Spanish rally (Catalonia) 2015

CHRISTMAS COMES EARLY FOR MIKKELSEN!

Sébastien Ogier made a mistake with the finish in sight gifting victory to his Norwegian team-mate, Andreas Mikkelsen. Thanks to the fourth and fifth places of Mads Østberg and Kris Meeke the Citroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT remains in second position in the manufacturers’ title chase.

A bolt from the blue!

Andreas Mikkelsen, a member of what could be called the Volkswagen B team, looked like he had clinched a very good second place on Sunday afternoon and the Norwegian had every reason to feel satisfied after fending off Jari-Matti Latvala, the Finn in the works team. The topmost step of the podium seemed reserved, as has often been the case, for the team leader and benchmark, Sébastien Ogier. With a 50-second lead all the three-time world champion had to do was to finish the Power Stage. But fate had other ideas! With four kilometres to go to the chequered flag the French went off, hit the guardrail and tore off a wheel! And Mikkelsen inherited victory, his first in the WRC. It was a well-deserved reward after 12 top-3 finishes since 2013. He became the 75th driver to win a round of the world rally championship since its creation in 1973.

A good result

Even though Dany Sordo, who has always been very quick on his native roads in front of his home crowd, gave Hyundai third place, the Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team held on to second in the manufacturers’ championship in front of its Korean rival thanks to a better overall result with one rally left to run.  The French manufacturer had another reason to be satisfied as Quentin Gilbert won in WRC3 after wrapping up the Junior World Championship title in Corsica in the colours of Citroën Racing and Total.

Yves Matton (Citroën Racing Team Principal):

“This event was very important at this stage of the season. Both our drivers managed their race perfectly by keeping in mind how vital it was to score points for the manufacturers’ championship. The rally wasn‘t easy, because the pace was very high, but we have strengthened our hold on second place in the championship with both DS 3 WRCs finishing in the top five. We’ll now turn our attention to Wales Rally GB, with its very special surface, where we will aim to finish the job!”

Next round: Wales Rally GB (12 – 15 November)

Malaysian Grand Prix 2015

Redding Taps at Top Ten

As at Phillip Island, Scott Redding finished the Malaysian Grand Prix in eleventh position. In Moto2, Alex Marquez crashed before crossing the finish line.

The Races

The overseas tour, which has just taken the Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS Team from Japan to Malaysia via Australia, has not really been good to Michael Bartholemy’s riders.

In MotoGP, Scott Redding ended the three-week tour with an eleventh place. Not having made it to the Q2, the Brit was once again forced to start way back in the pack. And on a track that was as slippery as a snake, his mission really was impossible.

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“I tried to keep up with the riders in front of me, but the faster I rode, the more the front wheel skidded,” explained the Honda rider. The rear wheel was forcing me into the bends. It was hard to brake the bike as I entered the slower bends, and I ended up losing contact with the leaders. Given the circumstances, I am happy enough just to have finished the race and at least score a few points. This circuit has always been a complicated one for me.”

Tito Rabat returned to Spain to have his wrist treated, so Alex Marquez was the only rider representing the Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS Team in Malaysia. Riding brilliantly during the practice test sessions and after qualifying for the third row of the starting grid, the reigning Moto3 world champion fell right after the start of the race.

“It was much hotter than during the practice test sessions, and I didn’t have the same feeling with the bike,” explained the Spaniard. “The front and back wheels both kept on slipping and sliding… I insisted nonetheless because I wanted to finish in the top ten, and I ended up by crashing.”

The Championship

Having chalked up points in Malaysia, Scott Redding has consolidated his thirteenth place in the MotoGP championship standings.

In Moto2, Alex Marquez has slipped back to fourteenth position after chalking up his fourth Did Not Finish of the season. And although he’s been absent for the last three races, Tito Rabat is still in third place overall.

The Background

When a MotoGP rider takes the track, he never has to worry whether his tyres are warm enough to allow him to go beyond his limits. Whatever the outside temperature, the Grands Prix gums are always protected by electric blankets.

“We start heating the tyres at least two hours before we use them,”

says Chris, Scott Redding’s chief mechanic.

“That gives them time to reach the optimum temperature of 85 degrees before coming into contact with the asphalt. Rain tyres are less demanding, and only need a temperature of about sixty degrees.”

