Friday, 5 October 2018

2018 Japanese GP: FIA Team Members' Press Conference.

TEAM REPRESENTATIVES – Christian HORNER (Red Bull), Franz TOST (Toro Rosso), Frédéric VASSEUR (Sauber), Masashi YAMAMOTO (Honda)


Q: Yamamoto-san, you introduced an engine upgrade in Russia. How much of a step forward is that? And in more general terms, how much progress have Honda made this season?

Masashi YAMAMOTO: Regarding this season, we were not as quick in the development as we would have wanted to. However, recently, everything has been much better, especially regarding the combustion chamber. We have upgraded it, and it’s finally complete, and very successfully complete. Regarding Russia, and the problems we had with the other engine, it had regard to the calibrations but we have fixed it since Russia, and within this one week before the race in Suzuka, we have fixed that issue and so I suppose Mr Tost can look forward to great weekend.

Q: How are preparations going for 2019 with Red Bull Racing? Do you feel a big pressure to deliver top results?

MY: Yes, regarding 2019, we are very pleased to also work with another top team. We believe Red Bull is a top team in Formula One. We – me and Christian – we have had great communication throughout the year, and obviously there is pressure, however this pressure, we turn it into good energy, and this good energy will bring us fantastic and fabulous results. Of course, with Team Toro Rosso, Team Red Bull on both sides, pressure into great energy, great results for 2019.

Q: Franz, you had a busy week leading up to Honda’s home grand prix. I believe Sakura on Tuesday, Wako Wednesday, Suzuka factory yesterday morning. Just tell us what you found in each place and about your experiences this week.

Franz TOST: And Tochigi! You forgot another company. No, it was fantastic, the visit with the two drivers, all the different factories here, the research and development factories from Honda. The people were very enthusiastic and they liked to talk to us, to ask questions and I must say the Honda employees are really Formula One fans and I hope that we can provide them with good results, so they can see all the hard work which they have done in the last months come to a successful end.

Q: It was announced recently that Daniil Kvyat is going to return to Toro Rosso next year. After a year with Ferrari, what kind of a driver are you expecting back in the Toro Rosso fold?

FT: I was with Daniil Kvyat out in Sochi, we had a fantastic dinner together, he is relaxed, I have the feeling he is much more measured that the year before. I expect a competitive Daniil Kvyat. We all know he is very fast, that he has a very high level of natural speed and he just has to sit in the car, push the right-hand pedal and you will see he will show good results because he can do it. We all know this.

Q: Christian, we’ve just heard from Yamamoto-san about Honda’s preparations, their hope for good results next season, can we just get your take on how things are going with Honda. How are advanced you are.

Christian HORNER: We’ve been very impressed with the progress that Honda have been making during the course of this year. Obviously, we’re now working closely regarding… incorporating the engine into RB15 for next year. I have to say the communication has been excellent between both companies. We’re hugely impressed by the effort, commitment, desire, determination to succeed that there is in Honda. Certainly, when Yamamoto-san talks of energy, we’re not lacking any energy within Red Bull Racing, regarding the 2019 season.

Q: Bringing it back to this year, you’re now 101 points ahead of Renault in the Constructors’ Championship, so you’re pretty much nailed-on for third place. How has that affected your preparations for next year? Have you started work on the new car earlier than would be normal?

CH: Well, we have a regulation change coming for next year, the front wing changes the characteristics of the car quite significantly, so we’re effectively in no-man’s land in the Constructors’ Championship, so obviously, a large amount of resource is already being placed into next year’s programme – but of course any updates we can introduce and learn from, we’re bringing trackside.

Q: When did you start work on next year’s car?

CH: It becomes a transient process. So, obviously as soon as the regulations are released, you start to look at kind of impact that there is and then that ramps up through the summer months. So, pretty much all the design team now are obviously focussed on 2019.

Q: Fred, excitement is building about Charles Leclerc and his move to Ferrari in 2019. We saw another great race from him in Sochi last weekend. Just wanted to ask you how much Charles has changed as a driver, and as a person? The driver who turned up in Melbourne, compared to the driver that’s now racing in Japan.

Frederic VASSEUR: Compared to Melbourne, for sure he’s got a lot of experience. He struggled a little bit on the first event of the season with management, mainly due to the fact we had a very short winter session in Barcelona due to the weather. The first week. The first races were a bit difficult for him but then step-by-step, after second or third race he was able to put everything together and he improved consistently. I think he’s still improving.

Q: Let’s throw it ahead now to 2019. Kimi Räikkönen was at your Hinwil factory a couple of weeks ago. What sort of work was he getting on with there?

FV: He’s not designing the next car! We tried to sit him into the car. The next year car. It went well!

Q: What about Giovinazzi? How excited are you about him joining the team?

FV: For the whole team it’s a huge push that we have still a couple of guys who were there when Kimi drove for the team, and the reputation of Kimi at Sauber is still huge. When we did the announcement, that it was a great push for everybody and I think it will be helpful for the team.


Q: (Scott Mitchell – Autosport) Question for Franz, Christian and Yamamoto-san. Regarding Honda’s upgrade and the progress we’ve seen so far. Franz, what are you expecting the difference that will make in the midfield battle? Christian, do you agree with some of the comments from last weekend, that it puts Honda at least level, maybe ahead of Renault, and Yamamoto-san, how do you feel about the comments, the positivity the upgrade has had from Red Bull and Toro Rosso?

MY: Regarding Spec-3, which we have brought in Russia, well, actually, obviously as you know, it hasn’t raced yet, so it will be the first opportunity to race with the new spec. According to the results that we’ll have after the race, it will be more comparable. We can start comparing data with the other ones that we have used before. So, not only the engine but of course the entire performance with the car.

CH: Well, it’s obvious that progress – and good progress – is being made and that’s really encouraging for us. Our focus is not on where our current position is. It’s where the lead position is. That’s the same goal that Honda share. In-roads are being made to reduce that gap to the benchmark in Formula One. You need all elements to be performing to win in this sport, and of course the engine is a key element. We’re looking very much forward to 2019 and starting this relationship with Honda.

FT: With the spec-3 engine we must be in Q3 and we must stay ahead of Sauber because they put a lot of pressure on us in the Constructors’ Championship. That’s the target.

Q: (Dieter Rencken – Racing Lines, A question to Christian and Franz. In the past the Red Bull group has had very close relations with the VW group across various categories – rally, DTM, etc. I believe that: a) you are reducing your DTM involvement and secondly, the relationship you now have with Honda covers two Formula 1 teams and MotoGP. Does this supersede your previous VW relationship or replace it or what are your plans going forward?

