features two technical stages that are driven twice for a total of 54.48km. The closing test forms the live TV Wolf Power Stage, with bonus points on offer to the fastest crews.

Leading positions after Saturday
1. K Rovanperä / J Halttunen FIN Toyota GR Yaris 2hr 14min 54.5sec
2. O Tänak / M Järveoja EST Hyundai i20 +19.9sec
3. C Breen / P Nagle IRL Ford Puma +1min 13.4sec
4. T Neuville / M Wydaeghe BEL Hyundai i20 +1min 18.3sec
5. E Evans / S Martin GBR Toyota GR Yaris +2min 06.2sec
6. T Katsuta / A Johnston GBR Toyota GR Yaris +5min 47.7sec

The official Home of World Rallying:
22-04-23 Masterful Kalle Rovanperä untouchable on Friday in Croatia
Kalle Rovanperä demolished his opponents in Friday's treacherous opening day of the Croatia Rally to build a convincing lead of more than a minute.

Despite rain, mud and mist in the hills west of capital Zagreb, he won six of the eight asphalt speed tests in a Toyota GR Yaris to head a resilient Thierry Neuville by 1m 4s.

FIA World Rally Championship leader Rovanperä thrived in the tricky conditions. He won three of the morning's four special stages to lead by 47.5sec and stretched it during an equally dominant afternoon.

Having missed valuable experience when he crashed in the opening kilometres of Croatia's WRC debut 12 months ago, the Finn expected to be at a disadvantage. But first in the start order helped, as conditions progressively worsened as each car dragged mud onto the road.

"It was probably one of my best days in a rally car," Rovanperä enthused. "It's always nice to have a lead, but it's also difficult to have a big lead like this. Tomorrow is a long day, so I still need to drive fast to keep concentrated."

Neuville endured a topsy-turvy day. The Belgian completed the opening quartet of tests 12.5sec adrift, but a broken alternator belt in his Hyundai i20 N's engine twice stopped the car en route to service.

Neuville and co-driver Martijn Wydaeghe pushed the car the final 800m. The exhausted pair fell to the floor as they arrived four minutes late and a 40sec penalty demoted them to fourth.

A spirited afternoon, including fastest time in the final stage, propelled them back to second.

They had 19.3sec in hand over team-mate Ott Tänak. The Estonian's low start position hindered him, along with a penultimate stage puncture, but he was content with third.

Despite overshooting a corner and narrowly missing a water hydrant, Craig Breen was fourth on his first time aboard a Ford Puma in the wet. The Irishman overnighted 11.9sec back.

Oliver Solberg was delayed by a spin and was fortunate to survive an impact in a water-filled corner en route to fifth in his i20 N. He was more than a minute adrift of Breen and 10.6sec clear of Elfyn Evans, who denied Rovanperä a clean sweep of morning stage wins.

That was the Welshman's only joy, as two punctures on his GR Yaris cost valuable time.

In worse trouble was Esapekka Lappi, who retired his GR Yaris in the first stage after clipping a boulder and wrecking the front right corner.

Aside from Breen's efforts, it was a disappointing day for M-Sport Ford. Adrien Fourmaux went out after sliding his Puma through a hedge into a roadside garden, while both Pierre-Louis Loubet and Gus Greensmith exited when three punctures left them with no more usuable tyres onboard.

Saturday's second leg follows a similar format. Four stages are driven morning and afternoon in the same territory, except for the penultimate test of each loop, which heads further west towards the Adriatic coast city of Rijeka. The eight stages cover 116.98km.

Leading positions after Friday
1. K Rovanperä / J Halttunen FIN Toyota GR Yaris 1hr 15min 35.5sec
2. T Neuville / M Wydaeghe BEL Hyundai i20 +1min 4.0sec
3. O Tänak / M Järveoja EST Hyundai i20 +1min 23.3sec
4. C Breen / P Nagle IRL Ford Puma +1min 35.2sec
5. O Solberg / E Edmondson SWE Hyundai i20 +2min 38.5sec
6. E Evans / S Martin GBR Toyota GR Yaris +2min 49.1sec
22-04-21 Första mötet med Kroatien för Oliver Solberg
Oliver Solberg får sitt första möte med Kroatien bakom ratten i Hyundaifabrikens tredje bil i rally-VM i helgen. Därmed fortsätter fabriksföraräventyret för 20-åringen. Efter imponerande körning i både Monte-Carlo och svenska Umeå tidigare i år, är unge Solberg fortfarande med i sportens toppnivå i säsongens tredje VM-tävling.

I Monaco fick han bryta sista dagen på grund av avgasförgiftning, men Oliver Solberg gjorde det väldigt bra med en sjätteplats hemma i Sverige för drygt 50 dagar sedan.

Rallyt på kroatisk asfalt blir unge Solbergs sjunde någonsin på toppnivå i VM. Bästa resultat är femteplatsen från Rally Monza i Italien i november.
– I den här tävlingen blir mitt jobb att köra stabilt och komma i mål. Vägarna är mycket svåra, och shakedown (testvägen innan tävlingen) är den tuffaste jag har sett. Tävlingen bjuder på olika typer av asfalt, hopp och smala partier med många kurvor som ska skäras. Tillsammans gör det rallyt väldigt svårt, säger Oliver Solberg.