Today, most of the Grand Prix teams have forty electric blankets which are checked regularly to make sure they are working well. Connected to a special rack which displays the temperature, they stay on the wheels until they are installed on the bikes.

“We only take them off at the last moment to stop the gum from cooling,” adds Chris.

United States Grand Prix (Austin) 2015

HAMILTON CLINCHES THIRD F1 WORLD TITLE!*

The British driver won a thrilling action-packed grand prix to clinch his third F1 world title. Infiniti Red Bull Racing was poorly rewarded for its efforts with Ricciardo seeing the flag in tenth place.

 RICCIARDO daniel (aus) red bull renault rb11 action    during the 2015 Formula One World Championship, United States of America Grand Prix from october 22nd to 25nd 2015 in Austin, Texas, USA. Photo DPPI

Lewis comes out on top

Although beaten by his team-mate in the chase for pole position, Lewis Hamilton took the lead in the first corner with an aggressive move up the inside on a wet track. The race was then broken up into a series of sprints between the change to slicks, two virtual safety car periods plus two deployments of the safety car itself. The Mercedes got the better of the Red Bulls and Rosberg took the lead hoping to extend the battle for the title until Mexico. But Hamilton pounced on a mistake by the German and drove on to his tenth victory of the year and the 2015 F1 world title. It’s the first time in the history of the sport that a British driver has won the title two years running. Vettel in third place completed the top 3.

Daniel and Daniil fail to fulfill early promise

Daniel Ricciardo scored the final point by seeing the flag in 10th place, which was a meagre reward for the efforts of the Infiniti Red Bull Racing team in Austin. The RB 11s were very quick on the wet track and locked out the second row behind the Mercedes. They then battled for victory with the German cars for almost half the race with Ricciardo in the lead for a time and Kvyat close behind in third.  But as the track began to dry out the Red Bulls’ performance on slicks dropped off. The situation was not helped by Ricciardo’s car being damaged in a coming-together on lap 36. Shortly afterwards, Kvyat spun off into the barriers and retired.

Christian Horner (Team Principal, Infiniti Red Bull Racing):

“During the first half of the race the performance of our cars looked really encouraging. We were very competitive on the intermediate tyres, which allowed Ricciardo to take the lead and build on it, before we made a double stop, bringing both cars in together. The mechanics worked very well to turn them round with Kvyat in third place. So we looked in good shape at that point, but unfortunately, our pace on the dry tyres was simply not as competitive as the Mercedes and the Ferrari. We struggled to get the tyres up to temperature at the re-starts, especially after the second Safety Car period. After that, our race unravelled with Daniil’s accident. Daniel was involved in a collision with Sainz and that meant he needed a further pit stop, after which he fought back to grab the last available point on the last lap. A disappointing finish after a strong start. Finally, congratulations to Lewis Hamilton on defending his World Championship title. He’s a deserving champion.”

*Subject to the publication of the official results by the FIA.

Next round: Grand Prix of Mexico (1st November)

Grand Prix of Philip Island (Australia), 2015

Redding scores points again

If he failed this time to make it to the top ten, Scott Redding still took a well-earned eleventh place. In Moto2, Alex Marquez finished ninth while Tito Rabat had to put an end to this season’s racing.

The Races

After managing to get to Q2 direct without having to go through the Q1, Scott Redding was ready to do battle on one of his favourite tracks… but the Brit got off to a bad start. “I got stuck behind Bautista’s Aprilia, and with his soft tyres I had a job overtaking him,” said Redding. “After that I had to get rid of Petrucci and Dovizioso on their Ducati’s which were really fast in the straights. Then I started to catch up with Smith on his Yamaha. Unfortunately, after using my front tyre too much in the early laps, I couldn’t finish at the same pace.” In Moto2, Alex Marquez made a great comeback from eighteenth to ninth place after overcoming a pile of problems during the practice test sessions. Tito Rabat had to put a premature end to his season after a further fall in the trials. Injuring the arm he broke in training before leaving for Japan, the reigning Moto2 world champion was forced to throw in the towel and go for new medical tests.

