The 2020 FIA World Rallycross season kicked off in Sweden over the weekend with what has become known as the ‘magic weekend’ at the world-famous rallycross track in Holjes.
PHOTO CREDIT: GC Kompetition/Eric Fabre.
It was magic, as a new team joined the grid in 2020, but unfortunately, that was where the magic ended for the newly established UNKORRUPTED team. While GC Kompetition was an independent team in 2019, this season they oversee three teams, with UNKORRUPTED being one of them. In addition to that team owner Guerlain Chicherit switched his Megane R.S. RX for the new evolution Renault Clio R.S. RX and will team-up with Rokas Baciuska in 2020.
Hopes were high as the Renault Clio R.S. RX underwent further developments during the off-season with updated suspension, an updated engine, and a 30kg weight reduction. The updates allowed the Clio to brake a lot later than it's competitors, but the team were unable to unlock its true pace.
The opening round of the 2020 World RX season got underway in mixed conditions, which saw Chicherit finish the first and second qualifying sessions in fourth-place, but due to evolving conditions he was ranked 16th overall in both sessions.
The Frenchmen's third qualifier was only good enough for P14, which meant he would go no further finishing round one in sixteenth overall.
Having worked through the night to change various aspects to the car’s set up, Guerlain finished Q1 in eleventh overall, but contact in Q2 saw him finish the session in twelfth overall.
In an attempt to hang onto a semi-final spot, Chicherit pushed but it was just not enough to qualify for the semi-finals, which saw him finish round 2 in thirteenth overall.
"This was not the start to the Championship we had wished for sure - we’ve done a lot of testing over the winter and showed a very competitive pace, however, arriving in Sweden showed the track environment to be extremely challenging for our setup and we struggled with grip," Chicherit said. "The team thinks they may have found the problem and will now work hard to find a way to adjust the car ahead of Finland but it will be tight with only 5 days to go."
"It’s frustrating and upsetting for sure but I’m not someone to give up and I will fight to come back stronger. We’ve got some of the best drivers and cars in the paddock this year and I want to see the GCK Clio R.S. RX battle with them."
Chicherit's teammate Rokas Baciuska raced his way into the semi-final in round one having put down increasingly competitive pace and performances. After the three qualifying heats, Rokas was 11th overall despite turbo failure in Q3 and bagged a spot in the semi-finals.
Having turned the car around in time for the semi-final, the Lithuanian only managed to complete three laps before another issue with the turbo forced him to retire in sixth-place.
The second round (on Sunday) got off to a rough start for Rokas after contact with Robin Larsson caused engine issues which saw him drop to sixth overall with two qualifying sessions remaining.
In Q2, Baciuska managed fought back to 11th overall, but his weekend came to an end after finishing his Q3 race in twelfth-place, which meant he would go no further.
"We’ve definitely had a tough race weekend here at the first couple of rounds of the Championship in Sweden - from the turbo breaking which resulted in some engine issues later to struggles with the car setup from the beginning of the weekend, we’ve been fighting hard to find a good way for the GCK Clio R.S. RX to take on the rest of the pack," Baciuska said. "We did a lot of testing on very different tracks and our setup didn’t match what we needed here, so there’s work to be done now to find competitive pace."
Written By - Junaid Samodien