Home AutoSports WRC – Manufacturers’ title chase takes centre stage as WRC heads to Spain

WRC – Manufacturers’ title chase takes centre stage as WRC heads to Spain

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As the first of two consecutive all-asphalt rounds to decide the title chase, RallyRACC Catalunya – Rally de España is the WRC’s equivalent of a circuit race due to the prevalence of sweeping twists and turns through which taking the perfect ‘racing’ line is pivotal to success.

However, drivers must strike a balance between out and out pace and the need for caution in certain sections due to the possibility of debris being dragged onto the road by drivers taking ‘cuts’ through corners to maximise speed.

Tyre management is also a factor on RallyRACC. Although the abrasive road surface provides ample grip, that can lead to an increase in tyre wear if the weather is warm and dry. But if conditions are wet or changeable, tyre strategy will be key.

With car set-ups adjusted to ensure cars hug the roads Pirelli, the WRC’s official tyre supplier, provides its hard-compound P Zero as the first choice with the soft option for cool and damp conditions. The Cinturato rain tyre is available for extreme wet conditions. Rally1 teams can use a maximum of 28 tyres for the event including four for Shakedown.

Following the WRC’s return to New Zealand for the first time in 10 years for the previous round, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT heads Hyundai Shell Mobis World Rally Team by 81 points in the FIA World Rally Championship for Manufacturers with 104 still in play between the Salou-based event and the Rally Japan finale next month.

The Spanish rally is the third pure asphalt event of the season and one of five sealed-surface rounds on the 2022 calendar. As well as the battle to win the FIA World Rally Championship for Manufacturers, the FIA WRC2 Open, Junior and Masters Cup’ titles, plus the FIA WRC3 Open crown remain up for grabs.

With the WRC marking 50 years with the advent of its new and more sustainable era in 2022, the fans who follow action in great number will be treated to the spectacle of hybrid-powered Rally1 cars, the majority for the first time.

 

THE 2022 ROUTE

 

After reverting to a Tarmac-only format in 2021 having featured gravel and mixed-surface stages since 2010, this year’s RallyRACC Catalunya – Rally de España kicks off on Friday October 21 with two new stages north of host-town Salou. Following runs through Els Omells – Malda and Serra de la Llena, the route takes in Les Garrigues Altes and the super-demanding Riba-roja with the two stages tackled in an opposite direction to 2021. Following service in the service park in Salou located within the grounds of the PortAventura World theme park the four morning stages are repeated in the afternoon.

Saturday’s second leg northeast of Salou begins with runs through Savallà and Querol-Les Pobles prior to the famous El Montmell stage, the longest of the rally at 24.18 kilometres. Once the stages have been run for a second time in the afternoon following a service halt in Salou, a 2.15-kilometre seaside stage in the town completes the day’s action.

The rally-deciding Sunday leg is the shortest at 56.10 kilometres and begins with the first of two visits to the Pratip test from 07h00 CET. Riudecanyes, which is best known for its roundabout at Coll de la Teixeta, counts as the Power Stage when it runs for a second time from 12h18 CET.

Competitors in FIA European Rally Championship, of which RallyRACC is the final round of the 2022 season, will tackle the opening two legs of the event ahead of the finish on Saturday evening. Visit fiaerc.com for more information.

 

RALLY DATA

 

Stage distance: 293.77 km
Total distance:  1330.91 km
Number of stages: 19

 

RALLY1 CONTENDERS

 

Having clinched the FIA World Rally Championship for Drivers and Co-drivers respectively on Rally New Zealand, Kalle Rovanperä and Jonne Halttunen will now focus on helping Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT to the WRC Manufacturers’ crown. The Finns will be backed up by Elfyn Evans/Scott Martin and eight-time champion Sébastien Ogier, plus his co-driver Benjamin Veillas. Takamoto Katsuta/Aaron Johnson compete in a fourth Toyota GR Yaris Rally1 under the Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT NG banner.

