|2018 FIA World Rally Championship|
FIA World Rally Championship-2
FIA World Rally Championship-3
FIA Junior World Rally Championship
|2018 World Rally Championship|
|Classes of competition|
The 2018 FIA World Rally Championship is the 46th season of the World Rally Championship, an auto racing championship recognised by the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) as the highest class of international rallying. Teams and crews are competing in thirteen events—starting with the Monte Carlo Rally in January and finishing with Rally Australia in November—for the World Rally Championships for Drivers, Co-drivers and Manufacturers. Crews are free to compete in cars complying with World Rally Car and Group R regulations; however, only Manufacturers competing with 2017-specification World Rally Cars are eligible to score points in the Manufacturers' championship. The series is once again supported by the World Rally Championship-2 and World Rally Championship-3 categories at every round and by the Junior World Rally Championship at selected rounds.
Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia started the season as the defending drivers' and co-drivers' champions after securing their fifth consecutive World Championship titles at the 2017 Wales Rally GB. M-Sport, the team they drove for in 2017, are the defending manufacturers' champions. After seven rounds, Thierry Neuville and Nicolas Gilsoul lead the drivers' and co-drivers' championships by twenty-seven points ahead of Ogier and Ingrassia. Ott Tänak and Martin Järveoja are third, a further forty-five points behind. In the manufacturers' championship, Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT hold a twenty-eight-point lead over M-Sport Ford WRT.
The following teams and crews are entered in the 2018 FIA World Rally Championship.
|Manufacturer||Entrant||Car||Tyre||No.||Driver name||Co-driver name||Rounds|
|Ford||M-Sport Ford WRT||Ford Fiesta WRC||M||1||Sébastien Ogier||Julien Ingrassia||1–8|
|2||Elfyn Evans||Daniel Barritt||1–3, 5–8|
|3||Bryan Bouffier||Xavier Panseri||1, 4|
|Teemu Suninen||Mikko Markkula||2–3, 5–8|
|Hyundai||Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT||Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC||M||4||Andreas Mikkelsen||Anders Jæger-Synnevaag||1–8|
|5||Thierry Neuville||Nicolas Gilsoul||1–8|
|6||Dani Sordo||Carlos del Barrio||1, 3–5|
|Hayden Paddon||Sebastian Marshall||2, 6–8|
|Toyota||Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT||Toyota Yaris WRC||M||7||Jari-Matti Latvala||Miikka Anttila||1–8|
|8||Ott Tänak||Martin Järveoja||1–8|
|9||Esapekka Lappi||Janne Ferm||1–8|
|Citroën||Citroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT||Citroën C3 WRC||M||10||Kris Meeke[note 1]||Paul Nagle[note 1]||1–6|
|Mads Østberg||Torstein Eriksen||8|
|11||Craig Breen||Scott Martin||1–2, 5–8|
|Sébastien Loeb||Daniel Elena||3–4|
|12||Mads Østberg||Torstein Eriksen||2, 6–7|
|Khalid Al-Qassimi||Chris Patterson||5, 8|
|Manufacturer||Entrant||Car||Tyre||No.||Driver name||Co-driver name||Rounds|
|Citroën||Cyrille Feraud||Citroën DS3 WRC||24||Cyrille Feraud||Aymeric Duschemin||7|
|Mauro Miele||M||81||Mauro Miele||Luca Beltrame||4|
|Ford||Henning Solberg||Ford Fiesta WRC||M||14||Henning Solberg||Cato Menkerud||2|
|M-Sport||TBA||TBA||Jourdan Serderidis||Frédéric Miclotte||TBA|
|TBA||TBA||TBA||Ken Block||Alex Gelsomino||TBA|
|Manuel Villa||Ford Fiesta RS WRC||18||Manuel Villa||Daniele Michi||1|
|Yazeed Racing||M||21||Yazeed Al Rajhi||Michael Orr||2, 6|
|MP-Sports||21||Martin Prokop||Jan Tománek||7|
|Armando Pereira||P||82||Armando Pereira||Rémi Tutélaire||4|
|Alain Vauthier||M||83||Alain Vauthier||Stevie Nollet||4|
|Hyundai||Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT||Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC||M||16||Dani Sordo||Carlos del Barrio||6|
Citroën reduced its commitment to two full-time entries, with a third car entered at selected events. At the same time, the C3 WRC made available to privateer entrants. The cars will be leased to drivers but their operation will be run by Citroën Racing's sister team PH Sport, allowing Citroën to retain control over the cars.
