Friday 30 November 2018

Kristoffersson credits PSRX Volkswagen Sweden for the successful 2018 World RX season.

PHOTO CREDIT: Junaid Samodien.
Nothing could stop Johan Kristoffersson for clinching an incredible 11th win from 12 races at the World RX of South Africa.

The unfazed Swede arrived in Cape Town on Thursday evening ahead of the season finale. Upon arrival at the Killarney International Racing on Friday morning, he discovered that the teams equipment and cars had not arrived yet. 

A cargo ship transporting the Polo R Supercars were two days late docking due to bad weather at the Cape Town harbor. But, in a dramatic race against time, the team got the cars prepared for the first qualifying session.

Kristoffersson joked on Friday in the press conference that if his car does not arrive, he will race the electric golf kart: "Our biggest struggles at the moment is not let the golf kart be underweight." 

Johan did not have it easy in the first qualifying heat and finished 16th overall after suspected turbo failure. But would the Swede allow turbo failure to stop him claiming the top qualifiers spot? The answer is simple.... NO! He came back firing and claimed victory in Q2 and moved up to sixth overnight.

Heading into the final day of racing, Kristoffersson held nothing back and claimed wins in Q3 and Q4, which then put him on level pegging with Sébastien Loeb. The Swede claimed his eighth top qualifier spot after a count back. 

The unbelievable Swede sailed to victory in semi-final 1 by 1.909s to Team Peugeot Total's Timmy Hansen. Johan would start on pole position for the final.

Kristoffersson celebrates victory in Cape Town.
PHOTO CREDIT: Junaid Samodien.
Kristoffersson would line-up alongside his teammate Petter Solberg in the final. Solberg claimed the Monster Energy Supercharge Award for the fastest reaction time, but that was not enough to stop the Swede from claiming yet another victory.

“What can I say? Winning is what we are here for, but this win really means a lot – and I know I said that every time I won a race, but it’s really true!," says Kristoffersson. "When you come to the last race of the season, it’s really important to go to the winter with a win. We all know you’re only as good as your last result, so to start round one in 2019 off the back of this is nice."

Johan Kristoffersson joined PSRX Volkswagen Sweden in 2017. He claimed seven wins and the 2017 FIA World Rallycross Championship in his maiden season with the team, but it did not end there, the Swede returned in 2018 and successfully defended his crown. 

“This team is so special," the Swede says. "Everything I have achieved this year has come because of the hard work all of the guys, everybody has put in – all the team in Torsby; everybody in Volkswagen Motorsport in Hannover and, of course, with the great support from Volkswagen Sweden." 

"Talking now, I actually feel really quite emotional – the title has sunk in a little bit and this win is such a nice way to end a fantastic, fantastic season."

The Swede was deprived of a clean sweep of victories by Team Peugeot Total's Sébastien Loeb who claimed victory in Belgium.

“Winning 11 from 12 is really nice – makes me a little bit frustrated about [World RX of] Belgium where [Sébastien] Loeb won – but that 100 per cent record gives us something to work towards next year! I’m just joking…" says Kristoffersson.

The Swede has been in incredible form this season, and his teammate Petter Solberg came close to victory in America, but a slight mistake cost the Norwegian, and Johan slipped through to claim victory.

And, if you did not know.... Johan Kristoffersson also claimed the 2018 Scandinavian Touring Car Championship this year. Yes, his a double champion in 2018! 

With victory in Cape Town, Johan equaled Sebastian Vettel's [Formula 1] record of nine wins in a nine races set back in 2013.

"To make nine wins in nine races is also something special for me; I remember watching Sebastian Vettel winning the last nine races of the 2013 [Formula 1] season and just thinking how incredible that feeling must be, to have so much success in one season," the Swede said. “And now I did that. Unbelievable."

"I will never forget this season, it’s such a special one.”

Petter Solberg happy to show good speed in Cape Town.

PHOTO CREDIT: Junaid Samodien
Three-time FIA World Champion Petter Solberg arrived in Cape Town, with a slim chance of claiming second in the 2018 World Rallycross Championship after a forced engine change penalty. 

“It was quite a long shot for me to make the silver medal and in the end it wasn’t possible," said Solberg. "That’s kind of the way the season has gone for me."

