The 2018 FIA World Rallycross championship gets underway this weekend at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.
The championship, now in its fifth year, is the strongest it ever has been going into the new season, with three manufacturer teams, as well as the introduction of the GC Kompetition Prodrive built Renault Megané’s, and the GRX Taneco Team Hyundai i20s.
The three manufacturer teams, Team Peugeot Total, formerly Team Peugeot-Hansen, PSRX Volkswagen Sweden and EKS Audi Sport will all be hoping to claim the first win of the year. While Peugeot and Volkswagen have retained their driver line-ups from 2017, Audi has signed Norweigan Andreas Bakkerud to partner 2016 World RX champion, Mattias Ekstrom. Bakkerud found himself without a drive for 2018 when Ken Block’s Hoonigan Racing Division announced their withdrawal from the sport last year, but confirmed he would be joining the EKS outfit via his YouTube channel earlier this year.
Johan Kristofferson will be looking to retain his title after his record-breaking year in 2017, where he won seven races, five of which were consecutive. His team-mate, Petter Solberg, finished third in the championship, losing runner-up spot to Ekstrom. PSRX Volkswagen Sweden also took the Constructor’s Championship last year and the question now is whether any of the other teams will have caught up to the dominant outfit over the winter break.
There will be fifteen permanent competitors this year, three of which are individual entries – Kevin Hansen, Janis Baumanis and Gregoire Demoustier. There will also be a collection of drivers competing in one or more of the rounds, including Great Britain’s Oliver Bennett, who will also be contesting the MSA British Rallycross championship this year.
The event will also be shown live on UK TV on FreeSports, which can be found on Sky and Freeview, as well as legally streamed online by TVPlayer.