The FIA World Rallycross Championship have confirmed today the entry list for the 2017 season of World RX competition, with 18 drivers announced for the Drivers Championship whilst there are 6 teams entered for the Team Championship.
Headlining the entry are EKSRX, who will be supported by Audi Sport for the 2017 season whilst fielding three Audi S1 Supercars for 2016 Champion Mattias Ekstrom and Topi Heikkinen whilst Reinis Nitiss was confirmed recently to drive the third entry. Nitiss will score in the Drivers Championship only.
Team Peugeot-Hansen also announced a three car entry for 2017 with both Timmy Hansen and World RX of Latvia winner Sebastien Loeb returning for a second consecutive season as team-mates in new for 2017 Peugeot 208 WRX’s. 2016 FIA European Rallycross Champion Kevin Hansen graduates to the team and will drive a 2016 208 WRX Supercar as he races in the series full time this year.
Hoonigan Racing Division return for their second full season of World RX Comnpetition with an unchanged lineup also. Ken Block is back for his second season and there has been plenty of testing for the Ford Focus RS RX during the off season to improve the car further. Andreas Bakkerud, who took the car to three wins in 2016 returns as well, hoping to challenge for more wins and ultimately the Drivers title.
One of the biggest announcements over the winter was Petter Solberg confirming that he will race this year with Volkswagen backing alongside two time World RX winner Johan Kristoffersson. The squad is officially known as PSRX Volkswagen Sweden and both drivers will race brand new Volkswagen Polo Supercars built with assistance with Volkswagen Germany. You can be sure that Solberg will be looking to gain his third Drivers title as well as the first Team title for his outfit.
World RX Team Austria have undergone a name change during the off season and for 2017 they will be known as MJP Racing Team Austria, running two brand new Ford Fiesta Supercars. Team Boss Max. J Pucher has signed an exciting duo of drivers in the form of last years World RX of Germany winner Kevin Eriksson and former DTM driver Timo Schieder, who impressed on his debut for Munnich Motorsport last year.
Schieder will miss out on the World RX of Great Britain due to other commitments, however his seat for that event will be taken by former British Touring Car champion Andrew Jordan. Pucher himself is also on the entry list, but has yet to confirm which rounds he will compete at.
A new team will make its debut in the 2017 season under the guise of STARD, which is being run by Manfred Stohl’s Stohl Racing outfit. The former WRC driver has entered two upgraded Ford Fiesta’s for the year and has signed up 2016 World RX Team Austria drivers Janis Baumanis and former Double FIA European Rallycross Champion Timur Timerzyanov for the teams first season in the Championship.
There has been some concern during the off season about the individual entries that will compete in the Drivers Championship as there seems to be a growing works presence attracted to the series in recent years. For 2017, have no fear as there are plenty of individual entries to get in amongst the teams and cause a stir.
Along with Nitiss and Hansen, Guy Wilks will enter his first full season of World RX, swapping his commentary chair for the seat of Johan Kristoffersson’s 2016 VW Polo. Wilks will compete under the Loco World RX Team banner, driving the car that took Kristoffersson to second place in the 2016 Drivers Championship. Niclas Gronholm returns for his second season of competition in World RX at the wheel of an M-Sport built Ford Fiesta under the GRX title, driving the car formerly raced by Ken Block.
Jean-Baptiste Dubourg will compete in his first full season this year, driving the Peugeot 208 WRX that Kevin Hansen took to the 2016 Euro RX title. This will be one of two entries for DA Racing with Gregoire Demoustier racing the other car at five events. Hungary’s Kornel “CsuCsu” Lukacs moves up from Euro RX, driving the iconic Kia Rio that Gigi Galli has driven at several rounds previously. Galli himself will also undertake a limited programme of races in a second newly built Kia.
All of this means that there will be six teams fighting it out for the 2017 FIA World Rallycross Teams Championship and that there will be eighteen different drivers fighting to win the 2017 FIA World Rallycross Drivers Championship.
The entry lists for the 2017 FIA European Rallycross Championships for Supercars, Super1600 and TouringCars will be released on Monday.