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DAKAR RALLY

DESERT DOMINANCE CROWNS CHAMPIONS IN FOUR CATEGORIES AT THE 2019 DAKAR RALLY

After 10 stages across the dunes of Peru the best offroad racers in the world have emerged victorious at the 2019 Dakar Rally. It’s been a bumpy ride of over 5,500 kilometres at the planet’s toughest test of motorsports endurance. Now every competitor crossing the finish line is in the mood to celebrate – none more so than the Red Bull Desert Wings athletes who conquered four categories at the Dakar.

It was a near flawless drive from Nasser Al-Attiyah (QAT) and co-driver Mathieu Baumel (FRA) who burst into an early lead in the car race. Al-Attiyah’s sand racing expertise came to the fore on this Dakar route that saw the convoy plunged into the dunes. At the finish line in Pisco the Qatari ace was celebrating a third Dakar title, and his first with Toyota.

Marcelo Maragni/Red Bull Content Pool
Nasser Al-Attiyah (QAT) of Toyota Gazoo Racing SA is seen at the finish podium of Rally Dakar 2019 in Lima, Peru on January 17, 2019

“There’s been a lot of people working on this car for a long time, always believing we could win the Dakar. I’m so proud of these guys right now.” – Nasser Al-Attiyah

Sébastien Loeb (FRA) seemed like the driver most likely to overtake Al-Attiyah. The nine-time WRC winner picked up four stage victories at this Dakar, but a troublesome waypoint undid his tilt for the title. Loeb and co-driver Daniel Elena (MON) finished third overall in their Peugeot 3008DKR, their second Dakar podium finish.

“I prefer to finish first rather than third, but it was a good fight.” – Sébastien Loeb

2018 FIA Cross County Rally World Cup winner Kuba Przygonski (POL) brought plenty of momentum into this edition of the Dakar. The Pole’s four-wheel drive MINI was competitive throughout and he just missed out on the podium with a fourth place result.

“The first week was perfect and then we had some problems. Then we made these last days in the dunes almost perfectly and made it back to fourth place.” – Kuba Przygonski

Cyril Despres (FRA) of X-raid MINI JCW Team is seen at the finish podium of Rally Dakar 2019 in Lima, Peru on January 17, 2019

It was a tough debut for the X-raid MINI JCW Team despite boasting a superstar driving line-up of Stéphane Peterhansel (FRA), Carlos Sainz (ESP) and Cyril Despres (FRA). This trio came to Peru with 20 Dakar wins between them, but were unable to add another to their collective tally. Peterhansel crashed out on stage nine, while Despres and Sainz finished fifth and 13th respectively.

“I know how it feels to make a Dakar with no problems and it’s a pity it didn’t happen for us this time.” – Cyril Despres

Once it became clear that victory was not on the cards this year for Giniel De Villiers (ZAF) the former Dakar winner was committed to helping Al-Attiyah claim the win. De Villiers drove a selfless race to finish ninth overall, and assist his Toyota Gazoo Racing team-mate to victory.

“All credit to Nasser and Mathieu. They didn’t put a foot wrong on this race. Other than ourselves winning, this is the next best result.” – Giniel De Villiers

DAKAR RALLY

2019 DAKAR ENTERS FINAL STRAIGHT WITH EVERYTHING STILL ON THE LINE

There was a fair amount of chaos in the Peruvian dunes on the penultimate stage of the 2019 Dakar Rally. For many it was a final chance to claw back some serious time on their rivals. The soft sands of Pisco ended up biting hard and took the Dakar’s most successful ever competitor out of the race.

13-time Dakar winner Stéphane Peterhansel (FRA) and co-driver David Castera (FRA) started stage nine in determined fashion. They had fallen out of the podium positions on the previous stage and were battling to get back into the Top 3. Unfortunately, their MINI John Cooper Works Buggy suffered a hard impact in the dunes after 26 kilometres of the stage and the pair’s Dakar ended right there.

Stephane Peterhansel helping David Castera in the Mini of the X-Raid Mini JCW Team after their crash in the dunes during stage 9 of the Dakar Rally, Pisco looping back to Pisco, Peru, on January 16, 2019.

