Dubourg nets third Andros title, Nitiss departs EKS, Stars set for RallyX on Ice

Seven days in rallycross, January 28

by Hal Ridge |

Jean-Baptiste Dubourg (Renault Captur) secured his third successive Andros Trophy title in the penultimate weekend of the winter season at Lans en Vercors, with two rounds to spare. A week earlier at Serre Cheavalier, Dubourg had achieved a personal result of back-to-back victories in a single weekend, carrying maximum success ballast, while second in the first of the two events at Lans en Vercors to title-contender Benjamin Riviere (Peugeot 3008) was enough to secure the World Rallycross driver his third title. Benoit Treluyer (Audi A1) led Comtoyou Racing team mate Nathanael Berthon (Audi A1) on day two to secure victory as Dubourg ran lower down the order having struggled with the setup on his Captur. Multiple World RX event winner Andreas Bakkerud (Renault Captur) returned to the DA Racing squad for a second appearance and made the Super final on Saturday evening, finishing eighth. Eddy Benezet (BMW M2) and Loius Gervoson (Audi A1) shared the spoils in the Elite category, while Aurelien Panis and Vincent Beltoise each won a round of the single-make electric category. Results here.

At the Serre Cheavalier Andros Trophy round, series organisers 2MO and constructor Exagon Engineering revealed its new four-wheel drive electric prototype, called the ANDROS Sport 01, that is set to replace the V6-powered Elite Pro cars for the 2020 season. The new car, which like its more conventional Elite Pro counterparts also has four-wheel steering, boasts comparable power to the petrol-powered machines (with 340 horsepower) and 1600 Nm torque. A number of drivers sampled the car in a short test at Serre Cheavalier, before Formula E and endurance racer Nicolas Prost gave the machine its debut at Lans en Vercors, where he set impressive lap times against the Elite Pro opposition. The car is powered by a pair of motors, packaged together. Current plans are for a number of the cars to run alongside existing machines in the class next winter, before the series becomes fully electric the following season.

Reinis Nitiss has parted company with Mattias Ekstrom’s EKS World Rallycross team after one year with the squad, the Latvian announced on Thursday. The former World RX event winner is yet to tie up a drive for 2018, while Ekstrom is still yet to announce what he or his team will be doing this season. An announcement is expected on Monday (29) by Ekstrom at a press conference in Salzburg. “Me and the EKS team are going in different directions for the 2018 season. There are no bad feelings and I wish them all the best for the future,” said Nitiss. “For sure I would like to stay [in World RX], but to be in a competitive seat it is also a matter of budget and that is not an easy question for any of the drivers. We have some options to consider, but nothing is settled yet.”

The revamped RallyX on Ice series has released its entry list, which includes star names from World Rallycross and the GRC, and American Indycar Superstars. Reigning Indycar champion Josef Newgarden will make a celebrity appearance in the series, as will three-time Indy 500 winner Helio Castroneves. Former RallyX on Ice champion Kevin Eriksson will return, joined by fellow rallycross Supercar racers Robin Larsson, Austin Cindric and brother Oliver Eriksson, while reigning RX2 International Series champion Cyril Raymond will take part in the four-round series, joined by RX2 race winner Sondre Evjen, RX Academy graduate Troy Dowell and former European Rallycross TouringCar Champion Ben-Philip Gundersen. The series gets underway next week at Ostersund next week. The entry list for the Speedcar Xtreme crosskart buggy support category has also been revealed, which includes brothers Timmy and Kevin Hansen, and Niclas Gronholm.

The Global Rallycross Championship will switch to using Continental tyres in the series from 2018, in a multi-year agreement with the brand, which will supply tyres for all categories. “Continental Tire is an industry leader in technical tire development. Their experience in developing tires that work in both pavement and non-pavement situations, as well as their ability to develop race tires for a wide variety of vehicles, tracks and circumstances make them the ideal partner,” said GRC chief, Colin Dyne. Continental will produce a bespoke rallycross tyre for use from the start of the season.

Ben Sayer (14) will make his first steps into rallycross this year by racing in the full MSA Junior Rallycross Championship. The former motocross rider has experience of karting at his local Teeside Autodrome circuit and will also use the venue to test his new single-make Suzuki Swift ahead of the 2018 season. He will also test at a rallycross test day at Blyton Park and will be offered assistance by former Junior RX champion, Charlie Bean.

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