ASNs shine light on rallycross in Finland and South Africa. George Warren appreciation

Seven days in rallycross, December 3

by Hal Ridge |

AKK, the Finnish ASN, has formed an official partnership between its Driver Academy and RX Academy, becoming the first ASN to have a bespoke training and development programme for young rallycross drivers. “We’re very happy to form a co-operation with RX Academy, as the AKK Driver Academy is now completed. Until now, it’s been missing some pieces. We’re excited that the AKK Driver Academy participants will benefit from World class rallycross knowledge,” said Head Coach of the AKK Driver Academy, Mr. Tuomo Nikkola. Jesse Kallio will be part of the AKK Academy and will race in the FIA European Rallycross Championship for Super1600 as his prize for winning the  winner of the 2017 RX Academy. The 2018 RX Academy will run over five events and include at least one event in Sweden.

Moves to create a rallycross championship in South Africa are gathering pace. Following the running of the first World RX event in South Africa last month, the South African ASN (MSA) has launched a request for expressions of interest in running a championship. Local sources suggest that several other circuits plan to construct unsealed sections in order to create rallycross tracks.

The full and successful life of George Warren came to an end on 30 November 2017, the Welshman (90) passing away peacefully in his sleep. For one who became so closely identified with rallycross he came to motor sport quite late in life. Although he dabbled with motorcycle grasstrack in the post war years, he put his efforts into business until trying his hand at autocross in 1969 – in a Jaguar! Quickly moving to a more suitable Ford Anglia, and then to an Escort, Warren was successful in autocross before moving into rallycross in 1974 and ’75.

Rarely undertaking a full championship, and always competing for the love of the sport, Warren conducted much of his rallycross in Europe where he was widely known and respected. He raced into the 21st century and his mid-70s and remained in touch with the sport and the many friends he’d made through it after his racing days.

Sebastien Loeb drove his recently restored Peugeot 306 Maxi rally car on last weekend’s Rallye du Var and was in contention for the win when his run was ended by engine failure. “The goal this weekend was above all to have fun, aboard a car that made Daniel [Elena] and I dream at the beginning of our career,” said Loeb. “Despite the retirement, we can say that it has been successful. I prefer that we retired at the end of the race rather than at the beginning, we have at least had the time to give pleasure to the fans and we have had a great time in the 306 Maxi.” The level of Loeb’s commitment in a car he says “…must be taken seriously to get good times…” is evident from this onboard video.

RX2 champion Cyril Raymond also drove in the event, abroad a Peugeot 208 R2 co-driven by girlfriend Nolwenn Durel and finished 42nd.

The opening round of the annual Andros Trophy takes places this weekend at Val Thorens, the traditional season opener. World RX driver Jean-Baptiste Dubourg leads series into the event as the double series champion (in 2016 and 2017) and will carry 60 kilos of success ballast as reigning champion. He will be joined in the opening encounter by younger brother Andrea, in the Elite Pro category, while Christophe Joet will share ‘JB’s Renault Captur and race in the Elite class, his first appearance since suffering a broken back in a crash at a French Rallycross Championship event at Essay, driving a Knapick Competition Citroen DS3.

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