CH: Obviously there was a historical relationship with VW across different elements of motorsport. The withdrawal from DTM coincides with other movements going on within DTM. Obviously it’s a growing partnership with Honda. And of course Red Bull, who operate in many categories of motorsport, work with many different manufacturers but of course this relationship in Formula 1 is extremely important. There has been a long and successful partnership within MotoGP and we hope some of that success will be mirrored in our Formula 1 activities.

Franz, anything to add?

FT: There’s not much to add. Toro Rosso was together with Volkswagen at the beginning and we had a real good co-operation also with them, especially on the sponsorship side, but then we changed the engines to Renault and now to Honda there was not any more the possibility to work together with Volkswagen and we are now with Honda for the next years and we are very happy about this.

Q: (Luke Smith – A question for Yamamoto-san. Could I get a progress update on the Honda young drivers, Makino and Fukuzumi, in Formula 2 for 2019 and your plans to keep them there? And how important is it for Honda to get a Japanese driver on the F1 grid in the coming years?

MY: Yes, obviously to have a Japanese driver on the Formula 1 grid is very important for Japan and for ourselves for the future of this motorsport in Japan. Regarding Making and Fukuzumi. As you know he has won in Monza. Regarding the series that they run in, as you know, the teams have been working with the new regulations, a lot of changes, trying rolling starts etc so it hasn't been a very stable series this series itself. But they are both very good drivers and we are educating them for a bright future.

Q: (Edd Straw - Autosport) A question for all four, please. There is a lot of talk about the longer-term future of Formula 1, 2021 and beyond, and there are a lot of competing objectives: cost reduction, making sure the on-track competition is close, the look of the cars, road relevance, driving technology. How do these competing objectives get balanced up, particularly with the fact that technology and road relevance often tend to drive up costs and sometimes have made the racing worse?

CH: Formula 1 ultimately is a show, it’s an entertainment, and to be entertaining the racing has to be good, the drivers have to be the heroes and I think we need to improve the spectacle of what we currently have. I know a lot of work is going into trying to create cars that are easier to follow or promote better racing. Of course technology has a role to play in that but it shouldn’t be the predominant factor, it should be a complimenting factor, and I think if you get the ground rules and the shape of what the product should be and then the other elements will fit in with that and so we’re relying very heavily on Ross Brawn and his group and the experience that he has, together with the FIA, to come up with a set of regulations, both technical and sporting, that deliver the product, that deliver the spectacle and obviously the commercial terms that are allied with that will follow.

Yamamoto-san, your thoughts?

MY: As Christian has mentioned, Formula 1 is the top motorsports platform for the future and it is very important for us as a car manufacturer also to develop, an important platform to develop the latest technology. Also not only the technology itself but thinking about the world environment, so the future in all these different perspectives is very important and this is the perfect platform for us, so as Honda and Formula 1, branding, the fans, the entertainment point of view is very important, as well as the development of the technology of the future that will be released to the world.


FT: Formula 1 is entertainment and currently, fortunately thanks to Hamilton and Vettel, we have two drivers who keep this entertainment on a higher level. But generally speaking there are three teams and the rest are far behind. That means that the FIA and FOM must come up with a regulation from a) the sporting side and b) the technical side, and they must also look that the costs come down. The cost cap is I think an idea that can be realised, that a minimum of five or six drivers are able to fight for the championship, because this is what the spectators want to see. In addition to this, there is always enough space and room for the manufacturers to develop, for example, the power unit or whatever, and that Formula 1 stays at the pinnacle of motorsports. Once more FIA and FOM has to come up now with solutions, because time is running away. We are talking about 2021 and we still don’t have a 100% fixed regulation a) for the chassis, and b) for the power unit and this needs to be clarified as soon as possible.

And Fred?

FV: Yeah, for sure it’s quite obvious that we need to improve to improve the show. That Sochi was a race with less than five overtaking, if I don’t consider the two red Bulls, but you won’t start from the back very single weekend and now for the target for the second part of the grid is to avoid to be lapped, more or less. Even when you are the first of the second pack, success is when you are not lapped. I think that we would have to find a solution to allow talented drivers in a small team to be not too far away from the podium in exceptional circumstances, and today we are far away from this. We saw last weekend that even though Ricciardo and Verstappen started from the back, after 25 laps they were five and six or something like this. We are not racing in the same competition.

Q: (Scott Mitchell - Autosport) A question for Fréd, Franz and Christian. You all respectively have experience of working with drivers who are either F1 rookies or new to the team and in a high-pressure situation. What do you need from your driver to get the most out of them in that scenario, how important is their attitude and approach and how important is the team environment to helping them succeed?

FT: First of all, the driver must be skilled. Second he must be passionate – that means 365 days Formula 1. Then he must be disciplined and he must be, I call it innovative. That means he must think about how best he can improve himself and then he has to be integrated into the team and of course with a young inexperienced driver the team has to take much more attention to him, take much more care of him and preparation, nutrition, physical preparation, then simulator work, then all the technical stuff. A young driver is many times during the winter months in our factory, sitting together with our engineers, discussing all the different topics regarding setting up the car, regarding power unit management from the steering wheel. It’s a lot of stuff. It’s a lot of work and therefore you need a 100% committed driver to bring him to the front.

FV: For sure, the pace is the first skill. If you do not have the pace then you can forget about it. On the top of this we have a lot of guys with good pace who are not able to achieve in F1. Mainly for the same reasons. There is a huge step between the junior series and F1; you have much more things to manage. You have not so much test days. We spoke about it before but with the four days you have in Barcelona, it’s quote short and when two of them are under snow it’s a nightmare. Then they have a huge pressure from the press, from you mainly, at the first events, when it’s not working well. I would like to remember to everybody that after two races I had in the press conference questions about Leclerc, if it was not too early, it was a mistake to take him in F1. We have to be patient, because it’s a huge step and we have to take it step by step and to let them work. But they have to be fully committed and I think that when we are speaking about the young kids that we have I am convinced that that they are more than committed.

CH: For us it’s very simple. We send our youngsters to Franz. If they can survive his 365-day training programme and graduate with that then they might make it into Red Bull Racing, so we’re very grateful for the education that Franz gives these young drivers and it’s obviously proved successful over the years.

You’ve got Pierre Gasly coming into the team next year and Max Verstappen is still young. What do you have within the team to help these young guys?

