WRC geared up for 2019 launch

The 2019 FIA World Rally Championship roars into life this weekend as the big names gather in Birmingham for the season’s Super Saturday (12 January) launch.

Huge crowds are expected at Autosport International show to meet all the WRC’s full-time drivers, co-drivers and team bosses during a packed day of activities.

The cars have not been left out either. Newly-liveried challengers from Citroën, Hyundai, M-Sport Ford and Toyota line up side-by-side for the first time, 12 days before the prestigious Rallye Monte-Carlo (24 - 27 January) ushers in the year’s opening action.

Among those attending are six-time world champions Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia, making their first public appearances in Citroën Total World Rally Team colours alongside fellow new signings Esapekka Lappi and Janne Ferm.

Britain’s Kris Meeke and new co-driver Seb Marshall appear together for the first time since joining Toyota Gazoo Racing. They are joined by team-mates Ott Tänak and Jari-Matti Latvala and co-drivers Martin Järveoja and Miikka Anttila.

Hyundai Shell Mobis is represented by Thierry Neuville, Andreas Mikkelsen and Dani Sordo while Teemu Suninen and Elfyn Evans, joined by new co-driver Scott Martin, are there from M-Sport Ford. Team bosses from all four squads are also present.

The day will start with a drivers’ parade from the central Autosport stage to the WRC stand. All four teams will unveil their 2019 cars there before each driver reveals his competition number - a new feature allowing all except the world champion to select their individual permanent car number for the year.

Drivers, co-drivers and team principals will return to the main stage for interviews before afternoon appearances by support category drivers from WRC 2 and Junior WRC, including Gus Greensmith, Rhys Yates and Tom Williams.

The schedule of main events is:

09.30Drivers' paradeAutosport stage (Hall 1) to WRC stand (Hall 3)
10.15WRC launch - unveil of 2019 carsWRC stand
10.50Wolf partnership announcementWRC stand
11.00Autograph signing - Toyota Gazoo and Citroën TotalWRC stand
11.00Meet Hyundai Shell Mobis World Rally TeamAutosport stage
11.30Meet M-Sport Ford World Rally TeamAutosport stage
12.00Meet Citroën Total World Rally TeamAutosport stage
12.30Meet Toyota Gazoo Racing World Rally TeamAutosport stage
13.15Autograph signing - M-Sport Ford and HyundaiWRC stand
14.00FIA WRC 2 Championship / R5Autosport stage
14.30FIA Junior WRCAutosport stage
14.30Autograph signing - Toyota Gazoo and Citroën TotalWRC stand
14.45WRC Promoter and FIAAutosport stage
15.30Autograph signing - Hyundai and M-Sport FordWRC stand

The show at Birmingham NEC opens at 09.00 and tickets can be bought here or purchased on the door.

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