The 2015 FIA World Rallycross Championship arrives at Loheac in France for the ninth round of the season and a bumper entry of drivers and supercars for the iconic French venue.
The momentum of recent rounds sees Team Peugeot-Hansen having taken wins with Davy Jeanney in Canada and Timmy Hansen in Norway whilst Hansen has been the fastest driver at the intermediate stage for the past three events. They have become the team to beat in WorldRX and a serious threat to Petter Solberg‘s chances of retaining his title.
With the team having prepared the 208 WRXs at Veilzy, hopes are high for a fourth win. Team Principal Kenneth Hansen explains, “As ever, we will need to work hard and remain fully focused throughout the race weekend, but we are confident we can fight for victory once again.”
As well as the strong Peugeot squad, the 18 WorldRX regulars will face stiff opposition from a quality field of drivers including four former French Rallycross Champions, a four time FIA World Touring Car Champion, a former British Rally Champion and a World Rally Championship ace to mention a few.
Albatec Racing return to the series after their appearance at Lydden Hill in May with EuroRX regular Jerome Grosset-Janin on board whilst Yvan Muller joins the squad for his debut in WorldRX. The Frenchman is looking forward to his debut on home turf.
“The car is great and very fast, and has been designed to be good on both tarmac and gravel, so there will be some compromise required,” explained Muller. “The start and the first corner will be critical, I need to try and avoid contact, but it will not be easy. I don’t have any specific plans for Loheac, just to explore and to learn, so I have not set myself any goals. Rallycross has grown so much, and has a great future ahead of it, and at World Championship level the battle is very intense.”
WRC ace Francois Duval returns to the series after his explosive appearance in Belgium where he joins the existing Pailler Competition drivers in a three car Peugeot squad.
The Daventry-based JRM Squad return to the series with both of their Mini ClubmanRX Supercars being driven by Guy Wilks, who qualified for the Final at Lydden and is joined by Guerlain Chicherit who makes his WorldRX debut this weekend. After Wilks’ performance in May, the teams hopes are high for another good showing in their 2015 development programme.
After a surprising poor run of form in both Canada and Norway, SDRX driver Petter Solberg is ready to change tactics to fight to keep his drivers title lead and Loheac will witness this change of defence. “I understand now I’m going to have to fight for the Championship – it’s time to show some teeth,” Solberg warns. Team-mate Liam Doran will also be looking for an upturn in form after missing out on the chance in recent events to progress to the Semi-Final.
Finally, former French Super1600 champion David Olivier will debut his Renault Logan Supercar at Loheac this weekend, however the Logan has one difference. It uses a 3.5 Litre normally aspirated engine, meaning the Logan will be the first ever non-turbo car to compete in WorldRX. Olivier explains:
“It’s always exciting to try something allowed by the regulations that nobody has done before. The naturally aspirated engine is cheaper than a turbo engine and easier to service, although it does have a bit less power.”