Den enda tillåtna testdagen innan tävlingen var inte helt optimal då regn och snö ledde till dåliga vägar. Men 20-åringen ger sig ut i sitt första race på asfalt i en Rally1-bil utan press från teamet.
– Jag är väldigt spänd, men jag ser mest av allt fram emot att komma igång. Målet är att följa den plan och strategi som teamet har för mig. De jobbar "flat out" för att förbättra bilen, säger han.

Rally Kroatien har funnits sedan 1974, men kördes först som en VM-tävling förra året - då med Sebastien Ogier som vinnare när han var på väg mot sin åttonde världsmästartitel. Han deltar inte i år. VM-ledaren efter två tävlingar är finske Kalle Rovanperä, som har en ledning på 14 poäng mot Hyundai-föraren Thierry Neuville.

Rallyt startar på fredag morgon och avslutas efter 20 specialsträckor (292 kilometer) på söndag eftermiddag. SVT sänder delar av tävlingen (SS12, SS16, SS18 och SS20).

22-04-20 Tough fight awaits WRC leader Rovanperä in Croatia
Toyota driver looking to banish memories of 2021 crash at all-asphalt round. Kalle Rovanperä starts on the back foot this weekend as he defends an early-season FIA World Rally Championship lead in Croatia at the event that marked his low point of 2021.

The Toyota Gazoo Racing driver holds a 14-point advantage ahead of the Zagreb-based Croatia Rally (21 - 24 April), round three of the year and the first pure asphalt fixture of the new hybrid-powered era.

Twelve months ago the 21-year-old Finn was in a similar position at Croatia’s maiden WRC appearance, but the youngest driver ever to lead the series crashed out after just a handful of kilometres.

Rovanperä admits his lack of knowledge of the complex low-grip speed tests in the hills around the capital puts him at a disadvantage. But he is up for the fight.

“Everybody has now one more year of experience there so I think it’s going to be a bit difficult for us,” he explained. “But we have been in that situation also before and we just try to manage that the best way possible.

“It’s going to be more tricky for me this year. [Last year] it was a new event for everybody and it seems that it was quite a tricky one. Everybody said the stages were quite difficult with the grip. Watching the videos, it seems the grip was changing all the time.”

This second edition has a lot to live up to. Last year was a thriller with Sébastien Ogier snatching victory from Toyota team-mate Elfyn Evans when the Welshman slid onto the grass at the final corner. The 0.6s winning margin was the third-closest WRC finish ever.

Evans and Esapekka Lappi join Rovanperä in GR Yaris cars, with Takamoto Katsuta driving a fourth version for the Japanese manufacturer’s second team.

Gus Greensmith is M-Sport Ford’s frontrunner in a Puma. The Briton, who lies fourth in the standings, is joined by Craig Breen and Adrien Fourmaux, who scored an impressive fifth place last year at his top-level debut.

A fourth Puma will be in the hands of 2019 WRC2 champion Pierre-Louis Loubet for the first time.

Hyundai Motorsport fields the same line-up for the third consecutive rally. Thierry Neuville is Rovanperä’s closest challenger in the points after finishing second on the previous round in Sweden.

The Belgian is joined in i20 N Rally1 cars by Oliver Solberg and Ott Tänak, who is hoping for a big upturn after a disappointing start to the season.

The rally starts in Zagreb on Thursday evening ahead of three days of competition on asphalt which varies from smooth to badly broken and features many tricky crests and jumps. The 20 stages cover 291.84km.
22-04-19 Sébastien Loeb returns to M-Sport for Rally de Portugal
French all-time great set to pilot Ford Puma Hybrid again in May. Nine-time World Rally Champion, Sébastien Loeb, will once again compete behind the wheel of a M-Sport Ford Puma Hybrid Rally1 at Rally de Portugal in May.

Here is all you need to know:
- After a stunning debut with the M-Sport Ford World Rally Team at Rallye Monte Carlo in January, M-Sport have announced that Loeb and co-driver Isabelle Galmiche will re-join the team to complete a five-car Puma Hybrid Rally1 line-up in Portugal.

- Loeb returned to the FIA World Rally Championship in January and claimed a total of six stage wins throughout the event as he battled against eight-time champion Sébastien Ogier, before taking overall victory at the 2022 season’s opening event.

- After securing further success in multiple disciplines around the globe since his first win of 2022, Loeb will take to the famous Porto gravel stages assisted by Galmiche, the first woman to record an overall event victory in WRC since 1997.