CH: Well, what annoys me about those two drivers is that their combined age, for the first time, is younger than my age. I think, again, it’s about creating the right environment, about creating an environment in which the drivers feel confidence, they feel heard, but they also know what their side of the deal is, what they have to deliver, because the expectation in Formula 1 is extremely high, especially in a front-running team, where you’re not just driving for yourself, you’re driving for the aspirations of 800 people within a team, all the partners and the shareholders that they represent as well. So the pressure is significantly higher. I think it’s finding that balance, that they still can enjoy what they do, but they still recognise the responsibility that they have.

Q: (Dieter Rencken – Racing Lines, To the three team principals: it’s just a little over two years since Liberty acquired Formula One’s commercial rights and just under two years since they formalised it. Obviously there were great expectations, great hopes. Have they actually managed the rights up to your expectations so far after two years?

CH: I think Liberty have obviously gone through a learning process. They’ve had to understand what they’ve bought, what is Formula One and I think that there are many aspects that are easier than previously. They’ve invested heavily in marketing the sport, they’ve put on promotions, roadshows. They’ve opened up digital platforms, social networks etc to bring new eyeballs into the sport. They’ve introduced e-sports, so they’re exploring new territories with Formula One and I think the key element for them going forward is not so much the promotion, which they are proving to be well-equipped with, it’s what the product is and I think that’s what the key part now to the success moving forwards is, what are those regulations for 2021 going to be? What does Formula One look like over the next ten years? And obviously there’s a responsibility on Liberty and the FIA to get that right.

FT: OK, up until now, they took over something that was very well organised from Bernie. There are contracts until 2020 and that means their influence was not so dramatic but nevertheless they’ve done a good job in promoting Formula One with all these new ideas, especially on the media side with social media and so on. But their decisive job is, as already said, to create the new regulations and to bring Formula One into this new period and then we will see how good they are working from 2022, 2023 onwards when the new regulations are really on top. They are quite well organised, they are very experienced people within FOM and together with the FIA they should be in a position to sort out all the smaller problems which Formula One, especially on the starting field that everything is more on an equal level and also on the money distribution and of course, also that the revenues stay on the level which was the case in Bernie’s time. These are the main topics they have to face and I’m quite convinced that they will do a good job.

FV: Yeah, for sure they very open, they are investigating new projects, launching new ideas, opening new doors and so on but I think at one stage we will need to get results, that everybody will need to get results and we will see what will be the next step.

Q: (Oleg Karpov – To all four gentlemen: Cyril Abiteboul and Toto Wolff recently said that Formula One should maybe think about reducing the number of races to 15 or 16, so the product is more exclusive. First of all, do you agree with that and secondly, if you do how could we achieve that? Should we reduce the number of races just like that or should we rotate races like Hockenheim and Nurburgring, something like that?

MY:  Well, as you know, we are not constructors so we will accept what FIA and FOM decide.

CH: Well, we are a constructor. 21 races, I think, is about saturation point. I think that there’s only so many chapters you can have in a book and I think at some point you go beyond what’s relevant. I think to go as low as 15 or 16 I think is too low – maybe Cyril was looking at grid penalties or something – but I think that 21 is the upper end. It’s tough. It’s tough for the guys in the garage, for the travelling staff, it’s tough for everybody involved and I think for the spectator and fans as well, beyond 24 races it reaches saturation, so I think it’s finding that balance. I think the really encouraging thing is that there are some great venues that want to host Formula One races and events and I think that that should provide natural competition for the venues that are already on the calendar.

Q: Christian, what’s the ideal number?

CH: I think we are it, I think 21 is max.

FT: I think it’s not the number of races or the size, it’s the show which we offer and the level of the entertainment. If you have 15 boring races people will not watch any more. No, I think we should have around 20, 22 races and I think this is a good number and the exclusivity once more depends how good we are and we also should not forget that we are a global player and therefore we need a certain number of races to stay a global player. And I would absolutely refuse to go below 20 races. The year has 52 weeks, therefore we have a lot of time.

FV: For sure we will never go more than 21 because that is, from my point of view, far too much and we have to keep…

CH: If we could keep Christmas it would be good.

FT: We should prefer a race at Christmas and New Year, far away, in New Zealand or…

FV: I think at one stage also we are losing the exceptional of the event; the more races you are doing, everybody is used to and at one stage we have to keep the exceptional side of the races and for me it’s a bit too much but I will follow the calendar for sure. I won’t stop after 18 next year.

Q: Fred, what’s the magic number for you? How many races?

FV: Magic number? I think that below 20 would be fine but between 18 and 20 would be fine for me.

Q: (Kazuki Kasahara – Car Watch) Question for Yamamoto-san: this Grand Prix is a Honda supported brand name (title sponsor)? Could you tell me why and also give your motivation for another 30 years?

MY: Yes, well, as you well know, Honda started joining Formula One in 1964 and it has developed along the years, along with Formula One, so Honda has developed, F1 has grown and so it’s been a mutual development throughout the 30 years. In honour of this relationship that we have had for 30 years, we’ve decided to sponsor the title of the event in Japan here this year, just to thank everyone, including the fans, I know, for this great support and collaboration.

Thursday, 4 October 2018

2018 Japanese GP: FIA Drivers' Press Conference.

DRIVERS – Sebastian VETTEL (Ferrari), Stoffel VANDOORNE (McLaren), Esteban OCON (Racing Point Force India), Lance STROLL (Williams).


Q: Three of the four of you are without a contract for 2019, so let’s start with that topic, and perhaps you could just tell us the latest. Let’s start with Esteban.

Esteban OCON: Yeah, that is true, so far. I still don’t have any news to tell you, unfortunately. For sure I am trying to get a seat for next year but if I don’t, I will be sitting on the side, but the sure thing is I will be back for 2020 and I will push my maximum to be back in 2020 anyway.


Lance STROLL: Right now, still have five more races to go so I’m going to take it weekend by weekend. Yeah, we’ll see what the future holds.


Stoffel VANDOORNE: So far not much news from my side, to be honest. Formula One seems very unlikely, obviously, and like I said last week, there’s been a lot of talks with different series, different teams, and there are a lot of possibilities. So, I hope I can tell you a bit more in the next couple of weeks.

Q: Esteban, the car is performing very well at the moment, had a good race in Russia and you have a very good record here at Suzuka: qualified fifth last year, finished sixth. So, what are your expectations for the weekend?