The Norwegian showed strong pace throughout the weekend [in Cape Town], but there were question marks as whether PSRX Volkswagen Sweden would even make the start of the Q1. After a cargo ship transporting the Polo R Supercars were two days late docking due to bad weather. 

PSRX Volkswagen Sweden missed the shakedown on Friday afternoon, but a few hours later the shipping containers arrived with the Polo R Supercars onboard, and it was a race against time, to get the cars prepared and on the grid with just hours to the opening qualifying session. 

"It’s true that the start of the event was a little bit difficult, not having the cars here on time made it quite stressful, but Pernilla [Solberg] and the rest of the team did a fantastic job in getting everything ready in such a quick time," the Norwegian said.

Petter Solberg claimed fourth in the first qualifying heat and second behind his teammate Kristoffersson in the second qualifying session placing him second overall on day one.

On Sunday, he finished fourth fastest in the third qualifying heat and fifth in the final qualifying heat placing him fourth overall in the standings. Qualifying for the semi-final, Solberg would start in second place alongside Sebastien Loeb, but with strong pace he won the second semi-final booking a slot on the grid for the final. 

Petter Solberg and his son Oliver Solberg discussing the final.
PHOTO CREDIT: Junaid Samodien

“I’m really happy that I’ve been able to show such good speed through this weekend," said the PSRX Volkswagen Sweden driver.

Solberg lined up on the grid for the final alongside his teammate Johan [Kristoffersson], both PSRX Volkswagen Sweden drivers had strong starts, but Kristoffersson edged ahead at Turn 2. The Norwegian was running second overall and had his sights set on claiming his first win of the season. Unfortunately, it was not to be, Petter was forced to retire after a first-lap incident lead to him hitting the barrier at Turn 3 in the final. 

“I really wanted the win here [Cape Town] this weekend," says Solberg. "Like Johan [Kristoffersson] has said, to go to the winter with the win is a special feeling."

The Norwegian hasn't had the easiest of seasons after doctors treating him for a broken collarbone in 2017 discovered that his liver was producing too much iron. He was treated for the condition, but came close to ending his World RX career. Solberg described the struggles that he has had.. "No energy and eyes were blurry."  

"Like the rest of my season, it just didn’t work out as I wanted it to," says Solberg. "But, I must say, when I think back to the middle of the year, when I was struggling to get fit – I am coming back so much stronger now." 

“I want next year to start next week!”

Thursday 29 November 2018

Solberg versus Solberg, while Kristoffersson aims to defend his Gymkhana Grid crown.

PHOTO CREDIT: Gymkhana Grid.
Its Solberg versus Solberg; Petter versus Oliver at Gymkhana Grid at Carnival Circuit, Johannesberg on Saturday.

For the first time ever, 18-year-old Oliver Solberg will go head-to-head with the three-time FIA World Champion he calls Dad. 

And, as if Oliver doesn’t have enough to contend with, Johan Kristoffersson – a two-time FIA World Champion returns to defend his crown.

Johan and Petter will drive their Volkswagen Polo R Supercars that have dominated this year’s FIA World Rallycross Championship, while Oliver will drive his fathers nine-year-old Citroen Xsara WRC.

Oliver Solberg's Citroen Xsara WRC
PHOTO CREDIT: PSRX Volkswagen Sweden.
“It doesn’t seem very fair does it?” Oliver jokes. “I have only 380 horsepower, but they both have nearly 600 in their cars! It’s not going to be easy…"

“It will be quite strange to compete against my father. We have tested and raced against each other at home quite a lot – obviously I am always winning – but this will be different. This is the first time for us racing in a proper competition."

“Being a bit more serious, it will be really nice to be competing with Dad," says Oliver Solberg. "I think the biggest problem for the weekend could be for my Mum – who does she support?”

Petter Solberg is looking forward to go head-to-head with his son at the Gymkhana Grid on Saturday.

“It’s fantastic to be racing with Oliver,” he said. “He’s got a good car there, that Xsara was one of my favourites – and don’t believe what he’s telling you, for sure he has some tricks in that car. I know, I built it!”

Last year’s Gymkhana Grid winner Johan Kristoffersson has his eyes set on a second South African win in six days, having won last weekend’s World RX of South Africa.

