FIA WRC

Citroën and Michelin: a winning combination in the WRC

Citroën has announced its intention to curtail its involvement in the FIA World Rally Championship. Together, the French car firm and Michelin have harvested five Manufacturers’ titles, four Drivers’ crowns, 58 world-class wins and 150 podium finishes.

FIA WRC

Rally Australia cancellation hands WRC crown to Hyundai, with Michelin*

Raging fires in New South Wales have forced Rally Australia’s organisers to cancel the curtain-closing round of the 2019 FIA World Rally Championship. Their decision has handed this season’s Manufacturers’ title to Hyundai which has earned Michelin’s 56th WRC crown in the process. 

FIA WRC

Tänak triumphs for Toyota/Michelin in Sweden

Rally Sweden – Round 2 of the 2019 FIA World Rally Championship – was won by Ott Tänak (Toyota Yaris WRC/Michelin), ahead of Esapekka Lappi (Citroën/Michelin) and Thierry Neuville (Hyundai/Michelin). The new Michelin X-Ice North NA01 dominated the WRC2 Pro and WRC2 orders with Mads Ostberg (Citroën) and Ole-Christian Veiby (Volkswagen) respectively.

Despite a cold start to February in Sweden’s Värmland and Norway’s Finnskogen regions, the 2019 Rally Sweden was marked by a distinct shortage of wintry conditions after a thaw set in to melt the snow and transform the stages into a mushy mix of mud, dirt, water and ice, especially on the second passes.

The conditions were consequently complex not only for the crews but also for their Michelin X-Ice North tyres, each one of which is equipped with 384 studs designed to bite into frozen ground. Instead, their mission this time was had to eke out the necessary grip to allow the cars to travel at speeds of up to 120kph in the slushy cocktail.

The weather played into the hands of the crews running in the middle of the order on the opening day’s stages in Norway which saw Teemu Suninen (Ford/Michelin) celebrate his recent 25th birthday by leading at the end of Leg 1, for the first time in his burgeoning career. The day was also marked by errors by Sébastien Ogier (Citroën/Michelin) and Jari-Matti Latvala (Toyota/Michelin).

The next day, Suninen was soon hauled in by Tänak whose flying form on Rally Sweden classics Rämmen, Hagfors and Vargasen allowed him to build up a lead of almost a minute by Saturday evening. The Estonian went on to claim his maiden win on the event and earn Toyota Gazoo Racing’s second victory in Torsby in three years.

Spectators were also kept entertained by a splendid battle for the podium’s other steps involving Andreas Mikkelsen (Hyundai/Michelin), Lappi, Neuville and Elfyn Evans (Ford/Michelin). At the start of the final day, this quartet was covered by less than 15 seconds, and the first two were exactly level!

Second and third places ended up in the hands of Lappi (+53.7s) and Neuville (+56.7s), with Mikkelsen (4th) and Evans (5th) rounding out the top five. Kris Meeke was sixth for Toyota/Michelin, closely tailed by Sébastien Loeb (Hyundai/Michelin) who was competing in Sweden for the first time since 2013.

Michelin bounced back from its Rally Sweden defeat last year in RC2 to monopolise the class’s podium this time around and top the WRC2 Pro and WRC2 classes with Mads Ostberg (Citroën C3 R5) and Ole-Christian Veiby (VW Polo R5) on the new Michelin X-Ice North NA01 (new casing, different studding arrangement).

The tyre even won a stage outright when Finn Jari Huttunen topped the order on SS8 (8.93km) in his Skoda Fabia R5/Michelin!

The WRC’s next round will take teams to Mexico on March 8-10.

2019 Rally Sweden – final positions:

  1. Tänak/Järveoja (Toyota/Michelin), 2h47m30.0s
  2. Lappi/Ferm (Citroën/Michelin), +53.7s
  3. Neuville/Gilsoul (Hyundai/Michelin), +56.7s
  4. Mikkelsen/Jaeger (Hyundai/Michelin), +1m5.4s
  5. Evans/Martin (Ford/Michelin), +1m8.2s
  6. Meeke/Marshall (Toyota/Michelin), +1m38.8s
  7. Loeb/Elena (Hyundai/Michelin), +1m49.7s
  8. Tidemand/Floene (Ford/Michelin), +3m37.7s
  9. Veiby/Andersson (VW/Michelin, 1st WRC2), +6m34.0s
  10. Tuohino/Markkula (Ford/Michelin), +8m21.4s
  11. Etc.

FIA WEC

Twenty-nine champions for FIA endurance racing Hall of Fame

After creating Halls of Fame for its Formula 1 and Rally World Championships, the FIA (Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile) has now added an endurance racing section at its Paris headquarters. Twenty-nine champions were inducted at a special ceremony on Monday evening (December 2). It was organised in association with Michelin, a long-time major player in the discipline.

FIA Formula E

Formula E: Britons rule at 2019/2020 curtain raiser in Saudi Arabia

Sam Bird (Envision Virgin Racing/Michelin) and Alexander Sims (BMW I Andretti Motorsport) took the two wins at the opening meeting of the 2019/2020 Formula E Championship in Diriyah, Saudi Arabia. Michelin has been the official tyre supplier to the FIA’s all-electric racing series since its creation in 2014.

MOTOGP™

MotoE: Ferrari claims inaugural Enel FIM MotoE™ World Cup

Fifth place at the last round of the 2019 Enel FIM MotoE™ World Cup sufficed for Matteo Ferrari (Trentino Gresini MotoE) to become the new competition’s first champion. The weekend’s two races were won by pole-winner Eric Granado (Avintia Esponsorama Racing). 

MOTOGP™

MotoGP™: Márquez wraps up 2019 with home success

The Gran Premio Motul de la Comunitat Valenciana was won by Spaniard Marc Márquez (Repsol Honda Team). Fabio Quartararo (Yamaha Petronas SRT) was second, while Jack Miller (Pramac Racing) made it three different bikemakers on the podium. All three riders chose the same tyre combination for the 19th and last round of the 2019 MotoGPTM World Championship.  

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