Ford increased its factory support for M-Sport's programme, with the team officially known as "M-Sport Ford World Rally Team". Their support will include engine, chassis and aerodynamic development. Ford will be recognised as the manufacturer entry, marking the company's return to the sport for the first time since 2012. Ford's support extends to M-Sport's World Rally Championship-2 programme.
Tyre supplier DMACK scaled back its involvement in the championship from full-time competition to supporting World Rally Championship-2 entries. The company had previously supported its own eponymous team before becoming a supplier to and sponsor of M-Sport's third entry in 2017.
Nine-time World Champions Sébastien Loeb and Daniel Elena returned to the World Rally Championship with Citroën. They plan to contest selected rounds of the championship, allowing Loeb to compete in the Dakar Rally and the World Rallycross Championship. Loeb had previously been enlisted by the team to assist with development of the C3 WRC, particularly on loose surfaces, after Citroën endured a difficult championship campaign in 2017. With Citroën scaling back its commitment to two full-time entries, Stéphane Lefebvre left the championship to contest the World Rally Championship-2 in an R5 variant of the C3 WRC. Mads Østberg left Jipocar World Rally Team and moved to Citroën, contesting selected events in the team's third entry. He retained ownership of the Ford Fiesta WRC that he competed with in 2017 through the Adapta World Rally Team, entering it separately to his own entry with Citroën. Kris Meeke and Paul Nagle were dismissed by Citroën after six rounds, with the team citing their disproportionately high number of crashes and a lack of self-control as the reason behind the sacking. Mads Østberg and Torstein Eriksen were recruited to replace Meeke and Nagle from the Rally Finland.
Andreas Mikkelsen and Anders Jæger returned to full-time competition with Hyundai Motorsport. Mikkelsen and Jæger, who were left without a seat at the end of 2016 following Volkswagen Motorsport's withdrawal from the sport, contested selected rounds of the 2017 championship for Citroën and Hyundai before joining the team for 2018. Hyundai chose to split their third car between Hayden Paddon and Dani Sordo. The team will enter four i20 Coupe WRCs in the Rally de Portugal to ensure that both Paddon and Sordo contest seven rounds of the championship each. Sordo also changed co-drivers, ending his four-year partnership with Marc Martí. He instead reunited with Carlos del Barrio, who previously drove with Sordo in 2013.
Ott Tänak and Martin Järveoja left M-Sport to join Toyota, where they replaced Juho Hänninen and Kaj Lindström. Hänninen and Lindström remained with the team, with Hänninen taking on a test driver role and Lindström joining the team's management. Following the departure of Tänak and Järveoja, M-Sport promoted Teemu Suninen and Mikko Markkula from their World Rally Championship-2 team. Suninen and Markkula will share the car with Bryan Bouffier, who will contest Rallye Monte Carlo and the Tour de Corse. Bouffier was hired for his specialist knowledge of the events.