EO: Yeah, definitely big expectations. We have a strong car since a couple of races now. We had a strong upgrade now and we are fighting to be the fourth fastest team each time so definitely looking forward to be racing on this track. As you said, I have great memories, so I can’t wait. It’s a track that suits my driving style quite well, and it’s one I’ve been successful at, so I look forward.

Q: Lance, Russia was a tough weekend for you and the team. Can you tell us, what are the car’s shortcomings, and how difficult is it to drive at the moment?

LS: In terms of result it was a tough weekend. We didn’t pick up any points or anything but I still think we had a decent race, y’know? The position is not what we’re hoping for and not what we’re aiming for but y’know, we had some pace during the race. I was behind Fernando throughout the whole race, challenging him, trying to get by – but the nature of the track, it’s very, very difficult to overtake. Yeah, and y’know, where we stand now, I believe there’s no more upgrades for the rest of the season, but we’re still going to be doing everything we can every weekend to try to improve the balance of the car. I’m going to try to get everything I can out of the package that we have for the rest of the season.

Q: Stoffel, I believe you came down on the bullet train this morning from Tokyo, I just wanted to explore your love affair with Japan. You raced here, of course, a couple of years ago in Super Formula. Just what is it about Japan that you love so much and perhaps you could tell us a secret about Suzuka as well – because you won your last race in Super Formula here at Suzuka.

StV: Yeah, I’ve got some good memories from Japan, racing here in Super Formula. I think first of all the fans are always pretty amazing and it’s quite exciting to come back here and see what they bring for all the drivers. I think they really support everyone. So, definitely good memories from my year in Super Formula. Also, one of the greatest circuits. I think the feelings you have here in a Formula One car is probably the best you can have. Very challenging and looking forward to being back here this weekend.

Q: Sebastian, we saw quite a gap in performance between yourselves and Mercedes last weekend in Russia, particularly over one lap. How confident are you of closing that gap here at Suzuka – particularly at a track that’s been very kind to you in the past.

Sebastian VETTEL: Well, within a week you can’t do too many things differently, so we hope that the track suits us a bit better and we have a better weekend than in Russia. I think we nevertheless managed to get and squeeze everything out of the car. I think in race pace we were hopefully a bit closer – so let’s see where we start off here.

Q: One of the highlights for us, observers of the Sochi weekend, was seeing you and Lewis going wheel-to-wheel. He spoke after the race about how much he enjoys the challenge of racing against a driver of your calibre. I just wanted to get your thoughts on him. How much are you enjoying the challenge of racing Lewis Hamilton this year? And in what areas does he impress you the most?

SeV: Well, first of all I think you always enjoy when you race somebody on track and you tend to enjoy more when you come out ahead – so I’m sure he had more fun last weekend than I had. But yeah, obviously, it’s tough to have a wheel-to-wheel battle on the track but then if you do, you appreciate it a lot more, so I think… it’s been intense races and challenging races we had but not that much wheel-to-wheel racing but yeah, as I said, I enjoyed it. I didn't enjoy it probably as much as he did. I would have liked it to have lastest a little bit longer, for more laps, but that was probably the only chance that we had. Apart from that, obviously, it’s always difficult to compare. These days, I think racing is very different to maybe the way it has been many years ago. You don’t spend much time with each other even though you share the track for all the sessions, you don’t see each other very often until the race, and then even in the race it depends on how the race unfolds – but I think it’s also fine like that, in a way, that some races are more intense than others. I think if every race would be intense then they would all be normal again. Naturally, obviously you enjoy it more when you come out on top.


Q: (Scott Mitchell – Autosport) Sebastian, you talked about getting the most out of the car last weekend in Sochi. In the last swinging fight with Mercedes, over the last couple of weekends have you been surprised to be behind Mercedes at a couple of tracks where they struggled at in the past, especially when you seemed to have a performance advantage in Belgium and then again in Italy in qualifying?

SeV: I think I answered it many times. I think I’ve said many times that we have a strong car, but I don’t think, against the people’s opinions, that we had a dominant car at any point this year. I think the highlights that you mentioned or the races that mentioned, in qualifying we were not ahead. In the race I think it was very close and I think it has been very close all year. I think there were too many races from our side where we weren’t close enough. A race like last weekend, the way they could play with us in the race, usually means they had more pace. There were other races in the season where we didn’t have the pace they had. But I think we have always been very close, most of the races close enough to have a good fight. So we’ll hope that we have the same performance here. Hopefully we are closer in qualifying, which matters obviously to place the car well to then have a strong car and show that pace, because once you are behind, for the reasons I mentioned earlier we don’t have a lot of wheel-to-wheel racing, it’s not that easy to follow close, and then if you are racing for the same tenth, even if the cars were easier to overtake it wouldn’t be that straightforward because ultimately you go as quick as the guys around you, but hopefully we are a bit closer.

Q: (Julien Billotte – AutoHebdo) Sebastian, do you think that Ferrari is not pragmatic enough when it comes to team orders? We saw in Sochi that Mercedes was quite open to ask Valtteri to move aside and if we think about Germany or Italy, you guys seemed a bit more reluctant with Kimi, so do you think they have the edge in that area?

SeV: Generally, I think it is a sensitive topic or subject, obviously for the reasons that we have seen after last weekend. I don’t think we have been in the same position as they have, probably, during the race, so I think it is more a question for the team and not for me.

Q: (Phil Duncan – PA) Sebastian, given that you have finished behind Lewis at five of the last six races, how do you, personally, as a driver, keep your confidence up and do you head into this weekend thinking it’s now or never in terms of the championship?

SeV: I don’t like the now or never approach. I don’t think there’s much sense in that. I didn’t know it was five out of six, now I know, so the secret before just now has been not to count. No, I think you attack every weekend, every weekend is different, the track is different, the circumstances are different, so I’m very happy to be here. I love this track, it’s my favourite track in the world, so I’d better enjoy it and not spoil it by starting to count the things that are against me and focus on the things that are working for me.

Q: (Andrea Cremonesi – La Gazzetta dello Sport) Seb, the weather forecast, it seems that it will be bad until Sunday, only Sunday there will be the dry track. In rain conditions, the last few races you were not very lucky. It is a handicap? And the second question, technically did you lose a little bit the direction in these few races after Monza?

