Munnich set for World championship with Audi

by Tim Whittington |

With its new Audi A3 Supercar now testing, Munnich Motorsport has begun preparing for its move into the 2014 FIA World Rallycross Championship.

This year the German team has dovetailed a three-car campaign in the WTCC with selected events in the FIA European Rallycross Championship where it fielded two Skoda Fabias in the Super1600 category, but in 2014 its emphasis is shifting towards the new FIA World Rallycross Championship.

The Audi A3 will be unique in rallycross and the challenge of developing the new car from scratch is being taken seriously by the team. Designed and built entirely in-house at Munnich Motorsport’s Friedersdorf base, the Audi A3 Supercar has recently begun testing with shakedown and installation runs being carried out on an airfield before the team shifts its focus to rallycross tracks and programme of winter testing.

“We have started work on the second car and that is the one I will race next year,” said team boss and driver Rene Munnich. “The first car is for testing and development. The car I race next year will look different because the bodywork on the first car is not quite right for rallycross, it’s okay for testing but we will change it for the racecar. We plan to do as much testing as possible and use that to make improvements for the racecar.” The Audi A3 has been built with a longitudinal engine installation, the two-litre Julian Godfrey Engineering-prepared motor driving through a Sellholm gearbox and ‘German diffs’. Munnich Motorsport will run the Audi A3 as a single entry in 2014 and will also continue to field a single Skoda Fabia for Mandie August in the FIA European Rallycross Championship for Super1600 cars. Experienced in running multi-car entries, Munnich says his team could expand to run more rallycross cars in future. “With a new car and so much to learn it is too risky to try and do more than one car in 2014, but if everything works we could do two or three cars in 2015 and bring more drivers into the team.” The German team won the FIA GT1 World Championship with a brace of  Mercedes SLS in 2012 and ran a trio of Seat Leons in the 2013 WTCC, winning the Hungarian round of the series with World champion driver Rob Huff.

Munnich has raced both Super1600 and Supercars in rallycross, using Skoda Fabias in both categories after moving on from the VW Polo in which he made his debut in Hungary in 2007. Over the last couple of years he has concentrated his European championship efforts on Super1600, but dovetailed that with a Supercar season of national events in 2011when he won the German championship. His only full Supercar season in the European championship was 2010, when he placed 15th at the end of the year.

Although Audi has an illustrious history in the European Rallycross Championship, the marque has not been regularly represented at the highest level since 2003, at the end of which Lars Larsson replaced his A4 Supercar with the Skoda Fabia in which he went on to win two championships. Larsson’s win in Poland in 2003 was the last Audi victory in the FIA series. For championship success, Audi must look even further back into the record books, Olle Arnesson’s 1986 title at the wheel of his 20v Audi Quattro ‘A2’, the last time that the German marque was top of the tree.





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