“I love working and competing with the Solberg family,” said Kristoffersson, “but Saturday is going to be something special… facing two of them! 

“The Gymkhana Grid is a really nice event. It’s a place to do some drifting and some donuts and have some fun in the car," he adds. "It’s a cool event in a cool place with a lot of fans coming to watch.”

Timmy Hansen: "It’s been five years with Peugeot, so it’s emotional now that it’s all ending."

Timmy Hansen flying over the jump in Cape Town.
PHOTO CREDIT: Junaid Samodien
Timmy Hansen wrapped up his World Rallycross Championship career with Peugeot Sport on a negative note after he was forced to retire from the final in Cape Town. 

Hansen claimed third place overall on Saturday, behind his teammate Loeb and Solberg. 

On Sunday, the Swede claimed third place in the third qualifying heat, and a fourth place finish in qualifying four. He progressed to the semi-finals, and finished in second place booking him a slot in the finals. 

Timmy had a good start in the final but unfortunately he had to retire, as he could not avoid contact with Petter Solberg who spun and threw up a lot of dust. 
“Coming out from the dust, I hit Solberg that has done a spin, and that broke my triangle," said Hansen. "I had to retire."

The Swede has been competing in the World RX championship since its inception in 2014 in a Peugeot 208, five long years but in October, Peugeot announced there withdrawal from the championship at the end of the 2018 season. 

"It’s been five years with Peugeot for me, so it’s emotional now that it’s all ending. I am proud of what we have done," says an emotional Hansen. "I am happy for everything that’s been given to me throughout the years; we have some fantastic memories. I am proud of everything we achieved."

Timmy Hansen would have been in the fight for second place in the drivers' standings, but was forced to take two engine penalties [loosing 15 points per new engine] in Latvia and America. He wrapped up the 2018 World Rallycross Championship in sixth place overall. 

"It has been a good season this year again," says Hansen. "I am happy with the overall result, happy for being with the guys at Peugeot Sport, for sharing this journey with them."

Sébastien Loeb signs off with a third place finish in Cape Town.

Sébastien Loeb in front of the Team Peugeot Total garage.
PHOTO CREDIT: JunaidSamodien
Sébastien Loeb has signed off his World RX Championship career with Team Peugeot Total on a high, claiming a third place finish in Cape Town. 
The Frenchman claimed his 7th podium from 12 events in 2018, which includes the victory in Belgium. 

At the start of the 2018 season. Team Peugeot Total introduced a baseline Peugeot 208 WRX Supercar, but only introduced the evolution of its baseline specification at the Swedish round in late June. 

The new Peugeot 208 WRX Evo showed some strong speed, but the team were working on ironing out the minor kinks. At the Canadian round of the World RX championship, both Loeb and Timmy Hansen stood on the podium for the team.

Loeb went on to claim a podium in Latvia, and claimed a third place finish at the season finale in Cape Town.

“The car was good here [World RX of South Africa], very fast, but we already proved that throughout the year," said Loeb. "We have been working hard on this programme, made significant changes to the Peugeot 208 WRX in mid-season, and I think for our first official season we put in a good performance."

On Saturday in Cape Town, Loeb claimed victory in the first qualifying round, and a fifth place finish in the second qualifying round, which saw him claim the overnight lead. 

Sébastien did not hold back on Sunday, but finished second in the qualifying 3 and 4 heats behind the 2018 World Champion Johan Kristoffersson. With both Loeb and Kristoffersson tied on qualifying points... Who would take the top qualifiers spot?? The authorities performed a count back on the number of wins, and Johan Kristoffersson claimed the top qualifiers spot. 

Loeb finished second in semi-final 2 and booked his place the final. 

"In this last race, we were again very competitive and in the fight from start to finish,"  the Frenchman said. "It was a good weekend and 3rd overall is a good result, especially as everything is always so linked to that first corner, and it was messy again in the final." 

Sébastien Loeb has been the only driver able to deprive Johan Kristoffersson of a clean sweep of wins this season. "I am honestly happy about today and about this season," says Loeb. "Just one victory this year is still one victory!"

In October, Peugeot announced that they will withdrawal from the World Rallycross Championship at the end of the 2018 season, which has left the Hansen brothers and Loeb without a race seat for 2019. However, the Frenchman has set his sights on other challenges and a possible re-entry into the World RX championship with a privateer team. 