SeV: How do you know about our technical direction? Sorry, but I don’t think it’s true; I don’t think we lost direction. We made progress with our cars, the steps that we planned, the steps have been coming. Now, you never know where you are in comparison to others, maybe they have done smaller steps or bigger steps, I don’t know, but I’m pretty sure speaking to all our engineers that we are where we would like to be or where we wanted to be. Of course you would like to be always further with more performance, but that’s the same for everyone. And the first question, I think there is nothing that speaks against us in wet conditions. I think as you said, here and there it didn't play into our hands but it won’t be like that forever, so I’m not afraid if it’s wet.

Q: (Scott Mitchell – Autosport) A question for all four drivers. It’s one of the few tracks where we don’t have tow DRS zones. I know if you had DRS down the back straight, maybe 130R wouldn’t be flat or would be more of a challenge but do you think there should be a second DRS zone at that part of the circuit?

LS: I would say so. Whether 130R is flat or not is car dependent and depends on how much risk you are willing to take. I don’t think that’s really the reason why we should debate whether there is a DRS zone or not on the back straight. I think it could only help overtaking. It’s already a track where due to the nature of the track it’s very difficult to follow, with all the high-speed corners and all that, so if there is a way of helping overtaking, helping the show, it would be good.


EO: I think it would be quite a challenge to have DRS there, even harder than Silverstone, Turn 1 really. Let’s see what’s going to happen in the future, it could be interesting.

So you would like to see a second DRS on that straight?

EO: As Lance said, it could only help overtaking into the last chicane. In the race it would not probably flat, especially following other cars, but in qualifying it could be an interesting challenge.


SeV: I’m not a big fan of DRS, so I don’t know. Now we are in Japan, I think Mario Kart, if you remember, it might be more fun to throw bananas out of the cockpit, so maybe it’s a better idea to have bananas than DRS. I don’t like it, I think it’s artificial. I think we should find a different way to make the cars follower each other closer and not rely on DRS.


StV: I agree with Seb. I think the fact that we are talking about DRS probably shows how difficult it has been for cars to follow each other and to race each other, so I think in the future if we could have much closer racing and do the old school overtakes, that would be the best.

How difficult was it to overtake in Super Formula here?

StV: It wasn’t easy, because obviously the cars are all the same as well and the competition was tough as well, but there were possibilities and those cars didn’t have DRS as well.

Q: (Masahiro Owari – Formula Owari Masahiro) This is the 30th Japanese Grand Prix. Do you remember which Grand Prix, which year, did you see your first Japanese Grand Prix on TV, and do you remember who won?

StV: I don’t remember it! No, I don’t. One I remember was when Kamui was racing and got on the podium. Which was 2012? Quite late. Yeah.

SeV: I watched all of the races that Michael ran later with Ferrari but I always fell asleep in the second part because it was very early and usually he was in the lead. It was sort of clear after half the race or after the first couple of laps. But I remember the one where… when did Ayrton win here? ’88? Yeah, this I don’t remember. I was one. Later, did he win again? 1991? Yeah. 1993? Maybe that one. ’88, for sure not, because that would be unrealistic, I was one year old. But ’93, that sort of makes sense. That was the first memories anyway and I remember how he lifted the cup, and I think the cup here is beautiful as well, the trophy. It was the same back then as it is now. Yeah, I remember that. Not so much the race but I remember the moment on the podium.

Q: Do you get a kick that the track is pretty similar to how it was back then when Ayrton was racing on it?

SeV: Yeah, I do. I think it’s one of the… it’s my favourite track and I think it’s one of the original tracks that haven’t been messed with. I think it’s… like Stoffel described earlier, I think the feeling you get inside here, in the car, is probably the best all season, when you throw the car from one side to the other up the hill and then you’ve got some really characteristic… how you say?...

EO: Iconic.

SeV: Iconic, thank you French, iconic corners like Spoon, 130R nowadays maybe not as tough as it was back then but overall it’s a great track.

EO: Yeah, I don’t remember the first time I’ve watched this track or this Formula One Grand Prix but the first thing that comes into my mind is always the fight Alain against Ayrton Senna, obviously, in the last chicane and also the first corner the following year, that’s the first thing that comes to my mind, like for sure, historic stories.

LS: Yeah, same. I don’t remember a race in particular. We saw Schumacher take off and win the race round here but that’s probably when I started watching Formula One but I’ve watched the replays of Senna and Prost fighting around here and making contact in the last chicane. Those are historic moments.

Q: (Dieter Rencken – Racing Lines, You may have seen that the Strategy Group has discussed changing qualifying into four Qs so it will be four out, then four, then four and then finally leaving eight for the final Q1 shoot-out. What do you think about that? Will it make any difference? Will it help you? How do you feel about it?

LS: That’s the first time I’ve heard of that format. There’s more entertainment for the fans and gives the drivers a bigger chance, maybe can mix up the top three teams a bit more and increase the risk of getting into the last qualifying session. Could spice things up.

EO: Could be a good challenge for the midfield teams, you know, so you could have two drivers in Q4 so it could be fun but then I don’t know how it would change things for the top teams. It would probably be the same.

SeV: Just wondering what we will discuss in ten years’ time, whether we will be talking about Q9 and Q10, if that makes sense. I don’t know. Probably not but I don’t know, maybe we should go less. Without going too deep, my personal opinion is that nowadays I think we need too much entertainment to be happy. I think it would be nice to settle for something less as well. My preferred qualifying was back in the days when they had one hour and you could do what you want. Obviously qualifying for some people will never be as exciting as the race but for other people it’s more exciting than the race so it depends on your tastes, but I think it’s about getting the perfect lap and I don’t think it matters how many qualifying sessions you have. Now we have three and the one that most people look out for is the last one, so if you have Q4, Q5, Q6, Q7 what’s going to change?

Q: Do you think the current format needs changing?

SeV: No but that’s my opinion, so I might be wrong.

StV: Yeah, not much to say to that, really. I don’t think this is the biggest problem so far. As Seb says, I think we don’t really need to have an extra session. We’re out in Q1 anyway so… It doesn’t change for me.

Wednesday, 3 October 2018

Unstoppable Kristoffersson secures the World RX title in style.

PHOTO CREDIT: FIA World Rallycross Media
Super Swede Johan Kristoffersson claimed his second title in the FIA World Rallycross Championship at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas. The defending champion claimed victory at the tenth round of the season, ahead of teammate Petter Solberg and Andreas Bakkerud [EKS Audi Sport].

The Swede has been in incredible form this season, claiming a record nine wins, six top qualifier positions, and it has not come easy. He has had some struggles on a Saturday, but worked hard and got back up on the top step. 

With two rounds to go, Johan Kristoffersson has enough reasons to celebrate and even sing..... 

