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World Rally Championship

UAE’s Sheikh Khalid Al Qassimi powering his Abu Dhabi Citroën Total DS3 on the final day of Dubai International Rally.
UAE’s Sheikh Khalid Al Qassimi powering his Abu Dhabi Citroën Total DS3 on the final day of Dubai International Rally.

KRIS MEEKE, MADS ØSTBERG AND KHALID AL QASSIMI TO COMPETE FOR CITROËN RACING IN 2014—

_NZS0391Citroën Racing is delighted to announce its line-up for the 2014 World Rally Championship. Kris Meeke/Paul Nagle and Mads Østberg/Jonas Andersson will be the Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team’s driver/co-driver pairings in the DS3 WRC next season.

Having won the World Rally Championship eight times between 2003 and 2012, Citroën Racing is to continue its involvement in WRC with two new high-potential pairings.

Kris Meeke came through the ranks of Citroën Racing’s promotional formulas, before driving a C2 Super 1600 for the brand in the Junior WRC. IRC Champion in 2009, the Northern Irishman has since made a return to the World Championship. His two 2013 appearances saw him put in some impressive performances at the wheel of the DS3 WRC. In 2014, these occasional outings will give way to a full programme, as he becomes the first British driver to race a full season since Colin McRae’s 2003 swansong with Citroën.

“It’s an incredible opportunity,” says a delighted Kris Meeke. “I’ve always been close to Citroën over the last few years. I’m really lucky to be able to work with a team that has so much experience and so many titles.”

“I have only competed in ten World Championship rallies in a WRC,” he says. “I think I’ve got some potential, but I still need to get some experience under my belt. The Citroën DS3 WRC is a terrific car and I’m going to be able to use the team’s knowledge to help me improve. I know that I’ll have to be patient in the first half of the season and learn all about the rallies that I haven’t done before.”

26-year-old Mads Østberg has already taken part in 65 WRC rallies and won the Norwegian Championship four times. With seven podium finishes to his name at world level, he notched up his first WRC victory at the Rally of Portugal in 2012.

“I am very happy and proud to be joining Citroën Racing,” explains the Norwegian. “We worked hard to get an official driver’s spot. After so many years watching Citroën win, it’s a dream come true to be part of this team.”

“Competing is the most important thing,” adds Mads. “And even though I don’t know the team or the car yet, I can recognise the worth of the guys and the Citroën DS3 WRC. Of course, I’m joining Citroën Racing to get some good results and to try and win some rallies. I’ve always shown that I could be quick. I know that the standard in the World Rally Championship is exceptionally high, but I want to be competitive!”

Like last year, Khalid Al Qassimi will take part in a selection of World Championship rallies. The driver from Abu Dhabi will line up for the races in Sweden, Portugal, Italy and Spain and will concentrate on taking part in the entire Middle East rally Championship.

“Our team line-up for the 2014 season is in keeping with our ambitions,” concludes Yves Matton, Managing Director of Citroën Racing. “Kris Meeke and Mads Østberg have followed very different career paths, but both of them are on the cusp of making it into the very top class of world rally drivers. After an initial phase of learning and getting to know each other, our goal will be to help them to improve and turn them into real contenders for victory.”

Citroën Racing will unveil its entire rally and track racing programme for 2014 on Monday 16 December, at a press conference in Versailles. The event will be broadcast on the site www.citroen-wrc.com at 14:30 (GMT+1).

Formula 1

williams

THE WILLIAMS F1 TEAM ANNOUNCES STRENGTHENED AERODYNAMICS TEAM FOR THE 2014 SEASON—

The Williams F1 Team is pleased to announce a strengthened aerodynamics line-up as it gears up for the 2014 Formula One World Championship season.

As part of the on-going work to improve key areas of the business, Williams is pleased to announce that Dave Wheater will join from the Lotus F1 Team to become Head of Aerodynamic Performance, reporting to existing Head of Aerodynamics Jason Somerville. Also supporting Jason as we move forward will be Shaun Whitehead, previously of Red Bull Racing, who joins as Head of Aerodynamic Process.

Commenting on the new appointments, Jason Somerville said: “I’m very pleased to have secured the first class talents of Dave and Shaun, both of whom have enviable track records within F1. With the exciting challenges ahead for 2014, I am confident they will both add strength and experience to the team here at Grove.”

Pat Symonds, Williams F1 Team Chief Technical Officer, added: “These two appointments show our commitment to both improving the process of aerodynamic development while focussing on the application of that development to true on-track performance.  Dave and Shaun bring a wealth of experience to our team and I welcome them both to Grove and fully expect them to make significant contributions to the renewed competitiveness that we are all working so hard to achieve. With Dave and Shaun on board, and under Jason’s stewardship, we will be well positioned to make gains in this important area and support the continuing task of developing the FW36 in what promises to be an exciting year for the sport in 2014.”