Hyundai Shell Mobis World Rally Team remains in the Manufacturers’ championship frame with home heroes Dani Sordo/Cándido Carrera returning to WRC action in their i20 Rally1 to boost its challenge. Ott Tänak/Martin Järveoja are 29 points ahead of Hyundai team-mates Thierry Neuville/Martijn Wydaeghe in the battle for the championship runner-up spot.

The M-Sport Ford World Rally Team is back up to full strength as Adrien Fourmaux/Alexandre Coria returns in a Ford Puma Rally1. Pierre-Loubet/Vincent Landais are also back after missing Rally New Zealand. Craig Breen’s co-driver Paul Nagle’s 102nd WRC start will be his last before he retires 18 years after his debut in the sport’s top level in Catalyuna. Gus Greensmith/Jonas Andersson and Jourdan Serderidis/Frédéric Miclotte are also Ford-powered in Spain.

 

THE SUPPORTING CATEGORIES

 

A hugely impressive 33-car entry will line up in the FIA WRC2 category with Kajetan Kajetanowicz (Škoda Fabia Rally2), WRC2 Junior leader Emil Lindholm (Toksport WRT Škoda Fabia Rally2) and Yohan Rossel (PH Sport Citroën C3 Rally2) aiming to capitalise on championship pacesetter Andreas Mikkelsen’s event selection-based absence. Nikolay Gryazin and M-Sport Ford World Rally Team’s Jari Huttunen are also well placed in the provisional standings, while Teemu Suninen has been fast but out of luck for Hyundai Motorsport N this season. Leading Spanish drivers include Alejandro Cachón, Nil Solans and his younger brother Jan, plus Pepe López. Armin Kremer will aim to increase his grip on the WRC2 Masters’ crown. Versatile Frenchman Stéphane Sarrazin, who has raced at Le Mans and in Formula One, starts his first WRC event since 2020 with RallyRACC Catalunya – Rally de España the scene of his career-best fourth place in 2004 and his first stage win that same year. After winning FIA WRC3 on EKO Acropolis Rally Greece, Diego Dominguez returns to the category and will face competition from title contenders and fellow Ford Fiesta Rally3 drivers Jan Černý and Lauri Joona.

 

MEDIA ACCREDITATION

 

Media accreditation must be collected in person by accredited pass holders from the Accreditation Desk, PortAventura World – Convention Centre, Av. Alcalde Pere Molas Km 2 – 43480 Vilaseca – Salou, Spain.

 

The following opening hours apply:

Tuesday October 18: 14:00-20:00 hrs

Wednesday October 19: 08:00-20:00 hrs

Thursday October 20: 08:00-20:00 hrs

Friday October 21: 08:00-14:00 hrs

 

The Media Centre is located at PortAventura World – Convention Centre, Av. Alcalde Pere Molas Km 2 – 43480 Vilaseca – Salou, Spain.

 

The following opening hours apply:

Tuesday October 18: 14:00-20:00 hrs

Wednesday October 19: 08:00-20:00 hrs

Thursday October 20: 08:00-20:00 hrs

Friday October 21: 07:00-22:00 hrs

Saturday October 22: 07:00-22:00 hrs

Sunday October 23: 05:30-20:00 hrs

 

2022 RALLYRACC CATALUNYA – RALLY DE ESPAÑA TIMETABLE AND MEDIA OPPORTUNITIES

 

Thursday October 20  
Shakedown for P1 and invited drivers, Coll de la Teixeta, 4.31kms 09:01-10:45 hrs
Shakedown for all priority drivers, Coll de la Teixeta, 4.31kms  10:45-12:45 hrs
Shakedown for non-priority drivers, Coll de la Teixeta, 4.31kms 12:45-14:30 hrs
Meet the Crews, Service Park, Salou 12:00 hrs
Pre-event FIA press conference, Media Centre, Salou 13:30 hrs
Autograph session, Passeig Jaume I, Salou 18:00-18:30 hrs
Photo with all P1 drivers, co-drivers and local officials, Passeig Jaume I 18:40 hrs
Ceremonial Start, Podium Area, Passeig Jaume I, Salou 19:00 hrs
   
Friday October 21  
Start of Section 1, Service Park, PortAventura World, Salou 07:30 hrs
Meet the Crews, Service Park, PortAventura World, Salou Flexi-Service B
   