“We came over a dune and landed head-on in the next dune. Everything went so fast that David (Castera), who was looking at the roadbook at that moment, didn’t expect the impact.” – Stéphane Peterhansel

The men Peterhansel was chasing were race leaders Nasser Al-Attiyah (QAT) and Mathieu Baumel (FRA). This duo in their Toyota Hilux suffered no such problems as their near faultless Dakar drive continued today. The 2015 Dakar winners are now just one stage away from recapturing their crown.

“Tomorrow we just need to bring it home to Lima. Always we try to do our best because it’s really not easy here. Everyday we work really hard to have a good speed and not to make any mistakes.” – Nasser Al-Attiyah

Al-Attiyah is being supported every step of the way by his Toyota team-mate Giniel De Villiers (ZAF). De Villiers is sticking as close as he can to Al-Attiyah out on the stage, just in case he can lend a hand along the way.

Giniel de Villiers and Dirk von Zitzewitz chasing their team mates Nasser Al-Attiyah and Matthieu Baumel in the Toyota Hilux of the Toyota Gazoo Racing, in the dunes during stage 9 of the Dakar Rally, Pisco looping back to Pisco, Peru, on January 16, 2019.

“We just tried to follow the tracks of Nasser in case he needed us, but he did a great job. For us as a team our aim is to get Nasser to the line in first place.” – Giniel De Villiers

Bouncing back from a tricky start to the Dakar’s second week has been Kuba Przygonski (POL). The 2018 FIA Cross Country Rally World Cup winner capitalised on misfortune for Peterhansel, Sébastien Loeb (FRA) and Cyril Despres (FRA) today. The Pole now sits fourth overall with a single stage remaining, 31m behind Loeb who occupies the final podium place.

“We’re so happy that we’ve been able to be competitive in our car against the other teams.” – Kuba Przygonski

DTM

RAW POWER: 2019-SPEC DTM WILL BE THE MOST POWERFUL EVER.

  • New rear wing: the Drag Reduction System (DRS) will continue to bring more action, and more overtaking, to the track
  • Push the button: ‘Push-to-Pass’ function offers drivers even more power
  • Less is more: best power-to-weight ratio in DTM history

The 2019 DTM series will be the most powerful in the sport’s 32-season history.

The adoption of new technical regulations which begins to unify the equipment raced in Europe by the DTM and in Asia by the Japanese SUPER GT series, means that this year’s turbo-charged cars will be the most powerful in history.

In addition to this year’s all-new four-cylinder, direct-injection two-litre turbo engines, and a planned reduction in downforce, the introduction of the following performance features will ensure the DTM remains a thrilling and exciting sporting spectacle:

DRS (Drag Reduction System)

The DTM will once again retain the DRS wing system, but it will be fitted to new, wider rear wings fitted with one element, compared to the two-element wings used in 2018. The single-element rear wing is already used successfully in SUPER GT, and is activated by the drivers when they are within three seconds of the car ahead – an increase over last season’s one-second gap.

Estoril (Por) 12. November 2018. BMW M Motorsport, Testing Bruno Spengler (Can)
BMW M4 DTM.

For this year, however, an extra amendment to the regulation has been introduced to increase the action and excitement on-track: for the final five laps of each race, every driver can activate DRS – regardless of the gap ahead. The intention is to maximise action and overtaking as the drivers push for the chequer.

Push-to-Pass button

Another new introduction for 2019 is a push-to-pass overtaking system. For the very first time, drivers will be able to access an additional 30hp by way of a fuel-mass flow restrictor, which briefly injects more fuel into the engine as a means to further improve the spectacle and action on the track.

Drivers start each race with 12 opportunities to use the push-to-pass system.

Vehicle weight

The mandatory minimum weight for this year’s new DTM cars has been brought below 1000kg. Without the driver and fuel, the minimum weight for a DTM car is now just 981kg, which is 50kg less than 2018’s 1031kg limit.

Together, these three proposals mean that 2019-spec DTM will be more powerful than ever before. To put that into numbers, the lower minimum weight and increased power transforms the power-to-weight ratio, bringing it down below the magical 2kg barrier to just 1.6kg per hp.

