• After winning their third stage since the start of the 83rd Rallye Monte-Carlo, their 903rd in the World Championship, Sébastien Loeb and Daniel Elena hit a rock on the final test of the day. They will rejoin tomorrow under Rally 2 rules.
  • Kris Meeke and Paul Nagle also had to retire on SS8, whilst running fourth. Mads Østberg and Jonas Andersson moved up the overall standings to fifth place.

Yesterday’s brief warm-up was today succeeded by a real leg, featuring six stages held on roads around Gap. With sub-zero temperatures in the morning, most of the WRC crews opted to go with studded tyres for the first loop. Different options were taken after the midday service. Mads Østberg and Sébastien Loeb took advantage of this to fit snow tyres, without studs, in the afternoon, unlike most of their rivals.

On La Salle en Beaumont – Corps (SS3 and SS6), Sébastien Loeb was simply unbeatable. First thing in the morning and at the start of the afternoon, the Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team driver was quickest on both runs on the stage.

However, on the next two tests, the mud dragged onto the road as the crews came through the stages left the surface too slippery for Loeb, who was fourteenth in the running order. And although he managed to hold off his rivals in the morning, Sébastien Loeb hit a rock on SS8 and was unable to finish the leg.

Despite becoming increasingly competitive throughout the leg, Kris Meeke didn’t make it to the end of SS8. He damaged his car’s rear left-hand suspension after sliding into a ditch, whilst running in fourth position.

Thanks to making a good call of tyres choice for the second loop, Mads Østberg ended the day with a third fastest time. He moved up to fifth place in the overall standings.

In the WRC 2 category, Stéphane Lefebvre held onto first position in a DS 3 R5. In the FIA Junior WRC, Quentin Gilbert remained in front, ahead of Ole Christian Veiby and Terry Folb in their DS 3 R3-MAXs.

Tomorrow’s leg will take the crews from Gap to Monaco. The actions starts at 8.10am with two stages, including the 51.70 kilometre monster of Lardier et Vaneca – Faye, with the midday service at 12.34pm. The crews then head towards Monaco, taking in Pruniers – Embrun and Sisteron – Thoard. The cars will be driven into Parc Ferme in the Principality from 6.58pm onwards


Team Renault Classic enters four cars for the 2015 Rallye Monte-Carlo Historique

• As part of the 50th anniversary celebrations of the famous Renault 16, Team Renault Classic has entered two R16 TSs for the 18th Rallye Monte-Carlo Historique, as well as two Renault 12 Gordinis.
• In total, four Team Renault Classic crews will line up to start the event in Reims, northeastern France, on January 30. The finish in Monaco is scheduled for the night of February 3-4.
Named Car of the Year in 1966, the Renault 16 was seen as Renault’s first true ‘Voiture à Vivre’ and made a durable mark on the French automobile scene.
To celebrate the 50th anniversary of one of Renault’s most innovative family cars, Team Renault Classic has entered a brace of Renault 16 TSs for this year’s Rallye Monte-Carlo Historique. The two cars will be in the hands of Michel Leclère and Thierry Emptas.
To contribute further to the spectator’s enjoyment, Team Renault Classic has also entered two Renault 12 Gordinis for the historic rally calendar’s opener. They will be driven by Jean Ragnotti, winner of the 1981 Rallye Monte Carlo in a Renault 5 Turbo, and former Alpine driver/test driver Alain Serpaggi.
The four Team Renault Classic crews are:

  •  N°1 (Renault 12 Gordini): Jean Ragnotti and his co-driver Michel Duvernay, winner of the 1981 French Renault Cross Elf Cup and 1986 Renault 5 GT Turbo Cup.
  • N°12 (Renault 12 Gordini): Alain Serpaggi, navigated by Jean-Pierre Prevost.
  • N°16 (Renault 16 TS): ex-Formula 1 driver Michel Leclère. The winner of the 1969 Premier Pas Dunlop Gordini Cup will be joined in the car by Laurent Lamat and Gilles Dubois, winners of a competition organised by FCRA (Fédération des Clubs Renault et Alpine).
  • N°18 (Renault 16 TS): Thierry Emptas and Rallye Monte-Carlo Historique regular François Forgeoux.

The Team Renault Classic crews will start the 2015 Rallye Monte-Carlo Historique in Reims, northeastern France, on January 30. The event will finish in the Principality on the night of February 3-4.

