The FIA World Rallycross Championship had its first official day of the 2014 season today as the teams and drivers presented themselves to the media at the new World RX venue, Franciacorta International Circuit in Brescia, Italy.
A strong lineup for the inaugural season was unveiled with six permanent two car World RX teams along with a selection of Supercar, Euro RX and RX Lites competitors.
Of the six permanent entries three of those are manufacturer-backed - Ford-OlsbergsMSE with Andreas Bakkerud and Reinis Nitiss, VW-Marklund with Topi Heikkinen and Anton Marklund, and Peugeot-Hansen with Timur Timerzyanov and Timmy Hansen.
Petter Solberg and his PSRX team will be bringing their new-for-2014 Citroen DS3 Supercars which he will share with Alex Hvaal.
2003 World Rally Champion Solberg was feeling confident about the year ahead: “I really want to win,” explained the Norwegian. “There are a lot of good drivers this year but I will fight, don’t you worry! Last year we were not quite ready but we really treated it as more of a test. This year, we will fight for the Championship title.”
Liam Doran presented the Monster Energy World RX Team’s Citroen DS3 Supercar while Albatec Racing showcased their Peugeot 208 Supercar which will be driven by Andy Scott and ex-Formula 1 World Champion Jacques Villeneuve.
“I’ve loved racing since I was five – it helps keep me alive!,” joked Villeneuve at the press conference. “I did some ice driving in France and then I began to think that RX might be the next step. The format of the races helps make it really exciting to drive. The fact that rallycross has now become a World Championship is good but this year my main aim is to learn and we will see what happens after that.”
Two-time DTM Champion Mattias Ekstrom also announced his place to compete in selected World RX rounds with EKS in a Audi A1 Supercar. Full details of his announcement can be read here.
Independent permanent drivers Jos Jansen and Derek Tohill also presented their cars in Italy.
In other news reigning French Rallycross Champion Jerome Grosset-Janin presented his Renault Clio III Supercar which he hopes to take to Euro RX glory as he goes up against 15 other Supercar drivers that have committed to the full season.
Martin Anayi, FIA World Rallycross Championship Managing Director for IMG Motorsport, commented: “It’s been a fantastic turnout today and I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all of our drivers, sponsors, media and guests for making the effort to attend our official World RX media day.
“With more than 30 broadcasters already confirmed to televise our Championship combined with the truly spectacular line-up of drivers we have competing this year, I firmly believe that World RX is the most exciting motorsport series in the world right now.
“We’ve witnessed a huge period of growth in rallycross over the past 12 months and we now have all the elements in place to make World RX the must-watch sport of 2014.”
The 2014 FIA World Rallycross Championship will get underway with World RX of Portugal in Montalegre next weekend (4-5 May).