FIA WRC - Rally Italia Sardegna - Racecard (EN)

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Thierry Neuville takes Portugal win

After his success in snowy Sweden in February, Thierry Neuville (Hyundai/Michelin) was first past the post again at the end of the weekend’s Rally de Portugal. The Belgian, who has gone to the top of the provisional 2018 Drivers’ standings, was joined on the podium by Ford M-Sport/Michelin’s Elfyn Evans and Teemu Suninen.


Neuville beats Ogier by seven-tenths of a second in Sardinia!

The provisional world championship pace-setter Thierry Neuville (Hyundai/Michelin) came out on top of his hypnotising duel with five-time champ Sébastien Ogier (Ford/Michelin) to win the 2018 Rally Italia Sardegna by seven-tenths of a second. Esapekka Lappi was third for Toyota/Michelin.

The championship’s provisional top two drivers produced a nail-biting finale in Sardinia where they were split by a mere 0.8s – in Ogier’s favour – at the start of the final stage of the season’s seventh round. The Belgian pulled out all the stops on the Power Stage to clinch the laurels by 0.7s, the third-smallest winning margin in WRC history!

The opening day of the Rally Italia Sardegna was marked by rain and the uncustomary muddy, slippery conditions helped Ogier to ease ahead on SS6 with his Ford Fiesta RS WRC running on soft-compound LTX Force S5 tyres.

Indeed, the soft option of Michelin’s WRC tyre proved the most frequent choice amongst the WRC runners for Friday’s visit to some of the season’s roughest stages, and then again on Saturday. Day 2’s menu included the long and rocky Monte di Alia and Monte Lerno tests which saw the Michelin S5 showcase its exceptional durability and strength.

The retirement of Ott Tanak (Toyota/Michelin) after the jump on SS9 left Ogier and Neuville clear in front and the two drivers subsequently engaged in an enthralling scrap. Sunday’s action saw the Belgian gradually home in on the Frenchman to start the Power Stage (6.96km) a mere 0.8s adrift.

Before the final stage, however, there was a moment of concern for Ogier when his co-driver Julien Ingrassia left the crew’s timecard at the Stop Control of the previous test. It was reminiscent of the 2001 Swedish Rally when Carlos Sainz’s co-driver Luis Moya did the same thing. Back then, it was Nicky Grist, Colin McRae’s right-hand man, who retrieved and delivered the card. This time around, it was Tanak’s navigator Martin Jarveoja who collected the vital card on Ingrassia’s behalf.

With this mini-drama solved, Neuville gave it his very best shot on the last stage to improve on last year’s best effort on the same test by 17 seconds over a distance of 6.96km. It was enough to earn him the victory by 0.7s, the same winning margin that separated him from second-placed Elfyn Evans in Argentina in 2017!

Toyota Gazoo Racing’s Esapekka Lappi and Jari-Matti Latvala produced an interesting battle for third place, the balance tipping in the former’s favour after his elder’s demise with an alternator issue on Saturday evening’s last road section.

Hayden Paddon (Hyundai/Michelin) and Mads Ostberg (Citroën/Michelin) rounded out the top five, while the early leader Andreas Mikkelsen (Hyundai/Michelin) was delayed by a gearbox problem.

Skoda Motorsport, Michelin and Jan Kopecky were the victors again in WRC2 which is the scene of a fight between four tyre brands.

Neuville and Ogier tally three wins each so far this season but the Belgian tops the provisional Drivers’ standings with a cushion of 27 points ahead of the next clash, the celebrated Rally Finland on July 26-29.


MotoGP™: Lorenzo (Ducati Team/Michelin) on top again in Catalunya

The Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya, Round 7 of the 2018 MotoGPTM World Championship at Barcelona-Catalunya, was won by Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team/Michelin). The race produced the Majorcan’s second victory in a row for Ducati, ahead of the championship pace-setter Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team/Michelin) and Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP/Michelin). 

24H du Mans

Toyota/Michelin tastes Le Mans glory at last!

Toyota will be partying hard tonight after winning the famous Le Mans 24 Hours for the first time since its debut attempt at the world famous race in 1985. This time around, Sébastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima and the team’s star recruit Fernando Alonso delivered the necessary speed and reliability in their N°8 TS050-Hybrid/Michelin to spearhead a one-two finish for the Japanese carmaker, ahead of the N°7 sister car (+2 laps). Porsche/Michelin celebrated no-nonsense wins in LM GTE Pro and Am, while G-Drive Racing was unassailable in LMP2 with the N°26 Oreca07. True to its ‘Winning performance to the line’ claim, Michelin secured its 21st straight Le Mans success.

24H du Mans

H-7: Toyota still on target for Le Mans glory

The two Michelin-equipped Toyota TS050-Hybrids are running smoothly at the top of the order at Le Mans after 17 hours, with the N°8 car of Alonso/Buemi/Nakajima currently in front. The Japanese team has been running a quadruple stint strategy since the start. Porsche GT Team/Michelin’s N°92 and N°91 911 RSRs continue to set the pace in LM GTE Pro, and the German make leads the Am class, too. The N°26 G-Drive Oreca07 continues to stand out as the car to beat in LMP2. 

24H du Mans

H-18: Everything going to plan for Toyota/Michelin

We’re a quarter of the way into the 2018 Le Mans 24 Hours and, for the moment, nothing has spooked Toyota’s game plan. The Japanese make’s two cars are in first and second places after six hours, with the N°8 prototype of Alonso/Nakajima/Buemi setting the pace, shadowed closely by the N°7 sister car. Porsche/Michelin tops the LM GTE Pro and Am orders, while the G-Drive Racing Oreca07 is in command in LMP2. Both Toyotas have been quadruple stinting on their Michelin slicks.

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