Contested over eight events from next weekend this month to October, the 2018 FIA ERC schedule has been structured in response to calls from drivers and teams who were keen to cap their number of competitive outings at between six and eight events. The calendar includes three rallies on asphalt and five on gravel (three on each surface for ERC Junior Under 27 and ERC Junior Under 28). And in a further cost-cutting measure, drivers chasing overall honours count their best six scores only.
It is fantastic to hear Daniel Elena’s voice over the intercom of a WRC machine again, and to see the focus on Sebastien Loeb’s face as he whips his car through the Rally Mexico Shakedown Stage yesterday afternoon.
Tune into 4 min 27secs of The Loeb Show…
The 15th Rally Guanajuato México gets underway with a spectacular special stage through the narrow streets and silver mining tunnels in downtown Guanajuato on Thursday evening.
The traditional first gravel round of the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) has carved its own specialised niche in the calendar and is renowned for its demanding special stages – often at higher altitude than at any other round of the series – slick organisation, thousands of spectators and some of the most spectacular television footage ever aired from the WRC.
Belgian Thierry Neuville starts the event in a strong position. He has a 10-point lead over five-time World Champion Sébastien Ogier in the Drivers’ Championship and his Hyundai Shell Mobis World Rally Team leads the Manufacturers’ category by a single point from Toyota GAZOO Racing.
Four of the 11 World Rally Car drivers are previous winners in México. Ogier has three wins to his name with Volkswagen, while Finland’s Jari-Matti Latvala now drives for Toyota and also achieved a win with the German team in 2016. A returning nine-time WRC champion Sébastien Loeb has won here on six occasions and the Frenchman’s Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team colleague Kris Meeke was triumphant last March, despite a spectacular excursion into a spectator car park on the final stage.
Continue reading Mexican Fiesta Fires Off Thursday Night For WRC Spectacular
Record global TV audiences watched 2017’s unforgettable FIA World Rally Championship season as viewing figures reached a five-year high.
The most exciting and unpredictable championship battle in a decade, in which Sébastien Ogier led M-Sport Ford World Rally Team to a double title success, was watched by a cumulative audience of 848.86 million viewers, according to independent analyst Nielsen Sports.<
Continue reading WRC Global TV Audience Reaches 5-Year High
This week’s 15th Rally Guanajuato México marks the first time this season that FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) teams will face the rigours of punishing heat, abrasive gravel and demanding altitude.
México’s now traditional third round of the championship is a far cry from the changing stage surfaces of the Alpes-Maritimes or the sub-zero temperatures of a harsh Swedish winter. Several drivers switched teams in the close season and new partnerships provide new challenges, particularly on a specialised event like Rally México where pre-rally gravel testing could play a key role in determining the outcome at the ceremonial finish on Sunday (March 11) afternoon.
Continue reading WRC Leaves European Winter For Mexican Heat
There’s always a winner in motorsport. And that means there’s also a loser. Nine-times World Rally Champion Sebastien Loeb and co-driver Daniel Elena are making their way back to the WRC for three selected rounds in the Citroen C3 WRC. The losers are Craig Breen and Scott Martin. They’re out in the cold, keeping the WRC bench warm…
Loeb’s a gentleman. He feels sympathy for Breen’s position. He told Autosport: “It must be frustrating for him. He did a really good rally in Sweden, but on the other side I don’t decide anything.”
Sounds like a marriage to us.
The Frenchman spoke to Autosport about his pace for the WRC Rally Mexico this weekend: “I don’t know if I will be in the rhythm. For sure I know I will have a good position on the road and that will help me on the first day, but for the rest, it’s really difficult to make any plan. It’s too long that I didn’t drive in this level of rallying: six years and I didn’t do a gravel rally. I am curious to know after the first stages how I am.”
Stay tuned to find out how The Loeb Show will play out this weekend…
As we approach the end of 2017, and the 2018 World Rally Championship (and domestic Championships) ready for new seasons, we take a look back at the season that was with this high-action season review…