WRC SEASON CLOSES WITH GLAMOROUS GALA & AWARDS CEREMONY | Federation Internationale de l'Automobile
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At the conclusion of Rally Australia, the final round of the FIA World Rally Championship, the stars of the show were honoured at a glamorous gala in Sydney, the capital city of New South Wales, marking the end to a dramatic and exciting WRC season.

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Drivers, co-drivers, team and championship officials, as well as show business celebrities and dignitaries from Sydney, all gathered last night for the WRC Gala Awards at the Museum of Contemporary Art in the shadow of the famous Harbour Bridge. 

WRC fans from around the globe had the opportunity to vote on the Championship website - wrc.com - for several major awards presented during the evening. Ott Tänak carried off the top award of ‘Driver of the Year’; the popular Estonian finished runner-up in Poland and Britain in a Ford Fiesta RS WRC, coming within an inch of his maiden victory in the Polish event before a puncture in the penultimate stage cruelly denied him.

Tänak’s emotional reaction at the end of the rally, after which FIA World Rally Champion Sébastien Ogier carried him on his shoulders as fellow drivers applauded, also earned him the ‘Magic Moment’ award.

Nicolas Gilsoul, co-driver to Hyundai’s Thierry Neuville, was voted ‘Co-driver of the Year’. The Belgian clinched the runners-up spot in the championship at the final round in Coffs Harbour just 24 hours previously.  

New Zealander Hayden Paddon won the ‘Timing Award’ after powering his Hyundai i20 WRC down the famous El Condor mountain to outgun Ogier in Rally Argentina’s Power Stage and secure his maiden win.

The ‘Aerial Award’ for the most spectacular jump of the season went to Volkswagen star and Rally Australia winner Andreas Mikkelsen for his massive launch over the iconic Fafe jump at Rally de Portugal, and Italian Lorenzo Bertelli’s sparkling mirror-finish Fiesta RS WRC wowed the voters to win the ‘Livery of the Year’. 

Volkswagen Motorsport Director Sven Smeets also accepted a special trophy on behalf of the team after completing a fourth consecutive clean sweep of the drivers’, co-drivers’ and manufacturers’ world titles*. Rally Australia marked the team’s final event after the announcement earlier this month that the German manufacturer was ending its WRC programme.

The full list of award winners:

WRC Driver of the Year – Ott Tänak
WRC Co-driver of the Year – Nicolas Gilsoul
Aerial Award – Andreas Mikkelsen, Fafe jump, Rally de Portugal 
Livery of the Year – Lorenzo Bertelli
Magic Moment – Ott Tänak 
Timing Award – Hayden Paddon 
Special Award – Volkswagen Motorsport
Photograph of the Year – Gergely Makai, Rally Racing, Hungary
Best News Story of the Year – Jérôme Bourret, L’Equipe, France

FIA World Rally Champions Sébastien Ogier, Julien Ingrassia and Volkswagen Motorsport now head back to Europe where they will be crowned for the fourth consecutive season at the prestigious FIA Prize Giving in Vienna, Austria, on 2 December.

Rallye Monte-Carlo on 19-22 January 2017 then marks the start of an exciting new era in the FIA World Rally Championship, where revised Technical Regulations will deliver more powerful, dynamic and aggressive looking cars at the premier level of the sport. In addition, former World Champions Toyota and Citroën return to the series, joining Hyundai and M-Sport for what is set to be another sensational chapter in the history of the FIA World Rally Championship.

* Subject to confirmation of the results by the FIA