Thursday 22 November 2018

World RX Supercars and stars took to the V&A Waterfront for an exclusive parade.

The V&A Waterfront Parade.
PHOTO CREDIT: Junaid Samodien
South African motorsport fans got to up close and personal with some of the world's best drivers and their RX Supercars at the V&A Waterfront today, ahead of the Gumtree World Rallycross of South Africa at Killarney International Raceway on Saturday 24 and Sunday 25 November 2018.

After a brief park-off, the convoy of World Rallycross Supercars took off from behind the Table Bay Hotel, through the streets of the Waterfront to the Amphitheatre, where they parked their Supercars next to the Big Wheel.

The fans and enthusiasts present where treated to the World's best drivers being interviewed by one of World RX of South Africa Ambassadors - Marius Roberts. 

It was a day not to forget for many fans, who were rubbing shoulders with the likes of Timmy Hansen, Guerlain Chicherit, Kevin Eriksson and Petter Solberg to name a few.

Let's hear from a few of the drivers that were present....

Ashleigh Haigh-Smith [South African driver competing in the RX2 Series]: "With the Supercars you got the big turbos, power and pure grunt. Whenever you move from one series to a feeder series to one make series, the chassis' are the same. Its all prepared by OMSE. Its all by driver ability and that makes it really nice, and fair and square. You could see this whole year that the series has been competitive. So, its all about skill and doing the preparation before the event and going into it committed."

"Last year it was. We did a test prior to the event in a Supercar, up in Sweden. It it was easy.. Do this and it starts. Kevin was the guy who was instructing me and I was shaking in the car, it was the first time that I was nervous. And, then you go into the first corner and you can see nothing. The guys, they nudge and they push, but there is always millimeters between each other."

"What makes the difference between Rallycross and Track racing is you are moving, there are obstacles and you are being nudged and that is really cool."

Guerlain Chicherit: "Yeah! It was a really amazing year. To be honest, it was a bit tough because it was my first full season. I have to learn so much. The car was brand new, so sometimes it was good and sometimes not so good. We learnt alot and super excited. Already looking for next year. We are already starting next year and testing next week already." 

"To be honest, to manage a race weekend is fine and I can just focus on my driving. I have a really, really amazing team around me and they just do everything I need, so I just focus on my driving. Outside the car and the race... to prepare and organise everything. Partners and everything, that is a big job. When the races arrive then its just to focus on my driving and I really love it. The plain is to be really efficient and to fight, as much as possible and to be in the final as much as possible."

"The track was really, really amazing. Good memory from last year and as you said I was driving with RX Lites, so it was less power, but it was good for me because I really needed it to learn the track and to be able to be confident this year. It was important for me last year, but this year we will arrive a bit faster into the first corner that is it." 

Kevin Eriksson: "I was in a private project last year, but this year I am back and I really like this Ford Fiesta March 8. We had high expectations and felt good before the year, but especially with VW, Peugeot and Audi they were a bit ahead of everyone. My teammate (Robin Larsson) was not here before, so I need to help him and get him up to speed."

"When I was younger, it was alot of football and stuff, but my father did not want to push me into motorsport. If you don't want yourself, it will not turn out good for you! But then when I turned 13-14 years old, I had this low level, very low level budget cars... Kind of like rallycross with a lot more heats. I started with that and kinda of got stuck in the motorsport and it was like a drug, and from there I just continued and continued, and took it step-by-step and finally here in the pinnacle of rallycross. Its good to be here! Ofcourse, you get that pressure to kinda of like to be better [that Father] but rallycross is quite funny, because we are alot of sons of former drivers. Me, the Hansen brothers and Kristoffersson. We all have that raced each other. So, its kinda of the second generation now and we are continuing the trend. 

It is a different spectacle now ... Its more series and back then you turn up on the Thursday and have fun on the weekend. Now, its series. I kinda of miss the old days, but like the new days."

PHOTO CREDIT: Junaid Samodien
Kevin Hansen: "Its quite okay.. I had a big crash as you said last time out and it took a few weeks to recover completely, but now I feel pretty good again. So, now maybe not hundred percent but it doesn't really matter."

