World RX drivers revealed. Nationals start in Belgium, Ireland and Portugal. Covid-19 hits France.

Seven days in rallycross 12 March

by Rallycross World |

6 March    Guerlain Chicherit and Rokas Baciuska will compete together under GCK’s new Unkorrupted brand in 2020. The pair will use Renault Clio RS RX cars which have refined and updated over the winter. Engine developments from Oreca go hand-in-hand with new suspension from the French BOS outfit and work to improve the weight distribution of the cars. “I won’t pull any punches: we’re here to cause trouble. I’m stoked to be bringing Unkorrupted into World RX, and together we will push the limits and not be afraid to ruffle some feathers. I’ve spent my whole career taking on new challenges and ‘changing the rules’, and this time is no different. I’m already psyched for the season to start, it’s felt like we’ve been waiting forever. Nothing in motor sport offers a bigger adrenaline rush than rallycross, and ever since my first time in World RX (back in 2015) I’ve had the rallycross bug,” said Chicherit.

Rallycross World | Guerlain Chicherit, Rokas Baciuska, GCK, Unkorrupted, World RX

6 March    In its first meeting of 2020 at Geneva the FIA World Motor Sport Council publishes a revised calendar for the 2020 FIA World Rallycross Championship. The update is for ten events and omits the Russian round at St Petersburg’s new Igora Drive circuit that had been provisionally entered on the calendar at the end of last year. The FIA did not comment on the change, which also means the FIA European Rallycross Championship for Super1600 event scheduled for Igora Drive will move to Germany, but the website of the Russian ASN carries a statement that says: “The reason for such changes was the lengthy negotiations with the promoter of the series and the failure to reach an agreement. Aware of their responsibility to athletes and fans, a choice was made in favour of canceling the competition.”

Rallycross World | World RX 2020

6 March    The RX Academy will be rested in 2020 while the evolving nature of rallycross is evaluated. “I am incredibly proud of what we have achieved with RX Academy since we came up with the concept in 2016. We have delivered on our promises and more, and created a unique environment in which there has been a brilliant feeling among everyone in the programme. While I want to thank everyone for their efforts in RX Academy so far, I want to be clear that this is not the end either. We will take a break, but I still feel positive about the future for RX Academy, I strongly believe in the sport of rallycross and that electrification can present new opportunities for drivers at every level. I’m excited to see where the next phase of this journey will take us,” said founder Jussi Pinomaki. The cars from the Academy will be used in a Finnish circuit-racing series in 2020. The three RX Academy Champions, Jesse Kallio (2017), Sami-Matti Trogen (2018) and Rasmus Tuominen (2019) will be competing in high level international series this year, in both rallycross and rally, as they progress in their careers.

Rallycross World | RX Academy

8 March    In confirming that it will expand it’s FIA World Rallycross Championship operation to two cars in 2020, ALL-INKL.COM Munnich Motorsport also confirmed that it will run electric cars in the championship in 2021. Munnich Motorsport is the first team to publicly commit the to electric in 2021, which is scheduled to be a transition year in which internal-combustion and electric cars race head-to-head. “We recognise the move towards EV mobility in the automotive industry and the fact that motor sport is following a similar path. We welcome the plans for the FIA World Rallycross Championship to phase in electrification from 2021 and we are making plans to be part of this exciting future,” said team manager Dominik Greiner. In 2020 team owner Rene Munnich will join Timo Scheider, the pair using updated Seat Ibiza Supercars. “We should have been on the podium from time to time last year but this year podiums are a must have. The car has been developed over the winter in different areas, so we hope to have taken 2-3 steps forward. Let’s get the season going to see where we are,” said Scheider.

Rallycross World | Rene Munnich, Munnich Motorsport, World RX

8 March    On International Women’s Day Natalie Barratt announces that she will race in the Projekt E series. Returning to competition after a break from motor sport, Barratt will take part in the five-event all-electric series that will appear on the World RX bill. The series start at Spa-Francorchamps and Barratt will race a STARD-built Ford Fiesta. Barratt, who drove in 44 WRC events, is scheduled to test later in March. “At moment I am concentrating on getting physically prepared – it’s been a long time since I sat in a racecar. It’s electric and it’s mind-blowingly fast. What more could you ask for?” she said. Projekt E will use STARD’s REVelution EV powertrain system which produce 450kW (600bhp) and 1100Nm of instantaneous torque.

