WORLD RX HITS THE ROAD TO HELL AS WURZ JOINS RALLYCROSS RANKS
The FIA World Rallycross Championship presented by Monster Energy ventures into the Nordic heartlands this weekend (9-10 June) with a visit to the famed Hell circuit for Team Verksted World RX of Norway, round five of the 2018 season.
PSRX Volkswagen Sweden’s Johan Kristoffersson leads the drivers’ standings after a third win from four events at World RX of Great Britain, extending his advantage to 14 points over Team Peugeot Total’s Sebastien Loeb. EKS Audi Sport’s Andreas Bakkerud makes it three manufacturers inside the top three overall, 22 points adrift of the top spot. Held at Lankebanen, World RX of Norway is a mainstay of the schedule as one of six events that have featured on the calendar every year since the inaugural World RX season in 2014. Among the faster tracks in the championship, Lankebanen’s undulating layout and sweeping curves are a firm favourite among drivers. Kristoffersson goes to Hell seeking a repeat of his commanding win twelve months ago when the Swedish driver denied local favourite Bakkerud a popular win.
Bakkerud enjoys a strong record on home soil having celebrated victory in 2016, scoring a remarkable 'clean sweep' of wins in all four qualifying races, his semi-final and the final. Moreover, he starts the Norwegian event on the back of a second-place finish at Silverstone, his best result since joining EKS Audi Sport. By contrast, countryman Solberg is chasing a first podium in front of his adoring fans since 2014, as well as a timely strong result to haul himself back into contention following a semi-final exit at Silverstone. The only driver to stand on the podium at each round this season, Loeb scored a top three result in Hell last year but has his sights set firmly on victory this time around. Similarly, Team Peugeot Total team-mate Timmy Hansen will seek a return to winning ways after triumphing in Norway in 2015. This year’s event will see 22 Supercar entries take to the starting grid, including four Norwegian drivers – Solberg and Bakkerud, plus wild-card entries Tommy Rustad (HTB-Marklund Motorsport) and Kjetil Larsen, both driving Volkswagen Polos. Team Verksted World RX of Norway will also see the much-anticipated international rallycross debut of former F1 driver Alex Wurz, who will compete in the MJP Racing Team Austria Ford Fiesta. One of motorsport’s most versatile racers, the McLaren, Williams and Benetton driver started 69 grands prix and recorded three podiums in an F1 career spanning ten years. He is also a two-time Le Mans 24 Hours winner.
Wurz lines up alongside team owner Max Pucher, who makes his first World RX start since 2015 as part of an all-Austrian assault.
“I grew up on rallycross tracks as my Dad is a three-time European champion," said Wurz," and I’ve always loved the sport. I’m not one to shy away from a challenge, so I thought where better than Hell to throw myself into the deep end with the big World RX dogs. I’m so pleased Max Pucher has given me this opportunity to compete and I’m really proud to be part of MJP Racing Team Austria. I’m definitely managing my expectations but I will enjoy every minute.”
Euro RX front runner Anton Marklund makes a second World RX appearance of the season in the Marklund Motorsport VW Polo, while Finnish racer Joni-Pekka Rajala takes on the second Team STARD Ford Fiesta alongside permanent entry Janis Baumanis.
RX2 International Series presented by Cooper Tires The third round of the RX2 International Series presented by Cooper Tires begins with Oliver Eriksson – younger brother of World RX contender Kevin – bidding to retain his championship lead after victory at Silverstone. Vasiliy Gryazin sits in second position, two points behind Eriksson, followed by a trio of Norwegians; Sondre Evjen, Ben-Philip Gundersen and Henrik Krogstad. Only two finalists from last year's event – Glenn Haug and William Nilsson – return after finishing fourth and sixth respectively in 2017. European Rallycross Championship - Super1600 A capacity entry of 25 drivers will line up for the third round of the FIA European Rallycross Championship for Super1600, with points leader Artur Baumanis looking to build on his winning start to the season. The Latvian triumphed in Catalunya-Barcelona and Montalegre, but with Volland Racing team-mate Rokas Baciuska and Jimmy Terpereau only five and six points adrift respectively, there is all to play for in Norway. European Rallycross Championship - TouringCar In the FIA European Rallycross Championship for TouringCar, 17 drivers will challenge for glory, led by former champion and round one winner Fredrik Salsten. Having moved to Euro RX Supercar for 2018 and qualified for the final at Mettet in Belgium last time out, former TouringCar title contender Anders Braten will return to the rear-wheel drive category for his home event driving a Ford Fiesta.
Schedule Full Team Verksted World RX of Norway schedule can be found at the following link:
Standings Full Championship standings can be found at the following link: www.fiaworldrallycross.com/standings