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Sensational Loeb wins in Spain!

Nine-time world champion Sebastien Loeb, driving a Citroën C3 in the last of his three WRC appearances this year, won the mixed surface rally by 2.9sec from fellow Frenchman Sébastien Ogier in the M-Sport Ford Fiesta during a nail-biting final speed test shootout.

Elfyn Evans snatched third from Thierry Neuville in the final few metres of the stage when the unlucky Belgian hit a stone and broke the rear right wheel of his Hyundai i20. He salvaged fourth however but surrendered the FIA World Rally Championship lead to Ogier by three points heading to the final round next month in Australia.

Ott Tänak won the final live TV Power Stage to claim five bonus points in a Toyota Yaris. Ogier took four points for second with Loeb scoring three in third. Evans and Dani Sordo, driving an i20, took two and one point respectively.

29th October, 2018

Ogier Leads Neuville in Spain

Sebastien Ogier started the World Rally Championship's penultimate round in Spain by winning Thursday evening's opening stage to lead the rally overnight from Hyundai title rival Thierry Neuville. Ogier - who trails Neuville by seven points in the standings - completed the tight and twisty two-mile asphalt test in 3m35.3s, besting Neuville's time by a brilliant 3.7 seconds.

Neuville rolled on the pre-event shakedown, and thanked his mechanics at the end of SS1 for repairing his i20 Coupe WRC ready for the start. He will open the order on Friday, running first on the road in the rally's gravel phase, clearing a path for those behind.

Ott Tanak made sure all three title rivals were at the head of the order, the Toyota driver ending the stage just 0.5s behind Neuville. Hyundai's Andreas Mikkelsen said he felt "positive" as he took fourth, ahead of Ogier's Ford Fiesta team-mate Elfyn Evans.

Despite running well down the order and in the dark, while most of his WRC2 rivals had driven in the light, Eric Camilli was a stunning sixth on the first stage Volkswagen's new Polo R5 car has completed in competition. The ex-M-Sport driver has carried out much of the testing on the new car, and comfortably topped his class.

Dani Sordo returns for his home event after a lengthy absence in the Hyundai he is sharing this season with Hayden Paddon and took seventh, ahead of WRC2's second-place man Kalle Rovanpera.

Behind the 18-year-old Skoda Fabia driver, Craig Breen was the leading Citroen driver in ninth, as WRC2 champion-elect Jan Kopecky rounded out the top 10 ahead of Toyota team-mates Jari-Matti Latvala and Esapekka Lappi. Camilli's VW team-mate Petter Solberg was 15th in the second Volkswagen Polo R5 on his first WRC outing since 2012.

Nine-time champion Sebastien Loeb - making his third appearance of the year in a Citroen C3 - was 15.9s slower than Ogier and well behind a group of R5 cars in 27th, while Gymkhana star Ken Block ended the stage 26.5s down on Ogier but completed two more doughnuts than were required to delight the spectators.

Leading positions
Pos Driver Team Car Gap
1 Sebastien Ogier, J.Ingrassia M-Sport Ford WRT Ford 3m35.3s
2 Thierry Neuville, N.Gilsoul Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT Hyundai 3.7s
3 Ott Tanak, M.Jarveoja Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Toyota 4.2s
4 Andreas Mikkelsen, A.Jager Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT Hyundai 5.6s
5 Elfyn Evans, D.Barritt M-Sport Ford WRT Ford 6.0s
6 Eric Camilli, B.Veillas Volkswagen Motorsport Volkswagen 7.4s
7 Dani Sordo, C.del Barrio Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT Hyundai 7.5s
8 Kalle Rovanpera, J.Halttunen Skoda Motorsport Skoda 8.6s
9 Craig Breen, S.Martin Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT Citroen 8.7s
10 Jan Kopecky, P.Dresler Skoda Motorsport Skoda 9.0s

26th October, 2018

Lombard RAC Rally Retro 20th October

Starting on Friday 19th with a traditional rally competitors "signing on" at the famous Bath Spa Hotel, followed by a Rally Forum, Meet and Greet and very social Buffet Dinner. The evening is hosted by those well known Northern Ireland rallyists, Robin Eyre-Maunsell & Peter Scott, plus the former team manager and author, Graham Robson.

Who will be there? We expect to host around ten featured "star" drivers from the period including Stig Blomqvist, Rosemary Smith, Russell Brookes, Jimmy MacRae, Louise Aitken-Walker, Tony Fowkes, Gill Robinson, David Llewellin, and Graham Elsmore, plus co-drivers such as Ian Grindrod and Pauline Gullick.