SCOTT REDDING GBR  ESTRELLA GALICIA 0,0 MARC VDS HONDA MotoGP  GP Australia (Circuit Phillip Island) 16-18/10.2015 PSP/ Lukasz Swiderek www.photoPSP.com

The Championship

Scoring points for the thirteenth time this season, Scott Redding has kept his thirteenth place in the MotoGP standings. In Moto2, Tito Rabat has lost his second place to Alex Rins while Alex Marquez also remains in thirteenth position.

The Background

Next year, the Marc VDS Team will line up two riders for the Moto2 championship and two riders for the MotoGP season. In the intermediate Grand Prix class, Alex Marquez will team up with Italy’s Franco Morbidelli, both of whom are bright hopes who will be riding all out to regularly make the podium. In the premier-class category, Tito Rabat will take over from Scott Redding. The 2014 Moto2 World Champion will do his MotoGP apprenticeship riding a Honda RC213V alongside Australian Jack Miller, the latest recruit of the crew headed by Michael Bartholemy. “It’s important to build up the team,” explained the Belgian manager.

“As we saw this season with Scott, when you only have one rider and he’s having problems, you search for the right settings without being able to make comparisons. Working with two riders will allow us to make headway faster. Jack’s arrival is great news. We wanted to enter him for the Moto2 championship this season but he preferred to go direct from Moto3 to MotoGP. So we’re going to get him with one year’s experience in the premier-class category. It looks like being an exciting challenge, especially since we’ll have a new bike, new tyres and new electronics. The 2016 championship is going be open to all comers.”

Grand Prix of Losail (Qatar), 2015

King Kawasaki

After winning the Superbike and Supersport riders’ titles with Jonathan Rea and Kenan Sofuoglu, in Qatar Kawasaki took the World Champion constructors’ crowns in both categories as well.

The Races

Although he was a little disappointed not to have finished his first season on the Kawasaki ZX-10RR with another win, Jonathan Rea can be proud of his track record. In Doha, the Brit was beaten by Jordi Torres by just 0.7 seconds in the first race, before experiencing his first DNF of the season in the second, just when he was once again about to win. Tom Sykes made it twice to the podium despite a traction control problem in the first race. In Supersport, Kenan Sofuoglu rode for eight laps in the lead before giving up his first place to Kyle Smith. Marco Faccani crossed the finish line in ninth position.

2015 WSBK, Round 12, Magny Cours, France
The Championship

After winning the Championship title at the Spanish Grand Prix in Jerez, Jonathan Rea finished the Superbike world championship with a lead of one hundred and thirty points over Chaz Davies. Tom Sykes finished third, seventeen points behind the Ducati rider. In Supersport, Kenan Sofuoglu, who took the Championship title at Magny-Cours, ended the season with two hundred and thirty-three points, thirty-seven more than the runner-up, American Patrick Jacobsen. Marc Faccani reached his goal by making it to the top ten. Ninth in the Championship, the young Italian managed to score sixty-six points this year.

The Background

The 2015 season ended under the spotlights of the Losail circuit, but also with the triumph of the Kawasaki brand. The Championship title-holder since September, Jonathan Rea logically ended his first championship with a twin-win and making it to the podium alongside Tom Sykes. Although the latter failed to take second place from Chaz Davies in the overall standings, together the two Brits still allowed Kawasaki to win their first “manufacturers’ world championship title in the Superbike category. The Kawasaki riders won eighteen out of the twenty-six races of the year, fourteen by Rea and four by Sykes. They were equally successful in the Supersport class, largely thanks to Kenan Sofuoglu, who won five times this season and who also took the Championship title even before arriving in Qatar.

Fuji 6 hours 2015

SIGNATECH ALPINE CLINCHES FIRST PODIUM FINISH!

Porsche scored an impressive double in LM P1 and the Signatech Alpine team clinched a great second place in LM P2. cr

Top 3!

After finishing just outside the top 3 on several occasions, the Signatech Alpine team, the reigning double ELMS champion, scored its first podium finish of the season in the FIA World Endurance Championship in Japan.  Nelson Panciatici, Paul-Loup Chatin and Vincent Capillaire finished second in the no. 36 Alpine A450b. Team principal Philippe Sinault announced a new car for 2016. In an action-packed race victory went to the no. 26 G-Drive Racing Ligier JS P2-Nissan driven by Sam Bird, Julien Canal and Roman Rusinov taking the lead in both championships after forcing its rival the no. 47 KCMG Oreca-Nissan of Bradley-Tandy-Howson to make a pit stop following a coming-together between the two cars.

