Wins for Coox & Tohill, new Supercar drivers in British RX

Seven days in rallcross, March 10

by Hal Ridge |

The opening round of the Belgian Rallycross Championship took place at Maasmchelen last weekend, where Jochen Coox (Volkswagen Polo) led home Jos Jansen (Ford Focus) in the two-car Supercar final. Jansen jumped the start and had to take two joker laps as penalty. In the Super1600 category, Davy Van Den Branden (Citroen DS3) won in a brand new car, ahead of Denis Remans (Ford Fiesta) and Joel Strackx (Honda Civic). Yves Teelen (Peugeot 208) debuted a new car and finished fifth, while Marcel Snoeijers (Renault Megane) returned and was on the pace during the event, but was classified sixth in the final. Steve Volders (Ford Fiesta) won the Supernational minus category in the TouringCar he will use in the European Championship this year, ahead of Nich Neyens (Ford Escort) and Davy Van Ratingen (Toyota Corolla). In Supernational plus, Bert Bosmans (Volvo 242) claimed victory from Kristof Box (Volvo S40) and Tom Meeusen (Mitsubishi Evo). The event also hosted the first round of the new SRX-Cup for SangYong pickups, which was won by the GDRX team, driven by Guillaume De Ridder. Jordi Can Weert won the Ford RST category.

Reigning champion Derek Tohill (Ford Fiesta) dominated the second round of the Irish Rallycross Championship to extend his lead in the series. Tohill won the Supercar final and Superfinal from Noel Greene (Mitsubishi Mirage), while Willie Coyne (Vauxhall Corsa) finished third in the Superfinal having chased Ian O’Connoll (Lotus Exige) home in the Modified final. Coyne was sandwiched by Lotus’ on the podium, with the Exige of Lloyd Spendlove third. Eoin Murray led home Ciaran Murphy and Damien Farrell in the Production final, while in the single-make Fiesta category it was Alaister Kellet who claimed victory with Niall Murray second and Denise McCrudden third. Patrick Donoghue (Peugeot 205) won the rallycar final from Thomas O’Rafferty (Ford Fiesta) and Jason Keighley, while in the Junior final it was Jyles Harding who was victorious. Ben Mullins and Aaron Whelan completed the podium. Terry McKary won the buggy category with Martin McAteer second and Padraic McHale third.

The final round of the RallyX on Ice series takes place this weekend, where American Mitchell De Jong and Norwegian driver Sondre Evjen are set to fight for the title. JC Raceteknik announced this week that it will field a car for Swedish rally driver Pelle Wilen. The 25-year old has won two Swedish rally titles previously, and two rally sprint crowns. He joins Evjen and Oscar Solberg in the JC Raceteknik team. “I have a gap in the rally calendar and the desire to drive is always there, so this is a great way to not have withdrawal symptoms. Driving in RallyX on Ice will be really fun,” he said. “There is no pressure, I will accept it if I am not at the front. Since it’s my debut, I have no major expectations. This is something I’m going for fun, and a good result would be a bonus.”

The permeant entry list for the FIA European Rallycross Championship was revealed by the FIA on Monday. 29 drivers have signed up to the Supercar series full-time, including 2014 champion Robin Larsson, 2015 Champion Tommy Rustad and Rene Munnich’s ALL-INKL.COM team with a Seat Ibiza for Munnich and an Audi S3 for Mandi August. See the full list here. The list of permanent Super1600 and TouringCar racers was also released, where Lars Ovind Enerberg will return to the TouringCar division in a new Ford Fiesta.

Entries for the opening round of the FIA World Rallycross Championship and FIA European Rallycross Championship in Barcelona in three weeks’ time have been announced, where Guerlain Chicherit (Renault Clio), Gergoire Demoustier (Peugeot 208) and Herve Knapick (Citroen DS3) will join the list of permanent entries. On the Euro RX Supercar entry list, Henning Solberg (Volkswagen Beetle), Firmin Cadeddu (Citroen C4) and Philippe Maloigne (Peugeot 208) will all begin their first of selected 2017 appearances.

British Touring Car Championship driver and Team BMR owner Warren Scott will race in the MSA British Rallycross Championship this season, in an LD Motorsports-run Citroen DS3 Supercar. Scott will contest the full season, starting in the car used by Dan Rooke to win the British RX title in 2017, while also maintaining his role as Team Principal in his BTCC BMR squad, which run’s Subaru Levorg’s in the series. “I have already had a test day with Liam [Doran] and his team,” said Scott. “The Citroen was unbelievable and I felt at home in the car and with the team straight away. I am really looking forward to this new personal challenge and to working with LD Motorsports who won the British Supercar Rallycross title in 2016 and with Liam himself.”

