Rally Monte Carlo 2018 – In Pictures

What an incredible start to the new season. In the glamour of Monte Carlo, the 2 year of the WRC’s new era got underway. With every team returning with further developed and improved cars. It was anyone’s guess who would take the win on round one. Well, almost. You would be silly to bet against the 5 times world champion, Sebastien Ogier. Who went on to take victory in his M-sport Ford Fiesta, on a rally that is based in his hope town of Gap.

 

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The 2018 World Rally Championships is go!!!

 

As M-Sport’s Richard Millener said to the crowd of fan’s on the Autosport stage. “Birmingham is the new Monte Carlo” As all the WRC teams & drivers unveiled their new machines for the 2018 title fight, at the Official WRC 2018 season launch, at the Autosport International show at the NEC. The WRC stole the show with confirmations and announcements.

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So whats new for 2018?

First of all, the WRC promoters have made a ground-breaking announcement, that every stage, of every Rally will be broadcast live offering over 25 hours of coverage on every round of the WRC on their ‘WRC Plus’ subscription part of the WRC.com website.

WRC Promoter managing director Oliver Ciesla said, “WRC fans now have the choice and flexibility to join the live action at any time during a rally weekend,” he said. “Fans can choose to watch the stages they like best and enjoy unprecedented live access to the service areas, whenever they want and from wherever they are.”

M-Sport Ford World Rally Team

M-Sport get additional support from Ford Performance, which was the key to keeping their World Rally Champion driver Sebastien Ogier. Joining him will be Welsh man & Wales Rally GB winner Elfyn Evans for all rounds.

Joining them in a third car for 8 rounds will be rising finnish star Teemu Suninen after his impressive performance in Poland & Finland last year.

Frenchman Bryan Bouffier will also join M-Sport for Monte Carlo and Tour De Corse.

 

Hyundai Motorsport

No change from last year. Thierry Neuville and Andreas Mikkelsen will compete on all rounds of the championship, with Dani Sordo & Hayden Paddon sharing the 3rd i20 Hyundai car doing 7 rounds each. Sordo starting off in Monte Carlo.

 

Toyota Gazoo Racing

Back again with their Yaris WRC car, with some small changes to the front aero. Ott Tanak will join the team for the first time along with Jari-Matti Latvala and Esapekka Lappi.

Citroen Abu Dhabi

Back with their C3, with some promising improvements. Kris Meeke will do all rounds of the WRC with team-mate Craig Breen doing 10 rounds, making way for WRC legend, 9 times WRC Champion Sebastien Loeb on 3 rounds.

A surprise announcement was made, that Norwegian Mads Ostberg will also be joining Citroen for Rally Sweden. With the hope of doing further rounds later in the season.

 

The 2018 season is expected to be even closer than the remarkable season last year, as we enter the 2nd year of this new era of WRC with faster ‘Group B’ style cars that have captured the world’s attention. Every team has a winning driver which makes it the most open championship for years. Follow the action and photos here on InsideRally.com starting with the season opening Monte Carlo Rally.

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Autosport International Show 2018

The 2018 season kicked off with the Autosport International Show in Birmingham. Covering all types of motorsport, along with car launches and announcements, plus live arena shows and displays to make a motorsport spectacular to kick off the 2018 season.

 

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Super Star Loeb Returns to WRC

Citroen Racing have confirmed, that 9 times World Rally Champion and rally super star, Sebastien Loeb will make his expected return to the WRC. Albeit for just three rounds of the 2018 Season.

It’s been speculated for some time, that the frenchman will rejoin Citroen, after they struggled for consistent success in the first season of the new era of WRC and came last in the 2017 manufactures championship, despite taking a year out to develop the new Citroen C3 WRC car. Although they did manage to win two rallies with Kris Meeke at the wheel in Rally Spain and in Mexico. Where Meeke had everyone on the edge of their seat after crashing into a car park near the finish line, still managing to finish the rally in first place.

Sebastien Loeb will make his first appearance of 2018 on the 3 round of the season in rally Mexico. Then taking on the tarmac rounds of Corsica and the mixed surface event in Spain. Joining the team’s full time driver Kris Meeke. Craig Breen will contest most of the season, only sitting out three events to make way for Loeb. Khalid Al-Qassimi will also contest selected events in a third car.

“Everyone was pleased after the test sessions done this year – myself first and foremost – and these three appearances were the next logical step,” said Loeb, on Autosport.com

“The feeling you get in rallying is one of the most thrilling feelings I have ever experienced, and I was excited about driving one of these new WRCs [competitively]. And it’s nice to be able to do it in the team with which I have enjoyed so much success.”

Loeb will also be competing in the full season of the FIA World RallyCross Championship once again – As well as the Dakar Rally with Peugeot.

The frenchman will have a busy schedule in 2018, but it will be great to have one of the greatest Rally drivers of all time, returning back to the WRC. Bringing great promotion, commercial value to both the WRC and Citroen brand. Along with what will hopefully be, some great results.

The 2018 WRC season will kick off in Monte Carlo on the 25th – 28th of January.

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