- With nine WRC championships and 80 rally wins, Loeb is considered to be the discipline’s Greatest of All Time, and one of the best drivers in motorsport history, period – and at 48, he shows no signs of slowing down. Already in 2022, he leads the FIA World Rally Raid Championship having finished runner-up at the Dakar Rally at the wheel of the BRX Hunter T1+. In all, Loeb’s race programme for 2022 includes driving in the WRC, Dakar, the FIA World Rally Raid Championship, Extreme E and DTM.
- Rallye de Portugal marks a landmark occasion for the M-Sport Ford World Rally team, which will become the first manufacturer to ever field five Rally1 cars at the same event.
- Loeb’s return coincides with the 50th anniversary celebrations of the FIA World Rally Championship. A variety of activities are planned throughout the rally weekend as rallying celebrates 50 years of epic action on the most challenging stages and surfaces in the world.
- The Frenchman’s history with the event started back in 2007, where he claimed a victory on his debut in Portugal after winning 11 of 18 stages. He went on to win the event again in 2009, then collecting a further two podium finishes and a grand total of 32 stage wins to add to his record-breaking tally.

- Loeb said: "Driving the Puma is one of my favourite rally memories; winning Monte Carlo after such a long time was incredible. The team worked really well, with a quick fix to the difficulties we faced at shakedown, allowing us to claim our 80th rally win. From my first test with this car, I immediately had a very good feeling and I enjoy driving with so much power with the hybrid system. It’s a great car, a great team and we celebrated an incredible moment together.
- “Portugal was an empty space in my calendar and it’s a gravel rally, I have competed on this version of the rally in 2019 so I have a base of pacenotes from some of the stages. That was one of the reasons for choosing Portugal, the other was I wanted to do a gravel rally; I like driving on gravel so it was a very straightforward choice.”

- Rich Millener, M-Sport Team Principal, said: “The memories of Monte Carlo still live strong in my mind, and I am sure this is the same for all the team. Personally, to have another chance to work with Seb and Isabelle is a dream come true. The fact that they want to come and drive with us again is something incredibly special for the team and reflects all of the hard work being put in by everybody back home.
- "It is also really important to give special thanks to Ford and Red Bull who have been pivotal in securing the pairing for this event – another example of how our partners are working together to give us the strongest line-up possible for the events in the WRC this season. I am genuinely excited to see what happens on the legendary Portugal stages, and I know the fans will be very excited to see this news and I look forward to seeing their support over the event weekend!”
- Malcolm Wilson, Managing Director of M-Sport, said: “This has been made possible by our great partners at Ford and Red Bull, and I’m really looking forward to seeing how Seb and the Puma Hybrid Rally1 perform on the first real gravel event of the year. It’s great to have such a strong line-up of drivers and I’m very proud that our team is going to be the first to run five top-level cars at a WRC event. If anything, this shows just how appealing these rally1 cars, and Puma in particular, are to drivers and we hope to continue to push the limits of the sport. I am also hoping this popularity of the rally1 cars will lead us to seeing more customers cars competing on events around the world.”
22-02-18 Belgium added to 2022 FIA World Rally Championship
Ypres Rally Belgium makes second WRC appearance after 2021 debut
· Asphalt fixture scheduled for 18 - 21 August
· Four-day encounter fills outstanding TBC date in calendar

Ypres Rally Belgium will host an FIA World Rally Championship round for a second consecutive season after being added to the 2022 calendar today (Friday).

Last year Belgium became the 35th nation to stage a WRC round since the series started in 1973. It will return when Ypres, in the north-western Flanders region, hosts round nine of the 13-rally series on 18 - 21 August.

The challenging asphalt event fills the date left outstanding when the 2022 fixture list was announced last October.

Ypres was first held in 1965 and is known as one of Europe’s toughest rallies. Narrow farm roads, littered with tight junctions and lined by drainage ditches, ensure there is no room for error.

Home hero Thierry Neuville won last year’s encounter after leading for virtually the entire distance.

The rally will feature three days of competition with an atmospheric service park in Ypres’ historic Grote Markt.

A Thursday afternoon start ceremony there will precede the shakedown – the final opportunity for drivers to fine-tune their cars. Full days of competition on Friday and Saturday will lead into Sunday’s finale, culminating with the lunchtime Wolf Power Stage.

Jona Siebel, managing director of WRC Promoter, which owns the WRC’s commercial rights, was delighted to welcome back Ypres Rally Belgium.

“Belgium brought something quite different to last year’s WRC due to its tricky special stages and fast-paced format, which meant there was little time for anyone to pause for breath,” he said.

“The Ypres region whole-heartedly throws itself into rally week. There’s a great buzz out on the stages and we’re sure that will be replicated in the town itself this time round when fans will be allowed in the beautiful Grote Markt service park.”

The final slot in the calendar came down to a choice between Ypres Rally Belgium and Barum Czech Rally Zlin, which was hoping to bring the WRC to the Czech Republic for the first time.

“We were hugely impressed with the professionalism and plans from the organising team in Zlin,” Siebel added. “The rally remains a key event in the FIA European Rally Championship and the door remains open to their WRC ambitions. We look forward to continue working with them.”

FIA WRC category manager Andrew Wheatley said: “Ypres Rally Belgium stepped in last season in exceptional circumstances and managed to deliver a strong and innovative event, which showcased the DNA of Belgian rally.