Saturday October 22  
Start of Section 3, Service Park, PortAventura World, Salou 07:15 hrs
Meet the Crews, Service Park, PortAventura World, Salou Flexi-Service D
   
Sunday October 23  
Start of Section 6, Service Park, PortAventura World, Salou 06:00 hrs
Podium Ceremony, Podium Area, Passeig Jaume I, Salou 15:00 hrs
Post-event FIA press conference, Media Centre* 16:00 hrs

 

*Press Conferences will be available to accredited media attending onsite and no longer streamed via Zoom. However, a written transcript will be available afterwards.

 

MEDIA ZONES

 

All priority drivers are required to be available for media interviews at the following times:

TC4A, TC8A, TC11A, TC14A, TC15A, TC17A, TC19A

 

FIA PRESS CONFERENCE ATTENDANCE

 

Thursday October 20

 

13:30 – FIA WRC CHAMPIONSHIP

Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT – Sébastien Ogier, Toyota GR Yaris Rally1 Hybrid

Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT – Dani Sordo (ESP), Hyundai i20 N Rally1 Hybrid

M-Sport Ford WRT – Craig Breen (IRL) and Paul Nagle (IRL) Ford Puma Rally1 Hybrid

 

13:40 – FIA WRC2 CHAMPIONSHIP

PH Sport – Yohan Rossel (FRA), Citroën C3 Rally2

Nil Solans (ESP), Hyundai i20 N Rally2

Pepe Lopez (ESP), Hyundai i20 N Rally2

Stéphane Sarrazin (FRA), Volkswagen Polo GTI

 

13:50 – FIA WRC3 CHAMPIONSHIP AND NON-PRIORITY

WRC 3 – Lauri Joona (FIN), Ford Fiesta Rally3

WRC3 – Diego Dominguez (PRY), Ford Fiesta Rally3

Non-priority – Victor Cartier (FRA), Toyota Yaris Rally2 Kit

 

Sunday October 23 (from 16:00)

 

Top three drivers in the overall classification

Representative of the winning manufacturer

Winning FIA WRC2 Championship drivers (Open, Junior and Masters Cup)

Winning FIA WRC3 Championship drivers

 

2022 RALLYRACC CATALUNYA – RALLY DE ESPAÑA MANUFACTURER ENTRIES

 

Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Kalle Rovanperä (FIN) / Jonne Halttunen (FIN) – #69
  Elfyn Evans (GBR) / Scott Martin (GBR) – #33
  Sébastien Ogier (FRA) / Benjamin Veillas (FRA) – #1
   
Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT Ott Tänak (EST) / Martin Järveoja (EST) – #8
  Thierry Neuville (BEL) / Martijn Wydaeghe (BEL) – #11
  Dani Sordo (ESP) / Cándido Carrera – #6
   
M-Sport Ford WRT Craig Breen (IRL) / Paul Nagle (IRL) – #42
  Gus Greensmith (GBR) / Jonas Andersson (SWE) – #44
  Adrien Fourmaux (FRA) / Alexandre Coria (FRA) – #16

 

2022 FIA WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP CLASSIFICATIONS

 

The provisional classification following round 11 of the 2022 FIA World Rally Championship season is available at this link: https://www.fia.com/events/world-rally-championship/season-2022/standings

 

2021 RALLYRACC CATALUNYA – RALLY DE ESPAÑA RESULTS

 

1 Thierry Neuville/Martijn Wydaeghe Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC 2h34m11.8s
2 Elfyn Evans/Scott Martin Toyota Yaris WRC +24.1s
3 Dani Sordo/Cándido Carrera Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC +35.3s

 

RECENT WINNERS (WRC EVENTS ONLY)

 

2021 Thierry Neuville/Martijn Wydaeghe Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC
2019 Thierry Neuville/Nicolas Gilsoul Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC
2018 Sébastien Loeb/Daniel Elena Citroën C3 WRC
2017 Kris Meeke/Paul Nagle Citroën C3 WRC
2016 Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia Volkswagen Polo R WRC

*Event did not run in 2020

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