Bakkerud stars in Andorra, LDM to develop Mini RX, Heikkinen leaves EKS

Seven days in rallycross, December 24

by Hal Ridge |

Reigning Andros Trophy Champion Jean-Baptiste Dubourg (Renault Captur) finished first and second in Andorra, the third weekend of the 2017-2018 winter series to take the points lead, as his event team mate, multiple World RX race winner Andreas Bakkerud starred on his debut. Bakkerud finished eighth on day one and fourth on day two in the ultra-specialist discipline, driving DA Racing’s Renault Captur. Nathanael Berthon (Audi A1) and Franck Lagorce (BMW M2) finished second and third on day one, while Mazda 3 driver Evens Stievenart claimed victory on day two as Berthon finished second behind Dubourg. Eddy Benezet (BMW M2) and Lionel Daziano (Audi A1) claimed victories in the Elite category, while Aurelien Panis and Julien Andlauer won in the single-make Electric class. Results here.

British driver and team owner Liam Doran has teamed up with British Rallycross driver Steve Harris to acquire three Prodrive-built Mini RX Supercars from JRM Racing. Plans are afoot for Doran’s LD Motorsports squad to develop the machines for use in 2018, using a Julian Godfrey Engineering Custom Evo engine. LD Motorsports won the British Rallycross Championship this year with Nathan Heathcote in a Citroen DS3. The team will continue to run its DS3 Supercars alongside the Mini programme, although it is yet to be decided in what events the Minis will complete, or if they will be rented out, or sold. “I know what these cars are capable of, I look at the Mini as my most successful car,” said Doran. “The Mini is a great chassis and I’m confident it’s going to turn heads; I’m a big believer that drivability of a car is what makes it fast and consistent.”

Peugeot Sport director Bruno Famin has revealed his intention to retain 14-time European Rallycross Champion Kenneth Hansen as part of Peugeot’s World Rallycross Championship team in 2018, despite the cars and operation of the squad being moved to Peugeot Sport’s Velizy base. “We are going to keep working with Hansen most likely, but the job share will be quite different from where it was,” he said. “Kenneth is Mr Rallycross, I think it would be a big mistake not to have him in the team and our wish is to have him of course. It’s not signed, it’s agreed but not signed. He will be the sporting director, the guy in charge of making the team work with all the sporting aspects, with the organisers, the other teams and the drivers using his incredible know-how of rallycross.” There has been no news released about which driver(s) will join the already confirmed Sebastien Loeb in the squad next year.

Toomas Heikkinen has left World RX Championship winning team EKS after two years with Mattias Ekstrom’s squad. Heikkinen announced this week on his Facebook page that he has parted company with the team on good terms, and is yet to conclude his plans for the future. “After two brilliant years driving the Audi S1 RX quattro in the FIA World Rallycross Championship, it’s time for me to say goodbye to EKS,” he said. “I want to thank the whole team and especially Mattias for everything over the last two years. We’ve had a lot of fun and some amazing moments. I’m really happy that we both finished on the podium in Germany, in one of my last races with the team. I have made a lot of friends in EKS and wish them all the best for the future. Now it’s onto the next stage. I’m not yet sure what the future will bring, but I will be able to announce more about my future in January.”

The Australian Rallycross Championship, RXAus, will broaden its calendar for its second full season in 2018. Run over seven rounds, Winton Motor Raceway will begin and conclude the year, with a third stop at the venue mid-season, while rounds two and five will be held in New South Wales at the Marulan Driver Training Centre in Marulan. Raleigh Raceway will be the venue for round three and Bend Motorsport Park Facility will hold its first event in September. “Our first year showed how competitive rallycross in Australia is, for our second we hope will take it to a new level,” said RXAus spokesman, Justin Dowel.

RX2 International Series star Guillaume De Ridder, who impressed in his first year in the sport this season, claimed the Belgian Rookie of the Year award at the Belgian ASN’s (RACB) annual ceremony this week in Brussels.

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