“The Royal Automobile Club Belgium, together with local organiser Club Superstage, demonstrated commitment and professionalism to put on a top-class WRC round and I’m glad the event will return to the calendar in August. In a rally nation like Belgium, this will be positive news for teams, competitors and fans.”

Alain Penasse, president of rally organiser Club Superstage, added: “We are very happy to be able to bring the FIA ??World Rally Championship to Ypres again. It is a reward for the efforts that the whole club, all volunteers, our partners and local authorities put in last year to make that first edition a success.”

The rally will feature a strong co-operation between official WRC lubricant partner Wolf Lubricants and event sponsor Ardeca Lubricants. Both companies are centred in Belgium.

Yves Decat, global marketing director of Wolf Lubricants said: “As a Belgian-based exclusive lubricant partner of the FIA World Rally Championship, we are continuously looking for additional ways to increase the presence and reach of this breathtaking sport.

“We are excited to support the return of Ypres Rally Belgium in the calendar for 2022 by joining forces with the rally’s main partner, Ardeca Lubricants.”
22-01-23 Record-breaking Loeb snatches dramatic Rallye Monte-Carlo win
Frenchman edges out Ogier with schoolteacher co-driver Galmiche. Sébastien Loeb became the oldest winner of an FIA World Rally Championship round after grabbing a remarkable Rallye Monte-Carlo victory from the under the nose of old foe Sébastien Ogier on Sunday.

The 47-year-old Frenchman trailed Ogier by almost half a minute heading into the penultimate speed test of the four-day event in the French Alps.

But when Ogier limped to the finish with a front left puncture, Loeb reclaimed a lead he had conceded to his compatriot on Saturday. He stayed calm through the final test to seal his eighth Monte-Carlo success in a Ford Puma by 10.5sec.

Loeb, starting his first WRC event for more than a year, was competing for the British M-Sport Ford squad in a one-off appearance. He joins Ogier at the top of the Monte-Carlo roll of honour with eight wins.

His victory means he has topped the WRC podium in three different decades. Co-driver Isabelle Galmiche, a 50-year-old schoolteacher who was making her first top-tier start, became the first female winner of a WRC fixture since 1997.

"I didn't expect so much when I came here," Loeb admitted. "It was a great fight, Ogier was really fast and I struggled a bit yesterday and even this morning."

The duel between the most successful drivers in the sport's history proved a fitting start to the new hybrid-powered era in the championship's 50th season.

Ogier led initially after Thursday's short opening night in his Toyota GR Yaris, but a run of four consecutive fastest times on Friday put Loeb ahead. He failed to find the same pace on Saturday and Ogier moved back in front before Sunday's breathtaking finale.

Craig Breen finished almost 90sec further back in third in another Puma, giving the British-based M-Sport Ford squad an early lead in the manufacturers' championship.

Kalle Rovanperä languished outside the top 10 after the opening night, but after set-up changes improved the balance of his GR Yaris, he soared up the order to secure fourth.

Despite losing time with engine issues on Saturday, Gus Greensmith claimed fifth in another Puma after winning his first special stage at WRC level. Thierry Neuville was sixth in a Hyundai i20 N after a lacklustre weekend for the Korean manufacturer.

The Belgian fought problems all rally, including a broken damper which punched through his bonnet on Saturday. Team-mates Ott Tänak and Oliver Solberg both retired.

Elfyn Evans, championship runner-up in 2021, was on the edge of the fight for victory until he beached his GR Yaris on a bank and remained stranded there for 20 minutes. The Welshman ended 21st.

The championship switches to Scandinavia next month for the only pure winter round of the season. Rally Sweden takes place in Umeå on February 24-27

Final positions
1. S Loeb / I Galmiche FRA Ford Puma 3hr 00min 32.8sec
2. S Ogier / B Veillas FRA Toyota GR Yaris +10.5sec
3. C Breen / P Nagle IRL Ford Puma +1min 39.8sec
4. K Rovanperä / J Halttunen FIN Toyota GR Yaris +2min 16.2sec
5. G Greensmith / J Andersson GBR Ford Puma +6min 33.4sec
6. T Neuville / M Wydaeghe BEL Hyundai i20 +7min 42.6sec

FIA World Rally Drivers' Championship (after round 1 of 13)
1. S Loeb 27pts
2. S Ogier 19
3. K Rovanperä 17

Manufacturers' Championship
1. M-Sport Ford 42pts
2. Toyota Gazoo 39
3. Hyundai Shell Mobis 13

The official Home of World Rallying:
22-01-23 Toppfart innan Solberg drog sig ur
Oliver Solberg visade toppfart innan han i samråd med sitt Hyundai-team valde att dra sig ur Rally Monte-Carlo på söndagen på grund av ett avgasläckage tidigare under tävlingen.