Allied to the two new overtaking tools (DRS and push-to-pass), this year’s DTM cars are expected to exceed speeds of 300km/h (186mph) on the fastest sections of the tracks on the calendar, such as the Hockenheimring’s Parabolika section.

“These additions are the perfect ingredients for spectacular overtaking – and that makes for thrilling racing,” said Achim Kostron, Managing Director of DTM’s umbrella organisation ITR GmbH. “Thanks to the significantly reduced performance weight and the new aero package, the skill and courage of the drivers will really be placed under the spotlight: out on the racetrack.”

In addition to these changes, this year’s DTM cars will sport bigger front inlets and larger bonnet outlets, making them look meaner and more aggressive than their predecessors.

These increased cooling demands even created an unintended problem for series partner Deutsche Post, which has had to move its distinctive ‘number plate’ logo from the front of the car to two offset positions on the car’s flanks. Another striking change: the cars will have just one tail pipe that was moved slightly more to the front and ends on the passenger side of the car.

DAKAR RALLY

THE DESERT CHALLENGES KEEP ON COMING AT THE 2019 DAKAR RALLY

The first loop stage of the 2019 Dakar Rally had plenty of competitors going around in circles as they tried to find their way back to the bivouac in San Juan de Marcona. With over 300 kilometres of desert racing against the clock there were further fluctuations in the leaderboards by the time the dust had settled.

Getting the job done on stage seven was 13-time Dakar champion Stéphane Peterhansel (FRA) and his co-driver David Castera (FRA). Peterhansel went into today’s stage trailing race leader Nasser Al-Attiyah (QAT) by over 40 minutes – there was no option but attack. A stage win, clawing back close to 12 minutes on Al-Attiyah and moving to second overall represents a good day at the office for Peterhansel.

Stephane Peterhansel
Rally Dakar, 2019, Peru, South America

“We got a bit closer to Nasser, but it’ll be very hard to wrestle the lead from him.” – Stéphane Peterhansel

It was also one of the better days at the 2019 Dakar for Peterhansel’s companions in the X-raid MINI JCW Team. Carlos Sainz (ESP) collected his second consecutive third place on the stage while Cyril Despres (FRA) was in the Top 5 once again.

“We were able to push a bit towards the end of the stage and we arrived behind Stéphane (Peterhansel). That was the plan.” – Carlos Sainz

Al-Attiyah and co-driver Mathieu Baumel (FRA) are now just three stages away from Lima and giving Toyota Gazoo Racing their first Dakar title. They are benefitting from the support of team-mate Giniel de Villiers (ZAF) who is staying as close as possible to Al-Attiyah’s Hilux in case he can offer assistance on the stage.

Giniel de Villiers (ZAF) of Toyota Gazoo Racing SAraces during stage 7 of Rally Dakar 2019 from San Juan de Marcona to San Juan de Marcona , Peru on January 14, 2019.

“We got a puncture on the way home and had a battle finding a few waypoints. But all in all, not too bad. A nice run today.” – Giniel de Villiers

It was a tough stage for Sébastien Loeb (FRA) who was hunting a fourth stage win of this Dakar. The Frenchman lost 40 minutes due to an electrical issue in the first few kilometres. However, when Loeb got going again he was able to show his customary speed and eventually conceded less than half an hour to Peterhansel.

“It’s quite demoralising, we’ll see what we can do and what we can fight for in the coming days.” – Sébastien Loeb

FORMULA E

D’AMBROSIO WINS IN MARRAKESH WITH DRAMATIC LAST LAP DASH AS BMW PAIR COLLIDE

– Da Costa and Sims crash out of leading position for BMW i Andretti Motorsport
– D’Ambrosio makes moves for MAHINDRA RACING from 10th on the grid
– Envision Virgin Racing earn double-podium with Vergne spinning in first-corner clash