F1Weekly podcast # 671

Clark and Nasir both looking forward to the 2015 Formula 1 season and couldn’t wait to talk about NASCAR and the Assassin! We alo have a sneak peak at the 2015 Williams Martini FW37

WILLIAMS MARTINI RACING has revealed the first images of its 2015 car, the Williams Mercedes FW37 on the front cover of Haymarket’s F1 Racing Magazine. Following on from a successful season in 2014 Williams hopes the FW37 can continue the positive momentum into another competitive season of racing.
‘The notion for the FW37 was to look closely at the FW36 and its performances,’ says WILLIAMS MARTINI RACING Chief Technical Officer Pat Symonds. ‘We then went about recognising what had worked well and identifying and resolving the areas that we felt needed to be improved. Although the aerodynamics of the car were impressive there is always room for improvement particularly as we handle the new 2015 nose regulations ’
The design of the FW37 has stemmed from the performance of the FW36 but the conceptual ideas came long before the 2014 successes.
‘The first conceptual stage of the FW37 came before the FW36 had turned a wheel. The main element to this is understanding the rule changes and how they will affect the design of the car, from here we can start see if our ideas will fit within the regulations.’
The performance of the FW36 in 2014 saw the team move forward from ninth in the Constructors’ Championship to third, obtaining nine podiums throughout the season and a front row lockout at the Austrian Grand Prix.
‘The desire to beat Ferrari to third place in the Constructors’ in 2014 meant we pushed our development through to late autumn, but the size of the team is now at a point where it was able to sustain this development whilst still working on the FW37.’
With the regulations relatively stable from 2014 the team went about developing the FW36 with the additional changes necessary to meet the 2015 rules.
‘We felt we came up against design barriers in the FW36 and so took the opportunity to remove those barriers for the benefit of the performance. The FW36 carried a reasonable amount of ballast, so we were able to make alterations to the design for added performance without the fear of adding excessive mass.’
The layout phase of the car was completed by the summer break in August, with work on the new front bulkhead a main priority for the designers and aerodynamicists as the changes to the regulations had their effects on the car.
‘The change in regulations offered us a slight headache. The new front bulkhead and nose geometry had much more of an impact than we had initially anticipated and the effect on the aero was profound. The team have worked hard on pulling back the deficit these regulations have made for us.’
After a strong 2014 the team has aims to continue improving in pursuit of podium finishes throughout the 2015 season.
‘The more rule stability there is, the closer the field gets. I hope as a team we are more capable of maintaining the forward momentum to catch Mercedes, than the teams behind us are of catching us. It’s not just about stable regulations but also about the team and every individual that works here moving forward and improving.’
Frank Williams, Team Principal concluded ‘The team had a fantastic season last year, we are aiming to replicate this development over the winter and to start the 2015 season in a strong position. We have an enormously talented group of people here at Williams who want nothing more than the team to do well. This passion produced a great turn around in fortunes for the team in 2014 and everybody has worked tirelessly to continue that climb up the grid.’
‘We have added a few more high profile names to accompany the incredibly supportive group of partners we have,’ Frank Williams added. ‘After a very strong first year with Mercedes we are looking to further develop the relationship as we look for more podiums in 2015. I feel this year will be equally as exciting as the last and look forward to seeing the car on the grid at the first race.’

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BARC launches new Formula Libre Championship

An all-new, 16-round Formula Libre Championship open to a minimum of three classes of single-seater cars – latest-specification 2.0 Formula Renault, pre-2012 Formula 3 and Formula BMW – has been announced by the British Automobile Racing Club.

The BARC Formula Libre Championship will run across six events – with up to three rounds per event – starting at Norfolk’s Snetterton circuit on the weekend of Sat 9/10 May.

Rockingham (Northants), Thruxton (Hants), Croft (North Yorks) and Oulton Park (Cheshire) will then follow before the final two rounds back at Rockingham in October.

The BARC’s General Manager Ian Watson commented: “We have identified a decent number of each of these three types of car currently without a championship to race in – our Formula Libre Championship offers the teams who own those cars a place to compete.

“Significantly the Formula Renault cars are to the same specification as those raced in championships in Europe. Our Libre Championship gives teams competing in those championships – whether based in the UK or overseas – a great opportunity to gain valuable added track time with their cars.

“Certainly Formula Renault has a very enviable and credible track record in the UK with the cars heavily influenced by Renault’s F1 expertise – they are technically advanced and provide a fantastic arena for drivers to hone set-up and racecraft skills prior to moving up the more senior motor sport ranks.

“After the demise of British F3, it’s also great to welcome these cars along with Formula BMW to our grid – both are well proven. In fact the vast majority of the current Formula 1 grid came through these three categories (FRenault, F3, FBMW) on the way to the top…

“In addition these three classes of car are the perfect combination for Libre competition as each complies with similar FIA crash test regulations. We predict they will provide a varied and competitive grid leading to some extremely exciting and unpredictable action on circuit.”

