Solberg & Kristoffersson unite; EV RX series launched

Seven days in rallycross, January 14

by Hal Ridge |

Double FIA World Rallycross Champion Petter Solberg’s announcement of his 2017 plans was without doubt the biggest news of the week, the former World Rally Champion teaming up with Swedish racer Johan Kristoffersson to campaign a pair of Volkswagen Motorsport-built Polo Supercars in World RX this year. Solberg has been actively seeking manufacturer support for his PSRX squad for the last three years, and will continue to run the sporting side of the team from his Torsby-base in Sweden with wife Pernilla working as Team Manager. The new cars are being built in VW’s Hanover base, the German marque also providing technical support for the programme on events.

FIA World Rallycross Championship support-category RX2 (formerly RX Lites) was announced as having a fresh new look for the 2017 season at the Autosport International Show on Thursday. The series, which will support World RX at seven rounds in 2017, will feature its own branded paddock area at events, a new base-livery for cars.

Jean-Philippe Dayraut (BMW M2) and Franck Lagorce (Mazda 3) claimed a victory apiece at the first Andros Trophy event of the calendar year at Isola 2000, as Benjamin Riviere (MINI Countryman) and Olivier Panis (Audi A1) finished third and second on the opening day, and Jean-Baptiste Dubourg (Renault Clio) and Dayraut completed the podium on the second day. Dayraut continues to lead the series standings. Didier Thoral (Mazda 3) won twice in the Elite category, with Eddy Benezet (BMW M2) and Margot Laffite (Mazda 3) claiming a second and third place each over the two days. Christophe Ferrier and Vincent Beltoise took a win a piece in the Electric category.

Irish driver Ollie O’Donovan has announced that he will race in the FIA European Rallycross Championship this season, with the addition of two appearances in the FIA World Rallycross Championship at Lydden Hill in the UK and in South Africa. O’Donovan’s Ford Fiesta will be backed by Loco Energy Drink, and will be fitted with a new Mountune Cosworth engine. The former British Champion also plans on competing a programme of selected events in British RX.

RX150 race-winner Kirk Langley will race in a full campaign of events in the single-make British RX series this season, following his victory at the final event of the 2016 season supporting the MSA British Rallycross Grand Prix. Langley hopes to use the buggy category to develop his skills as he looks to progress in his rallycross career, and may race in another category too later in the year.

The first ever electric rallycross Championship is set to take place at the end of 2017 in North America, called E/RACING. Owned by Speedleague, the electric series will use bespoke STARD built electric rallycross cars and begin on October 31 in Las Vegas. Events are also planned in Los Angeles and New York. Manfred Stohl’s STARD R&D firm is the ‘principal engineer partner’ for the series and will supply cars – based on a range of production models, engineering support and components. The series is being led by Brian Gale, co-founder of the American-based Global Rallycross Championship. In its recent announcement, the series is also expected to employ a push-to-pass feature in the competing cars.

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