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  • Press Release


Some of the leading lights in the RX2 International Series presented by Cooper Tires traded the racetrack for the football pitch at Silverstone yesterday (24 May), as part of an ‘awesome’ skill swap with Oxford United. Ahead of this weekend’s eagerly-anticipated Speedmachine festival at the celebrated ‘Home of British Motor Sport’ – the second round of RX2’s 2018 campaign – home hero Nathan Heathcote, Olsbergs MSE trio Guillaume De Ridder, Oliver Eriksson and Cole Keatts and football super-fan Simon Syversen put their best foot forward as they were taught a bit more about ‘the beautiful game’ by OUFC’s Owen James, Curtis Nelson and Charlie Raglan. The football pros put the rallycross aces through their paces in the art of dribbling, passing and tackling, culminating in a ‘crossbar challenge’ and penalty shoot-out. Eriksson – who was eyeing a professional football career before turning his attentions to motorsport – immediately found himself back in ‘the zone’. “I’m a big football fan,” acknowledged the 19-year-old Swede. “I played for a long time, from the age of five until I was 16 or 17. Before I got into motorsport, I really wanted to be like Zlatan Ibrahimović – that was my goal in the beginning, and my friends still play now so when I get a rare weekend off, I usually go and join them. Yesterday was awesome – the OUFC guys showed me some skills and we had a lot of fun.” “The soccer activity – sorry, football – was really fun,” echoed American teenager Keatts, the second-youngest driver in the RX2 field. “I had a blast out there. OUFC are a great team and Owen was really cool, teaching me a lot of different tricks. I was also very proud of Oliver and myself being the only drivers to hit the crossbar in that activity. It’s fun to see different sports come together like that and find out more about each other.” From the pitch, the players and drivers headed for the paddock, where James, Nelson and Raglan pitted themselves against the clock in two high-octane tests. First, they attempted to master the Swedish rallycross mecca of Höljes on Glenn Haug’s state-of-the-art simulator, before changing the wheels on Keatts’ car – with entertaining results... “The simulator was a lot of fun,” enthused James, who was the fastest footballer in both activities. “We got a proper buzz coming here – I really enjoyed it. I like motorsport anyway – I’ve been to Silverstone a couple of times to watch the British Grand Prix and Superbikes – and the drivers gave it a proper go out on the pitch, too, which was good to see.” “It was really good being here at Silverstone and seeing all the cars,” added Nelson, who like James, returned today to soak up some of the action. “Changing the wheel is a lot more difficult than it appears on television – these guys make it look easy, but it’s not simple at all. I’ve got a lot of respect for them.” “Massive respect to the drivers,” echoed Raglan. “It was a really enjoyable day, and a pleasure to meet them all. It’s fair to say they did a lot better on the pitch than we did driving...” The RX2 brigade got chance to try out Silverstone’s all-new rallycross track during free practice today – with De Ridder setting the pace from Eriksson. The competitive action gets underway tomorrow (Saturday) with the opening two qualifying races. The 2018 RX2 International Series presented by Cooper Tires will take in seven rounds across three continents in support of the FIA World Rallycross Championship presented by Monster Energy, visiting Belgium, Great Britain, Norway, Sweden, Canada, France and South Africa. 2018 RX2 International Series presented by Cooper Tires Calendar May 12/13 Mettet, Belgium May 26/27 Silverstone, Great Britain June 09/10 Hell, Norway June 30/July 01 Höljes, Sweden August 04/05 Trois-Rivières, Canada

September 01/02 Lohéac, France November 24/25 Cape Town, South Africa

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