Kiss wins CEZ opener, Grint and Peugeot-Hansen launch new cars

Seven days in rallycross, March 31

by Hal Ridge |

The opening round of the Central European Zone Rallycross Championship took place at the Slovakiaring, where reigning Hungarian Rallycross Champion Tamas Pal Kiss (Peugeot 208) won the final despite losing out at the start to Max Pucher (Ford Fiesta), the Hungarian passing the Austrian after the circuit’s jump. Zoltan Vass (Mitsubishi Colt) completed the podium while Csaba Spitmuller (Skoda Fabia) was fourth and the last driver to cross the finish line. Tamas Karai (Audi A1) suffered a huge roll in the final, while Peter Kotan (Ford Escort) also retired. In the Super1600 category, Josef Susta (Skoda Fabia) claimed victory ahead of Jan Ratajsky (Skoda Fabia) and David Gerencser (Suzuki Swift), while Miroslav Pospichal (VW Polo) won the SuperTouringCars +2000cc division and Czech driver Roman Castoral (Open Astra) was yet again victorious in SuperTouringCars -2000cc. Erwin Frieszl (Peugeot 206) won the SuperTouringCars -1600cc final.

British driver James Grint will race a brand-new Mitsubishi Mirage RX Supercar in the remaining eight rounds of the MSA British Rallycross Championship this season, built by Mpart AB in Sweden and run by Welsh rally team Spencer Sport. The car is based on the existing R5 Mirage platform from the same company and was delivered to the UK last week to begin testing. Grint will race the car for the first time at Lydden Hill on April 17. It uses a 2.0-litre longitudinally mounted engine and Unic five-speed gearbox. “The car looks amazing and I’m confident it will have the performance to match,” said Grint. “It’s been a long winter break, so I’m really looking forward to driving the Mitsubishi and getting that Supercar adrenaline rush again!”

Team Peugeot-Hansen revealed its new 2017 Peugeot 208 WRX Supercar in Barcelona on Thursday at the FIA World Rallycross Championship’s media day, which features revisions in every area, like many of the World RX competitors this year although the Peugeot’s are most visible. Most notable on the 208 Supercar are the new aerodynamic-led changes to the bodywork, which includes profiling around the rear arches and rear bumper, and on the front wings and front bumper. The car has also has updates to the geometry and engine sump, which is now a one-piece construction.

The PSRX Volkswagen Sweden World RX Team will debut its Volkswagen Motorsport-built Polo GTi Supercars this weekend in Barcelona with the cars for Petter Solberg and Johan Kristoffersson both featuring front-mounted radiators, unlike every other car in the field which house rear-mounted cooling packages. The Polo GTi has been undertaking testing around Europe, and in a photograph released by Volkswagen Motorsport earlier this week, at the final test at the Estering in Germany the car ran with a front-mounted radiator but with black stickers on the rear quarter panels to suggest a side air duct for a rear radiator.

Multiple European Championship event-winner Liam Doran has announced that he has had his license suspended for the 2017 season by the MSA, following an ‘incident’ at the Gatebil Festival in Norway last July. Doran will perform commentary duties in World RX this season, and also continue to run his LD Motorsports team in the British Rallycross Championship, where it is currently fielding cars for Jake Harris, Nathan Heathcote and Warren Scott.

Three new drivers have been announced as racing in the FIA World Rallycross Championship supporting RX2 category this year. American Tanner Whitten will drive an OlsbergsMSE run car, having spent time testing the original Lites car in 2012 and 2013 before competing in the GRC Lites Championship in America and making his Supercar debut in Las Vegas last season. Two other drivers to join the OMSE team for 2017 – brother and sister pairing Andreas and Jessica Backman, who were both present at the World RX media day on Thursday to give passenger rides, alongside British RX Champion Dan Rooke.

The CircleX team has announced a three driver line-up for the RallyX Nordic Championship this season. Former FIA European Rallycross Championship event-winner Frode Holte will race his Hyundai i20 under the team’s banner, while another former Euro RX driver, Ramona Karlsson, will driving the Volkswagen Scirocco she previously campaigned. CircleX owner Jarle Nytrae will race the Volvo C30 originally raced by Holte in Europe.

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