På tävlingens 13:e specialsträcka satte Oliver tredje bästa tid, endast slagen av Kalle Rovanperä och Sebastien Ogier. Men han var snabbare än den bästa rallyföraren genom tiderna, Sebastien Loeb, som vann säsongsinledningen i Monte-Carlo före Sebastien Ogier och Craig Breen.
- Vi hade litet hopp om att kunna genomföra tävlingen när sista dagen startade. Vi låg så långt efter i tid att det enda målet var att få så mycket erfarenhet som möjligt för bilen, teamet och oss själva. Vi hade den sjunde bästa tiden på den 14:e specialsträckan, men efter den sträckan kom vi överens med teamet om att dra oss ur resten av tävlingen. Formen var inte riktigt bra efter de senaste dagarnas händelser, sa Oliver Solberg.

Det första världsmästerskapet i rally med hybridbilar någonsin startade något dämpat för Solberg, som vid de första specialsträckorna som kördes i mörker på torsdagskvällen inte hörde sin kartläsare Elliott Edmondson på grund av problem med det interna kommunikationssystemet.

Lördagen började inte mycket bättre då ett läckage på avgassystemet fyllde kupén med avgaser, vilket skulle visa sig vara avgörande för hela tävlingen. En avkörning på tävlingens 10:e sträcka ledde till att Solberg tappade över en halvtimme och på söndagen valde duon i samråd med teamet att dra sig ur tävlingen när tre specialsträckor återstod.
- Helgen var lång och jobbig, men jag är väldigt nöjd med det jobb vi
har gjort. Även om det har varit svårt fick vi några bra etapp- och mellantider. Vi tar med oss ??det positiva från det. Stort tack till teamet för långa dagar och många timmar och stor insats. Tillsammans ska vi jobba för att förbättra oss inför nästa tävling, sa Oliver Solberg.

Nästa VM-tävling körs i Umeå om en månad.

22-01-22 Sharp-eyed Ogier wins Loeb mind games
Frenchman on verge of record-breaking ninth Rallye Monte-Carlo victory. Sébastien Ogier sits on the cusp of a record-breaking ninth Rallye Monte-Carlo victory after outwitting Sébastien Loeb in the snow and ice of the French Alps on Saturday.

Ogier headed to the closing speed test over the Col de Fontbelle with 5.0sec in hand over his fellow Frenchman after reclaiming the lead earlier in the penultimate leg.

With 5km of wintry roads at the top of the pass, Loeb laid out his cards by bravely fitting his Ford Puma with Pirelli's soft compound asphalt rubber. He hoped to benefit on the dry sections before minimising the time loss on the ice.

Ogier had already decided to mix two soft tyres and two snow tyres on his Toyota GR Yaris, but on seeing Loeb's selection, he made a last-gasp switch to the same combination. He then outpaced Loeb by 16.1sec to reach the final overnight halt with a 21.1sec lead.

"I was planning to go with the snow tyres because that was the safest option but I saw that Séb was going for slicks so I swapped at the last minute before the start," Ogier explained. "It was tricky to drive in places."

Loeb could not reproduce the pace that carried him to four fastest times yesterday.

"Now the gap is a bit far," he admitted. "We tried but Ogier saw it and changed at the last minute. It was really tricky with the slicks and very easy to make a mistake but we're here."

After a day of breathless drama, Craig Breen was third in another Puma. The Irishman was 64.9sec adrift of Loeb, but a clean run enabled him to climb from sixth.

After a dismal opening two days, Kalle Rovanperä found a more balanced set-up for his GR Yaris and soared from ninth to fourth. He ended 37.8sec behind Breen after winning the final two stages.

Gus Greensmith was fifth despite a puncture and an engine problem which cost time in the stages as well as a three-minute penalty as he replaced his Puma's spark plugs. Having slipped to ninth, he recovered well as his rivals fell by the wayside.

Thierry Neuville fought against a broken front damper in his Hyundai i20 N, which punched through the bonnet at one point. He dropped several minutes and ended almost eight minutes off the lead in sixth.

Elfyn Evans was third until he slid off the road, leaving his GR Yaris perched on the edge of a steep drop. He conceded 20 minutes.

Ott Tänak retired his i20 N in the first climb up the Col de Fontbelle after nosing into a bank and damaging his car's radiator, while team-mate Oliver Solberg dropped 35 minutes after locking his brakes and sliding down a bank.

Takamoto Katsuta's fifth place disappeared when he found a ditch on the col and dropped off the leaderboard.

Sunday's finale comprises two tests in the Alpes-Maritimes region driven twice without service before the finish in Monaco's Casino Square. The last stage forms the Wolf Power Stage with bonus points available for the fastest drivers. The four tests add up to 67.26km.

Leading positions after Saturday
1. S Ogier / B Veillas FRA Toyota GR Yaris 2hr 19min 43.1sec
2. S Loeb / I Galmiche FRA Ford Puma +21.1sec
3. C Breen / P Nagle IRL Ford Puma +1min 26.0sec
4. K Rovanperä / J Halttunen FIN Toyota GR Yaris +2min 03.8sec
5. G Greensmith / J Andersson GBR Ford Puma +6min 33.8sec
6. T Neuville / M Wydaeghe BEL Hyundai i20 +7min 44.1sec

The official Home of World Rallying:
22-01-21 Veteran Loeb Turns Back Clock to Lead Rallye Monte-Carlo on Friday
Frenchman returns from Dakar Rally quest to lead old rival Ogier and Evans. Sébastien Loeb became the oldest driver to lead an FIA World Rally Championship round after a sensational return to dominate Rallye Monte-Carlo on Friday.

