World RX testing underway, Euro RX drivers announced

Seven days in rallycross, January 27

by Hal Ridge |

Double FIA World Rallycross Champion Petter Solberg and new 2017 team mate Johan Kristoffersson began testing the new Volkswagen Motorsport built Polo RX Supercar they will race this season in Loheac this week, the first roll-out for the new machine. The team will fully announce the finer details of the programme at a press launch in March, but Solberg has confirmed that the cars will share technology with Volkswagen’s existing knowledge (from the World Rally Championship) and that they will feature transversally mounted engines, rather than the longitudinal units used by previous Polo teams Marklund Motorsport and Kristoffersson Motorsport, and in Solberg’s own DS3. Also testing this week have been Hoonigan Racing Division drivers Andreas Bakkerud and Ken Block with the Ford Focus RS RX in Arizona, while Peugeot Sport has been running a Team Peugeot-Hansen Peugeot 208 Supercar in France.

Multiple RX Lites Cup (now called RX2) race winner and reigning RallyX Nordic Supercar Lites champion Thomas Bryntesson will graduate to Supercar in the FIA European Rallycross Championship and RallyX Nordic series this season with Swedish team JC Raceteknik, as team mate to Norwegian Supernational driver Ola Froshaug. The team will run both drivers in Ford Fiesta Supercars as it expands its operation for 2017. Both drivers have a small amount of previous Supercar experience, Froshaug rented a Per Eklund run Saab in 2006 and 2007 for a brace of events, while Bryntesson drove a Marklund Motorsport Volkswagen Polo at the final round of the FIA World Rallycross Championship in 2015 in Argentina, but was hampered by mechanical issues.

JC Raceteknik also announced this week that it will run at least two Supercar Lites in RX2 and RallyX Nordic this season. Confirmed drivers Sondre Evjen and William Nilsson will compete in both championships, while the squad may announce a third driver in due course. “I’m really excited about running both Sondre and William in Supercar Lites this season. Sondre learnt a lot last year doing RX2, he gained valuable experience and at the end of the year he was really quick,” said team owner Joel Christoffersson. “I think he can fight for race victories from the start this season. William had a mixed season last year, but he proved on several occasions that he has the ability to race with the best guys on the grid, so we are working hard with him to help him do that at every race. We’re hoping to add another driver to our Lites line-up for this season too.”

2015 FIA European Rallycross Champion Tommy Rustad will drive for Albatec Racing in the series for the second year in a row this season, the British team announced earlier this week. Rustad will race a Peugeot 208 Supercar alongside Finnish driver Jere Kalliokoski. I’m delighted to be staying with Albatec for 2017 in what promises to be a very exciting European series on some of the best rallycross tracks,” said Rustad, who finished fourth in the championship last season. “The last round victory in Latvia last year showed that together we are now in a strong position and I’m confident that with a full season behind me we can start the year as a serious contender for the title.”

The latest edition of the Dirt series from Codemasters, Dirt 4, was launched on Thursday in London, which will feature a number of new rallycross additions when it is officially released in June. Cars from the 2016 World Championship will be included, while the Montalegre and Loheac circuits have also been added, joining Hell, Holjes and Lydden Hill. The RX2 catgeory has also been included in the game, as has cross kart, to give players a career progression through the sport.


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