"I don’t know what I will do next year: for sure it wasn’t great news about the end of the programme, but I will find some other challenges, probably as a privateer,” he concludes.

Wednesday 28 November 2018

Kevin Hansen: “It was amazing to get to the final once again!"

PHOTO CREDIT: Junaid Samodien
Team Peugeot Total's young driver and individual entrant Kevin Hansen, claimed a fourth place finish at the 2018 Gumtree World Rallycross of South Africa

The 20-year-old Swede secured an eighth place finish in the overall drivers' championship standings, just one point shy of Niclas Gronholm in seventh overall. 

“It was amazing to get to the final once again!," said Kevin Hansen. "I am so pleased to have got the car into the final for my crew; it was really the main goal every weekend. I was challenging for the podium again, but finishing with a 4th place is still nice, as it equals my best result this season."

Despite the strong end to the season, Hansen's future in the World RX championship remains in doubt after Peugeot announced their withdrawal from the sport. But, the young Swede is happy to have learnt and grown in a factory backed team.

"At 20 years old, being in a factory team, you learn a lot! I will take all this experience to grow," said Hansen. "I think it will be very important to help prepare myself to become world champion as soon as possible."

Kevin Hansen confirmed that there are no solid plans to compete in the 2019 World RX championship, as yet. 

GRX Taneco secures fourth in the teams' championship.

PHOTO CREDIT: Junaid Samodien.
GRX Taneco with two new Hyundai i20 Supercars secured fourth place in the 2018 FIA World Rallycross Championship

“What a season!” said Jussi Pinomäki, GRX Taneco Team Manager. “We started from scratch and I’m proud of where we are today. It was a huge challenge and everyone on the team has contributed to this year’s success, all working with determination and real passion."

The World RX of South Africa proved to be a challenge for the team, but they achieved their goal with Timur Timerzyanov making it through to the semi-finals once again. 

Saturday, was a day to forget for the team. Grönholm was in 14th place after getting caught up in the traffic and losing a lot of time in the first corner, while teammate Timerzyanov,  dropped to P16 after a puncture and finished 15th overall at the end of the day. 

“We had a good start but with the dust, visibility was very poor and I hit the barrier before the jump, landing on the side. That’s what caused the puncture to the rear left tyre. It was my fault…” said Timerzyanov

In Q3, Grönholm got off to a good start but found himself caught in traffic at Turn One again. He battled hard to catch up but the Finn could only finish 14th and dropped out of the Top 12 in the overall standings. He finished P12 after Q4, so just missed out on the semi-final. 

”I really hoped for much better in this last race. It’s the first time that I’ve failed to make it into the semis this season,” said Grönholm.”I just couldn’t find my pace this weekend and I had real trouble getting round that first corner ahead of the others each race, so I lost a lot of valuable time. I’d like to thank GRX Taneco."

"The team has done a fantastic job all year. It’s been a privilege to have worked with the team,” he concluded.

Meanwhile, Grönholm's teammate Timerzyanov with a skillful drive in Q3, finished in eighth moving him up from 15th to ninth position in the overall standings. 

In the final qualifying [Q4] session, he came in 11th, enough to put him through to the semi-final. He started from the back but scrambled up to fourth place in the first semi-final. It was not enough for Russian to progress to the final but he can still be pleased with his performance in South Africa.  

”I’m delighted to end the season on a high note,” said Timerzyanov. “We managed to make it back up the standings after a tough first day and my ticket for the semis was a great reward. Of course, it would have been amazing to get through to the final but, starting from the back, it was too much of a challenge. It’s been a demanding year and each one of us has given their all to make the season a success."

"I’d like to thank the whole team!” the Russian concluded.

Andreas Bakkerud called up for Audi DTM rookie test.

Andreas Bakkerud sliding his EKS Audi Sport S1 Quattro Supercar.
PHOTO CREDIT: Junaid Samodien.
FIA World Rallycross driver Andreas Bakkerud headlines a list of six drivers that have been called up by Audi for the end-of-season DTM rookie test.

The six drivers will be given the opportunity to test a Audi RS 5 DTM on track in Jerez from December 10–12. 