|Round||Dates||Rally||Rally headquarters||Rally details|
|1||25 January||28 January||Rallye Automobile Monte Carlo||Gap, Hautes-Alpes||Mixed||17||394.74 km|
|2||15 February||18 February||Rally Sweden||Torsby, Värmland||Snow||19||314.25 km|
|3||8 March||11 March||Rally Guanajuato México||León, Guanajuato||Gravel||22||344.49 km|
|4||5 April||8 April||Tour de Corse||Bastia, Haute-Corse||Tarmac||12||334.02 km|
|5||26 April||29 April||Rally Argentina||Villa Carlos Paz, Córdoba||Gravel||18||360.61 km|
|6||17 May||20 May||Rally de Portugal||Matosinhos, Porto||Gravel||20||357.75 km|
|7||7 June||10 June||Rally Italia Sardegna||Alghero, Sardinia||Gravel||20||317.32 km|
|8||26 July||29 July||Rally Finland||Jyväskylä, Keski-Suomi||Gravel||23||317.26 km|
|9||16 August||19 August||ADAC Rallye Deutschland||Bostalsee, Saarland||Tarmac||18||326.69 km|
|10||13 September||16 September||Marmaris Rally of Turkey||Marmaris, Muğla||Gravel||17||317.28 km|
|11||4 October||7 October||Wales Rally GB||Deeside, Flintshire||Gravel||23||319.34 km|
|12||25 October||28 October||RACC Rally Catalunya de España||Salou, Tarragona||Mixed||TBA||TBA|
|13||15 November||18 November||Rally Australia||Coffs Harbour, New South Wales||Gravel||TBA||TBA|
The Rally of Poland was removed from the calendar after the FIA repeatedly raised concerns about the event's safety. The FIA had previously ordered a review of the event's safety standards ahead of the 2017 event, threatening to rescind the rally's World Championship status if conditions were not improved. The event was replaced by the Rally of Turkey, which returned to the calendar for the first time since 2010. The event, which was previously based in Istanbul, will return to south-western Turkey. It will be based in the coastal resort town of Marmaris in Muğla Province, with the proposed route running along the Merranean coastline.
Rallye Monte Carlo featured a heavily revised route from the 2017 event, with half the route being brand new. After starting in Mexico City in 2017, Rally Mexico returned to its traditional start in Guanajuato. The route featured minor changes and included a new Power Stage.
The route for the Tour de Corse was heavily revised, with only two of the seven stages being run as they were in 2017. The headquarters of the event will be relocated Bastia, which will host the event for the first time since 1978.
Organisers of the Wales Rally GB announced plans for a heavily revised route. The changes were made possible by the passage of legislation by the British government allowing public roads to be used for motorsport.
The FIA took responsibility for the placement of artificial chicanes in stages, with regulations dictating their placement, width and frequency of use. The changes were introduced following the 2017 Rally Finland where event organisers placed chicanes that were criticised by drivers for being too narrow, poorly-positioned and potentially dangerous.
Privateers entering 2017-specification World Rally Cars are permitted to enter their cars under their own team names. In 2017, privateers competing in current-specification cars had to have their entries submitted by a manufacturer.
In the week before the Tour de Corse, the FIA approved a rule change that will see any crew checking in late to the Power Stage forfeit the possibility of scoring points in the stage. The changes were introduced in response to controversies that arose in the Rallies of Sweden and Mexico where crews deliberately checked in late to the Power Stage, incurring time penalties but earning more favourable conditions on the stage for the purposes of setting a faster time to secure more points.
Rallye Monte Carlo saw Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia start their title defence with a rally victory, recording their fifth victory in the event. Ott Tänak and Martin Järveoja finished second on their Toyota debut, with teammates Jari-Matti Latvala and Miikka Anttila rounding out the podium. Citroën number one Kris Meeke claimed fourth with the fastest time on the Power Stage, despite spinning and reversing into a ditch on the opening stage during Thursday night. Hyundai star Thierry Neuville went off the road on the same stage as Meeke, eventually finishing fifth and taking four points from the power stage. Elfyn Evans and Daniel Barritt were sixth to give their team, M-Sport World Rally Team, an early lead in the manufacturers' championship. Esapekka Lappi made a mistake on the final stage, which cost him half a minute to get back on the road and dropped him from fourth to seventh. Bryan Bouffier, who drove Ford's third car, finished eighth. Craig Breen and Scott Martin were ninth on the board after enduring brake problems on Friday morning. WRC 2 winner Jan Kopecky snatched one point with tenth place overall. Andreas Mikkelsen took three points in the power stage after retiring from Friday due to an alternator problem. Teammate Dani Sordo retired from the rally whilst running in third place when he went off the road in snowy conditions on Saturday morning.