Porsche dictates its law

Porsche, which has dominated the WEC since the Le Mans 24 Hours, clinched another double in LM P1 and also imposed team orders to maximize its chances in the drivers’ title chase.

Timo Bernhard, Mark Webber and Brendon Hartley won the race in the no. 17 919 Hybrid, their third success on the bounce, with a little help from their friends in no. 18 (Neel Jani, Romain Dumas and Marc Lieb). This victory has put no. 17 in the lead in the drivers’ ratings by a single point from the trio in the no. 7 Audi (Marcel Fässler, André Lotterer, Benoït Tréluyer), who finished third at Fuji also thanks to team orders.

Well done Patrick!

The Ferrari 458 Italia was back in the winner’s circle in Japan with Gianmaria Bruni and Toni Vilander winning in LM GTE Pro. American actor Patrick Dempsey scored his first victory in the world championship in GTE Am with Patrick Long and Marco Seefried in the no. 77 Proton Porsche Team’s 911 RSR.

Nelson Panciatici (Signatech Alpine):

“Our second place consolidated the efforts and the work invested by the whole team. Obviously, I’m happy from a personal point of view, but above all for the team who gave us the right car to do battle. We tackled this race full of confidence as proved by the fact that we set the fastest time in the first practice session. Thus, we knew we were competitive and that we could aim for a top-three finish.  The team came up with a good strategy as it wasn’t easy in the tricky weather conditions and my team-mates did an excellent job. We’ve got two races left to try and score more podium finishes, and why not a victory?! It’s a tough challenge, but we’re all determined to succeed.”

Next event: Shanghai 6 Hours (1st November)

Grand prix of Russia (Sochi) 2015

HAMILTON ON COURSE FOR THE TITLE

After his victory at Sochi and Rosberg’s retirement the British driver is on course for his third world title, while Mercedes has already clinched the constructors’ world championship.*

RICCIARDO Daniel (aus) red bull renault rb11 action during the 2015 Formula One World Championship, Russia Grand Prix from October 8th to 11th 2015 in Sotchi, Russia. Photo Francois Flamand / DPPI

A big step

Although Nico Rosberg set pole position in front of Hamilton, the German never had the opportunity to display his skills as he suffered accelerator pedal problems leading to his retirement on lap 8. Hamilton’s ninth victory of the season has given him a 73-point lead over his team-mate with 100 points still up for grabs. The British driver now looks set to wrap up his third world title, while Mercedes has clinched  the first leg of another double as the team has already won the constructors’ trophy.

Vettel in the runner-up spot?

Sebastian Vettel scored his 11th top-3 finish of the season overtaking Nico Rosberg in the overall classification. The German can spoil Mercedes’ perfect season if he manages to stay in front of his fellow-countryman. This further underlines his superb debut at Ferrari, the only team able to take the fight to the Silver Arrows this year.

Perez on the podium

Sergio Perez finished in the top 3 for the fifth time in his career thanks to a well-timed pit stop during the second race neutralisation and a long stint on soft tyres. It’s Force India’s second podium finish since its creation.

Daniil does the job

Daniil Kvyat’s great fifth place on home turf even though he started from eleventh on the grid saved Infiniti Red Bull Racing’s bacon, while his team-mate Daniel Ricciardo retired (suspension). Romain Grosjean (Lotus F1 Team) quit the dance on lap 12 after an accident.

Christian Horner (Team Principal, Infiniti Red Bull Racing):

“A real shame for Daniel. With the early safety car we took a risk to go for an early stop switching him to the harder tyre and thereafter he made it work fantastically well, keeping the faster cars of Bottas and Raïkkönen behind him until losing time with a backmarker, which allowed Bottas to get past him. Shortly after that, the car developed what we suspect is a suspension issue, which caused his retirement. When the safety car came out, we elected to cover our options and with Dany we went for a more conventional strategy. Finishing P5, having started 11th, is a respectable result in his home race.”

