Tag Archives: WRC


Sheikh Khalid Al Qassimi powers his Abu Dhabi Citroën Total DS3 WRC through the shakedown in Germany.
Sheikh Khalid Al Qassimi powers his Abu Dhabi Citroën Total DS3 WRC through the shakedown in Germany.


 Emirati driver tackling stern test of adaptability in Abu Dhabi Citroën on return to action-

Abu Dhabi, UAE, 22nd August, 2013: After a difficult build-up to Rallye Deutschland, the UAE’s Sheikh Khalid Al Qassimi is facing a stern test of his adaptability this weekend in one of the most awkward rounds of the World Rally Championship. 

The ninth of 13 rounds in this year’s WRC series is also the first asphalt event of the season, and adding to the high degree of difficulty is the fact that the 371.92km of special stages spread over four days are run across three different types of sealed surfaces. 

“This is a very challenging event, and if your concentration drops for a moment it can catch you out,” said Al Qassimi, before leaving the ceremonial start in Cologne this afternoon (Thursday) alongside British co-driver Scott Martin in his Abu Dhabi Citroën Total DS3. 

“You have to have to be able to adapt quickly as the surface changes from one section to another. At the same time, while there are some very fast sections, there are also some extremely narrow and difficult stages, so it’s going to be an interesting weekend.” 

The rally’s first two stages were following later, the second of these being run in darkness in front of a large part of the estimated 200,000 spectators who will follow the action up to the finish on Sunday afternoon. 

After initially fearing he would miss his first tarmac rally for almost two years because of a hand injury, Al Qassimi is hoping the expertise of the Citroën team has put his Abu Dhabi-branded DS3 in perfect shape for its maiden journey on asphalt, despite limited time this week for testing 

Following him some time later into yesterday’s shakedown over a 4.55km section between Konz and the municipality of Kommlingen was young Emirati driver Mohammed Al Mutawaa, making his WRC debut alongside Stephen McAuley in an Abu Dhabi Citroën DS3 R3 2WD.


Having won his big chance with Abu Dhabi Racing at a selection programme last November, Al Mutawaa is experiencing his first tarmac rally this weekend and wants to learn from every competitive kilometer.


Over the next three days Rallye Deutschland revolves around Trier, with 14 more Special Stages to be negotiated before the survivors reach the finish on Sunday. 


Citroen Finland winner 2013


The season’s most spectacular rally more than lived up to its reputation. Difficult and demanding in equal measure, the Finnish course rewarded the most daring and skilled crews. In the Citroën Top Driver, the DS3 R3s of Keith Cronin, Sébastien Chardonnet and Jussi Vainionpää made up the podium in the WRC3 category.

For this, the third round of the Citroën Top Driver championship, the nine crews competing in Rally Finland tackled an unusual course, a great learning experience for all drivers. The combination of ultra quick stages, endless jumps and tough weather conditions, which left the roads slippery, meant that those drivers with tenacity, good turn of speed and sound analytical capabilities were rewarded.

Keith Cronin and Alastair Fisher became involved in an enthralling battle right from the word go. Throughout day one, the two drivers from across the Channel took it turns to impress although Fisher edged ahead, finishing the first six stages with a 9.2 second lead over his main rival. The next day, the pressure got the better of the British driver, who went off on “Palsankylä 1”. Keith Cronin took over as race leader at that point, a position he held until the end of the rally, also finishing as best performer with eight stages wins. The icing on the cake for the Irish driver is that he now leads the Citroën Top Driver standings by three points from Sébastien Chardonnet.

“We’re really pleased with this win, which takes us into the lead in the competition,” said a delighted Keith. “This is the first time we have competed at Rally Finland but we really had a good feeling on these roads which are still very special. The DS3 R3 was perfect and fast and we can’t wait for Germany to begin the series of tarmac rallies. We’re going to give it our best shot to hold onto our position as leader.”

Runner-up overall, the Frenchman Sébastien Chardonnet had a tough first day but managed to mount a significant comeback on day two, completing the eight stages with some flair. Fighting with local driver Jussi Vainionpää, he gradually moved ahead of the Finn, establishing a clear lead in second sport, a position he would hold until the end of the rally. Although no longer the leader of the Citroën Top Driver standings, the Côte d’Azur-based driver admitted he was pleased with his work in the land of a thousand lakes:

“It’s true that the start of the race was complicated for us, but we then found a good feeling in the car and the DS3 R3 was really great. The aim is clear in any case, we’ll be trying as hard as possible to retake the lead in the competition, starting at Rallye Deutschland!”

The surprise package of the weekend, Finnish driver Jussi Vainionpää enjoyed an intelligent race. He drove consistently, not taking any unnecessary risks on a course featuring many tricky sections. He finished third overall, a fine performance on his first rally in a Citroën DS3 R3.

