WRC Promoter unveiled its 13-round calendar for the 2015 FIA World Rally Championship. All rallies in the 2014 schedule were confirmed for next year by the FIA World Motor Sport Council at its meeting in Beijing, with some significant date changes in the first part of the season.
January’s opening round at Rallye Monte-Carlo will start a week later than this year, providing a longer end-of-season break and increased preparation time for manufacturers, teams and drivers. The year’s curtain-raiser will adopt Rally 2 regulations for the first time, allowing retired competitors the opportunity to restart the following leg subject to technical approval. Rally 2 is employed by all other rounds.
Portugal’s fixture will return to its traditional fanbase in the north after 10 years in the southern Algarve area and swaps places with Argentina.
The South American round will be in mid-April, when conditions are likely to be warmer and drier, with Portugal moving back to late May. The changes mean Italy’s round will be a week later in mid-June.
Poland, which successfully returned to the championship in 2014 after a five-year absence, retains its place for next season.
“We’re delighted to confirm the 2015 calendar and to retain all 13 rounds for next season. The breadth of events geographically ensures a truly global championship,” said WRC Promoter’s managing director, Oliver Ciesla. “We’ve again blended a mix of classic events that date back to the championship’s origins with newer, but firmly established, rallies. All will offer a challenging variety of roads and conditions to ensure that WRC will provide the ultimate all-round test of driving ability.”
The 2015 FIA World Rally Championship calendar is:
01) Monte-Carlo 22 – 25 January
02) Sweden 12 – 15 February
03) Mexico 5 – 8 March
04) Argentina 16 – 19 April
05) Portugal 21 – 24 May
06) Italy 11 – 15 June
07) Poland 2 – 5 July
08) Finland 30 July – 2 August
09) Germany 20 – 23 August
10) Australia 10 – 13 September
11) France 1 – 4 October
12) Spain 22 – 25 October
13) Great Britain 12 – 15 November
Björn Waldegard was the 1979 World Rally Championship and winner of 16 WRC events in his four-decades long rally career that culminated in the 2011 East African Safari Classic Rally win in a Porsche 911. We pay tribute to this gentle giant in this week’s issue, as well as bringing you a full report from the FIA European Rally Championship’s Barum Czech Rally Zlin. We also feature the mighty impressive Tuthill Porsche 911 RGT machine that powered into the WRC’s history books at the ADAC Rallye Deutschland last week.
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The World Rally Championship is entering the last leg of 2014: four events remain. This past weekend’s ADAC Rallye Deutschland proved to be a massively entertaining event from start to finish, and we feature 10 pages of WRC action this week. Also inside is a look at last weekend’s Ojibwe Forests Rally (Rally America National Championship) and a preview of this weekend’s ERC Barum Czech Rally Zlin that promises to be highly competitive.
Yours free, each week: http://bit.ly/issue327.
The WRC ADAC Rallye Deutschland was a thriller from start to finish. The ‘home’ team won, but it was not Volkswagen Motorsport. Rather, Hyundai Motorsport’s Thierry Neuville shone brightest after 18 stages and some 360km of rallying over three days. These videos all show action from different stages over the weekend. We hope you enjoy them as much as we did in compiling them here!
Slippery and sideways…
Here’s Jari-Matti Latvala on the limit!
Our final video here brings high speed action from the famous Panzerplatte stages!
A total of 121 crews have entered Round Eight of the FIA European Rally Championship (ERC), Barum Czech Rally Zlín. The huge turnout underlines the popularity of the ERC and the all-asphalt showcase, which takes place for a 44th time from 29-31 August.
Craig Breen is the top seed in a Peugeot Rally Academy 208 T16 R5 and is one of 24 drivers competing for honours in the headlining RC2 category. Ott Tänak, who like Breen is an ERC event winner in 2014, is the second seed at the wheel of a Ford Fiesta R5. Esapekka Lappi, whose two wins in 2014 have propelled him to the top of the ERC standings, is seeded third for Skoda Motorsport.
Czech champion Václav Pech (MINI John Cooper Works S2000) is the fourth seed with Kevin Abbring next up for Peugeot Rally Academy. LOTOS Rally Team’s four-time Polish title winner Kajetan Kajetanowicz is seeded sixth on his first ERC start since mid-May. Sepp Wiegand (Skoda Fabia S2000) is the seventh seed with Bruno Magalhães seeded eighth on his first ERC start in a 208 T16.
Roman Kresta, who announced his retirement after finishing fifth in Zlín last season, will tackle his first full rally since calling time on his driving career and is seeded ninth in his self-run Fabia S2000. Irishman Robert Barrable is the tenth seed in a Fiesta R5.
The ERC Production Car Cup, ERC 2WD Championship, ERC Junior Championship and ERC Ladies’ Trophy are also big on numbers with the respective title leaders – Vitaliy Pushkar, Zoltán Bessenyey, Jan Černý and Ekaterina Stratieva all due to contest the 15-stage event.
The entry list for round eight of the FIA European Rally Championship, Barum Czech Rally Zlín, has been published and here are some of the key numbers:
• 121: Barum Czech Rally Zlín organisers have accepted entries from 121 crews for round eight of the 2014 ERC season.
• 16: Confirmation of Marco Cavigoli’s entry will mean the Italian will tackle his 16th Barum Czech Rally Zlín.
• 2003: Triple British champion Mark Higgins starts Barum Czech Rally Zlín for the first time since 2003.
• 25: A total of 25 different nations will be represented on Barum Czech Rally Zlín.
• 1: Bruno Magalhães will make his first start in the ERC in a Peugeot 208 T16.
• 3: Roman Kresta, who will start his first full rally in 12 months after he reversed his decision to call time on his driving career, has won Barum Czech Rally Zlín three times. His new co-driver Petr Starý is a two-time winner of the event.
• 13: There will be 13 ERC Juniors competing on Barum Czech Rally Zlín.
• 8: Barum Czech Rally Zlín will mark French ace Robert Consani’s eighth start in this year’s ERC.
• 3: All three R5 cars currently eligible for competition – Citroën DS3 R5, Ford Fiesta R5 and Peugeot 208 T16 – will be in action on Barum Czech Rally Zlín.
• 2: Czech singer and actress Olga Lounová and actor David Suchařípa will bring the number of show business celebrities contesting Barum Czech Rally Zlín to two.
This latest edition of Handbrakes & Hairpins dedicated in memory of Timothy Cathcart, who passed away at the British Rally Championship’s Ulster Rally this past weekend.
Inside we bring you news from Michelin and the World Rally Championship’s new two-year deal, Marcus Gronholm’s Volkswagen Motorsport move, a look at this weekend’s WRC ADAC Rallye Deutschland and a review of the SA National Rally Championship’s Round Five.
Yours free, each week: http://bit.ly/issue326
“What an unbelievable experience,” said Richard Tuthill after a test in the Porsche 911 R-GT for this weekend’s WRC ADAC Rally Deutschland. “We’ve had the perfect day of driving. The car hasn’t missed a beat and the weather has shown all its faces, from rain in the morning to a dry afternoon. But what has impressed most is the reception for this car. We’ve had so many drivers coming over to talk to us about it and the fans haven’t left our side all day. The FIA has definitely got this one right.”
One man who paid very close attention to the Tuthill Porsche 911 GT3 RGT challenger was the talented Estonian WRC star, Ott Tänak, who enjoyed chatting to Stéphane Prevot about Tuthill Porsche’s new machine. No doubt there is huge interest in what the R-GT class holds for rally enthusiasts. It’s great to see a Porsche 911 back on the entry list for the WRC in Germany.