Thierry Neuville won his seventh world rally and his first on snow to take the lead of the drivers' championship by ten points. The Belgian also became only the third non-Nordic driver to win the event after Sébastien Loeb and Sébastien Ogier. Craig Breen finished a career-high second after a consistent performance, with Andreas Mikkelsen rounding out the podium. With a one-three finish, Hyundai led the manufacturers' championship for the first time ever. Esapekka Lappi grabbed fourth from Hayden Paddon, and also took a full five points from the Power Stage to climbed up to fourth in the drivers' championship, on the same points as teammate Jari-Matti Latvala, who was one of many drivers to struggle in the deep snow and finished seventh overall. Norwegian Mads Østberg drove a Citroën C3 WRC especially for the event and finished sixth. Young Finn Teemu Suninen was eighth in a Ford Fiesta, the highest placed amongst the M-Sport drivers. Ott Tänak and Monte-Carlo winner Sébastien Ogier struggled the most with grip all weekend, as they ploughed a path through deep snow, being second and first on the road order. They were unable to regain lost ground and finished ninth and tenth respectively. Elfyn Evans struggled all weekend and finished outside the points in eleventh, whilst Kris Meeke retired with engine issues after hitting a snowbank during Saturday.
Sébastien Ogier sealed his second victory of the season, despite receiving a 10-second penalty for cutting a chicane. With the victory, he recaptured the position of championship leader from Thierry Neuville, who finished sixth overall after faring worst in the conditions and losing more than 20 seconds due to a fuel pressure problem and a power steering issue on his i20 on Friday, by four points. Kris Meeke lost second place to Friday leader Dani Sordo after a half roll on Sunday morning. Andreas Mikkelsen finished fourth and snatched two points on the Power Stage, after struggling with his i20's handling throughout. Returning nine-time champion Sébastien Loeb was fifth overall and took an extra point at the Power Stage after suffered a puncture on Saturday whilst leading. WRC 2 winner Pontus Tidemand finished seventh ahead of Jari-Matti Latvala, who fought back up the leaderboard after retiring his Toyota Yaris on Friday with alternator problems. WRC 2 drivers Gus Greensmith and Pedro Heller completed the top ten. Ott Tänak finished fourteenth overall, but took victory and five points from the Power Stage. Elfyn Evans withdrew from the rally after co-driver Daniel Barritt suffered a concussion during a crash on Friday morning, whilst teammate Teemu Suninen and Toyota's Esapekka Lappi retired from Friday due to hitting a barrier and crashing out respectively.
Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia took their third win of the year in Corsica, ahead of Ott Tänak and Thierry Neuville, who suffered multiple issues during the weekend. Dani Sordo and Elfyn Evans finished fourth and fifth respectively, separated by just 3.5 seconds. Esapekka Lappi thrust himself into the fight for second on Saturday, but his hopes were shattered when he hit a kerb and was forced to stop and change a punctured tyre. He eventually plummeted to seventh, but salvaged maximum bonus points by winning the final power Stage in his Yaris, as well as overhauling Andreas Mikkelsen to climb to sixth. WRC 2 winner Jan Kopecký finished eighth ahead of Kris Meeke, who restarted under Rally2 regulations after going off the road when co-driver Paul Nagle read the wrong pace notes. WRC 2 runner Yoann Bonato completed the top ten. Nine-time world champion Sébastien Loeb finished out of the points after going off into a ditch on SS2 and having to restart under Rally2, but he would claim four points from the Power Stage.
Ott Tänak and Martin Järveoja took their first victory of the season and their first for their new employers; Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT. Thierry Neuville and teammate Dani Sordo finshed second and third overall, which allowed their team, Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT, to move further ahead at the top of the manufacturers' championship. Championship leader Sébastien Ogier finshed fourth, with his lead in the Drivers' championship shrinking to ten points. Andreas Mikkelsen was just four seconds behind in fifth, whilst Elfyn Evans finished sixth in another Fiesta. Kris Meeke came home seventh after picking up a puncture on Saturday whilst in contention for a podium. Esapekka Lappi, Teemu Suninen and WRC 2 winner Pontus Tidemand completed the leaderboard. Jari-Matti Latvala was forced to retire from the rally after his Yaris' front right suspension and engine lubrication system sustained significant damage on Friday. Craig Breen was also forced to retire on Saturday after rolling his Citroën and damaging the rollcage.