"I am invincible, unbreakable
Unstoppable, unshakeable
They knock me down, I get up again

I am the champion"
[Lyrics from: Carrie Underwood ft. Ludacris - The Champion]

Kristoffersson went to the land of opportunity with 17 reasons to remain focused, and all 17 were found it at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas.

The race weekend, did not get off to the smoothest of starts, with Johan slotting into fifth and last place in Q1, but he worked his way up the standings.

Second place in the semi-final was enough for Johan to be crowned World RX champion. 
Despite how happy he was with clinching the title, the Swede was already looking to put the icing on the cake with a win in the final. And he did it. A ninth win from 10 races was the perfect way to sign-off on a second world title.

“What an incredible feeling. The title is what I came here for and it’s so nice to have it," said Kristoffersson. "Obviously, there was some pressure in practice and qualifying and the championship was in my mind – even if I kept trying to push it to the back."  

The Swede felt that Q2 and Q4 was an improvement, but he got stuck in traffic. He was happy with his Volkswagen Polo R Supercar. “The team had put such a good car beneath me, I knew it was possible to do this speed and, like it always does, gave me such good confidence."
The 2018 FIA World Rallycross Champion
PHOTO CREDIT: FIA World Rallycross Media

Johan needed two points to secure a successful title defense which he had achieved, but he remained focused on the job at hand, and his desire to win. 

“The semi was weird! I came through the last corner and I was a world champion, but still there was this race to come. I was so focused on the racing, there was no time to think to anything else," the Swede explains. "I made a good pass on [Mattias] Ekström in the semi and that was really important for the final."

Starting from the second row of the grid. Johan opted for an alternative strategy and jokered on the first lap. He was able to lead out of the joker lap ahead of Ekstrom. Solberg, his teammate took the joker on the second lap, and he emerged ahead of Johan. Johan then sneaked through for the lead when Solberg ran deep on the brakes.

“The final was going well and we were looking really good for the one-two when Petter slid a little bit wide in one corner," says Kristoffersson. "I took the gap and won. Of course, this is so special to win. To take the title like this is really special."

“You know I am so proud of what I’ve achieved this season. Winning last year was a massive thing for me, but to defend the title in the way that I have been able to is something very special. I have a lot of people to thank for this, including the whole PSRX Volkswagen Sweden team. We work so well together, everything works."

Kristoffersson has often turned his weekend around after receiving advice from  teammate, Petter Solberg. Solberg is recovering from an illness that he was diagnosed with last year, but this weekend. The Norwegian has been a strong contender for the race win.

“And, of course, I have to thank my teammate Petter. This hasn’t been the easiest year for him, but this weekend he showed he is right at the top of his driving again and it’s so good to have him back to his best. I’ll be honest, I think Petter deserved the win this time.”

The Swede just cannot stop winning at the moment. Just eight days prior to claiming the World Rallycross Championship, he clinched the 2018 TCR Scandinavia Touring Car Championship title. 

“I won the 2018 TCR Scandinavia title last week and now this. Incredible.”  

Congratulations to the double FIA World Rallycross and 2018 TRC Scandinavian champion, Johan Kristoffersson!

Solberg is back to his absolute best.

PHOTO CREDIT: FIA World Rallycross Media
Petter Solberg is back! Solberg has struggled throughout the 2018 World RX season, after being diagnosed with an illness only discovered after his accident in Latvia last year. He has had trouble with his vision and a lack of energy, but this weekend, Petter has felt better and stronger. 
The Norwegian led overnight after a storming run to fastest times in Q1 and Q2 on Saturday. “I was really happy with the start to the weekend. Qualifying on Saturday was fantastic, I was very happy to be leading after Q2," said Solberg. "It’s been a tough year and to come out and win both of those Saturday qualifying races gave me an unbelievable feeling again.

On Sunday, Solberg won his semi-final and was in the position to take his first win of the 2018 season, but it was not to be for the Norwegian when he slid wide and dropped to second behind Johan. 

“Sunday was really good as well, we came through the semi in a good way and the final was looking perfect. I braked a little bit too late and couldn’t get the car turned to the left-hander before the jump," the Norwegian explained. "I took the handbrake and slid a little bit wide."

“That one I gave to Johan, my mistake. I wanted that win so badly. It has been a tough season, but I really feel like I’m back."

After a physically demanding weekend at the Circuit of the AmericasSolberg admitted he was not in the best shape, and believes that with more training, he can get back to his best. 

“I am tired now, but it’s been a physically hard weekend with the heat in the car and I’ll be honest, with the illness I haven’t been able to train so much as I wanted to. But now I’m going to be in the gym and fighting like hell for those last two races."

Tuesday, 2 October 2018

GRX Taneco retain unbroken semi-final qualification at COTA

PHOTO CREDIT: FIA World Rallycross Media
The GRX Taneco team continued an unbroken run of qualifying for the semi-finals at the World RX of USA. Despite not securing a place in the final, the team remained upbeat.

The short, narrow Circuit of the Americas World RX circuit proved difficult to master, even for the leaders. 

Day one got off off to a slow start with the GRX Taneco drivers only clocking the ninth and tenth-best times. 

On Day two conditions were abit tricky due to overnight right. Niclas Grönholm clocked the second-best time in the warm-up and took eighth place with some superb driving in Q3. Seventh overall, he just needed to play safe in the last qualifying session. He took tenth place, enough to secure a slot for the semi-final. 

Timur Timerzyanov met his match on the initially slippery track, which dried quickly. Caught out by the change in grip, he finished 13th in both qualifiers and fell short of the semis. 

"It was really difficult today.We were eleventh after Q2 and we lost a lot of ground on the Sunday. We played the wrong tactics in Q3 and were unlucky in Q4," said Timerzyanov. "Together, that cost us our ticket to the semi-finals. But, looking on the bright side, it was our first time on the circuit, which proved a tricky one, so we learned a lot.” 

Having made a promising start from the second row in the second semi-final, Grönholm wound his way through the pack to third place. Challenged by Andreas Bakkerud, he conceded defeat and fell to fourth in the final laps. Despite losing his place in the final, he came away from the first World RX of USA feeling upbeat. 

“It was a satisfactory weekend.Obviously, there were ups and downs, so we weren’t ideally placed in the semis. All the same, we pulled off a good start and were in a position to challenge. It just wasn’t to be this time,” said Grönholm. “It was a tough round, very close, but it was practically impossible to overtake so I didn’t get the chance to get past again."

