Round two of the 2015 FIA World Rallycross Championship takes place at Hockenheim in Germany this weekend in what is a unique double header with the DTM Series hosting its first round of the year.
Whilst the DTM regulars will use the traditional Grand Prix layout for their two races, the WorldRX competitors will race on a track that uses the famous Stadium section of the historic circuit. This offers a unique challenge to all the competitors as this is the first time they will have raced at the former F1 venue.
The WorldRX field grows to 22 entries this weekend as the 8 regular teams and 18 regular drivers are joined by British squad JRM Racing who will be racing under the banner of USRX. The Daventry based team will run two MINI Clubman RX Supercars for american drivers Dave Mirra and Danny Way as they embark on their limited programme for 2015, ahead of a full assault in 2016.
JRM Director James Rumsey is aware of the growth WorldRX has made in the last 12 months and how eager both Mirra and Way are to get stuck into the action.
“Dave and Danny watched the development of World RX in 2014 and were hugely impressed,” said Rumsey. “They want to be part of the series in the future so Hockenheim is a good event for them to get a feel for the series and our MINI.”
Returning to the WorldRX series after making several appearances in 2014 are popular Belgian driver Koen Pauwels in his Pauwels Motorsport Ford Focus and Rallycross star Tanner Foust. Pauwels has confirmed that he will make several appearances in WorldRX this year, however his main focus is the 2015 FIA European Rallycross Championship. Pauwels will contest Hockenheim in his older Mk2 Ford Focus before moving onto using a newer Mk3 Ford Focus for his EuroRX assault.
Foust returns to the series in a Marklund Motorsport Volkswagen Polo in what is the first in a programme of at least four WorldRX events in 2015. He joins regular drivers Topi Heikkinen and PG Andersson who both showed well last time out in Portugal. Foust is taking part in a busy schedule of Motorsport this year which includes a full season of Red Bull Global Rallycross and an outing in the new DTM supporting Audi TT Cup. Heikkinen and EKSRX driver Anton Marklund are also racing in the the TT Cup.
With team boss Mattias Ekstrom on DTM duty for Audi this weekend, Edward Sandstrom steps in to deputise for him in the Audi S1, which showed good pace in Portugal as Ekstrom made it to the Semi-Final stage. Marklund will be looking to improve on his second outing as an EKSRX driver after his Audi finished upside down in the gravel during a weekend filled with mixed conditions.
Ford OlsbergsMSE will be looking to improve on their performance in Portugal where Andreas Bakkerud, Reinis Nitiss and Timur Timerzyanov were fast all weekend but suffered start-line issues. However as 2014 showed, the Ford Fiesta is often in the thick of the action and the team will be out to catch Teams Trophy leaders Team Peugeot-Hansen. SDRX will also be looking to find race winning form for Petter Solberg and for Liam Doran who suffered technical issues last time out.
Volkswagen Team Sweden are looking to build on its victory last weekend whilst new teams Muennich Motorsport and WorldRX Team Austria will be learning more from their cars as they enter their second weekend of WorldRX action.
Joining the DTM and the FIA World Rallycross Championship this weekend are the FIA European Formula 3 Championship and the Audi TT Cup, meaning a busy and action packed weekend is in prospect. Martin Anayi, WorldRX Managing Director for IMG Motorsport is looking forward to building on this inaugural double header concept.
“We are very excited to work alongside ITR on this multi-year partnership with DTM, which I firmly believe will benefit both forms of motorsport,” said Anayi. “With more than 140,000 spectators expected to attend the DTM season-opener, our partnership with ITR will showcase World RX to an entirely new audience who I am convinced will love our flame-spitting 600bhp Supercars and wheel-to-wheel racing.
“It is a great honour to join with DTM and there is a natural link with two-time DTM Champion Mattias Ekstrom competing at the majority of our World RX events. We are also delighted to welcome JRM Racing to World RX for their first event of 2015. The British team has worked relentlessly over the past few months to get this project off the ground and it’s extremely encouraging to see another manufacturer in MINI join World RX.
“We now have all the ingredients in place to showcase the diversity of our Championship to a brand new audience.”