Next round: United States of America Grand Prix (Austin – 25 October)

*Subject to the publication of the official results by the FIA.

Grand Prix of Japan (Motegi) 2015

Redding makes the Top Ten

Scott Redding achieved the goal he set himself by taking tenth place in the Grand Prix of Japan. With Tito Rabat having withdrawn, at Motegi Alex Marquez flew the flag of the Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS alone in the Moto2 category. The Spaniard finished eighteenth.

 SCOTT REDDING GBR  ESTRELLA GALICIA 0,0 MARC VDS HONDA MotoGP  GP Japan (Circuit Motegi) 9-11/10.2015 PSP/ Lukasz Swiderek www.photoPSP.com

The Races

After the disappointment of the Grand Prix of Aragon, Scott Redding got off to a fairly good start on the tour of three overseas races that will take the riders from Japan to Malaysia via Australia. At Motegi, the Brit started by getting a place in the Q2 by managing to finish second in the Q1. In the race, the Honda rider made the most of a daring tyre choice to take the chequered flag in tenth position. Although rain had rinsed the track since morning and everyone had opted for a soft compound rain tyre on the rear wheel, Scott took the start with a hard-compound tyre.

“I wasn’t comfortable in the early laps because my tyres were struggling to heat up,” he explained. “But when the track began to dry I got the benefit of my tyre choice. I was able to move up the pack and overtake several riders and make it to the top ten, which was my goal in Japan.”

In Moto2, Alex Marquez also hoped for a good result. For many laps in the top ten, the unfortunate Spaniard left the track after a violent highside.

“From then on, I had no feeling with the bike and couldn’t seem to make the pace,”

said the Kalex rider who crossed the finish line in eighteenth place.

The Championship

After chalking up six more points in Japan, Scott Redding has consolidated his thirteenth place overall. The Honda rider is now only a length away from Maverick Viñales.

In Moto2, Tito Rabat remains in second place despite having to withdraw in Japan. Alex Rins only finishing in eleventh place, the rider of the Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS keeps his seventeen-point lead over his compatriot. Alex Marquez on the other hand has dropped two places, and is now thirteenth, level on points with Dominique Aegerter.

The Background

This time it’s certain: Tito Rabat will not keep his Moto2 world champion title. The Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS rider lost it in Japan to Johann Zarco, even before the start of the race, having to withdraw after the first free practice session. After fracturing a radial bone when he fell during a workout a few days earlier on the Almeria circuit, Tito had to have surgery for a plate to be screwed onto the bone before flying to Motegi.

“I tried to ride but it was too dangerous,” he explained. “I lacked strength, and on this circuit where the braking is heavy, I would have taken too many risks. We’ll see next week if I’m better for Phillip Island. I’d still like to take second place in the championship from Rins.”

After breaking a collarbone in July, this is the second time this year that Rabat has been seriously injured while training. For Michael Bartholemy, the team needs to learn something.

“I understand that a rider needs to practice,”said the boss of the Belgian team. “But it has to be under optimal safety conditions. Tito can’t ride and take care of the mechanics all alone as he likes to do. We’ll have to keep a closer watch over him in the future.”

Superbike World Championship France (Magny-Cours) 2015

Sofuoglu Makes History

By finishing second in the Supersport race at Magny-Cours, Kenan Sofuoglu secured a fourth Supersport World Championship title – an unprecedented achievement in the motorsport.

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The Races

World Champion since the race in Jerez, Jonathan Rea celebrated his crown as kings rightly do by winning both of the events organized in France on the Magny-Cours circuit. For his first win of the day, the Brit fought it out with his teammate on a drying track.

“The conditions were difficult,” said the Kawasaki rider. “The track was very tricky in the first laps, but then I was able to gradually increase the pace and gain the lead over Tom.”

Rea won the second race at the expense of Chaz Davies, who lead for four laps before giving way to the new world champion.

Finishing second in the first race, Tom Sykes also came in third in the second race, making it his thirteenth podium of the season.

“I started the second race with the practice settings, but the grip of the track was very different and I used my tires very quickly. Even if I made it to the podium, I’m a little disappointed not to have taken the lead over Davies.”

