The 2015 FIA World Rallycross Championship returns to the Istanbul Park Circuit in Turkey for the second year in a row, where the venue is looking to build on the success and excitement that the 2014 event produced on the former Grand Prix track.
With the series now moving to the final stages of the year, the targets have been set firmly for the championship contenders as they look to secure the silverware before the seasons final event to be held in Argentina in November.
SDRX driver and 2014 WorldRX Champion Petter Solberg is currently 35 points ahead of second placed Team Peugeot-Hansen pilot Timmy Hansen and Turkey offers one of the first chances for the 2003 WRC Champion to secure his second WorldRX title. The situation is similar for the Peugeot-Hansen squad, which is currently 77 points ahead of the Ford OMSE outfit in the Teams Trophy. Victory at the event could help secure their first Teams Title after a stellar performance in previous rounds.
Whilst the regular 18 drivers and the eight regular WorldRX teams battle it out for supremacy during the series only visit to Asia, they will be joined by several experienced drivers and teams. Alexander Hvaal reurns to the series in his JC Race Teknik run Citroen DS3 whilst FIA Super1600 Championship leader Janis Baumanis makes his third appearance in the Hansen Development Team’s Peugeot 208 after making two previous appearances in WorldRX in 2015. Another Peugeot joins the field from Albatec Racing who are running former WRC ace Kristian Sohlberg for the third time this year in a Rallycross event.
Sohlberg has previous driven for Albatec in the British Rallycross Championship earlier this year and also in the French Rallycross Championship and he is looking forward to making his WorldRX debut this weekend: “I’m feeling very excited about Turkey, a little nervous but just counting down the days until my first World RX race,” explained the former WRC driver. “I’ve been watching video footage of the track, but apart from that it’s all new to me, though I have heard it’s very nice and the gravel part is very slippery! I’ve also increased my physical training. Sports and training is in my daily routine anyway, but I have done extra in preparation.”
In the RX Lites series, the championship is a three way fight between Kevin Hansen, Kevin Eriksson and Thomas Bryntesson, who has closed to within six points of Eriksson. The series sees the debut of former BTCC driver and current GT driver Tom Onslow-Cole, who won the RX Talent Search competiton and as the prize winner will drive an Olsbergs-run Rockstar-backed RX Lites car.
Onslow-Cole is looking forward to his debut: “I cannot wait,” said the British driver who will race for the Olsbergs MSE team alongside regular driver and championship contender, Kevin Eriksson. “The races are so action-packed and adrenaline-fuelled. When I watch at home I can’t sit still… to be a part of it is already giving me a huge buzz! Tanner invited me to Lydden Hill a couple of years ago and I stood on the bank thinking I have got to have a go at this. So, when the MSA invited people to apply for the shootout, I couldn’t reply quick enough.”