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The 2018 FIA World Rally Championship was launched in spectacular fashion in the UK on Thursday, with all four WRC teams unveiling their challengers for the coming season. Here we present the team press releases from the event, and photos of all the new 2018 World Rally Cars.

M-Sport Ford World Rally Team

M-Sport Ford World Rally Team revealed a striking new livery at Autosport International – the traditional start of the motorsport season. Following an incredible debut for the EcoBoost-powered Ford Fiesta WRC, increased technical support from Ford Performance will allow the team to continue development. The manufacturer’s support is highlighted on the sun strip and side panels, while the ‘Powered by EcoBoost’ trademark remains proudly displayed on the tailgate and rear wing. Red Bull also increases their involvement – extending their partnership to support the team’s young talent. The brand’s instantly recognisable motif has long been associated with five-time World Champion Sébastien Ogier, but will now also be associated with the younger generation who’ll benefit from his the vast skill and experience. In Rallye Monte-Carlo, the new livery will be seen on four Ford Fiestas – the Fiesta WRCs of Ogier and Elfyn Evans as well as the Fiesta R5s of Éric Camilli and Teemu Suninen. The livery also continues to carry MS-RT branding – supporting the company’s range of bespoke road-going vehicles that draw inspiration from the M-Sport’s renowned competition cars. Support from long-standing partners Castrol and Michelin is well represented as are the team’s valued trade partners – all of whose commitment has been integral to the Cumbrian squad’s celebrated success. Team Principal, Malcolm Wilson OBE, said:
“Every year we look forward to revealing our liveries, and this year we were able to do it in style with a joint launch at what is widely considered to be the traditional start of the motorsport season – Autosport International. “We pride ourselves on producing striking liveries year after year, and this year is no different. Increased technical support from Ford Performance is represented, as is the increased involvement from Red Bull which sees their support extend to the younger drivers coming through our ranks. “Another thrilling year of close-fought competition awaits, and we can’t wait to get going.”

Toyota Gazoo Racing

2018 Toyota Yaris WRC The TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team has taken the wraps off the latest version of the Toyota Yaris WRC. This year will be the second season of Toyota’s journey on making ever-better cars through the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC), after a successful debut for the Yaris WRC in 2017 that included victories on Rally Sweden and Rally Finland, as well as fourth in the drivers’ championship for Jari-Matti Latvala and third in the manufacturers’ championship. All of the WRC teams have gathered this week for the official 2018 season launch at the Autosport International show: a popular curtain-raiser for the motorsport season. Toyota has taken the opportunity to present the latest version of the Yaris WRC, which features a number of developments based upon the lessons that were learned during last season. A new upgraded aerodynamics package has been developed for the front of the car, including a new front bumper and fenders. These changes aim to even out the aerodynamic balance of the car by adding more front downforce. There are also updates to the cooling system that will be of benefit in some of the WRC’s hotter events. These developments have been tested over the final months of 2017, in preparation for the first round of the season at Rallye Monte-Carlo on January 25-28. Quotes: Tommi Mäkinen (Team Principal):
“It’s great to launch the 2018 season at the Autosport International show in front of so many motorsport fans. After a very pleasing first season in 2017 we are excited to build on that in the year ahead. We saw last year that the Toyota Yaris WRC was already capable of winning rallies, which was a great achievement by the team, but the competition also allowed us to discover areas that we can improve. With more time and more learning, we have been able to update the front end of the car to give us better aerodynamic performance, and we also have improvements to the cooling. I’m very excited that we’re going to keep on learning this year, as part of our mission to make ever-better cars.”

Hyundai Motorsport

2018 Hyundai i20 WRC Hyundai Motorsport has heralded the start of the 2018 FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) at a joint launch event with the WRC community. All four of the team’s crews, Thierry Neuville/Nicolas Gilsoul, Andreas Mikkelsen/Anders Jæger, Dani Sordo/Carlos del Barrio and Hayden Paddon/Seb Marshall, were present at the event along with the Hyundai Motorsport Driver development Program (HMDP) duo of Jari Huttunen/Antti Linnaketo. The team joined its fellow WRC competitors on-stage at the popular show, where all 2018 contenders were on display together. It was the first time that the updated Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC was seen in public with the drivers showing off their new overalls for the season ahead. All four crews will contribute to Hyundai Motorsport’s championship goals for 2018. Mikkelsen and Neuville will contest all 13 rounds of the season in the respective #4 and #5 cars, while Sordo and Paddon will share the #6 car in selected events. The current plan is for Sordo to compete in Monte-Carlo, Mexico, Corsica, Argentina, Germany and Spain, with Paddon joining at Sweden, Sardinia, Finland, Turkey, GB and Australia. The team intends to run a four-car entry for Rally de Portugal to offer both crews an equal number of rallies in 2018. The WRC promoter used the opportunity of today’s launch to announce, WRC All Live, a revolutionary initiative to broadcast all stages live on WRC+ for the coming season. Hyundai Motorsport and its driver crews have welcomed the ambitious plans, which showcase the strong intentions of the WRC ahead of the forthcoming season, which gets underway at Rallye Monte-Carlo later this month. 2018 Hyundai i20 WRC Neuville said: “The launch of WRC All Live is a great initiative from the promoters. It’s really difficult to promote rallying, and to get more people involved. By its very nature, as a long event run over several days, there is a lot to consider when broadcasting WRC. This will make it far easier for people to follow the rally over each and every stage, and it promises to make our sport even more popular.” Mikkelsen commented: “I have enjoyed being part of the Autosport International show today, and to have a the chance to be part of our season launch at such a great event for our sport. The news that all stages will be broadcast live in 2018 is fantastic. "I’m proud that we are able to show off the sport we love in such an exciting new way.” Sordo added: “I am looking forward to getting the 2018 season started at the first of my seven events this year, Monte-Carlo. Today has been a nice way to share our passion for WRC with a wide audience. It is an incredible job from the WRC promoter to broadcast all stages. "It’s exactly what we need, and I would like to say congratulations to everyone involved. WRC is not the easiest to broadcast, so this has required a big effort to make reality.”
Paddon said: “WRC All Live is a pretty significant development for WRC moving forwards. Allowing fans around the world to follow the sport even more closely than ever before is a very good thing. From my point of view, with all the fans watching in NZ, it is going to be awesome that they can now watch all the stages and follow us like never before.”
Team Principal Michel Nandan said: “All of us at Hyundai Motorsport have been honoured to play a small part in today’s WRC launch at Autosport International. To have the chance to unveil our Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC in such a unique way has been incredible, and we are excited by the plans announced by WRC to show every stage live this season. "We are always looking to reach new audiences, and show our sport in the most authentic way possible. WRC All Live is the ideal way to do that, and we are sure fans will be closer to the action than ever before. It’s really been the best way to kick-start 2018.”

Citroen Racing

  • Press release still to come

Related news:

https://rallysportmag.com/revolution-wrcs-live-coverage-2018/ https://rallysportmag.com/ostberg-springs-massive-surprise-ahead-of-swedish-rally/ https://rallysportmag.com/paddon-focussed-on-re-booting-rally-career-in-2018/
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