Reigning Swift Sport Rallycross Champion Nathan Heathcote will also join the LD Motorsports team in British RX this year, and will begin the campaign in the Citroen C4 used by Liam Doran in the European Rallycross Championship in 2010 and Pat Doran in the British Championship last year. The young driver may switch to a DS3 later in the year. “I’m absolutely buzzing to race a Supercar this year. It’s a big step up from the Swifts but I’ve watched them a lot and it’s a buzz just being around them. I’ll probably do the first two rounds in the C4 and then see how it’s going. It’s a big learning curve,” he said. “I couldn’t go into a better team really, between them Pat and Liam have so much Supercar and rallycross experience. I’d definitely love to get on the podium a couple of times this season. Of course everyone wants to win, and I’ll be trying for that but I just want to get my first race out of the way and see how it goes.”

As the opening round of the British Rallycross Championship draws closer, another new Supercar driver was announced. Oliver Bennett will race an ex-OlsbergsMSE Ford Fiesta to make his rallycross debut at Croft next week. The former motocross rider recently began a career in rallying (at the end of last year) but will now switch to rallycross in a Quick Motorsport run car. “The Fiesta is competitive in the European Championship and I think it’s a good spec car for the British Championship. We looked at doing other classes, but with the way rallycross is growing as a sport I really wanted to be in a Supercar to see what I can do,” he said. “I’ve got nothing to bench myself against at all going to Croft, but I’m going testing next week so after that I should have a better idea of my pace.”

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing will run an M-Sport built Ford Fiesta Supercar in the Global Rallycross Championship this season for Austin Dyne from its Ohio base. The team has experience in running programmes in IndyCar, CART, Champ Car and American Le Mans amoungst others. “We’re really happy to be entering the series with Austin. It will be a new challenge for us for sure but we have the resources to learn quickly,” said co-owner said Bobby Rahal. “When you look at the demographics of the series, they are considerably younger than other forms of racing. I’ve see a couple of races before as a spectator and it’s a different form of racing for sure and very intriguing.”

Tom Llewellin, son of double British Rally Champion Dai Llewellin will contest a full season in the MSA Junior Rallycross Championship this year in a Peter Gwynne Motorsport run car. The young Welshman made his rallycross debut last season at Pembrey and was unbeaten in four starts, form he hopes to continue this year. “I really enjoyed rallycross last year. Coming from rallying where you are competing against the clock, the side-by-side competition in rallycross gives me a real thrill,” he said. “I really enjoyed Pembrey as it was my first attempt at rallycross, but Lydden Hill was definitely my favourite circuit. I’m going to continue in Junior rallying this year too, in a Peugeot 107. Unfortunately, some events clash, like the first round, but I have decided to give rallycross priority.” Don Macloed also confirmed full-time participation in the 2017 Swift Sport Rallycross Championship this week, running under the DonMac Racing banner but as part of the same team.

Reigning RX150 Rallycross Championship vice-champion Stephen Jones will race in the buggy series this season from the second round at Lydden Hill. Jones was a regular podium finisher last season and finished on equal points at the end of the year with Jake Harris, but claimed second overall behind champion Chrissy Palmer on results count-back. “I’ve not driven the buggy since the Grand Prix at Croft last year and I’m not sure if I’ll have time to test before Lydden Hill, but I’m looking forward to it and it’s enjoyable to race with a full grid,” he said. “I would like to try to improve my starts this year and it would be good to get some more podium finishes.”

The BTRDA Rallycross Championship hosts its first round of the year at Blyton Park this weekend in Lincolnshire. This week, the series announced three television deals for 48-minute highlights shows on Motorsport.TV, Premier Sports and Front Runner. 67 cars are entered for the opening round of the championship this weekend, where former British Rallycross Drivers Association chairman Mike Dresser will race a newly-built Lotus Exige, in the same colour scheme as he first ran an Exige in rallycross in 2003. Bellerby sisters Paige and Drew will use the event to prepare for the British Championship, Paige in a Lotus Exige and Drew in a recently acquired BMW Mini. Also in the Super Modified category, Michael Boak and Phil Chicken are entered in a pair of Citroen C2 Super1600 cars and Rallycross World writer Hal Ridge will race a Peter Gwynne Motorsport built and prepared Suzuki Swift. A number of new drivers will take part across the various classes, when seven Juniors will also take part. The new R1 Motorsport team will also run together, including Historic class racers Scott and Ryan Stuchbury. Motorsport newcomer Darren Flitcroft has joined the squad to race a Citroen C2 in the Production category.

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