Autosport International Show 2019

The full photo gallery from the annual Autosport International show at Birmingham’s NEC arena. Featuring the WRC, BTCC, F1 along with much, much more. Here are the shows highlights – In pictures.

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WRC 2019 Launches In Birmingham

The World Rally Championships came to town. The official launch and unveiling of the 2019 WRC car’s and team’s line-ups took place at Birmingham’s NEC arena during the Autosport International Show, in front of huge crowds of media and fans for what was known as ‘Super Saturday’.

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The Unveiling
All four teams unveiled their new cars for the 2019 season. All with various updates and developments which will continue throughout the year, as the battle for the manufactures and drivers title intensifies even more for the coming WRC season. M-Sport, Citroen and Hyundai also had new liveries to show off. The launch was brilliantly hosted by WRC All Live commentator Becs Williams which was then followed up with Colin Clark interviewing all the drivers and team bosses over on the Autosport stage. Giving fans plenty of entertainment as the WRC’s best, took over the Autosport Show.

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The Teams

Toyota Gazoo Racing World Rally Team

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Toyota have a super team of experienced, strong-minded drivers. Capable of winning on any rally. The hardest part for the team bosses could be trying to control or give team orders to their drivers, as they only know one thing. To drive flat-out for the win, with what is possibly, the fastest car in the service park.
The lineup includes Last year’s title contender, Ott Tanak & Co-Driver Martin Järveoja. Jari Matti Latvala & Miikka Anttila. Also joining the team will be Kris Meeke with a new man alongside him, Hayden Paddon’s ex Co-Driver Seb Marshall.

Hyundai Shell Mobis World Rally Team

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Hyundai have been working hard to improve their car, with the new 2019 engine already in place, plus some diff and transmission work. Lead driver and last years biggest title rival Thierry Neuville & Co-Driver Nicolas Gilsoul will need everything to try to beat Ogier to the title once again after coming very close last season. One thing he needed last year, was good support from his team mates. This means Hyundai have gone all out with a serious aim to win a title this year. Joining them for 6 rounds of the 2019 & 2020 season’s will be 9 times champion, Sebastien Loeb & Daniel Elena. They will be sharing the car with Dani Sordo & Carlos Del Barrio. Andreas Mikkelsen & Anders Jaeger will be under a lot of pressure in their full season for the team after a disappointing performance last season.

Citroen Racing

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Citroen have struggled since their return to the WRC. This year they have completely changed their line up in the hope of better results. Leading the team, and making a return to where he started his career, will be the current World Champion, Sebastien Ogier and Julian Ingrassia. Hoping to be the 2nd driver in history to win titles for three different manufacture teams. Joining him will be Finn Esapekka Lappi & Janne Ferm.

M-Sport World rally Team

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After having taken the Drivers & Manufactures title in 2017. Then taking the Drivers title once again last year, with Ogier. The championship winning private team from Cumbria, very nearly didn’t make it into the 2019 season. Still with questions over funding, they are going ahead with the 2019 season with some updates from Ford. Piloting their updated Ford Fiesta WRC car will once again be Teemu Suninen and Marko Salminen and Elfyn Evans, who will be joined by a new Co-driver Scott Martin who makes his return to the M-Sport team. Joining them for the first two rallies, will be Pontus Tidemand and Ola Floena. Also Gus Greensmith will be joining the team for Rally Portugal.

Thanks to a great weekend here in Birmingham, we are now set for another brilliant WRC season. Expect lots of drama and close fights out on the stages, as more and more drivers are capable of winning Rallies. The 2019 title fight is wide open.

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Full WRC Launch Photo gallery below.

 

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M-Sport Ford First to Reveal WRC 2019 Livery

M-Sport Ford World Rally Team has revealed their new livery ahead of the 2019 FIA World Rally Championship. The eye-catching EcoBoost-powered Ford Fiesta WRC will be entrusted to Elfyn Evans and Teemu Suninen throughout the 14-round season and displayed at Autosport International over the next four days.

The livery reflects the fact that 2019 will be an important year for M-Sport as a business. The automotive industry standard M-Sport Evaluation Centre is due to launch later this year and the silhouette of the state-of-the-art test track is vividly incorporated in the design.

The photogenic nitrous blue colour scheme last used in 2016 returns to the palette and the team’s valued partners are well represented.

Ford Motor Company’s long-standing financial and technical support is highlighted with the signature Blue Oval on the bonnet and side panels, while the ‘Powered by EcoBoost’ global trademark remains proudly displayed on the tailgate and rear wing.

MS-RT branding remains – promoting the company’s bespoke range of road-going vehicles that draw inspiration from M-Sport’s award-winning competition cars.

Established partners Castrol and Michelin also retain a strong presence, as do the team’s valued trade partners – all of whose commitment has been integral to the Cumbrian squad’s continued presence in the FIA World Rally Championship.

Managing Director, Malcolm Wilson OBE, said:

“Next year is going to be an important year for M-Sport, and that is reflected in this new livery. We have a number of new projects coming up, including the launch of our Evaluation Centre and it’s fantastic to see the test track proudly displayed on our Ford Fiesta WRCs – two projects I’m immensely proud of merged together in this eye-catching new design.

“Support from our friends and colleagues at Ford, MS-RT, Castrol and Michelin is well represented as well as our valued trade partners – and I would like to take this opportunity to thank them all as we simply wouldn’t have been able to continue in the FIA World Rally Championship without their support.”

Images & words: M-Sport Press Release.

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Ogier Wins the title decider down under

It went down to the wire, the decider down under. The pressure was high. The cracks showed through.

Sunday, the 4th stage, first of the final loop after service. Neuville gave it everything. Only to use his i20 as a pinball machine, bouncing off the ditches. One hit too many and it was over. He was behind Ogier and gave it everything to catch up. One last ditched attempt, left his rear left wheel deep in the forest. That was one down, one to go. On the following penultimate stage of the rally, Tanak was the next casualty. The car would go no further. The All live broadcast showed him parking up after what appeared to be a heavy impact.

Sebastien Ogier was champion!

He finished 5th, not that he needed to finish, as he came to Australia with just a 3 point lead and with his title rivals not scoring a single point, he could have left early for the pub to celebrate. The now 6 times world champion wasn’t the only one celebrating. Finally after a long tough season. Toyota’s Jari Matti Latvala took his one and only win of the season. He came close, but luck has not been on his side. Either that, or Ogier had got the better of him, like back in Rally GB. Not this time. Latvala takes a well deserved win! With Hayden Paddon finishing his part time 2018 season in 2nd place for Hyundai. Making the bottom step is Citroen’s Mads Ostberg.

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