PREVIEW: 2016 World Rallycross of Hockenheim


2015 - Hockenheim - SOLBERG - world rallycross
2015 - Hockenheim - SOLBERG - world rallycross

The second round of the spellbinding 2016 FIA World Rallycross Championship heads to Hockenheim , Germany this weekend, it’s a unique event in that motorsport fans can get a double-dose of top-level four-wheeled action with Rallycross sharing the same circuit with DTM on the same weekend. Mattias Esktrom, founder of the EKS team and two-times DTM Champion will have his hands full during the weekend participating in both events.

The Hockenheim circuit has seen some minor changes to its layout since 2015 with more added tarmac which will make the surface less loose.  After turn one, there is a long drag to the long left-hand turn two before the circuit twists its way through a complex dirt section.

Last time out…

Last time out in the thrilling World RX of Portugal, in Montalegre, Johan Kristoffersson was unable to repeat his 2015 victory after a collision with Peter Solberg in the final. Kristoffersson, who won the Monster Energy Super Charge Award for beating his rivals into turn one, felt he had ‘right of way’ coming out of the joker lap, but the smash into Solberg broke his driveshaft which allowed the Norwegian to take victory.

Robin Larsson took an impressive second place in his privateer Audi whilst Topi Heikkinen stepped on the last podium spot in the EKS car. With Mattias Ekstrom setting the pace in the qualifiers, this points haul ensures that the Swedish team sit at the top of the team standings with 39 points.

Hoonigan Racing star Andreas Bakkerud finished in fourth ahead of World Rally Champion Sébastien Loeb in the Team Hansen Peugeot 208 WRX.

Last seasons’ championship runner up Timmy Hansen had a torrid time finishing down in ninth place overall.  The young Swede retired at the semi-final stage after damaging his power steering after contact with Ekstrom at the first corner.

Last year…

Petter Solberg celebrates his Hockenheim victory (Credit: FIA World Rallycross Championship)
Petter Solberg celebrates his Hockenheim victory (Credit: FIA World Rallycross Championship)

In the 2015 World Rallycross round at Hockenheim, Solberg charged to victory ahead of Reinis Nitiss in the OlsbergsMSE.  Timmy Hansen finished in third place ahead of Topi Heikkinen in fourth.

Robin Larsson got off to a great start but took the joker on the final lap and made contact with Hansen and Heikkinen forcing him to retire. Andreas Bakkerud retired midway through the race after damage to his suspension.

Gladiators READY!

Alongside the usual 17 protagonists competing at Hockenheim, Peugeot Hansen Academy Team drivers Davy Jeanney and Kevin Hansen will compete in their second round this season.  The duo took part in the event at Portugal two weeks ago with Hansen and Jeanney in ninth and tenth respectively.

Experienced Austrian Max Pucher will make his first start for World RX Team Austria with Jean-Baptiste Doubourg driving for DA Racing; both drivers unable to complete in Portugal due to parts delivery problems. 

Heading into Hockenheim

You have to feel that there are a lot of quick drivers who could take victory in Germany.  Unfortunately, there are only six places available and someone is going to miss out.

There will be more to come from drivers such as Liam Doran and Kevin Eriksson who both reached the semi-finals in Montalegre.  Timmy Hansen missed out on reaching the final as well due to no fault of his own; and not forgetting Ekstrom’s speed, which was demonstrated in the qualifiers.  The EKS team look like a force to be reckoned with when they hook up the perfect weekend.

We have an exciting prospect ahead with Petter keeping the momentum from last season, but he’s a driver who will certainly be looking over his shoulders at the charging brigade of talent hunting down those wins, thirsty for a World Championship.