2017 World RX driver and team entries revealed
Entries for the 2017 FIA World Rallycross Championship presented by Monster Energy have been released by the FIA this morning [Friday 3 March]. The full entry list can be found here.
Eighteen drivers (nine different nationalities) will battle it out in the headline World Championship Supercar class which includes six teams and six individual entries.
Leading the charge will be World RX Teams’ Champions EKS which will be headed up by reigning Champion Mattias Ekstrom and his Finnish team-mate Topi Heikkinen. With official factory support from Audi, the team is also fielding a third car at all 12 World Championship rounds which will be driven by Latvia’s Reinis Nitiss. Team Peugeot-Hansen has also entered a third car this season with Kevin Hansen set to drive a Peugeot 208 WRX Supercar as an independent entry. Sebastien Loeb and Timmy Hansen will remain the nominated point-scorers for the Swedish-based team.
Double World RX Champion Petter Solberg and Sweden’s Johan Kristoffersson have joined forces to compete in the new PSRX Volkswagen Sweden team. They will pilot a pair of Volkswagen Polo RX Supercars that have been developed and engineered in Hanover, Germany. Solberg will be responsible for the sporting operations of the new team supported by Volkswagen Sweden and its distributors.
MJP Racing Team Austria (formerly World RX Team Austria) has made two driver changes as Kevin Eriksson and Timo Scheider will compete in a pair of Ford Fiesta Supercars. Eriksson – who won Germany RX last year – moves from Olsbergs MSE while DTM Champion Scheider makes a full-time commitment to rallycross for the first time.
New for 2017 is Austria’s Team STARD which is managed by former WRC driver Manfred Stohl’s operation, Stohl Racing. Team-mates Janis Baumanis (Latvia) and Timur Timerzyanov (Russia) have both switched from Max Pucher’s MJP Racing Team to the all-new STARD team and will compete in two Ford Fiesta RXS Supercars.
The Hoonigan Racing Division team will remain unchanged this year – Ken Block and Andreas Bakkerud team-mates again in the Ford Focus RS RX which helped Bakkerud amass three victories last season.
There will also be six individual entries who can compete for the 2017 Drivers’ Championship including Great Britain’s Guy Wilks who will compete in Kristoffersson’s 2016 Volkswagen Polo with the all-new Loco World RX Team. Hungary’s Kornel “CsuCsu” Lukacs will move up from the FIA European Rallycross Championship and will compete in Gigi Galli’s Kia Rio Supercar. Galli is set to return to World RX later in the season in another brand-new Rio as team-mate to Lukacs.
Jean-Baptiste Dubourg confirmed earlier this week that he will enter a full World Championship campaign in the same Peugeot 208 WRX Supercar which was used by Kevin Hansen to win the 2016 Euro RX title. Niclas Gronholm – son of WRC legend Marcus – will drive an M-Sport Fiesta under the GRX banner.
Austria’s Max Pucher and Britain’s Andrew Jordan are also featured on the 2017 entry list. Pucher has not yet nominated which events he will compete in but BTCC ace Jordan has confirmed he will replace Scheider at World RX of Great Britain at Lydden Hill in May.
The full FIA European Rallycross Championship line-up for Supercars, Super1600 and TouringCars will be released on Monday 6 March. The FIA World Rallycross Championship is head-to-head, short, sharp racing on mixed surfaces (dirt and asphalt) contained within amphitheatre venues. High profile drivers are equipped with RX Supercars with over 600bhp and the ability to accelerate from 0-60mph in less than two seconds. World RX debuted in 2014 with a 12-round calendar including events in Argentina, Turkey, Canada and throughout Europe. An expanded series was confirmed for 2015, with new rounds at Formula One venues Hockenheim in Germany and the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona, Spain. In 2016, an all-new city race was held in Riga, Latvia, and in 2017 rallycross will visit Africa for the first time with a new round scheduled in Cape Town. Race meetings include a number of short, sharp action-packed qualifying heats with the most successful drivers progressing through to the finals.