The Finn is looking forward to the penultimate round of the World RX championship, and targets a good result in Germany. "The car is perfect for the circuit and having banked two good results, I hope we can make it to the podium this time."

Abu Dhabi to host the opening round of the 2019 World RX championship.

PHOTO CREDIT: FIA World Rallycross Media
The 2019 FIA World Rallycross Championship will begin in Abu Dhabi on 5/6 April, following the agreement of a long-term deal with Yas Marina Circuit announced today (2 October).

Next year, Abu Dhabi it will break new ground as it plays host to the first competitive rallycross event ever to be held in the Middle East. The rallycross track will utilise part of the legendary Formula 1 circuit, integrated into a challenging new purpose-built layout.

In line with recent additions to the World RX calendar – most notably Speedmachine at Silverstone and Circuit of The Americas – the Abu Dhabi season curtain-raiser will also be a festival of entertainment, incorporating live music.

“We are delighted to announce this new partnership with Yas Marina Circuit, which enables us to bring rallycross to a part of the world the discipline has never visited before," said Paul Bellamy, SVP & Managing Director, Motorsports, IMG. "The Middle East is renowned for its enthusiasm for motorsport, and there is no championship more exciting and action-packed than World RX.

“With so much planned both on and off-track, the Abu Dhabi weekend will be a high-octane weekend of fast drivers, even faster cars and major music acts – the perfect way to kick-start another thrilling season of World RX competition.”

Al Tareq Al Ameri, CEO of Yas Marina Circuit, said: “Yas Marina Circuit is proud of its long track record of hosting thrilling internationally acclaimed motorsport races that attract fans from across the globe to Abu Dhabi and we are delighted to welcome the FIA WORLD RALLYCROSS CHAMPIONSHIP to the ‘Meeting Place of Champions’.

EKS Audi Sport claims seventh podium finish of the season in Texas.

PHOTO CREDIT: FIA World Rallycross Media
EKS Audi Sport claimed a podium finish at the inaugural FIA World Rallycross Championship (World RX) outing in Austin, Texas (USA).

The team claimed its seventh top 3 result of the 2018 World RX season.

Andreas Bakkerud took third overall at the World RX of USA, while team mate Mattias Ekström finished the final in fifth place after contact with Timmy Hansen (who was handed a time penalty for the contact).
Both EKS Audi Sport drivers made their way into the final with strong performances in the preliminary races: Mattias Ekström held second in the intermediate standings after the first day, and won third qualifying as well as the semi-final on Sunday. With consistently good times in the qualifying sessions and a third place in the semi-final, Andreas Bakkerud also made the final. In the final, Bakkerud drove a strategically smart race and he went on to finish third behind the two VW drivers - Kristoffersson and Solberg.

“I’m delighted about the podium because the weekend was really hard. I started in the difficult outside lane in all the qualifyings and we did our best together with EKS Audi Sport,” said Bakkerud. “Unfortunately here we were unable to beat Volkswagen. But it’s great to compete against the world’s best drivers."

Mattias Ekström was not totally satisfied: after his victory in the semi-final, and started the final race from the front row. The Swede had the best launch off the line and secured the Monster Energy Supercharge award, but lost valuable seconds after a touch from Timmy Hansen and crossed the finish line in sixth place. After Hansen was given a time penalty, Ekström moved up to fifth place. “I’m definitely disappointed that I couldn’t get on the podium, we landed in the wall in a hard fought final and didn’t score many points,” said Ekström.

Despite a mixed weekend for EKS Audi Sport in Texas, Bakkerud is raring to go at the World RX of Germany to continue his charge for the runners up spot in the World RX Championship: "I’m looking forward to the next race in Buxtehude where I’ll continue to fight with Mattias (Ekström), Petter Solberg and Sébastien Loeb for the World Championship runner-up title.”

Team Peugeot Total faced a challenging weekend in Texas.

PHOTO CREDIT: FIA World Rallycross Media 
The FIA World Rallycross Championship raced into Texas for the very 1st time in its young history, with the brand-new event at the Circuit of the Americas. 

Sebastien Loeb finishes 4th and his team mate Timmy Hansen is 6th (after receiving a 5-second penalty for contact with Ekström). They were both driving the Peugeot 208 WRX EVO and both showed good progress with their starting strategy over the weekend. 

The team had to cope with the challenge of variable weather, and also an engine change in only an hour on the car #21 on Sunday morning (between Q3 & Q4). In addition to a 5-second penalty (Q2), Loeb was the victim of unfortunate racing incidents all throughout the weekend, that often found him caught in traffic on a narrow circuit where were no overtaking opportunities. 

The team’s Junior, Kevin Hansen, showed plenty of promise in his 2018-specification Peugeot 208 WRX, getting as far as the rough semi-final he was involved in – he finished just 7th overall. Peugeot Sport engineers and mechanics will continue to push hard with the development of its cars and process over the final 2 rounds of the series.

Sébastien LOEB - 4th in Austin
 “It was again a complicated weekend. We had a good speed but I had a penalty in Q2 & I paid quite a high price for it. In Q4, I was stuck in the traffic. The semi-final was a good heat for me but when you start from behind, it’s difficult to overtake, especially on this track. So I finished 2nd of the semi & 4th in the final... which was rough once more! I’ve been pushed in the 1st corner in the joker lap & went completely wide. All the cars that were in there at this moment took the opportunity to pass inside, in front of me. Then my joker lap strategy was already done so I had nothing to play with anymore. But OK, in the end we still scored some points & we’ll keep going.”

Timmy Hansen – 6th in Austin
"It was a difficult race weekend: we had to fight from the low & climb up step by step in the standings. I think it was already a good achievement to come to the final alongside all 6 factory cars. I've been fighting my best but it was quite a boring final since there were no overtaking opportunities on this track. I ended up 5th - still one place up on the grid. I think we should be happy with the weekend after all we went through - for being in the final & finishing 5th.”

Kevin Hansen – 7th in Austin
 “It did not quite go all the way this weekend. I think I had a very good speed but it was just a too tough semi-final for me in the end. I am a bit bumped that I could not use the speed I had this weekend to properly challenge for the podium. It’s a bit a shame but still I was feeling good in the car, knowing that we struggled a bit with the set-up the previous weekends, so now we are back to very good feelings. To summarise: not super happy but I would like to continue moving forward. Estering is one my favorite tracks so I can’t wait to go there. This weekend we had a good pace & I had a good feeling, so I will take this in my luggage & bring it to Germany.”

