LIGHTS, CAMERAS… AND READY FOR ACTION!
Whetting appetites for this year’s Wales Rally GB, the eagerly-anticipated 2019 FIA World Rally Championship will be officially launched later this week at Autosport International (10-13 January).
New liveries and new driver line-ups will all be unveiled at Birmingham’s NEC on what has been dubbed ‘Super Saturday’, giving British rally fans and show visitors a unique insight into what promises to be another epic sporting adventure.
With the latest generation of spectacular World Rally Cars producing thrilling and ultra-competitive entertainment, the 2019 WRC has been expanded to 14 rounds with the addition of an extra event in Chile.
As last year, the action kicks off later this month with the famous Monte Carlo Rally (24-27 January), with Britain’s round confirmed for the autumn (03-06 October) as what promises to be another fiercely-fought title race nears its climax.
All four major factory-backed teams are back to represent Citroën, Ford, Hyundai and Toyota, and new driver line-ups stoke further intrigue.
Six-time World Champion Sébastien Ogier has switched back to spearhead Citroën’s squad in 2019, so Elfyn Evans (photo below top right) steps up to lead the M-Sport Ford attack. Evans famously took his first WRC victory on home soil in Wales at the end of 2017 but last season failed to add to that breakthrough victory.
The Welshman has a new co-driver – Scott Martin – and now, with the added responsibility, is determined to bounce back aboard the Fiesta RS WRC which took Ogier to both the 2017 and 2018 titles.
Adding further to local interest, Kris Meeke (photo below top left) has joined forces with the all-conquering Toyota team which ended 2018 on a high by clinching top manufacturers’ honours. He, too, has a new co-driver – Brit Seb Marshall – and, now armed with one of the Japanese team’s super-swift Yaris WRCs, will be aiming to add further WRC wins to the five he has scored to date.
Evans and Meeke will be joined by the entire 2019 field of WRC drivers and co-drivers on Super Saturday at Autosport International to officially unveil all of the new-look 2019 rally cars on the WRC display stand in Hall 3 at 10:15am. Visitors will then be treated to a series of in-depth interviews on the Main Stage as well as Autograph/Selfie Sessions throughout the day on the WRC stand.
Autosport International tickets are available in advance via the www.autosportinternational.com website or on the door at the NEC. Adult admission is priced at £34 when purchasing online or £39 on the day.
Tickets for this year’s Wales Rally GB will go on sale in the spring when the 2019 competitive route is announced.
2019 FIA WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP
24-27 January Monte Carlo Rally
14-17 February Rally Sweden
07-10 March Rally Guanajuato Mexico
28-31 March Tour de Corse (France)
25-28 April YPF Rally Argentina
09-12 May COPEC Rally Chile
30 May-02 June Vodafone Rally de Portugal
13-16 June Rally Italia Sardinia
01-04 August Neste Rally Finland
22-25 August ADAC Rally Germany
12-15 September Rally Turkey
03-06 October Wales Rally GB
24-27 October Rally Spain
14-17 November Kennards Hire Rally Australia