As he approaches his 48th birthday, the Frenchman won four of the six French Alps speed tests to lead the first rally of the WRC's innovative new hybrid era by 9.9sec in M-Sport's Ford Puma.

The Monaco-based event is Loeb's first WRC outing for more than a year and, currently, a one-off appearance with the British squad.

Loeb was second after Thursday night's short opening leg behind old foe Sébastien Ogier. He charged by his fellow countryman in the last of the morning's three special stages and preserved his advantage in the afternoon, despite a small technical issue.

"The first four stages were really great, then we had a little hybrid problem," he explained. "In the last stage I made a good drive, but maybe it was freezing a bit more. We had some little ice coming out at the end of the stage, so it was a bit tricky.

"I was really surprised when I was doing the best time in yesterday's shakedown in the first pass. Usually in shakedown I'm not great, but with this car I was immediately in the rhythm. It's not a big gap, but I'm happy to be leading after the first full day."

Ogier dropped to third behind Toyota GR Yaris team-mate Elfyn Evans after a cautious approach on frosty roads in this morning's final stage, but fastest time on the afternoon repeat promoted him back to second.

A wary run in the same test cost Evans valuable seconds. The Welshman ended 12.1sec adrift of his colleague after a frustrating day learning the intricacies of driving with the hybrid system for the first time in competition.

Thierry Neuville topped an intense battle for fourth in a Hyundai i20 N. His day improved after an eye-opening first stage in which he described the balance as 'a nightmare'. "I've never been so scared while driving," he said.

The Belgian stiffened his car's settings and ended 8.9sec clear of team-mate Ott Tänak, with Craig Breen dropping 2.5sec behind the Estonian in the final stage in another Puma.

Team-mate Gus Greensmith celebrated his first WRC stage win en route to seventh. But for a minor problem with the hybrid system, the Briton would have been snapping on Neuville's heels.

Adrien Fourmaux was fourth overnight, but the Frenchman crashed his Puma down a ravine in the opening test. He and co-driver Alex Coria escaped injury, a testament to the new enhanced safety cell chassis introduced this year.

Saturday's action switches west for five stages near Digne-les-Bains. Three morning tests precede a tyre change in the town before the latter two are repeated. The day features two climbs of the mythical Col de Fontbelle, likely to feature several kilometres of snow and ice at the summit.

Leading positions after Friday
1. S Loeb / I Galmiche FRA Ford Puma 1hr 22min 49.0sec
2. S Ogier / B Veillas FRA Toyota GR Yaris +9.9sec
3. E Evans / S Martin GBR Toyota GR Yaris +22.0sec
4. T Neuville / M Wydaeghe BEL Hyundai i20 +47.8sec
5. O Tänak / M Järveoja EST Hyundai i20 +56.7sec
6. C Breen / P Nagle IRL Ford Puma +59.2sec

The official Home of World Rallying:
22-01-21 Ogier and Loeb in battle royale
Sébastien Ogier outgunned arch-rival Sébastien Loeb as the two Rallye Monte-Carlo masters went head-to-head in a spectacular opening night of the FIA World Rally Championship season on Thursday.

Ogier, an eight-time winner in the French Alps, opened the series’ pioneering new hybrid-powered era by winning both speed tests in his Toyota GR Yaris to build a 6.7sec lead.

Snapping on his heels was seven-time Monte winner Loeb. In his first WRC drive for more than a year, the French master finished second in both stages in M-Sport Ford’s Puma.

It was hard to imagine a more daunting opening to the sport’s new generation. Two stages on winding roads in darkness, including the crossing of the iconic Col de Turini, with frost settling on the asphalt and drivers yet to learn the mix of electric and combustion engine power in competition.

“It didn’t feel so great in the first stage, there was a lot of humidity and frost in places,” explained Ogier. “It was a little better in the second one. We are just trying little things in the car and we are happy to be through.”

Loeb was the first of three pouncing Pumas in the top five and his performance turned the clock back to memories of his last Monte victory in 2013.

“We had a good start in the first one, but it was very tricky on the top with some white parts and ice,” he smiled. “I didn’t want to make a mistake on the ice so I was a bit too careful. The second one was hard on the tyres. I overheated them before the middle of the stage and struggled to keep the car in the right position.”

Elfyn Evans, championship runner-up in 2021, was third in another GR Yaris, the Welshman struggling to acclimatise to the additional hybrid power. He was third in both stages and returned to the overnight halt in Monaco 11.2sec off the lead.

Puma pilots Adrien Fourmaux and Gus Greensmith were fourth and fifth and separated by 4.0sec after rousing opening night drives. Just 6.6sec back was Thierry Neuville’s Hyundai i20 N. The Belgian gambled on tyre choice but struggled with overheating rubber and brake issues.