In the Supersport category, Kenan Sofuoglu had a five-second lead over the pack when the race was stopped after a rider crashed. When the race restarted it was shortened by eleven laps, and the Kawasaki rider wisely ensured he finished at least second, enough to earn him the Championship title, with one event still to go. Marco Faccani finished tenth.

The Championship

Having won the title after the Spanish event in Jerez, Jonathan Rea serenely added 50 points to his tally at Magny-Cours. With one event still to go, on October 18 on Qatar, the Kawasaki rider now has 528 points, 145 more than Chaz Davies.

Third overall with 367 points, Tom Sykes still two races ahead of him to recover his title as vice-World Champion. To do so, he’ll have to chalk up 16 points more than Chaz Davies on the Losail circuit.

In the Supersport category at Magny-Cours, Kenan Sofuoglu won his fourth world championship title, while Marco Faccani consolidated his tenth place overall.

The Background

Quadruple world champion at 31, Kenan Sofuoglu has just achieved what no rider has ever done since the Supersport World Championship was inaugurated. In 103 races, the Turkish driver has made it to the podium 62 times, 32 of them to the top step. Winning the title in 2007, 2010 and 2012, Sofuoglu this year has added a fourth star to his world champion’s jersey.

“For various reasons, it’s certainly the most difficult title I’ve ever won,”

he commented. The Kawasaki rider earned the new crown after a season in which he had to fight off some fabulous opponents, but also face the pain of the loss of his son Hamza, who died a few weeks after being born with a brain haemorrhage. Just when he was heading the Championship with a 45-point lead after chalking up four wins in a row, Kenan saw his lead over Jules Cluzel melt away to 13 points on the eve of the race in Jerez.

When the French rider was injured during the practice test sessions for the Spanish event ended the suspense, the overall leader no longer had to win to carry off his fourth title.

“Jules deserved to win the title this season as much as I did,” said Kenan with characteristic elegance. “Maybe we were a bit lucky in the last races, but we’ve still had our share of pain.”

France Rally – Corsisa Tour 2015

Latvala racks up win no.3 in 2015

The Finn wrapped up his third victory in 2015. Kris Meeke and Mads Østberg both scored points putting Citroën Total back in second place in the manufacturers’ title chase.  

03 Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT, Meeke Kris, Nagle Paul, DS3 WRC, Action during the 2015 WRC World Rally Car Championship, Tour de Corse rally from october 1 to 4th at Ajaccio, France. Franois Baudin / DPPI

Another Polo victory

Sébastien Ogier, who was recently crowned world rally championship for the third time in succession, was never in a position to shine this weekend. A puncture early on in the third stage, but above all a gearbox change meant that he had to continue in Rally 2 on Saturday. His team-mate, Jari-Matti Latvala, didn’t need any further encouragement to take up the banner in the Volkswagen colours. The Finn scored his 15th world championship victory, his second on tarmac after Alsace last year, consolidating his second place in the championship.

Evans puts on a great show

Elfyn Evans put on a stunning performance on Friday on the soaking wet tarmac and only Jari-Matti Latvala was able to prevent him from scoring his first victory in the world championship. The Welshman fought off the comeback of Andreas Mikkelsen in the Power Stage and finished the Tour of Corsica in second place, his second top-3 finish in 2015, and his best result in the WRC to date.

Meeke and Østberg in the points

While Kris Meeke and Mads Østberg were never in a position to battle for a place in the first 3 in Corsica, their top-6 finishes were very important for the Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team, which has reclaimed second place in the manufacturers’ classification.

Quentin Gilbert world champion!

Quentin Gilbert, backed by his co-driver Renaud Jamoul, gradually upped the pace during the rally and went on to score his fourth victory of the season in the 2015 Junior WRC. Thanks to this victory the Franco-Belgian crew in their Citroën DS3 RT3 clinched the world title!

Yves Matton (Team Principal – Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team):

“One of our objectives for this season is to finish second in the Manufacturers’ World Championship. Finishing with both DS 3 WRCs in the top six of the Tour de Corse means we are now back in second position in the standings. It is therefore a satisfactory result at the end of what proved to be a rather unusual event. We have two rallies left to consolidate our position. In Spain and in Wales, we have to be just as focussed and committed to achieve our goal.”

Next round: Spain Rally (22 – 25 October)