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Russia’s Matvey Furazhkin will get a third opportunity to race in the FIA World Rallycross Championship at the World RX of South Africa season finale next month with the ESmotorsport-Labas GAS team.

FIA European Autocross Champion Furazhkin made his World RX debut at Loheac in France, where he finished 20th before also competing at the Neste World RX of Latvia, where he improved to be 17th.

ESmotorsport driver Kevin Abbring had been pencilled into race in Cape Town, but the Lithuanian team will now run Furazhkin in the Skoda Fabia RX in preparation for 2020. “It was requested by Matvey’s partners and sponsors that for more experience in rallycross he should do South Africa. Matvey’s future goal is a full season in the Championship and while he joined almost at the end of this year, we would also like to do as much development testing with him as possible in order to be able to compete next season,” said ESmotorsport Team Manager Robertas Maneikis. “We still continue to work with Kevin so we could see him do more rallycross events next season.”

Maneikis says the team has been impressed with Furazhkin’s approach to World RX in his first events. “The main impression I have of Matvey is his maturity. Right from his first race in Loheac he adapted to the team very quickly. I am sure with time Matvey’s open minded approach to rallycross will bring him good results in the future.

"Even after the first race, the feeling in the team was as if we were already together for the entire year. Matvey very quickly found great synergy with team’s strategists. Of course, the transition from autocross to rallycross is not easy. It’s a different calibre of drivers as well as mixed surface racing and joker strategy brings in a whole new level of racing. One of the greatest advantages that I have noticed with Matvey is that he is prompt to identify his own errors.”

Furazhkin has displayed consistent improvement on track since his first outing in the Fabia RX, and Maneikis is hoping to see more of the same in Cape Town. “Loheac and Riga were new tracks for Matvey and even though we have seen these tracks ourselves before the plan is the same as every race, with pre-race preparation and analysis of the track from our team’s engineers.

"Matvey has been doing some karting tests at the in Italy as well as his own simulation work, but in this last race we are looking to get experience, see what we can learn and preferably not interrupt the Championship contenders too much. The target is to be more consistent and make improvements since the last race in Latvia.”

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