Rallycross drivers turned coach

Former drivers who are using their knowledge to help the next generation

by Rallycross World |

When teenage Czech rallycross driver Lukas Pech announced earlier this week that he will be coached by Roman Castoral it got us thinking about rallycross drivers who worked as driver coaches.
Perhaps the most active driver in rallycross, Castoral won an FIA European Rallycross Championship in 2006 and collected 18 event victories between 2003 and 2013. At just 14-years-old, Pech already has two years of rallycross under his belt and had his first training session with Castoral last week.

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Lukas Pech has enlisted Roman Castoral as his driver coach.
Rallycross World | Lukas Pech
14-year-old Pech will race a Skoda Fabia this year.

Obviously, Kenneth Hansen leads the list of those who have gone on to share their knowledge and help bring-on younger drivers. Hansen’s work with and influence over his own sons is obvious, but he was also instrumental in making Liam Doran, Timur Timerzyanov and Alex Hvaal into winners. In the World RX era he helped guide Sebastien Loeb to become a winner in his new role. Hansen’s own sons are also following this path with their own #YellowSquad.

Kenneth Hansen, Sebastien Loeb
Kenneth Hansen’s unrivalled knowledge of driving in rallycross has benefitted many drivers, including Sebastien Loeb.
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Kenny Brack (left) had his first foray into rallycross courtesy of Hansen who also helped Jussi Pinomaki (centre) into Supercar.
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Hansen and Pinomaki raced together and now each coach drivers.

Hansen has worked with many drivers, one of them was Eric Faren who has since gone onto establish his own team and coach new drivers in his own right.

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Eric Faren benefitted from working close to Hansen as a driver and now shares his own knowledge with others.
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Teram Faren ran Conner Martell and Nathan Heathcote in RX2.

There has also been a passing-on of the baton among the Eriksson family. Andreas Eriksson has introduced a raft of drivers to rallycross and now it is his sons Kevin and Oliver who are most regularly there to support, nurture and advise young drivers at Olsbergs MSE.

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Andreas Eriksson has put many different drivers into rallycross cars, including Marcus Gronholm.
Rallycross World | Kevin Eriksson
World RX event winner Kevin Eriksson has become a highy rated driver coach.

The Eriksson’s unrelated namesake Sebastian Eriksson is also able to match coaching and advising with his own driving ability.

Rallycross World | Sebastian and Oliver Eriksson
Sebastian Eriksson (left) and Oliver Eriksson tend Fraser McConnell’s car at COTA.

Jussi Pinomaki is among those to have spent time under Hansen’s wing and now has his own hugely successful team. With a raft of winners and FIA Champions to his credit Pinomaki’s SET Promotion also ran the RX Academy, although currently not in operation since COVID-19 struck, it is arguably the most successful talent development scheme ever in rallycross. Drivers from the junior series run under the RX Academy continue to achieve success as they climb the career ladder. And let’s not forget that Timerzyanov spent his formative days with Pinomaki before he went to Hansen. Andreas Bakkerud was guided to two FIA titles by Pinomaki, etc.

Rallycross World | Pinomaki (standing right)
Jussi Pinomaki (standing right) was called into action by Subaru to look after Joni Wiman and Andreas Bakkerud.

Pinomaki has also made use of fellow drivers, some of whom have themselves passed through his team as young racers. Toomas Heikkinen, Joni Wiman and Reinis Nitiss have all provided their experience and skills to coaching in the RX Academy or at SET Promotion.

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Toomas Heikkinen (right) is among those who worked with young driver in the RX Academy.
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Reinis Nitiss in RX Academy coaching role for French racer Clementine Lhoste.
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the RX Academy set a bench mark in terms of driver training.
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COVID-19 caused the RX Academy to be put on hold.

Former race Marko Jokinen has spent the last two decades training drivers. His profile at race tracks has not always been very high, but with the growth of crosskart and cross car Jokinen is again on the rallycross scene with young racers in his Speedcar chassis.

Rallycross World | Marko Jokinen (centre)
Marko Jokinen (centre) is working successfully with young drivers in Cross Car.

Former French champion and sometime European Championship frontrunner Marc Laboulle is now a key team member of French super team DA Racing. Successes in rallycross and four Trophee Andros titles are packed into the trophy cabinent at DA Racing where Laboulle plays a management and coaching role.

Marc Laboulle has built on his ownb success as a driver to help others.
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Laboulle is now part of the highly successful DA Racing.

By common consent Michael Jernberg is the best driver never to have won the European Rallycross Championship, but the Swede has a hand in Robin Larsson’s two Euro RX titles. Coach and mentor to his young compatriot, Jernberg finally found title success and even a World Championship event victory without a steering wheel in his hands.

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Finest moment, Robin Larsson won the World RX event in Argentina in 2015 and has been guided all the way by Michael Jernberg.
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As a driver Michael Jernberg came close to the European title several times, but never quite managed the win.
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For Jernberg coaching others is a way to give something back to the sport.

Prolific in the Hansen and Pinomaki mould, and racking up titles at a ferocious rate, Rolf Volland is the go-to team owner in RX3 (Super1600). A highly successful autocross and rallycross driver in his own right, Volland is a driver coach and trainer for Audi alongside operating his own team, in which driver development is taken very seriously. His drivers have won the FIA Super1600 title every year since 2016.

Rallyross World | Volland (centre) with Belevskiy (left) and Marton
After his own successful driving career, Rolf Volland (centre) has racked up further success with other drivers.
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Volland Racing is dominant in RX3.
Trophy cleaning at Volland Racing!

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