Bakkerud has to date won six events and has been a regular World RX frontrunner since the series' inception in 2014. The Norwegian joined Mattias Ekstrom's Audi factory supported EKS team in 2018. Bakkerud's future in World RX is uncertain after Audi announced there withdrawal of factory support to the EKS outfit, and Ekstrom announced that he does not know the future of his EKS team for 2019.  

Joining Bakkerud on the list of six drivers is three-time Le Mans winner and former champion of the Japanese Super GT, Benoît Tréluyer, as well as GT and touring car racer Frederic Vervisch.

Vervisch has been successful in the Audi Sport customer racing program with WRT over the years.

In addition, Vincent Vosse’s Team WRT who are joining the DTM grid in 2019, will use its first opportunity to attend a test in order to prepare for the championship.

Audi have also named three young drivers who will also test the RS5 DTM car. 

Italian Mattia Drudi, who finished in the runner-up spot to Lance Stroll, and left a strong impression in the Audi R8 LMS this season.

Two Formula 3 drivers will also be behind the wheel of the Audi DTM machine: Austrian Ferdinand Habsburg and Jonathan Aberdein from South Africa. 

Audi are yet to announce their 2019 DTM driver line-up.

Tuesday 27 November 2018

Ekström claims runners-up title with second place in World RX season finale.

PHOTO CREDIT: Junaid Samodien
EKS Audi Sport's Mattias Ekström once again claimed the runners-up title in the FIA World Rallycross Championship (World RX). The Swede also finished the final race of the season in Cape Town in second place behind the 2018 World Champion Johan Kristoffersson.

Mattias Ekström started the final from the back row, but he never gave up and fought his way to second place. The Swede overtook Sébastien Loeb on the opening lap. Shortly after, he also caught and passed Petter Solberg.

“We actually came to Cape Town to win the race,” said Ekström. “We were fast throughout the entire weekend, but somehow didn’t get into the right rhythm. In the finale things finally fell into place. Second is a fantastic result and a good end to a long season, in which Johan (Kristoffersson) was always a small step ahead. Even so, I’m extremely proud of the entire team: We extracted the maximum from our resources. It was also a fabulous year with Andreas (Bakkerud). We had a lot of fun together and have something to celebrate this evening.”

After four qualifying round, Ekström teammate Andreas Bakkerud was one place in front of Ekström and had reduced the deficit from four to three points in the race for silver. 

In the semi-finals, Bakkerud hit the back of Kevin Hansen and was forced to park his Audi S1 EKS RX quattro suffering front right suspension damage. He nevertheless clinched third place in the drivers’ world championship.

“I touched Kevin Hansen and damaged my car’s steering. It’s a great shame that I had to give up in the semi-final. Despite all this I’m extremely satisfied with my year," said Bakkerud. "I finished third in the World Championship and working together with EKS Audi Sport was fantastic throughput the whole year. The mechanics, the chef, the media team, the truckie – each and everyone did a perfect job. And above all of course Mattias who I warmly congratulate for the World Championship runner-up title.”

After securing second place in the teams' standings, Mattias announced his withdrawal from the World Rallycross Championship, as a full-time driver. 

Audi also announced earlier this year that they will withdraw factory support to the EKS squad. 

“That was probably the last race for EKS Audi Sport as a factory-supported team in the World Rallycross Championship,” said Mattias Ekström. “After five amazing years it’s a very emotional moment for all of us. But I think we concluded this fantastic chapter with style today.”

Monday 26 November 2018

Speedmachine 2019 early bird tickets have now gone on sale.

PHOTO CREDIT: Junaid Samodien
Early bird tickets have gone on sale from today for the 2019 Speedmachine Festival at Silverstone, offering World RX fans the best possible rates for the UK round of the all-action FIA World Rallycross Championship.

An epic weekend of motorsport, music, street food and entertainment, Speedmachine Festival effortlessly fuses fast cars and the world’s finest drivers with some of the hottest acts around and a whole host of family-friendly off-track activities to enjoy. What’s more, the second edition of the ultimate adrenaline-fuelled weekender is set to build upon the success of a hugely popular debut this year.

The 2019 event will take place on 25/26 May, and early bird tickets are now on sale for a limited time – beginning at £30 for a day pass.

