Latvia lines up 2016 World Rallycross event

by Tim Whittington |

The launch for a 2016 FIA World Rallycross Championship event in Latvia topped the news this week. To be run on a bespoke World RX track created within the historic and atmospheric Bikerniecki race circuit in Riga, the new event was launched with government support and in the eye of key media from across the Baltic states. Latvian superstar Reinis Nitiss and World Rallycross Champion Petter Solberg were at the launch to drive selected guests on a short section of the course. Construction on the new track will start soon, a new gravel section being created with along with a signature Joker Lap section featuring parallel jumps in the standard and alternative sections that come at the end of the lap. The event is expected to be run in the second half of the 2016 season.


A year after he made a winning Supercar debut, Julien Febreau returned to the French Rallycross Championship at Pont de Ruan and won again, this time at the wheel of an Albatec Racing Peugeot 208. Febreau was flanked on the podium by title rivals Christophe Wilt (Citroen C4) and Gaetan Serazin (208), Wilt stretching his lead in the series to seven points after six of the ten events. “Knapick” (Citroen DS3) and Fabien Chanoine (Renault Clio) were next up with Febreau’s team mate at Albatec Kristian Sohlberg completing the finishers with sixth place in his first rallycross event. Maximilian Eveno  (Citroen C2) gained his first Super1600 victory on a day when points leader Jimmy Terepereau retired with engine problems and Laurent Chartrain (C2) was also sidelined. Tom Daunat won the Twingo Cup final, Christophe Saunas (Toyota Corolla) returned to the top of Division Three and Steven Lefrancois (Peugeot 206) won in Division Four.


Albatec Racing confirmed that it will run former all-rounder Yvan Muller in the French round of the FIA World Rallycross Championship at Loheac. Muller tested an Albatec Peugeot 208 at Faleyras earlier this year and has his participation at Loheac has been approved by Citroen for who his currently drives in the World Touring Car Championship. “I’ve wanted to do rallycross for a long time, it’s been on my mind for four or five years, but I didn’t have the opportunity, the good opportunity, or the time to do it. I’m really looking forward to doing Loheac, firstly it’s very well known in France, and rallycross now is at a high level, so I think it’s just the right time to do it. So yes I’m very pleased and looking forward to it,” said Muller. Ablatec will also run Euro RX championship leader Jerome Grosset-Janin in the Loheac World RX event.

World RX Team Austria will include 19-year-old rally driver Chris Brugger in its lineup for the next two FIA World Rallycross Championship events. Brugger will replace team principal Max Pucher in the Canadian event at Trois Rivieres and then drive a third entry for the team in Norway. “Giving new talent a chance is part of what World RX Team Austria is about and Chris joining the team as a driver is the next step in our plan,” said Pucher. Burger will drive the Fiesta that Pucher used in national events in 2014 for his first two events but the team is also building a third 2015-spec racecar. “I’ve gained some insight about rallycross by being at recent events with the team and I can only thank them for giving me the chance to drive in such an exciting sport at international level,” said Brugger who had his first taste of rallycross last December when he drove in the RX Lites test day at Istanbul Park.


Meanwhile Tommy Rustad will replace the otherwise occupied Alx Danielsson at Munnich Motorsport for the Canadian round of the World championship and PG Andersson has been stood down at Marklund Motorsport in favour of Tanner Foust.

European Super1600 points leader Janis Baumanis continued his Supercar challenge in the Estonian Rallycross Championship by winning the third round of the series at Misso in a Reinsalu Sport Ford Fiesta. The Latvian now leads the championship by five points with three rounds remaining, having won two of the three rounds to date this season. Otto Taht (Mitsubishi Evo) finished second with Andri Oun (Ford Fiesta) third. European Championship runner Janno Ligur (Skoda Fabia) won the Super1600 category while Kalmer Vaht (Lada 2101) won in TouringCar.

Baumanis leads Estonian Championship by five points. © Baumnais

Russian Roman Stepanenko (Citroen C4) won in Lithuania last weekend where NEZ, RCE and national series shared the bill and moved to within two points of RCE leader Jos Jansen (Ford Focus), who finished third. Sten Karuks (Peugeot 206) finished third. Stepanenko’s Super1600 team mate Egor Sanin (Renault Clio) won the front-wheel drive division, ahead of Artis Baumanis (Renault Twingo), bother of Janis. Belgian Jos Sterkens (Volvo C30) won SuperTouringCars – and Steve Volders (Ford Escort) won SuperTouringCars +.

Norrlandsveckan continues Swedish championship action with Fredrik Avelin (BMW) taking the win when Supernational headlined at Alvsbyn last weekend, and the series moving on to Kalix today and tomorrow.

Nissan Academy driver and GP3 racer Jann Mardenborough will race in this weekend’s MSA British Rallycross Championship event at Pembrey where he drives the Jelf Insurance guest car in the series. With one test under his belt, Mardenborough will face an uphill task to match joint series leaders Chrissy Palmer and defending champion Marc Scott. Julian Godfrey (Ford Fiesta) leads the British title race to Pembrey having moved ahead of Andy Scott (Peugeot 208) after taking a win in last month’s Mondello Park double-header weekend.




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