2018 WRC teams and cars introduced at Autosport International Show
The 2018 FIA World Rally Championship has been launched today at the Autosport International Show in Birmingham. All four teams announced their driver line-ups and showed their updated machinery which will hit the roads for two weeks at Rallye Monte-Carlo.
There are no big surprises considering crews that would compete in a premium class with World Rally Cars. Defending world champions M-Sport World Rally Team added Ford to its name because they received bigger support from the manufacturer. It’s still a private team but Ford was forced to include into WRC after Malcolm Wilson’s team brought back the Manufacturers’ title for the first time since 2007.
Sebastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia will try to defend their titles in a Ford Fiesta, supported by Elfyn Evans and Daniel Barritt in another car. M-Sport will offer the third seat to different drivers. They already signed Bryan Bouffier for Rallye Monte-Carlo and Tour de Corse. Teemu Suninen is rumoured to be the third driver for more than half of the season.
Hyundai Motorsport, which finished second in the last year’s championship, previously announced that Thierry Neuville and Andreas Mikkelsen would be full-time drivers with Dani Sordo and Hayden Paddon sharing the third car. Today, Hyundai announced the four-car attack at Rally de Portugal in May, giving a chance both Sordo and Paddon to compete in a Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC.
Citroen Racing already announced Kris Meeke as the only full-time driver of C3 WRC with plenty of second-car drivers, including nine-time world champion Sebastien Loeb in three events. The others are Craig Breen and Khalid Al-Qassimi. Today’s main news is that Mads Ostberg will rejoin the French team for which he was driving in 2014 and 2015. The 30-year-old rally ace from Norway will drive a Citroen C3 WRC at Rally Sweden.
There is no news from Toyota Gazoo Racing, which changed all-Finnish line-up from the previous season to Finnish-Estonian combination, making a deal with Jari-Matti Latvala, Esapekka Lappi and Ott Tanak.