Albatec Racing for BRX as Gronholm looks to Hyundai

by Tim Whittington |

Albatec Racing will take part in the 2018 MSA British Rallycross Championship with a Peugeot 208 Supercar that will be based at the University of Bolton’s National Centre for Motorsport Engineering (NCME). The development, assembly, and preparation of the car will carried out at the University’s brand new £13 million state-of-the-art workshops. As part of the collaboration, NCME students will support Albatec engineers and technicians at the track, providing context to theoretical studies in maths, physics, and engineering.
“Partnering in this manner is perfect for the NCME and Albatec; the strong synergy with the infrastructure, data, and hardware from Albatec and the significant number of brilliant students we have on our specific Motorsport Engineering course, within NCME gives us unprecedented advantages and value to the project,” said Dr Mark Busfield, director of NCME. “Our students can engage fully in true motorsport engineering, and work to understand performance optimisation, and continuously improve the car. We look forward to a long and successful collaboration and are excited to start working with the team.”
Albatec Racing team principal Andy Scott said that the final decision on a driver for the British campaign had yet to be made: “one of the major factors in our selection process is to ensure that they are firstly a potential front-runner, we’re not here to finish second. We are also looking for a driver that understands the importance of working with students, our next generation of motorsport engineers, and appreciates the culture of learning and development which is so essential to every member of a successful motorsport operation.”

GRX which has fielded Niclas Gronholm in World RX in 2017 is closing on a deal with Hyundai for 2018. Marcus Gronholm confirmed his team is in discussion with Hyundai: “We have discussed with them but the final decision will be soon. I hope everything comes together, it’s not yet there and time is running quickly, we are in late November already … It will not be a factory team at this point, but a two-car team would be nice; we are working on that.” The initial plan would be to field cars based on the 2016-spec WRC i20.
“We have spoken about rallycross and we are looking at some ways to do something next season with Gronholm,” Hyundai Motorsport team principal Michel Nandan told British publication Motorsport News.

Meanwhile EKS founder Mattias Ekstrom is cautiously confident that his squad will continue with Audi into 2018. “Generally things look good but physically we are missing some signatures … we are still working flat out to try and nail the new car. We need a decision before Christmas to be ready in time. If we can have our plans for the team and for myself before Christmas, then I would be pleased,” said Ekstrom who hinted that there may also be a switch away from the S1 his team has used to date. “Audi has a lot of good cars, but for me the S1, the overhangs and the size and so on, is pretty good for this sport. But when it’s [the decision on which car to use] from the marketing perspective it’s a different story.”

FIA World Rallycross Champion Johan Kristoffersson collected an award from his home town of Arvika. The event was also used to announce the Johan Kristoffersson Youth Fund which has been established with Team Westom – the local motor club in Arvika – and to which Kristoffersson immediately donated the 10,000 Kronor that accompanied his award from the town. “It will be fun to help younger drivers,” said the Volkswagen driver, “Both Petter (Solberg) and I are winning spirits who want to give 100 percent – or 110 percent, as Petter says, but he is counting in Norwegian!”
Kristoffersson is also a candidate for the Sverige Radio’s sports person of the year, the only motor sport nominee on a 14-strong shortlist the winner of which is decided by public votes.

Kristoffersson also added a Gymkhana Grid trophy to his haul from the 2017 season when he won the Johannesburg event in his World RX Volkswagen Polo. Petter Solberg and Andreas Bakkerud finished second and third in the event in which the rear-wheel drive win was taken by some-time rallycrosser Luke Woodham.

Ministry of Sound has been announced as a music partner for the Speedmachine festival at Silverstone that will form the British round of the 2018 FIA World Rallycross Championship. Work on the rallycross track continues with surface transitions and safety features being installed.

Ken Block has been out there in media land comparing his Ford Focus RS with his street legal RS200, both of which have obvious rallycross links.

The French rallycross Championship has confirmed a ten-event schedule that will open on the new track at Abbeville on 6 May and reach its conclusion, as has become usual in recent years, at Dreux in October.

DA Racing has announced that it will run a pair of Renault Capturs in the forthcoming Andros Trophy season and Ulrik Linnemann took a win in the ROC Factor in Stockholm, winning races against Tom Kristensen and Tony Rickardsson along the way. Ben-Philip Gundersen is set to race in the RX2 International Series in 2018. The 23-year-old Norwegian, who was FIA European Rallycross Champion in TouringCar in 2016, will join JC Raceteknik for the 2018 season. Gundersen made his RX2 debut at Holjes this year.

Over at our magnificent T-shirt emporium there are some new additions to the range of merchandise available, and a discount over this Black Friday – Cyber Monday weekend.

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