For more details about the BARC Formula Libre Championship, competitors should contact Championship Manager Will Fewkes / Tel. 01264 882208

Race Dates: 2015 BARC Formula Libre Championship

Rounds 1, 2 & 3             Sat 9/Sun 10 May                Snetterton, Norfolk
Rounds 4, 5 & 6             Sat 30/Sun 31 May              Rockingham, Northants
Rounds 7, 8 & 9             Sat 13/Sun 14 June             Thruxton, Hants
Rounds 10, 11 & 12       Sat 11/Sun 12 July               Croft, North Yorkshire
Rounds 13 & 14             Sat 15 August                       Oulton Park, Cheshire
Rounds 15 & 16             Sat 17 October                     Rockingham, Northants



216. The number of competitors who managed to finish the 2015 Dakar (79 motorcycles, 18 quads, 68 cars and 51 trucks) out of the 420 which started the rally. Two of them, Ivan Jakeš and Robby Gordon, won the final stage in the motorcycle and car categories, respectively. However, the spotlight was on Marc Coma, who drew upon his experience to take his fifth Dakar, and Nasser Al-Attiyah, who claimed his second one after dominating the entire two-week rally.

Marc Coma is now level with Cyril Despres, a fact which will please the Frenchman’s eternal rival at the Dakar to no end and —just like his former teammate— puts him just one triumph away from the record held by legend Stéphane Peterhansel. Their equal number of wins takes on a special dimension considering the dominance of the two men throughout the last ten editions of the Dakar, as well as the good-natured competition which fuels their ambition. For the first time in ten years, Despres was not there to take the fight to Coma, having switched to the car category this year, but the Spaniard still had to fight tooth and nail for his resounding victory in Buenos Aires… As in 2014, Joan Barreda was clearly the toughest rival the KTM rider came up against in Argentina, Chile and Bolivia. The HRC rider won stage 2 with the added bonus of the overall lead, opening a crucial 12-minute gap thanks to the latter’s tyre problems. From the very next stage, the two Spaniards played cat and mouse, riding together and taking turns to claw back the two minutes separating them at the start of the special. This little game lasted several days to the benefit of Barreda, who looked like he had finally acquired the experience needed to fight for victory until the end without making any mistakes.
However, Coma bided his time like a feline waiting to pounce at the slightest opportunity. Marc found an opening in stage 8 after his Spanish rival suffered a mechanical. The no. 2 Honda, damaged by the crossing of the waterlogged Salar de Uyuni, had to be towed to Iquique by Jeremías Israel Esquerre. This decisive turn of events gave Marc Coma the reins of the rally, which he kept until Buenos Aires. However, the KTM rider still had to see off a determined Paulo Gonçalves who was out to avenge the honour of the world’s leading maker, thwarted by its Austrian nemesis for the third time since its official rally raid comeback. The Portuguese rider never gave up, but he finally had to settle for a well-deserved second place. As well-deserved as amazing Toby Price’s third step on the podium. The 27-year-old rookie from Down Under will be worth keeping an eye on in upcoming editions. The KTM rider claimed stage 12 and kept getting stronger as the race went on, pulling off an impressive streak of eight top 5 places and bested Pablo Quintanilla for third place at the end of the rally, making him the best rookie since his fellow countryman Andy Haydon in 1998.
However, his Chilean rival has good reason to be happy with his rally after having to withdraw from his first two editions of the Dakar, winning the gruelling eighth stage. He too will probably come back with loftier goals in 2016. Among those who did not make it to the finish, Sam Sunderland will be seeking to bounce back and gain consistency in 2016 after winning the first special this year, just like Matthias Walkner, who also won a stage in his maiden Dakar and represents the new generation of rally raid together with Price. Laia Sanz did reach Buenos Aires and showed flashes of brilliance throughout the 2015 edition, claiming a fantastic fifth place in Iquique and, even more importantly, ninth overall, up there with the big guns. The pretty Catalan even beat Olivier Pain, who barely had any presence in the race for the Yamaha clan.
Nasser Al-Attiyah won the first stage but was handed down a time penalty for speeding in the link section. No big deal for the Qatari. He had sent his rivals a clear message: this was going to be his year. The Mini driver rammed the message home the very next day, taking an undisputable and undisputed stage win, the first of an impressive set of five wins which shows just how far ahead of the competition Al-Attiyah was in the 37th Dakar. The newly crowned two-time champion of the most prestigious rally on Earth took the overall lead at the end of stage 2 and kept it until the end. He never even hesitated, racking up one win after another instead of simply defending his lead even when the slower-but-steady Giniel de Villiers piled the pressure on him. The Toyota driver, second in Buenos Aires, was the only man who challenged the no. 301 Mini until the end (finally losing by 35 minutes). Only a stage victory could have made the South African 2009 winner of the Dakar’s performance even better.
Nani Roma, on the other hand, did take stage 9. However, the 2014 champion’s dreams of overall glory were already shattered, as his supposedly ultra-reliable Mini suffered a mechanical a few kilometres into the opening special. The Spaniard ended up rolling out of the rally with four days to go, just like Carlos Sainz during stage 5. With the former WRC champion gone, Stéphane Peterhansel was left to fly the Peugeot colours alone in the rally comeback of the brand with the lion. The Frenchman’s bid for glory failed and he had to settle for bringing his 2008 DKR to Buenos Aires, just like Cyril Despres in his baptism of fire on four wheels. Orlando Terranova was also disappointed in the 2015 edition, but even though he was knocked out of contention in stage 4, he set an infernal pace throughout the rally. The Argentinean grabbed four stages and would have probably been a strong contender for the overall win with some more luck. Lady Luck was just as mean to Yazeed Al-Rajhi, who produced an awesome performance until stage 11, which he never even managed to start due to a mechanical problem a few kilometres before entering the special. The Saudi winner of stage 8, who was sitting third overall before withdrawing from the rally, will be worth keeping an eye on in 2016. Al-Rajhi’s pain was Krzysztof Hołowczyc’s gain, as the Pole celebrated his tenth participation with a much awaited podium place, 1 h 32′ behind the unassailable Al-Attiyah.
In the quad category, Rafał Sonik finally tasted glory in his sixth Dakar start, following four top 5 finishes. The Pole hit the ground running, but he spent a big chunk of the rally battling Ignacio Casale, who was determined to make it two in a row after his brilliant victory in 2014 —Chile’s first at the Dakar. Casale won the first two stages and put his cards on the table, locked in a fierce battle with Sonik until a mechanical problem in stage 10 sent him home. The same special also eliminated Sergio Lafuente, opening a gap of almost three hours between the leader and second-placed Jeremías González Ferioli, who grabbed his first special at the young age of 19! Christophe Declerck’s two amazing stage wins thrust him into the limelight as the only French stage winner at the 2015 Dakar.
Finally, Kamaz’s grip on the truck race remained as strong as ever. The Russians were light-years ahead of the competition, pulling off a jaw-dropping 1-2-3-4 in the general classification! Hans Stacey’s win at the wheel of his Iveco in the first stage may have seemed a bad omen for the Russians, but despite racking up four stage wins, the Dutchman was left in the dust as Ayrat Mardeev and Eduard Nikolaev duelled for the overall. Nikolaev won six stages and halfway through the race seemed on track to repeat his 2013 victory, but a calamitous stage 7 forced him to chase after the super-consistent Mardeev. In the end, Nikolaev simply ran out of road as he lost to his fellow countryman by 13 minutes in Buenos Aires. Ilgizar Mardeev’s son made amends for his second place behind Nikolaev two years ago, while 2014 champion Andrey Karginov took the bottom step of the podium.