REPORT BY: Team Peugeot Total

Monday, 1 October 2018

REPORT: Ice cool Kristoffersson claims victory and is crowned at COTA.

PHOTO CREDIT: FIA World Rallycross Media.
PSRX Volkswagen Sweden’s Johan Kristoffersson was crowned the 2018 FIA World Rallycross Champion in the inaugural World RX of USA at the Circuit of The Americas in Austin, Texas.

Kristoffersson only needed 17 points heading into the weekend. He went on to put the World RX Drivers’ Championship out of the reach of his rivals in the semi-final stages, and later overtook team mate Petter Solberg – to win the final.

Double FIA World RX Champion Solberg – claimed Top Qualifier spot – while EKS Audi Sport’s Mattias Ekstrom lined up on the front row of the grid for the final. Solberg took the lead into the first corner as Ekstrom claimed the Monster Energy Supercharge Award for having the fastest reaction time at the start and headed straight for the joker lap.

Starting on the second row, Kristoffersson passed Ekstrom at the first cornerand set about his pursuit of leaders Solberg and EKS’ Andreas Bakkerud. Solberg took his joker on lap two and stayed ahead of Kristoffersson, then retook the lead on lap four when Bakkerud played his joker. Kristoffersson moved into the lead when Solberg locked his brakes and ran wide on lap five and won the race ahead Solberg and Bakkerud.

“The team gave me a great car this weekend and I felt really strong from first practice. Then I got a little bit stuck in traffic in Q1 so it didn’t look so good to secure the Championship here,” said Kristoffersson. “Q2 was strong, the team gave me a very good car again for Q3. I won Q4 and then in the semi-final I had a really good tyre strategy. I made the pass on Mattias in the final which was crucial to be on the podium, then Petter had a small, small mistake and that was enough to win. I have to give a big thanks to Petter and the whole team for making this possible.”

The one-two finish for the PSRX Volkswagen Sweden team extended its lead in the Teams’ Championship. “It was very close, I did a mistake on the brakes and that’s it. But still I’m really pleased with the performance this weekend,” said Solberg. “Congratulations to Johan, I’m very happy for him to be World Champion in my team. For me it means a lot that he has been so consistent with no technical failures which is good from Volkswagen’s side. I think we have done a pretty good job and now I hope I will be even stronger for the next race.”

For Bakkerud, COTA was the scene of his fifth podium of the season. “I felt like I had all the odds against me this weekend because I was starting fifth, fifth, fourth and then fifth again and I had to use my new tyres to recover that,” said Bakkerud. “In the semi-final against Loeb and Mattias they had new tyres and I had used (tyres) – I felt I was getting closer but the in last two laps my tyres were dead. I tried everything I could and I’m happy that I managed to get to the final and the podium. Regarding the next round at Buxtehude (Germany), I know the Audi is working very well there, we have also done a good job and for sure the fight for second in the points is going to be a lot of fun to watch.”

Team Peugeot Total’s Sebastien Loeb finished fourth and Ekstrom was classified fifth after Peugeot’s Timmy Hansen was given a five-second penalty for an incident in the final with the Audi driver.

GRX Taneco’s Niclas Gronholm and Team Peugeot Total’s Kevin Hansen finished fourth in the semi-finals and just missed a place the final. Both GC Kompetition drivers, France’s Guerlain Chicherit and Sweden’s Anton Marklund made the semis. Chicherit was slowed with a left-rear suspension problem in semi-final one and Marklund finished sixth in semi-final two, just behind Olsbergs MSE’s Kevin Eriksson. Team STARD’s Janis Baumanis also qualified for the semis and finished fifth in semi-final one.

GRX’s Timur Timerzyanov was first reserve for the semi-finals in 13th, ahead OMSE’s Robin Larsson and Sebastien Loeb Racing’s Gregoire Demoustier.

The Coundown Begins - 2018 Gumtree World Rallycross of South Africa.

PHOTO CREDIT: FIA World Rallycross Media
Summer is here, and the temperature’s definitely rising as we count down to when the Gumtree World Rallycross of South Africa hits the Killarney International Raceway in Cape Town on the 24th and 25th of November 2018. If you thought you couldn’t handle the heat, then just wait until twenty-five of the world’s best drivers – including current World Champion Johan Kristoffersson, Sébastien Loeb, Peter Solberg and Mattias Ekström – battle it out in a blistering fight to determine who's the fastest.

And it’s not just sunny South Africa that’s on fire. At the FIA World RX of USA, Kristoffersson proved his number one status by winning his ninth event of the season, to become the first driver to ever do so. He was followed by Solberg and Bakkerud. Recognise those names? That’s because they’re in the first paragraph, and they’re also on the Championship standings, which looks like this (top 10):

Johan Kristoffersson - PSRX Volkswagen Sweden

Mattias Ekström - EKS Audi Sport 

Petter Solberg - PSRX Volkswagen Sweden

Andreas Bakkerud - EKS Audi Sport 

Sébastien Loeb - Team Peugeot Total

Timmy Hansen - Team Peugeot Total

Niclas Grönholm - GRX Taneco 

Kevin Hansen - Team Peugeot Total

Janis Baumanis - Team STARD

Timur Timerzyanov - GRX Taneco 

All this goes to show that the South African version of this event is going to be a world-class affair. It’s not only going to have the big names and the most vocal fans (of course), but it will be a crowning moment, literally, because it’s the finale, the culmination of all the global events where the World Champion is announced. Prior to getting here, the drivers will be racing their way through World RX in Germany.

‘It’s fitting that all of this culminates in Cape Town, where motor sport has a huge fan base of petrol heads. Cape Town attracts a mixed-bag of international events annually including those that get our residents revved up and outdoors. We are incredibly proud to be hosting the Gumtree World RallyCross of South Africa for the second year. We’re ready. We’re excited, and we’re amped to smell that rubber burning,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security, Alderman JP Smith.

It’s all going according to plan. The organisers are working hard and on track. The international races are setting a very high standard. The tickets are selling fast. And everyone is counting down. The drivers are counting down. The fans are counting down. Cape Town is counting down. Hey, even the website is counting down. So make sure you and your family book early and secure your places. You. Do. Not. Want. To. Miss. This.

World Rallycross SA – Gumtree World Rallycross of South Africa

Killarney International Raceway

Saturday, 24th November 2018 – Sunday 25th November 2018

Tickets: R220 – R750

Hospitality tickets from R2500


For more information go to