"A lot of things happen at turn one, which is really cool on this track and unique. You have Buxtehude where it happens alot and here as well. So, I really look forward to get out on Saturday and Sunday." 

Timmy Hansen: "I am actually very proud of performances that we have done. As you said, a few too many penalties to be in that big fight for second place, which I would have loved to be in that fight. I am a bit further back in the championship. Haven't won a race yet this year. and I came quite close here last year, so I am so excited to come to Cape Town again. I love this town and I will try to give it one last shot with this team and to win for them." 

"Kevin proved it last year... to throw your car in from the outside and come out in the lead. So, it depends on who makes the best start and the you need to carry good speed and then it opens up the inside, strategic game and see where everyone is going." 

Andreas Bakkerud: "[Asked about team orders] Are you sure? I am just joking. Myself and Mattias have had a really cool year together and we have fought hard and fair in every race weekend, so we have been very close to each other this year. Its been a lot of fun, and to wrap up here, in Cape Town with the good crowd we had last year... Hopefully, its going to turn up more this year and then we can make it a good show." 

"First of all, the track is very cool with the layout and the curves, and the little jump and Table Mountain in the background is just awesome. The good thing about here in Cape Town is the wind, so it blows away fast (dust)."

Mattias Ekstrom: "At the end of the day everybody wants to have a good end of the year and some guys have a challenge to fight for championships position, which is great but the other guys also want to end the season high. So, I don't really fully expect to fight Andreas and I do hope that the other guys are hungry as well, so that we can have a great race cause in the end coming from Europe now, its snow and minus degrees and feeling the season is over."

"I think in general the reason why we love rallycross is because of the classical tracks is what caught our attention at one stage, but you also have to see that some of the tracks that were brand new, which is good for the environment around. Maybe not the better and more enjoyable layout of track, but like Barcelona, which is one of my favorites. Then there are a few which are a bit artificial but every track has its own characteristics, good or bad if you like. I did the race in America with Travis Pastrana and that track was insane, but in rallycross as a sport not only the world championship, but there are a lot of great tracks around the world, but its coming down to where all the promoters want to see us race." 

Petter Solberg: "I like this nice weather and its enjoyable. I also have a problem here, there is a shopping centre... You know the credit card gets warm. We have had another fantastic season and Johan had done an incredible job. I am very glad that his in my team and I think in general, we take the teams championship again and it means alot to me and the relationship that we have with Volkswagen. Two years in a row is always difficult and the same time Oliver [Solberg] won the RallyX championship and second in the Rally championship in Latvia. So, for the whole team and the family we have had a fantastic season. When you have passion and dreams, and goals, it is possible and both this combination with getting all the people and the mechanics and everybody with the same dream, they will push the hell out of you."

"That is Mattias, I am talking about. Last year, he won second place going off the road and I was mad. It ended that way last year and then he hit me straight into the wall in Spain, that was shit and so bad you know. But I think coming from DTM you need to be a little bit tough."

"Seven points off? I changed the engine the last race. It was fifteen points off... Me and Loeb, we stick together. The old drivers... young handsome and ....." 

[Stint in a rally car] "That was pretty good! Six years and I had one test day before the race and a new co-driver. The good thing with the co-driver, she was 55 kilos and that helps, you know. I wanted my old co-driver but he was much double weight, so it was really difficult. Coming back to rallying.. It was great feeling. I came there to enjoy it and because of a bit of a sickness I had this year and I was not looking good for the rallycross or the rally. So, I felt like I got better and okay, let's just do it! Coming into third place there was just fantastic because it was the biggest start field in the R5 field and the thing is Sebastien Loeb told me before the race: "Petter, okay... We will have a hell of a party if you win the R5 class and I win the WRC class." And, he came to me after the race and he said: "Petter, I kept my word what about yours?"

"You know.. I want to feel my arse sliding and moving... I think its a great feeling and you have to have fun, and if you can do a bit more faster sideways then its more enjoyable. If you want to go straight, then you go into circuit racing." 

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