Ex-FIA World Rally Championship driver Manfred Stohl became the first driver ever to win a rallycross event using a fully electric car in Hungary last weekend.
STARD team owner Stohl, who’s business designed the Ford Fiesta ElectRX Supercar that competed in the Hungarian Rallycross round at Kakucs, hadn’t raced competatlivy in the sport for five years and defeated drivers including European championship regular Tamás Kárai on his way to the win.
Stohl sat second in the intermediate standings and afterwards won his semi-final to secure a front-row position for the final where he made the most of the electric power to storm away from his rivals and won the event ahead of Kárai and Mark Mózer.
In an interview with Motorsport.com, Stohl explained about how pleased he was to see the car was competitive against the other internal combustion engine supercars; “Today I’m sure we wrote history being the first fully electric car in a national rallycross championship event and on top of that to win just makes it doubly nice.”
“This win is thanks to my team, to all of the guys that have worked on this project so hard. The future starts now, and we’re only looking forward.”
Michael Sakowicz, the lead engineer and CEO of STARD also explained to Motorsport.com about how the event went for the team and its newly developed car: “This event was really planned as a reality check for us, to see if the simulated races we have done over the last year in our test sessions would prove to work in a race environment.”
“We didn’t focus on the setup at all, we didn’t plan to fight for good times let alone the win, especially given how fast Tamás [Kárai] is and how well he knows the track here, but at the end of the day we’re all racers and we want to do as well as possible. Technically everything was perfect, we couldn’t have had harder conditions than at this race here and it’s very sweet that we could win the first event with an electric car in rallycross.”
“The conditions were really hot, over 35 degrees, so perfect validation conditions for our powertrain and electric kit. From the second free practice we saw the pace we had, even though we kept the focus on what we had to do, which was primarily testing the car.” Sakowicz added.
The 450kW electric car will be a part of the Projekt E series, that will be run as a support class to the FIA World Rallycross Championship this season as it prepares to get underway next month.