This weekend will see the all new FIA World Rallycross Championship presented by Monster Energy get underway as it heads to Portugal with the champions from multiple disciplines leading the driving line up of more than 50 drivers across the Supercar, Super1600 and TouringCar categories and in the supporting RX Lites Cup.
With a star line up headed by 2003 World Rally Champion Petter Solberg and ’97 Formula One/’95 Indycar champion Jacques Villenueve among other Rallycross regulars including Britain’s own Liam Doran this weekend will provide an action packed start to the World Rallycross championship.
“There are a lot of very good drivers in RX this year – it’s going to be tough but I will fight – I promise you!” explained Solberg who will be behind the wheel of his all-new Citroen DS3 Supercar. “Last year we had some problems with the car but now we have good experience of the circuits and we will come back even stronger. I want to win the title. I’ll be flat out from the start!”
There is six two-car teams heading to protugal including the manufacturer-backed Ford-OlsbergsMSE of Andreas Bakkerud and Reinis Nitiss, VW-Marklund of Topi Heikkinen and Anton Marklund along with the Peugeot-Hansen of Timur Timerzyanov and Timmy Hansen.
Petter Solberg and team-mate Alex Hvaal head the PSRX Citroen squad, Monster Energy World RX Team bring their Citroen’s with Liam Doran and Krzysztof Skorupski.
The two Peugeot 208’s of Albatec Racing with Jacques Villeneueve and Andy Scott will looking to get off to a flying start with Villeneuve happy ahead of his World RX debut: “Rallycross is both fast and exciting. The power in the cars is unbelievable, they’re like rockets but driving is what I know – it’s what keeps me alive. The extra elements that make up rallycross are what I need to learn this year – the strategy, the close driving, the tyres – that’s what’s new for me.”
Top female rally star Ramona Karlsson will be driving the Per Eklund Motorsport run Saab 93, while Jos Jansen, Bohdan Ludwiczak, Alexandre Theil make up some of the one-car entries. Two-time European Rallycross Champion Derek Tohill will be racing the LD Motorsport run Citroen DS3 Supercar while local favorite Joaquim Santos brings his Ford Focus.
Martin Anayi – Managing Director for World RX at IMG Motorsport – added: “All the ingredients are now in place to make World RX the must-watch motorsport series in 2014. In Portugal, we’ve got a star-studded line-up of drivers who will also be joined by some great local drivers, which is fantastic for the home fans.
“It’s very positive to have so many entries at our first World RX event, and of course this will be the first ever time that we see the RX Lites in action too. The circuit is nestled in the mountains of Montalegre and creates a stunning backdrop for what is expected to be a fast and furious weekend of racing ahead. Over the past few months, a lot of hard work has been going on behind the scenes and now we can’t wait to get the season up and running.”
Round 1, World RX of Portugal, will be based in Montalegre, Portugal. The draw for Saturday’s first qualifying heat will be made on Friday afternoon (2 May). The second qualifying heat also takes place on Saturday with the remainder of the heats plus the semi-finals and finals to take place on Sunday (4 May).