This weekend sees the 2015 FIA World Rallycross Championship return to action after a break away since Lydden Hill in May. The series returns to Germany and the historic Estering circuit for round five of this season, which last year bore witness to the closest finish in WorldRX Competition so far.
Joining the WorldRX regulars in Germany are the competitors from this year’s FIA European Rallycross Championship, which has its second round at the Estering and offers another weekend of close fought racing in every class. There are 36 Supercars entered in total with 18 fighting for WorldRX glory and 18 fighting for EuroRX victory.
SDRX driver Petter Solberg leads the Drivers’ Championship on 112 points after taking wins in Hockenheim and Lydden Hill and two second places at Montalegre and Mettet. Behind him in the title chase is Montalegre winner and Volkswagen Team Sweden driver Johan Kristoffersson on 83 points with Ford Olsbergs MSE‘s Andreas Bakkerud occupying third place on 77 points, having been consistently in each Supercar Final. Team Peugeot-Hansen‘s Timmy Hansen lies in fourth place after two podium finishes on 63 points so far whilst Latvian Reinis Nitiss is two points behind in fifth position. The man Solberg regards as his closest rival, Mattias Ekstrom in his EKSRX Audi, lies in sixth place but he has the speed to change that.
The Teams’ Trophy is a closer matter however. Ford Olsbergs MSE leads the charge on 138 points, having taken the lead at Lydden Hill from SDRX, who are a further six points behind them. SDRX are title challengers but they do need to find some reliability for Liam Doran who has proven fast but fragile in his new Citroen DS3. In third place are Team Peugeot-Hansen, who have been testing recently in a bid to close the gap and score a large haul of points.
In EuroRX, Albatec Racing‘s Jerome Grosset-Janin leads the Drivers’ Championship after his first ever EuroRX victory last time out at Mettet. Six points behind him tied for 2nd place in the Championship are two title favourites. Volkswagen Team Sweden’s Ole-Christian Veiby and HTB Racing/Marklund Motorsport driver Tommy Rustad were fast in Mettet in their respective Polo Supercars and each will be looking to stop Grosset-Janin from taking a second EuroRX victory. With Francois Duval not attending this weekend, this gives Frode Holte a chance to close the points gap in his Hyundai i20 whilst Joni-Pekka Rajala in his Eklund Motorsport Saab and Hungarian driver Tamas Karai will be looking to improve in an incredibly competitive field of Supercars.
The Estering is well known for its tight hairpin turn one which often causes clashes and incident during the heat stages and all of the drivers and teams will be looking to survive that lap one entry to go on to score points. Another factor to take into account is the tight joke section near the end of the lap that can cause headaches for strategy.
The 2014 event saw some spectacular racing at the venue, with memorable moments including Andreas Bakkerud spinning down the back straight after contact in his Ford Fiesta during the heat stages, ending up facing the oncoming field. Another was Mattias Ekstrom going one on one with a tyre barrier and surviving the encounter to qualify for the finals! Robin Larsson in his Audi A1 was spectacular as he fought off the WorldRX regulars whilst the outstanding memory is Petter Solberg beating Ekstrom at the line in the Supercar Final by 0.005of a second.
Who says motorsport is boring…?
Round five of the 2015 FIA World Rallycross Championship and round two of the FIA European Rallycross Championship takes place this weekend at the Estering circuit in Northern Germany.