Fans from around the world catch the first opportunity to see their favourite WRC drivers and teams for 2019, all gathered under one roof at the ongoing Autosport International Show in Birmingham, United Kingdom.
The FIA World Rally Championship's 'Super Saturday' witnessed an immense footfall at the ongoing Autosport International Show as fans from around the world made a beeline for their favourite manufacturer teams and drivers. They also got the first opportunity to see the new cars and liveries to be used by Citroën, Hyundai, M-Sport Ford and Toyota Gazoo Racing in the upcoming 2019 season as the quartet took centre stage. Here's a look at the new liveries of the above-mentioned teams:
Defending champions M-Sport Ford are looking forward to a really exciting season despite the departure of Sebastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia, the duo who won the 2018 WRC title with the team. Well, the Fiesta to be used by the team this season has also had to say goodbye to the Redbull livery in exchange for an overall 'nitrous blue' theme which first saw its appearance in 2016. This year, the Fiesta will be helmed by drivers Teemu Suninen, Elfyn Evans and Pontus Tidemand with the help of their respective co-drivers.
Hyundai has decided to go with a very similar livery for 2019 as their previous season's car, with more prominent use of orange this time. However, the biggest change for the team will be the arrival of Sebastien Loeb who ended his long-time association with WRC companion Citroen. While Loeb brings tons of experience with him, the 2019 season will be a particularly challenging one for him as he has been struggling to find enough time to get accustomed to his new ride, the i20. Hyundai will head into the 2019 season with a four-car lineup.
Defending WRC manufacturers' champion Toyota have also decided to keep the recipe unchanged and are therefore heading into the 2019 season with a similar looking Yaris. While Toyota has retained its 2018 drivers Jari-Matti Latvala and Ott Tanak for this season, Esapekka Lappi has been replaced by Citroen's Kris Meeke, although, with a new co-driver Sebastian Marshall.
There's no doubt that Citroen will be at a major disadvantage this season as their two-car lineup has already washed away their hope of a title fight. The loss of Abu Dhabi as their key sponsor has put the team under significant financial distress. However, they do have an ace up their sleeve, that is, the winning experience of Sebastian Ogier and Julien Ingrassia, who have left Ford in order to race with Citroen this season.
The 2019 WRC season is just 11 days away before the prestigious Rallye Monte-Carlo (24-27 January) ushers in the season-opening action.