Former F1 racer Nelson Piquet Jnr. will race an RX Lites car at Lydden during this weekend’s World rallycross Championship event. The event will be Piquet’s first in a Lites car and his first event in Britain for several years. “I’ve lived in the UK and won a championship there [British Formula Three Championship] but it’s been five years since my last race on British soil. This is a good opportunity to learn more about rallycross and get to know the European drivers. It will be my first RX Lites race and it will prepare me well for the X Games too,” he said.
The weekend brought action in all corners of the rallycross world. In France JB Dubourg made it clear that his opening round volley was no fluke by winning as the French Rallycross Championship moved from Essay to Lessay. The Super1600 graduate won the final in his Citroen C4, beating Christophe Jouet (DS3) and Fabien Pailler (Peugeot 208), the latter beginning his fight back after a troubled round one. There was a new winner in Super1600 where Cyril Raymond (Twingo) topped the order ahead of Laurent Chartrain (Citroen C2) and Fabien Grosset-Janin (dacia Sandero) who made the top three in only his second start in the class. Guy Moreton (MINI) took his second win in Division Three while Kevin Jacquinet (Peugeot 207) was best of the Division Four field. Making its first appearance of the year, the Twingo Cup series final was won by Evan Libner.
Scott Speed gave Andretti Autosport a debut victory as the GRC series began its 2014 season at Bushy Park in Barbados where it formed part of the Top Gear Live event. The final was halted when Ken Block rolled (see below) at the end of the first lap while trying to recapture the lead from Joni Wiman who had passed him in the last corner. Wiman led again in the restart but two joker laps and a post race penalty all served to drop him to fifth place in the final reckoning. Speed went ahead and won on the road ahead of Steve Arpin and Brian Deegan (both Fiesta).
The Hungarian and Austrian national championships shared the bill at Nyirad where points in the second round of the Rallycross Challenge were also available. Local star Zoltan Harsanyi (Lancer Evo) took the event win ahead of Attila Mozer (Skoda Fabia) and Jank Wiestz (Lancer) as Hungarian racers dominated the podium. Home drivers also locked out the top three in Super1600 with “Luigi” (Fabia) leading home Gabor Bankuti (Peugeot 206) and newcomer Gergely Marton (Fabia). Roman Castoral won the TouringCar category with his new Opel Corsa, beating the Volvos of Jos Sterkens and Filip Baelus.
At Lydden the builders put the finishing touches to the new race control building which, the circuit revealed, will be opened during this weekend’s World Championship event as the Arthur Debenham Tower in honour of the commentator who, for so many fans, is the voice of rallycross.
Ford flagged up the arrival of its official team in Britain’s World Championship round with a media campaign that included a rare video of the first ever rallycross event in Italy (see below).
Unusual angle of the week award goes to the new EKS RX outfit which is scheduled to debut its new Audi S1s in Norway next month and issued a press release that explained “My idea with EKS is that it should be fun – for us as a team and for all our partners. We are confident that good results will be a spin-off when friends and colleagues have a great time together. That’s why we are calm. 2014 is dedicated to preparations. Basically we are not late, we are just really early for the next season.” The team also issued an image of the chassis plate on its first car. We think they are going to bring some fresh colour and attitude to the paddock!
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