Rallycross World | Natalie Barratt, Projekt E

8 March    On the weekend that national championship racing began in earnest, Super1600 was centre stage in the Belgian National championship as BORA ran its first event of the year at Maasmechelen. Davy Van Den Branden (Citroen DS3) won the class with a typically classy drive in which he led home Czech visitors Josef Susta (Skoda Fabia) and Jan Cerny (Skoda Citigo). Pascal Roumans (Ford Fiesta) was fourth ahead of Dutchman Marcel Snoeijers (Renault Megane) on a day when favourite Steve Otzer was absent as his new car was not ready. Polish racer Filip Wojtowicz (Volvo C30) used the Joker Lap cleverly to beat Bart Coninx (Seat Ibiza) to win the up to two-litre Supernational category. Luc Maris (Volvo S40) won the over two-litre Supernational final after  Kristof Bex lost a rear wheel from his leading Volvo S40. Roel Verhoeven (BMW M3) took a personal best second place ahead of Tom Meeusen (Mitisbishi Lancer). Viktor Vranckx (Kamikaz K3) dominated the Junior Cross Car category while Jan Keller (Peters) won the adult section.

Rallycross World | Belgian Rallycross, BORA, Super1600, Yves Teelen, Davy Van Den Branden
Rallycross World | Belgian Rallycross, BORA, Super1600, Josef Susta, Jan Cerny

8 March    The first round of the Irish Rallycross Championship, IRX, is won by Tommy Graham (Ford Fiesta VI) at Mondello Park. One of six Supercar starters, Graham non-finishes in Q1 but manages to post a Q3 time to qualify for the final in which Thomas O’Rafferty (Fiesta VII) starts from pole. Graham then overcomes the rest of the pack to take the win with Declan Kelly (Fiesta VI) second and Darragh Morris (Subaru Impreza) in third place. Willie Coyne (Opel Corsa) wins the Supernational final, leading home Derek Tohill who uses his TouringCar-spec Fiesta in this event. Philip Kelly is third in his Toyota MR2. Peter McGarry qualifies third, behind Coyne and Tohill, in the first outing for his new Volvo C30 but ends his day with retirement in the semi-finals. Class victories are taken by Ben Mullins who wins the one-make Ford Fiesta Zetec final, Loughlin Farrell (Fiesta 1.2) who is best of the Juniors, Robbie Allen (Semog) in the Kart Cross final and Barry McArdle (Peugeot 205) who wins the Retro RX category. Probably the only place you will still find a Superfinal, the last race of the day is won by Graham who again beats Kelly with Tohill third.

Rallycross World | Tommy Graham, Irish Rallycross, IRX, Mondello Park

8 March    The first round of the Portuguese Rallycross Championship, PTRX, takes place at Sever do Vouga where Federico Santos takes the win in his Mitusbishi Lancer Evo VI, defeating the Subaru Impreza of Daniel Pacheo, the only other Supercar competitor. Joaquim Machado (Peugeot 208) is top qualifier and winner of the final in Super1600, leading home Joao Novo (Citroen C2) and Antonio Sousa (Peugeot 208). Jose Artur Teixeira (Peugeot 106) is best of the National 1.6 field, Jorge Rego (Peugeot 106) win the ‘Iniciados’ final while Joao Oliveira (Peugeot 206) overcame the challenge of Hugo Santos (Honda Civic Type R) to win the National 2RM class. Kart Cross, the biggest category in the event with 20 starters, is won by Nuno Bastos (ASK XC’R) who beats pole starter Jorge Gonzaga (LBS RX01) and Spanish racer Maikel Vilas (LBS RX01), the three having swapped places and the lead on every lap of the final.

Rallycross World | Portuguese Rallycross, PTRX, Federico Santos, Mitsubishi Lancer, Sever do Vouga
Rallycross World | PTRX Sever do Vouga, Super1600, Joaquim Machado, Antonio Sousa

9 March    GRX Taneco confirms its return to the FIA World Rallycross Championship and will retain its event winning driver line up of Niclas Gronholm and Timur Timerzyanov. The pair will drive updated Hyundai i20s. “After two years of running, I can say that I am happy with our progressing performance, and I hope we can do even better in 2020. We have retained the driver line-up of Niclas and Timur, both of whom are fast and know the car extremely well, so we just need to keep our focus clear, stay out of trouble and hope that both drivers keep healthy this year. If we can succeed in all of this, the success will follow,” said Team Principal Marcus Gronholm, his comment on health referencing Niclas Gronholm missing two events in 2019 because of appendicitis. 