  • It’s the big story of the opening round of the 2015 season: Sébastien Loeb and Daniel Elena will be competing at the Rallye Monte-Carlo in a DS 3 WRC.
  •  For this one-off appearance, the nine-time World Champions have been nominated to score points for the Citroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT alongside Kris Meeke and Paul Nagle.
  • A third DS 3 WRC will be driven by Mads Østberg and Jonas Andersson. Last year’s Junior WRC champion, Stéphane Lefebvre – alongside co-driver Stéphane Prévot – begins his season in a DS 3 R5.
  • The DS 3 WRCs will all feature a new livery celebrating the 60th anniversary of DS.


New season, new colours… and the return of two familiar faces! Sébastien Loeb and Daniel Elena return to action in a DS 3 WRC to contest the Rallye Monte-Carlo. The legendary crew, winners of nine world titles and 78 rallies (including seven wins in Monaco), is set to cause a stir with the Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team.

To start the new season, several significant upgrades have been made to all three of the DS 3 WRCs entered: engine, suspension, aerodynamics, gearbox, etc. “The DS 3 WRC is a very accomplished car, but we have worked hard to make it even more competitive,” commented Xavier Mestelan-Pinon, Citroën Racing’s Technical Director. “For example, we have focussed our efforts on the engine so that it delivers more power and torque, whilst also improving reliability. Taking advantage of the changes in the regulations, we have reintroduced steering wheel-mounted paddles for the gear changes. Other significant improvements have been made to the aerodynamics, with a new spoiler and a new front end that will be introduced shortly, as well as to the weight distribution with the use of lighter parts. Lastly, we have altered the kinematics of the rear suspension. Work is ong oing and, in the next few months, we will be presenting another aerodynamic upgrade.”

The sporting regulations have also been changed for 2015. At each event, the running order for the crews will mirror the championship standings on the Friday and Saturday. On the final day, the reverse order of the overall rally standings (for P1 and P2 drivers) will be used. In Rally2 (rejoining the rally after a retirement), the penalty applied has been increased from 5 to 7 minutes for each stage missed. And the cars allowed to rejoin will be first on the road. Another important point: it is now forbidden to relay information and split times to the crews during the stages.


The Premiere Motorsport Podcast