Simone Campedelli finished just outside the top three, and could be pleased with his performance in Finland. After a testing start to the season, the Italian driver enjoyed a controlled race, whilst also winning two stages and fighting for third place until the last few kilometres. Meanwhile, the Frenchman Quentin Gilbert was less fortunate. Hampered by technical problems and missing a corner on the first run on Ouninpohja, he still made it into the top five at the end of three days of racing and remains third overall in the Citroën championship standings.

Stéphane Consani rounded off the standings in the Finnish round of the Driver and admitted afterwards that it was a weekend that he would rather forget about. After suffering a double puncture on Himos 2, he went off on the eleventh stage and had to rejoin under Rally2 rules. In the end, he finished the points by taking sixth place.

In the Teams’ championship, Top Teams still lead the standings, followed by Charles Hurst Citroën Belfast and Delta Rally Team.













Cronin / Clarke


Citroën DS3 R3





Chardonnet / de la Haye


Citroën DS3 R3






Vainionpää / Juntunen


Citroën DS3 R3






Campedelli / Fappani


Citroën DS3 R3






Gilbert / Galmiche


Citroën DS3 R3





Consani / Veillas


Citroën DS3 R3






Day 1: SS1 to SS3: Fisher – SS4: Cronin – SS5: Fisher – SS6: Vainionpää

Day 2: SS7: Fisher – SS8 to SS10: Cronin – SS11: Chardonnet – SS12: Cronin – SS13: Campedelli – SS14: Cronin – SS15: Vainionpää

Day 3: SS16: Vainionpää – SS17: Cronin – SS18: Chardonnet – SS19: Consani – SS20: Campedelli – SS21: Gilbert – SS22: Cronin – SS23: Consani


Cronin, 8 fastest times – Fisher, 5 – Vainionpää, 3 – Chardonnet, Campedelli and Consani, 2 – Gilbert, 1.


SS1 to SS7: Fisher – SS7 to SS23: Cronin


Alastair Fisher: Minor off on SS8

Stéphane Consani: Off followed by puncture on SS11 / Rejoined under Rally2 rules on Day 3

Christian Riedemann: Technical problem on SS14. Retired before SS15.

Federico Della Casa: Retired on SS14 (water in the engine) / Rejoined under Rally2 rules on Day 3

Retired on SS21 following minor off



1. Cronin : 51 points

2. Chardonnet : 48 pts

3. Gilbert : 36 pts

4. Bouffier : 27 pts

5. Riedemann : 25 pts

6. Campedelli : 18 pts

7. Vainionpää :15 pts

8. Fisher : 13 pts

9. Consani : 6 pts

10. Parli : 4 pts


1. Top Teams : 84 points

2. Charles Hurst Citroën Belfast : 76 pts

3. Delta Rally Team : 33 pts

4. Saint Eloc : 31 pts




Ogier, 29, dominated the World Rally Championship’s snow and ice round after taking the lead from his fellow Frenchman Sebastien Loeb on Friday morning.

Loeb, in a Citroen DS3, kept the pressure on his former team-mate right to the end, but eventually had to settle for the runners-up spot, 41.8sec behind Ogier and his co-driver Julien Ingrassia.

Ford Fiesta RS driver Mads Ostberg was third, the Norwegian finishing 42.7sec adrift of Loeb.


Loeb Monte Carlo 2013


Although he has no plans to contest the entire WRC in 2013, Sébastien Loeb has clearly lost none of his motivation. The first four stages of the Rallye Monte-Carlo saw the Citroën driver leave his rivals gasping for breath, their ranks led by Volkswagen’s Sébastien Ogier who trails by 1m20.3s (!) after almost 140km of competitive action. The third man on tonight’s all-Michelin podium is Loeb’s team-mate Mikko Hirvonen (+1m46.7s).

The snow that swept over much of France during the early part of the week made way for brighter, drier weather today as the 2013 World Rally Championship got under way with two loops of two stages.

Because of the resulting mixed conditions (clear asphalt, ice and snow), however, especially on the two visits to the awesome ‘Le Burzet’ test (SS2 and SS4), nearly all the front-runners (including Loeb!) were relieved to survive what turned out to be one of the most complex days in recent ‘Monte-Carlo’ history.

“There was less snow on Le Burzet than this morning but there were a number of places where you couldn’t tell whether the road was wet or icy. The damp patches appear to be refreezing but you couldn’t be sure,” reported the Frenchman at the end of SS4. “I lost grip in a few places, so I wasn’t completely confident. It’s good to have reached the finish…”

The veteran’s closest chaser tonight is his ex-Citroën team-mate, Sébastien Ogier, who has given Volkswagen an encouraging start to its first full WRC campaign. The Frenchman even led momentarily after SS1 before being passed by Loeb. VW will be pleased that he had a relatively trouble-free run, but Ogier himself spent much of the day repeating that he was concentrating on his own performance and not taking any notice of Loeb’s times…

Citroën’s new number one driver Mikko Hirvonen is third overall, but he rarely showed any real speed. “I really don’t know why,” he said at the end of the day. “I hate these conditions!”

