The 2015 FIA World Rallycross Championship was launched yesterday, at a successful Media Day held at the Circuit De Barcelona-Catalunya in Barcelona with confirmation made of the teams and drivers competing in this years series.
WorldRX in 2015 will see eight teams competing for the FIA World Rallycross Teams Trophy whilst eighteen drivers will battle to become the second ever FIA World Rallycross Champion after Petter Solberg took the crown last year. There were a number of surprises during the Media Day announcements.
Firstly, Petter Solberg and Liam Doran have teamed up to work together as SDRX, giving Solberg a chance to defend his title in his Citroen DS3 whilst Doran is looking forward to a better year of WorldRX after a difficult 2014 season in his Citroen DS3. Whilst both drivers will operate out of Norway and England respectively during testing and set-up work, this team-up also allows them to try and win the Teams Trophy as well as aiming for Driver Title glory at all thirteen WorldRX Events.
The 2014 Champion is looking forward to working with Doran and aiming for more title silverware.
“We’ve been working on the car for some time and I’m feeling very well prepared for the start of the season. We’ve got some pre-season testing in France with the DS3 next week ahead of the first race in Portugal at the end of the month,” confirmed Solberg.
The Norwegian World Champion added: “I’m also very excited to be joining forces with a talented RX driver like Liam Doran. He has worked hard over the winter to refocus, and has come back stronger from a very tough season in 2014. This really shows his motivation to want to fight back. I think the dynamic will work well between us this year.”
Another big announcement came from Double European Champion Timur Timerzyanov, who has signed with 2014 FIA World Rallycross Teams Trophy winners Ford OMSE to drive a full season Wildcard entry run by Namus OMSE. Ford OMSE have retained 2014 drivers Andreas Bakkerud and Reinis Nitiss, who between them took three Super Event wins last year. All three drivers will pilot Ford Fiesta ST Supercars, whilst OMSE have retained works support from Ford for 2015.
Timerzyanov feels confident in his move during the winter, ahead of the 2015 campaign.
“Team boss Andreas Eriksson wants to be the best and he will do anything to try to be the best,” said Timerzyanov. “The people in this organisation know every bolt on the cars and they know what they need to do to win. I trust this team.”
Team Peugeot-Hansen confirmed its lineup last week, with rapid Frenchman Davy Jeanney joining 2014 ItalyRX winner Timmy Hansen in brand new Peugeot 208 WRX Supercars.
Volkswagen Sweden has expanded its lineup to four VW Polo‘s for this season with Toomas “Topi” Heikkinen being joined by Per-Gunnar Andersson at Marklund Motorsport whilst Kristoffersson Motorsport joins WorldRX for its first season after appearances in EuroRX during 2014. Johan Kristoffersson is joined by former EuroRX driver Tord Linnerud.
There are five Audi Supercars competing in WorldRX this yesr with three different models in use. Mattias Ekstrom‘s EKSRX Outfit has committed to a full season in 2015 after rapid progress was made last year. Anton Marklund joins Ekstrom in the Audi S1 whilst Ekstrom will miss the Hockenheim round due to his DTM commitments. Edward Sandstrom will step in for that round.
Muennich Motorsport joins WorldRX for its first full season, with Team Owner Rene Muennich piloting one of the teams Audi S3‘s in all thirteen events. 2006 Formula Renault 3.5 Champion Alx Danielsson has been confirmed in the second S3 Supercar for Portugal, Hockenheim and Belgium only so far. 2014 EuroRX Champion Robin Larsson has stepped up to a full WorldRX Campaign this season, remaining with Larsson Jernberg Racing and he will be using the rapid Audi A1 Supercar that took him to several podium finishes last year.
Another new team to WorldRX this season is WorldRX Team Austria, being run by Austrian Rallycross driver Max Pucher. Former WRC driver Manfred Stohl will join him in the team as both drivers will pilot Stohl Racing built Mk7 Ford Fiesta Supercars.
UK Team JRM Racing were also present at Media Day with their Mini ClubmanRX Supercars. The Daventry-based team have confirmed a limited programme in 2015 ahead of a full championship assault in 2016. American drivers Danny Way and Dave Mirra were on hand for driving duties, however no drivers have been named for the 2015 season as yet.
World RX Managing Director for IMG Motorsport, Martin Anayi, spoke about various new TV deals for the upcoming World RX season, with a combined household reach to exceed more than 800 million homes worldwide.
“The number of broadcasters taking World RX has grown steadily since IMG took over the rights to the Championship at the end of 2012 and we have commitment from a number of key broadcasters to show extended World RX coverage live in 2015,” he said.
“The amount of free-to-air TV broadcast coverage has increased dramatically and we’ll continue to offer live coverage via our website to ensure that fans across the globe can keep up with the race for the World and European RX Championship titles.”
The opening round of the FIA World Rallycross Championship will take place at Montalegre in Portugal on 24-26 April. Coverage in the UK will be broadcast live and delayed as live for some events on British Eurosport whilst Quest will show a highlights programme after each round.
2015 World RX Permanent Teams & Drivers
SDRX: Petter Solberg (Norway)
SDRX: Liam Doran (UK)
Ford Olsbergs MSE: Reinis Nitiss (Latvia)
Ford Olsbergs MSE: Andreas Bakkerud (Norway)
Marklund Motorsport: Topi Heikkinen (Finland)
Marklund Motorsport: PG Andersson (Sweden)
Team Peugeot-Hansen: Timmy Hansen (Sweden)
Team Peugeot-Hansen: Davy Jeanney (France)
Volkswagen Team Sweden: Johan Kristofferson (Sweden)
Volkswagen Team Sweden: Tord Linnerud (Norway)
EKS: Mattias Ekstrom (Sweden)
EKS: Anton Marklund (Sweden)
EKS: Edward Sandstrom (Sweden)
ALL-INKL.COM Muennich Motorsport: Rene Muennich (Germany)
ALL-INKL.COM Muennich Motorsport: Alx Danielsson (Sweden)
World RX Team Austria: Manfred Stohl (Austria)
World RX Team Austria: Max Pucher (Austria)
Permanent individual entries: Timur Timerzyanov & Robin Larsson