Thierry Neuville took his first Portugal and eighth WRC victory after a four-day battle. Because the championship leader Sébastien Ogier failed to score any points, he relinquished the championship lead to Neuville. The Belgian left with a nineteen point lead. Ogier's Ford teammate's Elfyn Evans and Teemu Suninen both finished on the podium to help the team narrow the gap to Hyundai to thirteen points. Argentina winner Ott Tänak retired from the rally on the first gravel stage due to damaging his engine's cooling system after hitting a large rock, while Kris Meeke crashed his Citroën C3 during SS12 on Saturday. Esapekka Lappi took another Power Stage win but received a ten-second penalty for displacing dividing bales on SS9's third roundabout, which meant he lost his fourth place to Dani Sordo. Mads Østberg and teammate Craig Breen finished in sixth and seventh overall, which brought some valuable points to Citroën. WRC-2 podium finishers Pontus Tidemand, Łukasz Pieniążek and Stéphane Lefebvre finished in eighth, ninth and tenth respectively to complete the leaderboard.
Thierry Neuville snatched victory from the defending world champion Sébastien Ogier on the last stage — The Belgian won the Power Stage, which gained him the maximum thirty points from the event, extending his championship lead to twenty-seven points. The difference between the two title rivals was only 0.7 second, the third tightest winning margin in WRC history, shared with the 2017 Rally Argentina. Esapekka Lappi rounded out the podium places in a Yaris, followed by Hayden Paddon in fourth overall. With a one-four finish, Hyundai Motorsport moved further ahead in the manufacturers' championship, twenty-eight points ahead of M-Sport World Rally Team. The two Citroën drivers Mads Østberg and Craig Breen finished fifth and sixth respectively, ahead of Jari-Matti Latvala, who was running under Rally2 regulations because of an alternator problem on Saturday. WRC-2 category leader Jan Kopecký came home in eighth followed by Ott Tänak, who damaged his radiator on Friday and received a forty-second penalty, while Teemu Suninen, who went of the road on Friday, completed the top ten. Andreas Mikkelsen also retired from Friday due to a gearbox issue, but claimed two points from the Power Stage.
|Round||Event||Winning driver||Winning co-driver||Winning entrant||Winning time||Report|
|1||Rallye Automobile Monte Carlo||Sébastien Ogier||Julien Ingrassia||M-Sport Ford WRT||4:18:55.5||Report|
|2||Rally Sweden||Thierry Neuville||Nicolas Gilsoul||Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT||2:52:13.1||Report|
|3||Rally Guanajuato México||Sébastien Ogier||Julien Ingrassia||M-Sport Ford WRT||3:54:08.0||Report|
|4||Tour de Corse||Sébastien Ogier||Julien Ingrassia||M-Sport Ford WRT||3:26:52.7||Report|
|5||Rally Argentina||Ott Tänak||Martin Järveoja||Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT||3:43:28.9||Report|
|6||Rally de Portugal||Thierry Neuville||Nicolas Gilsoul||Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT||3:49:46.6||Report|
|7||Rally Italia Sardegna||Thierry Neuville||Nicolas Gilsoul||Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT||3:29:18.7||Report|
|9||ADAC Rallye Deutschland||Report|
|10||Marmaris Rally of Turkey||Report|
|11||Wales Rally GB||Report|
|12||RACC Rally Catalunya de España||Report|
Points are awarded to the top ten classified finishers. In the manufacturers' championship, teams are eligible to nominate three crews to score points, but these points are only awarded to the top two classified finishers representing a manufacturer and driving a 2017-specification World Rally Car. There are also five bonus points awarded to the winners of the Power Stage, four points for second place, three for third, two for fourth and one for fifth. Power Stage points are only awarded in the drivers' and co-drivers' championships.
The other 2018 manufacturers are unchanged with the M-Sport Ford World Rally Team up against Hyundai Shell Mobis World Rally Team, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT and Citroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT.
Adapta will still enter Ostberg’s Ford in Sweden while he is with Citroen. Two drivers are in contention for that drive, with WRC veteran Henning Solberg one of them.
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