30 January Dover District Council approves Lydden Hill Circuit’s planning application, clearing the way for the circuit to erect new buildings, create a new access road and expand the number of days of usage and type of activities that take place at the venue. It’s more than five years since circuit owner Pat Doran first attempted to gain consent for development at the circuit. The number of days of motor sport activity remain at 52 but Lydden can now develop other activities. There are strict noise management requirements within the new planning permission. “This is to use the circuit for more than 52 days for things like cycling and have a new small building to make Dover proud. We are now under a lot more restrictions on our 52 days of racing … we have to put more noise monitors in. That is what we are giving back,” said Doran. In terms of motor sport events the planning allows for the replacement of the existing office building with a new structure to provide offices, medical centre, hospitality and pit garages.
30 January Philip Gehrman announces plans to take part in the FIA European Rallycross Championship for Supercar. The Swede will continue with the ex-Kristoffersson Motorsport VW Polo that he raced in RallyX Nordic in 2019. Gehrman previously raced in the now defunct TouringCar category and did a year in Euro Supercar with Eklund Motorsport and one of its VW Beetles in 2018. “Last year we had a new car, a new team and in the end we achieved our goal to be in the top three in RallyX Nordic, despite some problems with the car that made it impossible for me to fight for the absolute top positions. The car has had a good overhaul during the winter to once again become the speed bomb that took Kristoffersson to second in World RX in 2016,” said Gehrman. “When I then saw that the season premiere goes to the legendary Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium, it was clear to me what this year’s venture would be. The other four events in Hell, Holjes, Loheac and Riga are all tracks that I would have chosen if I wanted a dream calendar. I’m looking forward to the season very much. Running a Supercar requires so much more work than other cars like the Ford Fiesta TouringCar that we raced between 2014 and 2017, but we have knowledgeable people around us who will help us at and between races.”
1 February The final Trophee Andros event of the year takes place at Clermont-Ferrand Super Besse. Weather conditions mean there is little ice during the event in which Aurelien Panis (Audi A1) wins the final at Super Besse and with that takes the title. Sebastien Loeb returns for the series finale and takes second place in an SLR AS 01 with Benjamin Riviere (Peugeot 208) completing the podium. JB Dubourg places fourth in the final, ending his four-year reign as champion in the series.
2 February Rallycross cars featured in the GP Ice Race event at Zell am See in Austria. American champion Tanner Foust drove his familiar Volkswagen Beetle R at the event. EKS had one of its Audi S1s present at the event, driven by ski superstar Marcel Hirscher and TitansRX was also represented. VW Motorsport ran its Golf eR1 concept.
3 February French champion Samuel Peu plans to drive in two rounds of the FIA European Rallycross Championship as well as defending his national title. Peu says the Pipo Moteurs will upgrade the engine in his Peugeot 208 and that he plans to race in Holjes and Loheac alongside his French season. “I will gauge myself against the level of the European Championship and see if I can fight with them or not. But right now I have with no real goal except to go there for the atmosphere of Sweden and Lohéac. It would good to qualify for the semi-finals, but everything will depend on the level,” said Peu who previously raced in Holjes in 2010 when he placed 10th after a battling drive in the finals.
4 February GC Kompetition reveals that Kevin Abbring will race one of its Renault Clio Supercars in the FIA European Rallycross Championship this year. The Dutchman started his career as a junior in rallycross and returned to the sport last year when he made some impressive appearances with ESmotorsport – including coming close to winning the Norwegian event. “I’m very pleased to work with GCK and engineering company FORS, from 2020 onwards. GCK is not only the team with arguably the biggest potential, it’s also a team with extremely experienced and motivated people, with whom I worked closely in the past. The team has invested a lot in the car and our main focus now is to bring those pieces together and find the optimum balance. I can’t wait to get our test programme going and get a first taste of the car,” said Abbring. FORS, which engineers the cars for GCK, has also recruited engineer Sebastien Lesonneur who led development of the Skoda Fabia at ESmotorsport.
4 February It’s 53 years since the first rallycross event. Conceived by TV producer Robert Reed and run by an organisational team led by Bud Smith at Bill Chesson’s fledging Lydden Circuit, what was intended as a TV special grew into our sport.
5 February Mark Donnelly will race an LD Motorsports Citroen DS3 Supercar in the British Rallycross Championship this season. Previously a British Rally Championship pace setter, Donnelly sampled the Swift Sport series a couple of years ago and raced a Supercar – Pat Doran’s trusty Citroen C4 – at the Titans RX support support event at Lydden Hill in 2019. “My first experience of a Supercar blew my mind, just the sheer grunt of a Supercar off the line is so impressive. It’s just completely different [from rallying], a different kind of adrenaline. I really enjoyed it and by the end of the event I was getting a feel for it, so I thought it would be nice to go back and do a bit more, then I had the opportunity to come up and do the Five Nations championship, and I jumped at it,” said Donnelly who has not competed on a regular basis since 2013 when he did the BRC in an R3 Citroen DS3. “There’s only one way to be competitive and that’s with seat time. My hope is that I don’t embarrass myself this year. But I’d like to be up there fighting for podiums and wins, I don’t think I’d be going to compete if I thought anything else.”
5 February SET Esports race Tommi Hallman wins the Digital Finnish Rallycross Championship. In the final of the series, held at Joensuu and shown on YLE TV2 in Finland, Hallman won his second qualifier and then won the final after taking the lead in the first corner of the race. The victory came despite limited practice (the 19-year-old is doing his national service) and a late change to a VW Beetle. “It feels amazing to be the first ever Digital Rallycross Finnish Champion. Qualifying was pretty much the best it could have been with the Beetle, because it usually isn’t at its best on a fresh track. However, it’s super-quick on a worn track and that gave me the winning pace in the final. The experience I got from the World Championship helped me massively. I also used my experience from the RX Academy mental training last year to help me in the final, where the margins were very small and it was important to be consistent on every lap even with the high mental pressure,” said Hallman who aims to qualifying for the iRX World Championship, and to race in RallyX Nordic’s Supercar Lites series this year.
6 February Czech rally driver Jan Cerny will complete a season in the FIA European Rallycross Championship for Super1600 at the wheel of Pajr Motorsport’s Skoda Citgo. Cerny won national rally events in an R5 Skoda Fabia last year but started his career as junior in rallycross. “I have been watching World and European rallycross for a long time … I got a great offer to participate in the European Rallycross Championship in Super 1600, and I didn’t have to think a minute. There is no doubt about the quality of the championship. I am delighted with the huge and professional commitment of the whole team, and also how beautiful the car to drive I can’t wait for the first race,” said Cerny.
6 February Ole Henry Steinsholt will return to the FIA European Ralycross Championship for Super1600, undertaking his second season in the series with his Skoda Fabia. “It feels really good to say that we are back in the European Championship. A lot of work has been put in over the winter to improvement both car and driver. The team is ready and we feel better prepared than ever to fight for the best positions,” said Steinsholt who is a graduate of the British Junior Rallycross series.« Previous Post Next Post »