Jānis Baumanis will now be switching from a Ford Fiesta over to a newly developed Audi S1 after he parted ways from his long serving team STARD in FIA World Rallycross Championship to join the new KYB Team JC which will now field a two-car team team to hunt down the championship crowns this season.
Previously it was announced that the reigning FIA European Rallycross Champion Robin Larsson would make a return to World RX with JC Raceteknik.
Now the team will be driving under the new KYB Team JC banner with support from their main sponsor KYB and the World RX team EKS, which have supported JC Raceteknik previously.
The team have bought five of the Audi S1 EKS RX Supercars from EKS and will have two of them in World RX and two in Euro RX.
“Being able to start with two drivers in the World Championship feels fantastic, this has long been a dream for me. Thanks to KYB we will start as KYB Team JC and we will continue our technical collaboration with EKS. This investment is a good opportunity for all parties that allows us to develop together. This will be brilliant for the whole team, and benefit our Euro RX drivers too.” Joel Christoffersson, Team Principal at JC Raceteknik, said.
“It’s thanks to the approval of all of the other teams in World RX we were allowed to enter both Janis as driver and KYB Team JC as permanent entries, and we are grateful for that. I think Robin and Janis will be a strong duo. With Robin we had a very successful season last year and he comes with good experience in the Audi. Janis is new to us, but he is a fast driver with previous experience of World RX. I think both will benefit from each other and together push forward to improve. We aim to fight for a podium in both the Teams’ and Drivers’ championships.”
Baumanis and Larsson have both been FIA European Rallycross Champions. Larsson became the champion for the first time in 2014 and again last season while Baumanis became the 2015 Super1600 champion.
Baumanis has been driving for the Austrian World RX team STARD since 2016 and been one of the backbones in the team. Last season the team developed a brand-new Ford Fiesta MK8 Supercar for Baumanis which he secured his first-ever career podium at Trois-Rivieres in Canada and appeared in the finals for most of the season.
“I’m excited for a new season with a whole new team. JC Raceteknik and Robin showed last year that they had a good pace in Euro RX, so this year I think we will be even stronger with two good cars in World RX. I can’t wait to get into the latest spec EKS Audi with the latest shock absorbers from KYB. Robin definitely knows the car better than me, but hopefully I can be near his pace as soon as possible.” Baumanis said.
“My previous seasons in World RX have been pretty tough. After four years driving a Ford I’m very excited to change to Audi, it will be a big step that will be quite challenging for me. During the first races there will of course be a bit more focus on the learning process in the new car, but then the goal will be to start from the front of the semi-finals. Of course, the dream is to win. I know it will be difficult, but with fast cars and a good team, there is always the opportunity to make it happen.”
“Covid-19 obviously makes it more difficult to prepare for the first event, it is having a huge impact on everyone’s lives. I want everyone to take good care of themselves and listen to the safety directives, and hope we can compete as soon as possible. I look forward to being able to start testing and comparing lap times with Robin.”
It is unsure if STARD will continue with a World RX team this season as the team has created the new Projekt E support class for the 2020 season, which is the first-ever fully electric rallycross series.
“It’s great for JC Raceteknik to enter World RX with a two-car team. We will get support from EKS and with two Audis on the track being able to compare data, it’s positive for everyone. Not only will we be racing for ourselves, but there’s the teams’ championship to fight for too.” Larsson said.
“There are six good teams, but if we take care of ourselves we should be in a position to fight for an overall podium. It will be exciting to see how Janis and I work as a team. Just like me, Janis has had a tough time in the World RX, so we are both pumped to get started with these really good cars.“
“Last year, both JC Raceteknik and I had our best seasons ever, so going to World RX together with will be extra enjoyable. Of course, there will be tough competition with many fast drivers, but that is why we do rallycross. During the first races, we will be able to see how we stand up against the other teams. It would be nice to have good results right away and be able to participate in the championship, I’m sure there are going to be many wonderful fights.”
The FIA World Rallycross Championship would have kicked-off in Catalunya in a couple of weeks but both that event and Montalegre have now been postponed, the season is set to start at Spa-Francorchamps in May.