Fans can similarly purchase weekend tickets, which provide grandstand seats for the whole weekend. After the initial pre-sale period, public sales will launch at 10am on 5 December.

“After the success of the inaugural Speedmachine Festival last year, we are fully focused on pulling out all the stops to make the 2019 edition even more spectacular," said World RX Managing Director for IMG, Paul Bellamy. "We are busy putting the finishing touches to what promises to be a superb weekend of entertainment both on and off-track, with many more exciting announcements to come over the following weeks and months.”

For further information on Speedmachine Festival and what fans have to look forward to – including news on headline acts, camping and more – head to for all the latest updates and announcements for what promises to be an incredible weekend. 

REVIEW: The Super Swede Kristoffersson's record breaking run continues in South Africa.

The 2018 Gumtree World RX of South Africa FINAL
PHOTO CREDIT: Junaid Samodien
The 2017/18 FIA World Rallycross Champion Johan Kristoffersson claimed victory at the World RX of South Africa, in the championships final round in Cape Town.

Kristoffersson claimed victory in Cape Town last year, and came back fighting after a challenging Q1 session finishing 16th overall due to a turbo issue. 

The Swede hit back after Q2 winning the session. He later claimed two of the quickest qualifying times to claim his eighth TQ (top qualifier) of the season. Kristoffersson claimed victory in the semi-final, but no one could come close to his superb speed.

After topping the semi-final round, Johan started on pole with his teammate Solberg alongside him on the front row. Kristoffersson had a good start and took the lead into Turn 1... He went on to cement himself in the record books with his 11th win of the 12 round championship. 

“I have to say today is quite emotional. This season comes to an end and it’s been a fantastic year for me, really the world championship title sinks in a little bit more now. I really have to thank this great team, they have done everything for me,” said Kristoffersson. “Without them it wouldn’t be possible. I have said that so many times since my first victory in Belgium 2017, but this one meant a lot to me.”

Mattias Ekstrom [EKS Audi Sport] started on the third row of the grid for the final and slotted into second in the race with a strong start. With the second place finish, the Swede secured second in the World RX Drivers’ Championship

The Swede was pleased to finish his year and World RX career on the podium. “We actually came to Cape Town to win the race. We were fast throughout the entire weekend, but somehow didn’t get into the right rhythm,” said Ekstrom. “In the final things finally fell into place. Second is a fantastic result and a good end to a long season, in which Johan was always a small step ahead. Even so, I’m extremely proud of the entire team: We extracted the maximum from our resources. It was also a fabulous year with Andreas.”

PHOTO CREDIT: Junaid Samodien
Sebastien Loeb [Team Peugeot Total] completed his third full World RX season with another podium and finished ahead of team mate Kevin Hansen in the final.

“The car was good here, we improved it all year and since the middle of the season we have changed a lot of things,” said Loeb. “I think we had good performance, we tried to improve some details and here in the last race were really competitive. I had a good weekend and finally to be third overall, I’m happy.”

Petter Solberg [PSRX Volkswagen Sweden] won the Monster Energy Supercharge Award for having the fastest reaction time at the start of the final, but retired on the second lap after a spin involving Timmy Hansen

Timmy Hansen [Team Peugeot Total] qualified for the final and started alongside teammate Loeb on the second row of the grid for the final but retired after contact with Solberg’s car.

The highest of the privateer teams is GC Kompetition’s Anton Marklund who finished fourth in the semi-finals and didn’t progress to the final. He was classified in eighth place.

Janis Baumanis slotted into ninth place in the overall classification, with Timo Scheider in tenth, Timur Timerzyanov in 11th and Guerlain Chicherit in 12th overall.

Oliver Bennett clipping the Pylons and sliding towards the barriers.
PHOTO CREDIT: Junaid Samodien.
GRX’s Niclas Gronholm failed to achieve his goal of securing a place in the final and finished in 13 overall, followed by Olsbergs MSE’s Kevin Eriksson and Robin Larsson in 14th and 15th respectively. Rene Munnich slotted into 16th.

Gregoire Demoustier [Sebastien Loeb Racing’s] finished his first full World RX season in 17th overall in South Africa, while Xite Racing's Oliver Bennett was not classified after a bad weekend. 