On saturday, after breakfast, our "star" drivers will set off on a run around four RAC Rally tarmac stages in Somerset and Devon. Lunch will be taken in Minehead, before a run up the legendary Porlock Toll Road, last used on the Lombard Rally in 1976. All at road legal speeds of course, before returning to Bath for the Rally Dinner in the evening.

Want to see the cars in action during the day? We suggest that you come to Wiscombe Park, near Honiton in Devon. The first car will arrive at around 11.00 a.m. there will be full facilities, a commentary, plus programmes will be on sale. Come early - the roads around Wiscombe are very narrow and will easily clog up!

The Dinner will be hosted by Graham Robson with help from Russell Brookes and Brian Culcheth and will also support the charity, Action on Addiction, which will include an auction of motorsport items. A full list of the Auction Items can be found on our Services page.
The International Rally Drivers Club will be manning a control at the carpark of Cricket-St-Thomas House, where coffee and biscuits will be available - call in and say hello!

19th October, 2018

Ogier Scores 5th Rally GB Victory

Sebastien Ogier capitalised on trouble for his World Rally Championship rivals Ott Tanak and Thierry Neuville to score a fifth Rally GB victory, fending off Toyota's Jari-Matti Latvala.
Latvala took the lead with a brilliant run through the second stage of Sunday morning - Gwydir - but Ogier struck back on the next three stages - including a stunning time on Gwydir two, which he'd struggled on earlier.

Despite lacking first and second gear for some stages on Friday, the five-time WRC champion Ogier battled hard and was rewarded with a victory by 10.6 seconds over Latvala, with the second Toyota of Esapekka Lappi rounding out the podium.
It means Ogier is the most successful driver in the event's history, moving ahead of Petter Solberg and Hannu Mikkola's four wins apiece.

In addition, Ogier's win reduces his deficit to championship leader Thierry Neuville - who finished fifth - to just seven points, having started the weekend 23 adrift. Ott Tanak had held a comfortable lead and looked on course for a fourth consecutive WRC rally victory to cut Neuvile's lead further, before he lost his sump guard and suffered radiator trouble on Saturday afternoon. The Toyota driver finished well outside of the top 10 and is now 21 points behind Neuville, despite clawing back four points for setting the second quickest time on the powerstage. He had started the event 13 points behind the Belgian.

Neuville - whose shot at victory ended with a trip into a ditch on SS11 on Saturday morning while running second to Tanak - jumped two places on the penultimate stage, passing Hyundai team-mate Andreas Mikkelsen and Mads Ostberg for fifth, 8.2s behind Craig Breen's Citroen. But any chance of overcoming Breen were undone for Neuville when the last stage was shortened due to an incident near the end of the stage involving motorcycle stunt performers. It also meant the stage start was delayed from 1228 to 1400hrs.
Toyota's Lappi had a relatively uneventful run to third overall ahead of Breen and Neuville, acknowledging he didn't have the pace to match his team-mate Latvala or Ogier, but his points were valuable for Toyota's manufacturer championship lead.
Mikkelsen's splendid Saturday afternoon run helped to secure his sixth-place finish, but the Norwegian felt under the weather on Sunday morning and hit a bale and a lamppost in the Great Orme Stage.

Hayden Paddon was leapfrogged by Neuville and Mikkelsen on the final day, but claimed seventh after moving ahead of Ostberg, whose set-up change to favour the rear didn't work. The Citroen driver had to settle for eighth, having started the day in fifth. Kalle Rovanpera took a sensational WRC2 victory, the 18-year-old Finn holding a 1-minute gap after Friday morning which he maintained throughout the event to take ninth overall. Reigning champion Pontus Tidemand took second and rounded out the top 10 in a Skoda Motorsport one-two. Brit Gus Greensmith sealed a WRC2 podium for M-Sport.
Last year's event winner Elfyn Evans - the first Welshman to win the event in its history - retired after a misfire on Friday.
Leading finishers

Pos Driver Team Car Gap
1. Sebastien Ogier, J.Ingrassia M-Sport Ford WRT 3h06m12.5s
2. Jari-Matti Latvala, M.Anttila Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT 10.6s
3. Esapekka Lappi, J.Ferm Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT 35.1s
4. Craig Breen, S.Martin Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT 1m10.4s
5. Thierry Neuville, N.Gilsoul Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT 1m14.4s
6. Andreas Mikkelsen, A.Jager Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT 1m15.9s
7. Hayden Paddon, S.Marshall Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT 1m18.4s
8. Mads Ostberg, T.Eriksen Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT 1m21.6s
9. Kalle Rovanpera, J.Halttunen Skoda Motorsport II 9m14.7s
10. Pontus Tidemand, J.Andersson Skoda Motorsport II10m48.9s

10th October, 2018

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