9 March    Anton Marklund will compete a full World RX season as an Individual Competitor, running a GCK Renault Megane under the GCK Bilstein banner. Marklund, who finished first on the road in the Norwegian FIA World Rallycross Championship event last year, only to have the win taken away when the car failed post-race scrutineering, also posted GCK’s best ever finish by taking second at Loheac in 2020. The double FIA European Rallycross Champion is confident of his chances heading into the new year: “Being able to build on the developments with car from last year, and the existing relationships I have with the team and technical partners, allows us to start the season strongly. I want to say thanks to Bilstein for all the support they’ve given me and the team so far and for committing to us even more this year – together we push to be the best and it’s the kind of partnership we need to be successful,” he said.

Rallycross World | Anton Marklund, GCK Bilstein, World RX

9 March    Spanish rally driver Pablo Suarez will make his debut in RallyX on Ice at the SM-Veckan event in Lulea at the end of the month. “This will be one of the biggest challenges of my career. With limited time to get used to the car and surface, my main target will be to find a good feeling and enjoy the event. I really feel comfortable driving on ice – it’s my favourite surface, despite not being very common in Spain!” said Suarez who will race an OMSE-run Supercar Lites in the event.

Rallycross World | Pablo Suarez, RallyX on Ice, RX2, Supercar Lites

9 March    The open day planned to launch the RX Italia 2020 season has been postponed. Sport Club Maggiora took the decision following the Italian Prime Minister’s decree of 8 March, in relation to the measures to contain the infection from Coronavirus Covid-19. On 9 March Italy’s Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte orders restrictions on travel and a ban on public gatherings across the entire country.

Rallycross World | Marcello Gallo, RX Italia, Cross Car

10 March    Timmy and Kevin Hansen will drive in the FIA World Rallycross Championship with the family team, this year running as Team Hansen. The biggest change in the World Championship winning outfit is that the cars will be based in Gotene (Sweden) for the first time since 2013 after which Peugeot’s involvement meant the cars were based in France, something that continued in 2019. This year Kenneth and Susann Hansen have taken the cars home and worked with Graham Rodemark to assemble a new team. 

Rallycross World | Team Hansen, Timmy Hansen, Kevin Hansen, World RX

10 March    JC Raceteknik makes its first full time entry into the FIA World Rallycross Championship with an Audi S1 that it will run for Robin Larsson. Returning to World RX after winning the FIA European Rallycross Championship in 2019, Larsson also won the RallyX Nordic crown last year. Larsson has a World RX event win to his credit, winning the final round of the 2015 series in Rosario (Argentina) at the wheel of his privately run Audi A1. “It’s so exciting to be entering the World Championship with a strong team and a good car. Last year, both me and Joel [Christoffersson, JC Raceteknik boss] had our best seasons ever, so continuing this together with the team will be extra special. Of course, there will be tough events with many fast drivers, but that’s what rallycross is all about,” said Larsson. “Since I started JC Raceteknik it has been a dream for me and the team to be able to enter the World Championship. Last year we had a great season with Robin, so getting the opportunity to take this step together with him is really exciting for all of us,” added Christoffersson.

Rallycross World | Robin Larsson, World RX, JC Raceteknik

10 March    The opening Rallycross France event of the year is postponed because of measures enforced by authorities in response to the Coronavirus Covid-19. A statement said: “Unfortunately, we are obliged to postpone the Lessay Rallycross to a later date. We thank our partners, volunteers, officials and organisers for the commitments and work that have already been done in order to ensure a great 2020 event. This is only a postponement, the date of the 2020 edition will be communicated soon. We also think of the committed drivers who, for months and weeks, have been preparing to participate in this opening of the championship. And of course to the spectators who had planned to come and participate in this beautiful celebration in the English Channel.” The series will now start at Essay-Alencon on 23-24 May.

Rallycross World | Rallycross France, Lessay, Samuel Peu,

11 March   Kristoffersson Motorsport and Volkswagen Dealerteam Bauhaus announce that Johan Kristoffersson will return to the FIA World Rallycross Championship. After winning the 2017 and 2018 World RX titles Kristoffersson spent 2019 driving in the WTCR circuit series and in rallies. “It has been a hectic period and not the easiest path to go along. There have been manyalternatives, but right now I feel really satisfied. Rallycross is very close to my heart! Returning to rallycross also means that rally and racing will be put in the background for 2020 – all our energy and focus is now on World RX,” said Kristoffersson who will use a 2018-spec VW Polo for his campaign. “Of course we will be there aiming to win, but anyone involved in this business knows it’snot that easy. After all, we’re a private team and the resources are limited, not even close to 2017 and 2018. Also, the car will be based in Arvika, not in Hannover, even though we will be buying services from Volkswagen Motorsport. It has always been a privilege to work with Volkswagen. Together with their development department I hope for us to be a part of future motor sport. Rallycross is a perfect product for electrification and there is no better way to run development work than through motorsport.” said team boss Tommy Kristoffersson. 