The Brit failed to finish in Q1 and Q2. He then posted the slowest time in Q3 after clipping a few yellow pylons and he went into the barrier at the exit of Turn 6 (joker lap). Due to the damage sustained, he failed to start in the fourth and final qualifying round. 

Loeb sets his sights on other challenges outside World RX.

PHOTO CREDIT: Junaid Samodien
Nine-time World Rally Champion Sébastien Loeb has set his sights on other challenges following Peugeot's withdrawal from the FIA World Rallycross Championship at the end of the 2018 season.

The Frenchman was the only driver capable of preventing the 2018 FIA World RX champion Johan Kristoffersson from claiming a 100% win record. 

He won 2 rounds in his World RX career, and claimed 19 podium appearances to date. 

With an uncertain future ahead for Loeb, he has targeted other challenges, and had  announced earlier this year that he will compete in the 2019 Dakar Rally, in a privateer Peugeot after the manufacturer withdrew at the end of the 2018 event. 

"Yes, its a private programme, because at the moment or next year, I don't know exactly what I will do," said Loeb. "I have been put in the same position as Mattias [Ekstrom]. Peugeot decided to retire from World Rallycross, so that was not great news for us and the team, but its like that, so I need to find some other challenges and I decided to go to Dakar with a private car."

Sébastien Loeb is aware of the challenges that awaits him at the 2018 Dakar Rally in a privateer entry, but relishes the opportunity to compete against the manufacturer teams. 

"For sure it will be different conditions then last year, but its a nice challenge. Its exciting to arrive and to try and fight with the manufacturers," the Frenchman said.

Loeb is uncertain about his future in the World RX, but has hinted of a potential privateer entry in the World Rallycross Championship, but is under no illusion that it will be easy.

"No idea at the moment. For sure I will think to try and build something with the cars and try to run it also as private, but its difficult to find all that we need to do it," said Loeb. "So, for the moment nothing is done. Its complicated!"  

Sunday 25 November 2018

Ekstrom ends full-time World RX career.

PHOTO CREDIT: Junaid Samodien 
The 2016 FIA World Rallycross Champion Mattias Ekstrom has called time on his World RX career as a full-timer. 

Ekstrom finished second at the World RX of South Africa, and clinched second in the drivers' standings. 

"This will be my last World RX race as a full timer," said Ekstrom. "It was a quite happy end as well."

Ekstrom, a two-time DTM Champion entered the World Rallycross Championship with his own EKS [Ekstrom] team in 2014.

"For me I think I had a fantastic five-years as a driver here and I think for the moment its time for me to close the chapter off and look for other championships," the Swede said.

Audi partnered with EKS for the 2018 season, but later in August [2018] announced their withdrawal from the EKS programme.

"What will happen with the team? We are still not 100% sure, but as soon as we have something to say, we will tell this as well," said Ekstrom

The Swede competed in 50 World RX championship rounds, in where he claimed 10 wins and 22 podiums. 

"You know, its been a big chapter of my life and I enjoyed a lot of the battles,
" said Ekstrom

Mattias labelled his on-track World RX battles with Sebastien Loeb as his favourite. 

"I would say my best and favourite battles were with Sebastien [Loeb], he was probably the most fair and the ones I enjoyed the most," said Ekstrom. "The ones with Petter [Solberg] I enjoyed in the beginning and then it got emotional, but that's the part of racing, and also Johan [Kristoffersson] and some other guys had great battles."

"And, again its nice to see all the people from the team here. When you know its for the last time, its something special," he concluded. 

Saturday 24 November 2018

Timo Scheider targets a full-time World RX drive.

PHOTO CREDIT: Junaid Samodien
Double DTM Champion and FIA World Rallycross driver, Timo Scheider has set his sights on a full-time FIA World Rallycross drive for the future. 

Scheider made sporadic appearances in the 2015 and 2016 FIA World Rallycross Championship with Münnich Motorsport. The following season (2017), he signed with MJP Racing Team Austria for a full 2017 campaign.

The German returned to World RX in 2018 with the Münnich Motorsport team, but only competed in few rounds. 

"All of you know what I love (rallycross) but for sure, I am trying everything to be back full-time," said Scheider. "But like you all know that we are facing a pretty difficult time in motorsport generally and every category around the world."