Craig Breen in seventh headed a downbeat Ott Tänak, whose ‘long list’ of woes included engine and hydraulic troubles in his i20 N.

Takamoto Katsuta was ninth in another GR Yaris, with Oliver Solberg completing the leaderboard despite a spin at the top of the Turini. He also endured intercom problems meaning he could not hear co-driver Elliott Edmondson’s pace notes.

Friday heads further north for two loops of three stages in the Mercantour National Park covering 97.86km. As if the challenge of the Alps was not enough for the first full day of hybrid action, there is no service from leaving Monaco in the morning until returning at night. Drivers must make do with a tyre change only in Puget-Théniers between loops.

Leading positions:
1. S Ogier / B Veillas FRA Toyota GR Yaris 25min 48.4sec
2. S Loeb / I Galmiche FRA Ford Puma +6.7sec
3. E Evans / S Martin GBR Toyota GR Yaris +11.2sec
4. A Fourmaux / A Coria FRA Ford Puma +17.9sec
5. G Greensmith / J Andersson GBR Ford Puma +21.9sec
6. T Neuville / M Wydaeghe BEL Hyundai i20 +28.5sec

The official Home of World Rallying:
22-01-19 WRC’s pioneering hybrid era breaks cover at Rallye Monte-Carlo
It's a fresh start for the WRC stars as new season begins in Monaco. The curtain is raised on a ground-breaking new FIA World Rally Championship era at this week’s Rallye Monte-Carlo as hybrid-powered cars launch the series into an exciting future.

Innovative new Rally1 cars blend a 100kW electric motor with a 1.6-litre turbocharged engine as the WRC celebrates its 50th season with new regulations to drive the championship towards a more sustainable future.

Energy regeneration from the plug-in hybrid system, a 100 percent hydrocarbon fossil-free fuel and sustainable energy supplies are key to the WRC’s commitment to a greener outlook.

The new cars pack a punch. Peak performance will soar above 500hp on the mountain roads in the French Alps, while two Monte masters return to renew rivalries as the door opens on the new generation.

Sébastien Ogier, who clinched his eighth crown last year before stepping back to a part-programme, goes head-to-head with fellow Frenchman and arch-rival Sébastien Loeb, whose nine titles make him the sport’s most successful driver. Ogier has eight Monte victories compared to Loeb’s seven.

Ogier drives Toyota Gazoo Racing’s GR Yaris with new co-driver Benjamin Veillas.

“I’m at the beginning of a different stage in my career and, as I’m not taking part in the full championship, the feeling is a little bit different to usual for me at this time of the year. But I’m still a competitor and I still want to win,” he said.

“I know the team has been working very hard to be ready with this new generation of car and big steps have been made in every test. It’s quite a big change and it’s an exciting challenge to try and adapt to that. There’s more uncertainty than ever going into this rally.”

Loeb hopes to pounce in his first WRC drive in more than a year in M-Sport Ford’s Puma. He starts less than a week after finishing second in Saudi Arabia’s desert at the Dakar Rally.

He is partnered by Isabelle Galmiche following the retirement of Daniel Elena, with whom Loeb has tackled every one of his previous 180 WRC starts.

“It’s a radical change of scenery after spending three weeks on the Dakar Rally!” quipped Loeb, who squeezed in a brief test at the start of the week.

“For this rally, I will certainly be less prepared than the other drivers, but the feeling with the Puma Rally1 was immediately very good and everything just came together,” he said.

Manufacturers’ champions Toyota also field 2021 drivers’ runner-up Elfyn Evans and Kalle Rovanperä. Takamoto Katsuta steers a fourth GR Yaris in Toyota’s second-string squad.

Loeb is joined by new signing Craig Breen and Adrien Fourmaux at M-Sport Ford. Gus Greensmith drives a fourth entry.

Hyundai Motorsport is fired up after a disappointing 2021 campaign. Former world champion Ott Tänak, Thierry Neuville and youngster Oliver Solberg pilot i20 N cars.

Unpredictable mountain weather means competitors can encounter snow, ice and dry asphalt within a handful of kilometres. Cunning tyre selection in such conditions is key and while the forecast suggests this might not be a true winter Monte, nobody will be lulled into a false sense of security.

The rally starts in Monaco’s refurbished Casino Square on Thursday evening. Crews will face 17 mountain stages covering 296.03km before Sunday afternoon’s finish there.

22-01-19 Säsongsstart i värstingklassen för Oliver Solberg
20-årige Oliver Solberg är med från start som fabriksförare för Hyundai Motorsport i WRC-klassen när årets Rally-VM går av stapeln i Monte-Carlo på torsdag.