RACE RE-CAP

Jerome D’Ambrosio sprinted to victory in a dramatic last lap dash to the finish in Marrakesh, after a late safety car bunched-up the pack following a collision between BMW i Andretti Motorsport pairing Antonio Felix da Costa and Alexander Sims.
Antonio Felix da Costa (PRT), BMW I Andretti Motorsports, BMW iFE.18
Despite picking-up his third victory in Formula E, it’s the first time D’Ambrosio has actually stood on the top step of the podium – having benefitted from a post-race disqualification on both previous occasions.
The win marks his first win since the Mexico City E-Prix in 2016 – and his first in MAHINDRA RACING colours. D’Ambrosio started down the field in 10th, but steadily progressed up the ranks to find himself sat behind the leading BMW duo.
With less than 10-minutes left on the countdown clock, Da Costa and Sims looked set to bring home a one-two for the team – topping off a perfect start to the season after a win last time out in Ad Diriyah.
However, it wasn’t to be – as a moment of madness cost the team a large points haul. Sims – who was on the tail of his team-mate for the duration of the race – pulled alongside Da Costa into the braking zone of Turn 7 in an attempt to snatch the lead.
Both drivers locked-up and touched with neither making the corner. The coming together and slow recovery back to the racing line dropped Sims to fourth. But Da Costa came off worse with his race ending parked-up in the run-off area after contact with the barrier.
With the cars lined-up in close formation, the safety car pulled in as the clock hit zero – leaving one lap to the chequered flag. Running wide over the kerb in the final corner – D’Ambrosio gave the fans a grandstand finish with Robin Frijns chasing him to the line.
Antonio Felix da Costa (PRT), BMW I Andretti Motorsports, BMW iFE.18, leads Alexander Sims (GBR) BMW I Andretti Motorsports, BMW iFE.18
Frijns was joined on the podium by Envision Virgin Racing team-mate Sam Bird, who started on Julius Baer pole position and tangled with reigning champion Jean-Eric Vergne on the run down to Turn 1.
Vergne lined-up on the front row alongside Bird and made an ambitious dive up the inside through the long left-hander. The pair made contact and Vergne was sent spinning ahead of a flurry of oncoming traffic. From last, Vergne valiantly fought back to fifth.
Adrenaline still flowing after an exhilarating race, there’s not long to wait for another episode of electric street racing with the Antofagasta Minerals Santiago E-Prix on January 26 – round three of the 2018/19 ABB FIA Formula E Championship.

WRC

CITROËN TOTAL WRT LAUNCHES ITS 2019 SEASON!

Citroën Total World Rally Team today unveils the new colours of its C3 WRCs, driven this year by Sébastien Ogier – Julien Ingrassia and Esapekka Lappi – Janne Ferm, as the 2019 WRC season is officially launched at the Autosport International show in the NEC Birmingham. A brand new livery, designed to celebrate the brand’s centenary, as Red Bull returns alongside long-standing partners Total and Michelin.

A hundred years ago, French industrialist André-Gustave Citroën founded the Citroën brand. It has since become a major global manufacturer, one where motorsport has always been of vital importance. To celebrate its centenary, the C3 WRC is this year adorned with the double chevrons of the brand’s original logo and features a symbolic reference to 1919, the year in which the brand was founded, equally confirming its commitment to racing.

The C3 WRC’s livery still features its long-standing partner Total. In fact, 2019 sees Citroën and the French oil company enter the fifty-first year of their technical and sporting partnership. Equally strong ties have been forged with Michelin over the years, which is why the world famous French tyre manufacturer will also be supporting the team this year, whilst Red Bull, the famous energy drink that previously sponsored Citroën in the WRC between 2008 and the end of 2012, will feature on the Satory-based team’s official clothing and cars.

Following the media launch at Autosport International, the real action will get underway on the tricky roads of the forthcoming Rallye Monte-Carlo (22-27 January) for Sébastien Ogier – Julien Ingrassia and Esapekka Lappi – Janne Ferm. The opening round will be followed by another thirteen, equally demanding events, with the season set to conclude once again in Australia (14-17 November). Citroën Total WRT, which already has claimed some 99 WRC victories since 1999, will be attacking the new season determined to pass the hundred mark in World Rally Championship wins and fight for the world title.