For his first rally back in Citroën colours, Dani Sordo will be hoping for a strong points finish this week and his careful drive was rewarded by provisional fourth place (+2m01.7s), just behind Hirvonen.

Meanwhile, Jari-Matti Latvala is fifth (+2m32.2s) in the second Volkswagen Polo R and would have been challenging for a footing on the podium had he not taken a 30-second penalty for late arrival at the start of SS2. As a result, he is closely chased by Ford/M-Sport’s best-placed representative, Evgeny Novikov (6th, +2m50.6s).

Tonight’s top 10 is rounded off by Citroën privateer Bryan Bouffier (7th) and Ford Fiesta WRC drivers Juho Hanninen (8th), Monte rookie Mads Ostberg (9th) and Martin Prokop (10th).

The day’s chief victim was Ford’s Thierry Neuville who crashed out on SS4, while Michal Kosciuszko’s first day of competition in a WRC car was poorly rewarded when his Mini picked up an engine problem. He is 21st. For information, the ‘Rally2’ ruling does not apply to the Rallye Monte-Carlo, so a driver who retires cannot re-join the next day.



SEBASTIEN LOEB CLAIMED THE OVERALL VICTORY IN FRANCE – HIS 75TH IN THE FIA WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP – to secure in his ninth WRC drivers’ title with Citroen becoming WRC manufacturers’ champion for an eighth time.

With Loeb embarking on a partial WRC campaign with Citroen in 2013, the statistics below demonstrate the French legend’s impact on the sport and the success he and co-driver Daniel Elena have achieved since they first emerged on the world stage back in 2001 by winning the forerunner to the Junior World Rally Championship.

Loeb’s WRC career in numbers:

9: World titles shared with co-driver Daniel Elena

75: Number of WRC event wins

2: Rallies remaining before he calls time on full-time WRC career

162: Number of WRC starts to date

1999: Year of Loeb’s WRC debut in Catalunya

4: Rounds missed after breaking shoulder in 2006 – he still claimed title

874: Fastest stage times set

1525: WRC points scored

100: Percentage of stages won on Tour de Corse in 2005

23: Different world championship rallies won

6: Record held by Loeb for most WRC event wins in a row, achieved twice

2002: Year of Loeb’s first WRC victory – Rallye Deutschland

9: Number of occasions Loeb has won Germany’s WRC qualifier

11: Victories scored during the 2008 season

3: Types of Citroen World Rally Cars he has driven to victory

8: Different team-mates during WRC career

4: Team bosses worked under

1: Amount of co-drivers employed during WRC career

5: Rallies won at the start of the 2009 season in succession

13: Rounds tackled in 2010, number of times points scored


Motorsports Mondial

Photo: bestofrallylive

Monte Carlo Rally,  SS7, Lamastre-Gilhoc-Alboussiere

Sebastien Loeb has extended his lead of Rallye Monte-Carlo after winning Thursday’s third stage, which was held in increasingly mild ambient temperatures following overnight frost.

The eight-time world champion’s advantage out front now stands at 1m23.2s heading to the midday service halt in Valence.

“The tyre choice was a compromise for this stage because it was mainly dry,” the Citroen ace, who has been fastest on all three stages this morning, told World Rally Radio. “I lost a little bit the grip in the middle part with the [supersoft] tyres but I am satisfied with this loop. My times were good in the first two stages and this one was okay.”

In the thrilling battle for second place, Ford’s Petter Solberg is back in front of Dani Sordo after edging out his MINI-driving rival through the stage by a 4.0s margin.

“I’m very happy about that,” said Solberg who now heads Sordo by 3.7s. “It was very tricky, very slippery in some places. I had one very sideways moment but we are driving sensible, that’s the only thing I can say. It’s so important to keep the position now.”

Sordo, who had moved up to second on stage six, said: “I pushed really, really hard and did not make any mistakes. The time looks bad but I don’t know how.”

Sebastien Ogier was thrilled with his fourth-fastest time in his Super 2000-specification Skoda Fabia, which is being run by the factory Volkswagen Motorsport team. “On this one it was a fantastic time,” said the seven-time WRC event winner. “We pushed like hell but some places it was still tricky.”

Francois Delecour said swapping crash helmets with co-driver Dominique Savignoni has helped to solve the intercom problem he has been experiencing.

Matthew Wilson is planning to alter to the set-up of his Go Fast Fiesta at service after suggesting the handling wasn’t entirely to his liking. Meanwhile, team-mate Henning Solberg said his car’s engine had dropped onto three cylinders in the stage.

Crews are now heading to Valence for a 30-minute service halt. They will then tackle this morning’s trio of stages for a second time this afternoon.