Rallycross World | Johan Kristoffersson, VW Polo, World RX Volkswagen Dealerteam

11 March    The RX Cartel has moved to France. Andreas Bakkerud and Liam Doran will again pair up but this year with Renault Meganes from the GCK stable which means it is now the Monster Energry GCK RX Cartel. “First off, I’m proud to sign my eighth season in a row in a supercar – it’s pretty insane!  GCK has been a breath of fresh air in World RX since joining the sport, and I know the potential this car and this team have. I tested the GCK Megane R.S. RX after Cape Town in 2018 and have been in contact with GCK ever since, so it’s great to finally be able to work together. Plus, last time I drove a Renault I became European Champion, so why not bring the title home again this time?” said Bakkerud. Teammate Doran has raced the GCK Megane before; “Teaming up with GCK will be great. I drove the Mégane R.S. RX in 2018 and we really got on, so I’m definitely looking forward to getting back behind the wheel. Last year I struggled to get to grips with the car (the Audi S1), so to get back in something I know will be great – and with all the developments made on the car since I last drove it, I have high expectations,” he said.

 Rallycross World | RX Cartel, GCK, Andreas Bakkerud, Liam Doran

11 March    The 5 Nations BRX introduces a prize of a Supercar drive in a 2021 event for the winner of the Super1600 championship.  “We feel it is important to reward those that have supported the championship through this exciting new phase in its development while we’re also very keen to ensure that talent is allowed to grow at this level as drivers look to progress up the ranks to Supercars. Giving someone the opportunity to shine in the premier class will really give the competitors this year something to aim for, whilst also showing our commitment to help the next generation of drivers,” said BRX General Manager Hannah Rynston. 2019 champion Craig Lomax has confirmed that he will return to the series with his Citroen C2 this year.

Rallycross World | Craig Lomax, Super1600, 5 Nations, BRX

11 March   The entry list for the 2020 FIA World Rallycross Championship is published and contains 13 permanent competitors led by reigning champion Timmy Hansen. There is also a permanent entry for Kristoffersson Motorsport with Johan Kristoffersson returning to the scene of his 2017 and 2018 World RX successes. Andreas Bakkerud and Liam Doran again start under the RX Cartel banner, but this year equipped with Renault Meganes from GCK. “Together with the FIA we are committed to an electric future for rallycross. This year we will embark on our journey to a phased introduction of an electric world championship in 2021 by introducing the electric series Projekt E as part of that process. There is a huge groundswell of support for electric rallycross from teams and industry stakeholders. There is an inexorable surge towards electrification in the automotive industry and we are excited to be part of it,” said Paul Bellamy, Senior Vice President of Motorsports Events at IMG, the series promoter.

Rallycross World | World RX 2020 entry list

11 March    Cross Car will feature at the FIA Motorsport Games at Marseille and Paul Ricard in France on 23-25 October. Cross Car, the FIA initiative to unify and improve the mix of ‘kart cross’ buggies used in off-road sport and to provide the first rung on a ladder for young drivers aspiring to build careers in rallycross or rallying as well as offering an affordable off-road discipline in new territories, is among the new disciplines incorporated in the event. “I am pleased to witness the growth of the FIA Motorsport Games. The combination of a spectator-friendly venue such as Circuit Paul Ricard with varied spectrum of disciplines will surely result in a great and memorable show, and will encourage more National Sporting Authorities to compete … while further focus on grassroots disciplines should spark interest among the youngest competitors who are vital to the future of our sport,” said FIA President Jean Todt.

Rallycross World | FIA Motorsport Games, Cross Car

11 March   Former rallycross driver Mike Sellar will return to the British Rallycross Championship in 2020. After time in which he has raced GT cars, Sellar will return with an ex-Alexander Hvaal Citroen DS3. “It’s going to be strange returning to rallycross after so many years away, but I’m really looking forward to the challenge … I expect it’ll be a tough learning curve getting used to the car and racing on a different surface again, I’m hopeful that by mid-season I will be up to speed. The car is a proven one, it’s an ex-Hansen Motorsport car, and Kenneth is renowned for building cars to a high standard. There’s a fair bit of work to be done bodywork wise before the season starts, and Julian Godfrey is working his magic on the engine. So, once that’s all completed, we’ll be ready to go,” said Sellar.

Rallycross World | Mike Sellar, 5 Nations BRX, Supercar, Citroen DS3

12 March    The SM-Veckan event which would have featured RallyC on Ice is cancelled.The multi-discipline event schedule to run over a week is pulled by the Swedish National Sports Federation and SVT in conjunction with the municipalities of Lulea and Boden in the north of Sweden where the event was to have run.

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