FIA WRC

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.

FIA WRC

FIA WRC - Rally Italia Sardegna - Racecard (EN)

All you need to know about the Rally Italia Sardegna with our racecardClick on the photo to download it.

FIA WRC

Sweden revenge for ice-cool Neuville

After cruelly missing out on last year’s Rally Sweden win, Thierry Neuville (Hyundai i20 Coupé WRC/Michelin) bounced back this week to win the 66th running of the winter classic, ahead of Craig Breen (Citroën C3 WRC/Michelin) and team-mate Andreas Mikkelsen. World champion Sébastien Ogier (Ford Fiesta RS WRC/Michelin) was penalised by his running order and could manage no better than 10th at the flag.

To have the best chances of winning the 2018 Rally Sweden, it was preferable not have scored a strong result on January’s Monte Carlo. Indeed, the top three finishers in the Principality – namely Sébastien Ogier, Ott Tanak and Jari-Matti Latvala – were forced to run first on the road on Friday’s stages through Norway’s Finnskogen region and they completed the event in 10th, 9th and 7th places respectively.

Friday morning’s tests were effectively covered in a fresh coating of snow and the first cars in the order tended to serve as snowploughs, losing something like a second per kilometre in the process to their rivals running further back.

The same drivers faced a similar handicap on Saturday and Sunday when the start order was the reverse of the previous evening’s leaderboard.

Running fifth on the road on Day 1, Neuville – who has tended to go well on this event since 2012 – managed to steal an early lead, aided by the incredible grip delivered by his studded Michelin X-Ice North tyres. On the same rally in 2017, the Belgian had a lead of 43.3s over four-time Rally Sweden winner Jari-Matti Latvala but threw away his chance with a mistake on the Karlstad super-special.

This time round, he kept a cool head and pulled further clear of his Hyundai team-mates Mikkelsen and Paddon, and Citroën’s chasing Breen and Ostberg thanks to three fastest times on Saturday, including on the Vargasen stage which includes the famous Colin’s Crest leap.

In addition to becoming the third non-Scandinavian driver to win Rally Sweden since 1950, Neuville has also gone clear at the top of the provisional world championship standings.

Spectators were treated to a great scrap for the other two steps of the podium, too, between Hyundai/Michelin’s Mikkelsen and Paddon, and Citroën/Michelin’s Breen and Ostberg. The silver medal ended up in the hands of Irishman Craig Breen who failed to crack under pressure from Norway’s Mikkelsen (3rd) to pick up the best WRC result of his career to date.

There was a last-day surprise in the battle for fourth when Esapekka Lappi (Toyota Yaris WRC/Michelin) squeezed pas Ostberg and Paddon at the very end. Title contenders Jari-Matti Latvala and Ott Tanak ended up seventh and ninth.

It was a weekend to forget for M-Sport/Ford whose best-placed finisher was Finnish youngster Teemu Suninen (8th). Sébastien Ogier salvaged four Power Stage bonus points but had to settle for 10th, while Elfyn Evans was 11th after losing time on SS4. The only WRC driver who needed to take advantage of the ‘Rally2’ ruling on the high-speed fixture was Kris Meeke (Citroën) who was delayed by contact with a snowbank and turbo damage.

The WRC2 victor was Toyota Gazoo Racing protégé Takamoto Katsuta who caught local rivals Pontus Tidemand and Ole-Christian Veiby napping. It was the first major success for a Japanese driver since Toshihiro Arai’s victory in New Zealand in 2007.

The next round of the 2018 WRC will be Rally Mexico (March 8-11) where the nine-time world champion Sébastien Loeb is due to make a comeback

MOTOGP™

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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