Timo believes that motorsport (in general) should fight for its future, but firmly believes that the FIA World Rallycross Championship has a good future.

"I think we should fight for the future because this kind of category has a good future and this is what I would like to see. If the name Timo Scheider is with it, we will see," the German concluded. 

Friday 23 November 2018

Logistical issues complicate PSRX Volkswagen Sweden's weekend.

PHOTO CREDIT: Junaid Samodien (phone image)
PSRX Volkswagen Sweden have had a nightmare start to their weekend, after their cars and equipment had not arrived on time, and was stuck on a container ship waiting to dock in Cape Town.

The team missed scrutineering and also missed an afternoon shakedown session. 

Pernilla Solberg, PSRX Volkswagen Sweden team principal“Right now, the cars are still on the boat in the team’s two containers.” 

“The cars were collected as planned from Hannover on October 23. They were originally scheduled to leave Antwerp to arrive in Cape Town on November 14," said Pernilla Solberg. "For some reason, our two shipping containers didn’t make it onto that boat. Instead, they were put on the boat a week later.”

Reports suggested that the ships weren't able to dock due to high winds. 

“On Wednesday (November 21), which would have still given us time to get the containers off and everything set up," said Pernilla. "Unfortunately, the ship then encountered bad weather on the way down here and even now, high winds are making it difficult for the boat to dock.”

A long night and morning is in store for the PSRX Volkswagen Sweden team to be fully prepared for the opening day of racing tomorrow. 

The PSRX Volkswagen Sweden Polo R Supercars arriving.
PHOTO CREDIT: FIA World Rallycross
“We are completely in the hands of the weather and the shipping company. As soon as the boat comes in we will bring the container with the cars in straight to the track and start working on preparing the cars for practice tomorrow," says Solberg. "But, obviously, we will have to get the cars scrutineered first.”

The team have had no equipment or cars at the circuit. Today, was basically sitting around and a few media interviews. However, the team is raring to go racing...

“It was already complicated to try to make the silver this weekend, but now it’s got even more complicated. It’s so disappointing," said Petter Solberg. "Johan and me, we are here, we are ready to go, but we just have no car to drive!”

Petter Solberg will incur a 15 point penalty for an engine change after Buxtehude issues, and will be a point above Sebastien Loeb in the race for second place in the championship. 

"We have the chance to make the perfect year: teams’ title and gold and silver in the drivers’, but that is getting more and more complicated by the minute," says Pernilla Solberg. "To be honest, it’s a nightmare.”

PSRX Volkswagen Sweden have officially confirmed that the cars and equipment have now officially arrived at the Killarney International Raceway.

2018 Gumtree World Rallycross of South Africa - TRACK WALK.

The 2018 Gumtree World Rallycross of South Africa gets underway tomorrow at the Killarney International Raceway, with 18 of the best World Rallycross international drivers and 16 RX2 series drivers. 

Let's take a walk around the 1.067 KM circuit, which consists of 60% asphalt and 40% dirt. 

The staging area.
Ready... Line up on the grid gents!
The World Rallycross of South Africa GRID.
POLE POSITION... watch those lights and its GO GO GO! 
Its a long run down to Turn 1. 
We have now approached Turn 1.
Kerb your enthusiasm gents..... 
Kevin Hansen carried quite some speed into Turn 1 and slid into the lead at the exit of Turn 2 in 2017.
Turn 2... Drivers will head onto asphalt. 
Sharp kerbs... Could they lead to punctures? 
From Turn 2... Its an immediate onto the dirt section and into Turn 3.
Heading to the jump.
A rear view of the jump.
From the jump, you are straight onto the merge between dirt and asphalt.
Its still a long way to go before you reach the tight turn 4/5
You have arrived Turn 4/5
Looking back at Turn 4.
You choose... The joker or standard lap
Its rather tight taking the joker lap.
The joker lap on the outside and a dirt standard lap.
The standard lap on dirt with the sharp kerbs. 
A bit twisty on the joker lap
The joker and standard lap merge... Where in 2017 Solberg and Ekstrom had a prang.
A look back at the standard and joker lap merge. 
Its a distance to Turn 7 and 8. 
Fairly tight.. isn't it? 
A look back at Turns 7 and 8.
Its a dash to the line... 
Little bumps if you run wide.
AND....... across the line.