Efter fyra VM-tävlingar som "lärling" i ett satellitteam 2021, står Oliver Solberg officiellt på första raden i den sydkoreanska bilfabriken tillsammans med teamkamraterna Thierry Neuville och Ott Tänak i den 90-åringe klassikern Rally Monte-Carlo.
-Det ska bli väldigt speciellt att köra den första tävlingen med officiella färger på kläder och bil. Det känns extra spännande att få vara med om allt från start och jag är helt klart väldigt förväntansfull. Det här är något jag har drömt om och arbetat för väldigt länge. Att få börja säsongen som en fullblodsfabriksförare är något helt fantastiskt, säger Oliver Solberg - den yngsta deltagaren i WRC-klassen (Rally1).

Planen är att unge Solberg ska dela teamets tredje Hyundai i20 N Rally1-bil med den spanske veteranen Daniel Sordo under hela säsongen.

I det 50:e världsmästerskapet i rally görs radikala tekniska förändringar. För första gången kommer hybridbilar att användas i VM-serien. Rally1-bilarna blandar en elmotor med 100 kilowatt prestanda och en tävlingstestad 1,6-liters turboladdad bensinmotor, som har drivit sportens toppbilar sedan 2011. Allt är uppbyggt kring ett uppgraderat säkerhetscells-chassi. Muskelpaketet når prestandanivåer till mer än 500 hästkrafter (tidigare cirka 350), samtidigt som de skadliga utsläppen minskar då alla Rally1-bilar kommer att köras med 100 procent hållbart bränsle.
-Jag tror att alla går runt och är exalterade över allt nytt. Man är ganska nervös över om man har förstått all teknik och hur den kan utnyttjas. Den första tävlingen kommer att ge svar på vem av förarna som har förstått det bäst av alla, säger Solberg.

Efter att ha slutat sjua i sin WRC-debut i Arctic Rally Finland förra säsongen, avslutade Oliver säsongen 2021 med en femteplats i ACI Rally Monza. Det var även första tävlingen med ny kartläsare Elliott Edmondson (27).

Rally Monte-Carlo innehåller totalt 17 specialsträckor fördelade på fyra dagar. De två första kör i mörker på torsdagskvällen. Säsongsöppningen avslutas tidigt på söndag eftermiddag.

Rally-VM 2022 består av 13 tävlingar fördelade på fyra kontinenter.

Efter säsongsinledningen i Monte-Carlo åker mästerskapet vidare till Umeå i Sverige om en månad. Säsongen avslutas enligt plan i Japan den 13 november.

22-01-15 FIA World Rally Championship’s new hybrid era hits top gear
Covers come off the all-new Rally1 cars during live Hangar-7 launch event. Star drivers and pioneering new hybrid cars delivered a high-voltage introduction to the 2022 FIA World Rally Championship in Austria on Saturday evening. The WRC’s ground-breaking new Rally1 cars from the three manufacturers gathered for the first time in Salzburg’s Hangar-7 as the 2022 season was launched five days before the opening round at Rallye Monte-Carlo (January 20-23). Here is all you need to know:
- In the presence of FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem, reigning champions Toyota Gazoo Racing, Hyundai Motorsport and M-Sport Ford revealed their stunning all-new cars which will compete across 13 rounds on four continents.

- Among those attending were Toyota’s 2021 championship runner-up Elfyn Evans and team-mate Kalle Rovanperä, who became the youngest WRC rally winner in history last season.

- Also present were Hyundai’s lead drivers Thierry Neuville and Ott Tänak. New M-Sport Ford signing Craig Breen appeared alongside the team’s hotly-tipped youngster, Adrien Fourmaux.

- In the championship’s 50th season, the WRC will undergo major environmental changes as new FIA technical regulations drive the series towards a more sustainable future.

- Plug-in hybrid-powered cars built around an upgraded safety cell chassis, 100 percent fossil-free fuel and sustainable energy supplies are key to the sport’s commitment to a greener future.

- The new hybrid cars blend a 100kW electric motor with a competition-proven 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engine, which has powered the sport’s top-tier cars since 2011. The package raises peak performance levels to more than 500bhp whilst also reducing harmful emissions.

- President Ben Sulayem, a former WRC competitor himself, said: “Today’s launch of the new Rally1 era is a very proud and significant moment for the FIA, the entire rally family and I would like to congratulate WRC Promoter for delivering a great show at the start of the championship’s 50th anniversary season.
- “The enthusiasm for the FIA’s new technical regulations has been very much in evidence in recent months and the event further underlined the momentum coming from the teams and manufacturers, with Rallye Monte-Carlo just a few days away.
- “Beside the hybrid technology adding a new dynamic layer of performance combined with safety improvements, Rally1 cars will be using 100 percent sustainable fuel and work is also ongoing to achieve greater sustainability in the organisation of each round of the series. I look forward to an exciting season.”
- WRC Promoter managing director Jona Siebel welcomed the start of a ‘landmark period’ for the championship: “Tonight we’ve seen what the future of the WRC looks like. I applaud the manufacturers’ hard work and commitment in readying these amazing and innovative Rally1 cars for the WRC’s new era."

“This evening was a marvellous opportunity to showcase the WRC and exhibit the strong desire to create an environment where both fiercely competitive motorsport and the planet can thrive together.”

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