WORLD RX CROSSES ATLANTIC FOR CANADIAN LEG
The FIA World Rallycross Championship presented by Monster Energy will embark on the season’s second half later this week following a month-long summer break. World RX of Canada (5-7 August) forms the seventh round of the World Championship and marks the first flyaway event of 2016. A host of 600bhp World RX Supercars will start the event, with a further eight RX Lites cars entered in the standalone RX Lites Intercontinental Cup.
For the third year in a row, World RX joins the Grand Prix of Trois-Rivieres (GP3R), now in its 47th year, event for a week-long motorsport extravaganza. The rallycross Supercars will kick off the motoring festival on the only street-race circuit of the year along with Formula Drift, Supermoto. NASCAR Canada, Porsche Coupe Challenge and Canadian TouringCars will follow after the rallycross weekend.
Leading the World RX driver standings going into Canada is EKS driver Mattias Ekstrom who won three out of six events in the season’s first half. Ekstrom is five points ahead of reigning Champion Petter Solberg who won the Canadian leg two years ago. Last year’s event was won by Frenchman Davy Jeanney.
Championship leader Ekstrom is yet to win a World RX race outside of Europe but will be looking to make amends this weekend. “Three victories so far isn’t bad, but leaving our home round in Sweden without any trophy or champagne was disappointing,” admitted Ekstrom. “After Holjes I travelled to Zandvoort for the last DTM event before the summer break when I enjoyed some relaxing days with my family at Lake Garda so I can enter Canada RX with fully charged batteries. Now we are ready to make it four victories at the first overseas event of the year.”
Hot on the heels of both Ekstrom and Solberg is Hoonigan Racing Division driver Andreas Bakkerud who has moved up to third in the overall standings following back-to-back victories in Norway and Sweden. Bakkerud will be joined by America’s Ken Block in the team’s second Ford Focus RS Supercar.
Other front-runners competing in Canada include Team Peugeot-Hansen’s Timmy Hansen who has been mountain bike training with the Swedish National Team during the mid-season break. He also gained valuable seat-time when he tested the brand new city circuit at Riga last week. Hansen was joined by World RX drivers Reinis Nitiss [ALL-INKL.COM Muennich Motorsport] and Janis Baumanis [World RX Team Austria] who also tested at the Latvian track.
Hansen’s team-mate Sebastien Loeb will compete at Trois-Rivieres for the first time. The Frenchman has had an impressive first half to the season, having finished on the podium twice and holding fourth overall in the points. Since the previous World RX round, Loeb has been in Asia competing on the Silk Way Rally where he was in contention for the win until a four-hour penalty hindered his progress.
Elsewhere, several World RX drivers have been busy with other projects. Olsbergs MSE driver Kevin Eriksson has attended two charity events and has taken part in a local rally sprint, which he was leading until he was forced to retire after going off the road. His team-mate Niclas Gronholm competed in the second round of the NEZ Crosskart Championship, finishing sixth overall.
Volkswagen RX Sweden driver Johan Kristoffersson competed in a round of the Swedish Touring Car Championship while his team-mate Anton Marklund has driven in Porsche Carrera Cup Scandinavia. Both drivers also took part in a three-day biking camp with the Swedish National Team.
Delays in getting the Olsbergs-MSE built Honda Civic added to the list of non-homologated cars eligible to compete in World RX means that the car entered for Sebastian Eriksson will not start.
The standalone RX Lites Intercontinental Cup supports the World RX event in Canada. The 2015 winner Oliver Eriksson will return in a bid to retain his crown, as will home driver Andrew Ranger, who scored a podium finish on his debut last year.
Ranger is the only Canadian driver competing on home soil and will be a firm favourite with the home fans.
Another former RX Lites Cup winner, America’s Mitchell DeJong will also return to the series. Finland’s Miki Weckstrom, Sweden’s Sandra Hultgren and America’s Cole Keatts will also race in Canada. Dirtfish Motorsports will run a car for Connor Martell and Saeed Bintouq will travel from the UAE for the event.
World RX Managing Director Paul Bellamy commented: “After a four week hiatus, everyone should be well rested ahead of our first flyaway event of the year. The Canadian circuit is both exciting and unique: it features two jumps which gives it something extra special and the approach to turn one on this circuit is the longest of the whole season with drivers reaching speeds of up to 140mph. With only 36 points separating the top five drivers in the overall standings and a total of 180 points still available in the second half of the year, the next few events will prove crucial in determining this year’s Champion.”
From a Cooper Tire point of view
Paul Coates, General Manager – Motorsport, Cooper Tire Europe: “After the journey across the Atlantic ocean the Cooper rallycross control tyres will be fitted up by our American service operation and face the challenges of this season’s only street circuit race. The tyres really do go from the rough to the smooth here with a jump added in for even more action. The quick tarmac sections really work the tread compound and we can easily see temperatures of 100°C but the quick transition to a fine dirt helps keep temperatures under control. However, the combination of tight narrow corners and high speeds can easily result in an impact and a broken rim.”
Friday 5 August
1500 Press conference: Ken Block, Mattias Ekstrom, Reinis Nitiss, Niclas Gronholm and Andrew Ranger
1730 Racecars depart circuit for parade in downtown Trois-Rivieres
1810 Draw for Q1grid positions
Saturday 6 August
0900 Practice: World RX and RX Lites
1100 Practice: World RX and RX Lites
1230 Formula Drift Canada
1300 Lunch break
1300 Monster Energy Pool Deck Party
1330 Autograph session at Cooper Tires
1400 Qualifying 1 (Q1): World RX and RX Lites
1445 Qualifying CURC
1510 AMA Supermoto Qualifying
1540 Formula Drift Canada
1615 Qualifying 2 (Q2): World RX and RX Lites
1700 Qualifying CURC
1715 AMA Supermoto finals
1800 Formula Drift Canada
Sunday 7 August
0825 Warm-up: World RX and RX Lites
0930 Qualifying 3 (Q3): World RX and RX Lites
1010 Supermoto warm-up
1100 Formula Drift Canada
1130 Qualifying 4 (Q4): World RX and RX Lites
1215 Qualifying CURC
1230 Semi-final: RX Lites
1245-1340 lunch break
1315 FMX Paddock Show
1340 Qualifying AMA Supermoto
1415 Formula Drift Canada
1450 World RX driver introductions
1500 World RX semi-finals
RX Lites final
World RX final
World RX podium
1600 CURC semi-finals
1625 AMA Supermoto finals
1715 CURC final
1740 Formula Drift Canada final
View the full Supercar entry list for Canada here
The RX Lites entry list can be found here
Full TV listings for World RX can be viewed on this link