Volant Euroformula

Enzo Guibbert Volant Euroformula

ENZO GUIBBERT FINISHES ON A POSITIVE NOTE—

The “Volant Euroformula” 2012, Enzo Guibbert, started this year in the highly competitive French GT championship and for a first in this discipline, it is safe to say that his gamble pretty much paid off! We met him at the Euroformula School:

 

  1. Enzo, you put on some good performances and in between you had some difficult times, like your pole position at Ledenon and then unable to get into the lead at Castellet. How do you explain the uneven outcomes?

 

First of all, success stayed cruelly out of our reach. Then there was not enough driving practice between races which handicapped me the most because I wasn’t at my best at the start of the meeting. I had to work around technical breakdowns like in Imola, for example, where I only raced in the qualifiers! Between lack of experience, hard to overcome without practice, and points lost because of various problems we ran into, we automatically end up with a season of highs and lows. Also, the Porsche, an excellent car all things considered, doesn’t have the top speed our rivals had like in Castellet, for example, where we were giving away 10 kilometres/hour to the leaders, that’s about seven tenths of a second lost. Even though the car was well balanced in the bends, it was impossible to catch up on the time lost.

 

2.    Tell us about the highlights and what conclusion do you draw from your first season in the GT Tour?

 

This season had a lot of powerful moments but the best memory will always be my pole position in Ledenon, all my family were there and we weren’t far from home with all our friends, it will always be a special moment because it was the completion of a year’s work with a lot of sacrifices, there was a lot of emotion! My season also had some bad times, the most notable being the meeting in Imola where I could not take part in the two races because of mechanical problems. The outcome still remains positive in relation to my progress throughout the season. I had a good season as part of Philippe Alméras’ Pro GT organisation, they have a good team. For next year I hope to start a new season in GT or to run in the Porsche Cup France for which I have already been selected to try for the Scholarship.

 

 3.Talking of awards, how did the “Volant Euroformula” help you and which memory will you keep from your victory?

 

My victory in the “Volant Euroformula” allowed me to drive this year, without it I think I would have had to give up my career. This Volant was a great opportunity for me. I remember the final as if it was yesterday. I was motivated and came to win. I had focus from the start and decided to attack from my very first lap. With good pace, I felt at ease in the car and everything went well. A great moment. Thanks again!

 

Formula 1

Dr Vijay Mallya and Nico Hulkenberg 2

NICO HULKENBERG SIGNS WITH SAHARA FORCE INDIA F1—
Sahara Force India is delighted to confirm that Nico Hulkenberg will return to Sahara Force India in 2014 after agreeing a multi-year deal.
 
The 26-year-old German is no stranger to Sahara Force India having spent the 2011 and 2012 seasons with the team. The already strong working relationship will ensure a smooth transition as the team moves into the new era of Formula One™.
 
Sahara Force India’s full 2014 driver line-up will be announced in due course.
 
Dr Vijay Mallya, Team Principal and Managing Director: “I’m delighted to see Nico back with Sahara Force India. When he drove for us in 2012, it became clear Nico was an exceptional talent and he has continued to impress everyone in the paddock with his strong performances this season. Having Nico in our line-up is a real statement of intent and a huge boost for everyone associated with the team. We have high hopes and expectations for 2014 and by signing Nico we have put ourselves in the best position to achieve those objectives and enjoy what could be our most competitive season yet.”
 
Nico Hulkenberg: “I am happy to come back to Sahara Force India. The team is aiming high for next year and I believe that the experience I have gained over the years will help us achieve those goals. I genuinely believe we can have a competitive package in 2014. I’ve heard a lot of positive things about the Mercedes engine as well, so I think there is a lot to be excited about for next year. I know this team and I can see their determination; it’s a great bunch of people and we all share the same hunger for success.”

Formula 1

Pastor

MALDONADO TO LOTUS F1—

Lotus F1 Team is pleased to announce that Venezuelan driver Pastor Maldonado [28] will join the Enstone squad alongside Frenchman Romain Grosjean [27] for the 2014 Formula 1 season.

Pastor – a veteran of 58 Grand Prix starts, including pole position and victory at the 2012 Spanish Grand Prix – has driven for Williams F1 Team since entering the sport at the start of the 2011 season.

Romain has raced for Lotus F1 Team since the start of the 2012 season, having previously driven for the Enstone outfit in its former guise of Renault F1 Team during the final seven races of the 2009 season, in addition to serving as third driver for the team in 2011.

