Heathcote beats the established order as 2018 calendars announced

Seven days in rallycross, November 4

by Hal Ridge |

Nathan Heathcote (Citroen DS3) claimed victory and maximum points in the final round of the MSA British Rallycross Championship at Croft Circuit to secure the British RX title, despite entering the finale with a 10-point deficit to points leader Julian Godfrey (Ford Fiesta). Having finished third in his semi-final, after a hitting a circuit marker and losing time, Godfrey started on the third row of the grid for the final and climbed into the top-six position he needed to be champion, until side-by-side contact with a fast-starting Pat Doran (Citroen C4) at the end of lap two damaged Godfrey’s suspension. He spun later on the same lap and then retired, Heathcote holding on to win to claim the title in his maiden Supercar season. Kevin Procter (Ford Fiesta) finished second, as he had to Heathcote at the opening round of the year at the same circuit, while Oliver Bennett (Ford Fiesta) finished an impressive first year in the sport with another podium finish. Tristan Ovenden (Renault Clio) claimed the MSA Supernational category title as Ash Simpson (Lotus Exige) won at his home circuit, while MSA Junior Champion Tom Llewellin won on his debut in the Swift Sport Rallycross Championship. Results here.

Following his British RX triumph, Heathcote dominated the MSA British Rallycross Grand Prix which also took place at Croft following the last points scoring event of the year. The LD Motorsports driver set the fastest time throughout the event to claim victory ahead of Procter and Tony Bardy (Ford Fiesta), the latter making it into the event despite rolling the Ollie O’Donovan-owned Ford Fiesta in Q1 of the British RX finale on Saturday morning, his Scotch Corner team working into the night to repair the car. Bardy ran second for much of the final, but was passed by Procter in the closing stages. Tristan Ovenden was highest two-wheel drive finisher in sixth. Results here.

The Circuit of the Americas (COTA) will host a round of the FIA World Rallycross Championship from 2018, with the first event at the Formula 1 venue set to be held on September 29 – 30 next year, round ten of the series. The full 2018 World RX calendar has been released, with Barcelona in Spain once again holding the opening round, on April 14 – 15. The series will then travel to Portugal, Belgium, Great Britain, Norway and Sweden, before the first flyaway event of the year at Trois-Rivieres in Canada. France and Latvia will host rounds in September, before the first USA event. The penultimate round will take place at the Estering, the oldest venue on the calendar, before the final round takes place in South Africa at the end of November. The Hockenheim circuit, which has hosted a round of World RX since 2015, doesn’t feature on the 2018 schedule. The Euro RX Supercar, Super1600, TouringCar and RX2 International Series will all join World RX at selected rounds.

Double European Rallycross Champion Derek Tohill secured his second consecutive Irish Rallycross Championship title by claiming victory at Mondello Park with his ex-OlsbergsMSE Ford Fiesta Supercar. Tohill won both the Supercar final and Superfinal in the penultimate round of the season to claim his second domestic crown on the back of a successful Euro RX Supercar campaign.

The full 2018 MSA British Rallycross Championship calendar has also been revealed. The series will begin at Silverstone on Saturday March 17, using the Wing paddock and World Championship start line as a precursor to the first World RX event to be held at the venue in May, and will also finish at the Northamptonshire circuit but will using the Stowe circuit paddock and a separate start line. The series will maintain traditional dates at Lydden Hill on Easter and August Bank Holiday Mondays, and will also visit Croft and Pembrey twice, the two Croft dates moving from each end of the season to May and July. The Hot Hatch category will not form part of the British RX structure from 2018.

The RX Academy series, created for the 2017 rallycross season, will form part of the RX2 on Ice structure series set to take place in Sweden and Norway in February and March next year. The single-make category for Renault Clio RS RX cars will run alongside the RX2 class at four events, including World RX venue Holjes. The series winner will receive a €5000 prize. “I’m very excited about RX Academy becoming part of this new, interesting winter rallycross series,” said Head of RX Academy, Jussi Pinomaki. “Driving on ice and snow is some of the best possible training conditions to learn car feeling and control, so being part of the RX2 on Ice series really follows RX Academy’s key strategy of producing the World Champions of the future.”

We are sad to report the death of Retro Rallycross racer Jordan Bowes (19), who died in a road accident near his home in Stokesley near Middlesbrough on Wednesday 25 October. The young driver had made his rallycross debut at Blyton Park in March 2015 and impressed with immediate pace, driving his father Stewart’s Mini Clubman. He subsequently made further appearances in the car, sharing driving duties with his father before building his own Volkswagen Golf for the Retro Rallycross series. Following a number of mechanical troubles, which forced him to sit out much of the 2017, Bowes entered the final round of British RX at Croft but was forced to withdraw his entry after problems in testing. He had been planning to race the car in 2018, and friends and colleagues have set up a JustGiving page to fund getting the Golf on track in his memory. The funeral will take place on Wednesday 8 November details here. Rallycross World News extends its sympathies to his parents Stuart and Janet, brother Jason, extended family and many friends.

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