Eric Boullier, Team Principal
“It is with great pleasure that we can formally confirm that Romain Grosjean will continue with Lotus F1 Team next season. He has really made the most of his tremendous talent over the latter part of the 2013 season and will be a fantastic asset to our 2014 challenge. Romain will be joined by Pastor Maldonado; a driver I have known since he drove for me at DAMS in the 2005 World Series by Renault season. It is clear that Pastor has pace and potential – demonstrated by his 2010 GP2 Series title success and then through strong races throughout his career at Williams F1 Team – and we are convinced that we will be able to provide the correct environment to enable him to flourish regularly on track. We have been working on our new car in alignment with the new regulations for over two years and we are confident that we have a very good solution to all the challenges ahead. With Romain and Pastor I believe Lotus F1 Team will be able to cause quite a few surprises next year.”

Romain Grosjean, Lotus F1 Team Driver
“I am very happy to have official confirmation that I will be continuing to drive for Lotus F1 Team next season. This past year has been tremendously satisfying for me. We have worked well together, and I know everyone at Enstone is motivated to continue the fight for every last point available. I am very excited about next year’s car and I cannot wait to get out on track for pre-season testing before heading to Australia for the first race of the season.”

Pastor Maldonado, 2014 Lotus F1 Team Driver
“It is a fantastic opportunity for me to join Lotus F1 Team for 2014. It’s no secret that I have wanted a change of scene to help push on with my Formula 1 career and Lotus F1 Team offered the very best opportunity for me to be competitive next season. The regulations and cars will change significantly so it is a very good time for a fresh start. I can’t wait to be racing in black and gold.”

BTCC

Jim Clark
Legendary racer Jim Clark to be celebrated at Knockhill

Clark’s success to be celebrated at Knockhill—

50th anniversary of legendary Scottish racer Jim Clark’s BTCC title honoured—

The remarkable British Touring Car Championship victory in 1964 by one of the greatest racing drivers to ever have competed, Jim Clark from Duns, is to be celebrated when the BTCC returns to Knockhill next year. 2014 is the 50th anniversary of Jim winning the title as he became the first of only three Scots in history to win the prestigious championship, the second being fellow Borders racer John Cleland and the most recent being Gordon Shedden in 2012.

Knockhill Event Director Stuart Gray said: “We are thrilled and honoured that the Jim Clark Trust has chosen the 2014 BTCC event at Knockhill to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Clark’s BTCC title win. It’s a natural fit in many ways as Jim was born in Fife and we hope to have a huge crowd at our 2014 event as Knockhill is also celebrating it’s the 40th anniversary!

“We are delighted also that Homecoming Scotland has recognised these special landmarks and is backing the event with funding that will allow us to celebrate the four decades of motor sport at Knockhill, and the unique achievements of Jim Clark. A whole host of items are being planned to ensure it is a fitting event to celebrate the birthday of Scotland’s National Motor Sport Centre and Clark’s 1964 title, coming as it did when he was the reigning Formula One Champion.”

The newly-formed Jim Clark Trust has the endorsement of motor racing heroes Sir Jackie Stewart and Dario Franchitti who have joined forces behind plans to establish a new museum dedicated to the achievements of Scotland’s world-famous Formula One legend. The Jim Clark Room, which is currently set up in the Berwickshire town of Duns close to where Clark spent most of his life, houses a selection of memorabilia from the late driver’s career, but it is small and becoming overcrowded.
 
Now the Jim Clark Trust is putting together a bid to build a new, expanded museum to house more of the cars Clark drove, trophies he won and other memorabilia from his racing career under one roof. Scottish Borders Council is also playing its part by providing over £500,000 capital funding for the new museum with the ‘Room’ having attracted more than 300,000 visitors from across the world since it opened 40 years ago.

Stuart Gray added: “With such a large dedicated motor sport fan base coming to the Knockhill BTCC meeting in August and having the Jim Clark Trust here with a display of Jim’s cars, memorabilia and trophies, it is the perfect platform to both promote the legacy of Jim and the Trust’s plans for their new ‘Room’. We are also delighted that Homecoming Scotland are helping financially to make the event one of the biggest and most significant motor sport events in 2014, the year of the Homecoming.”

Caroline Packman, Homecoming Scotland 2014 said: “2014 promises to be a very exciting year for Scotland where we can celebrate all that’s great about our country and place the spotlight on our greatest assets. We are absolutely delighted to have the British Touring Car Championship at Knockhill as part of the ever-extending Homecoming Scotland 2014 programme. It also presents a fantastic opportunity for both visitors and locals to celebrate the unique achievements of Jim Clark.”