Tuesday, 16 June 2020

Andreas Bakkerud returns with a new team but the same ambition to be World RX champion.

Andreas Bakkerud leading Timmy Hansen and Niclas Gronholm in the 2019 World RX title decider.
PHOTO CREDIT: Slipstream SA/Junaid Samodien
Andreas Bakkerud returns to the FIA World Rallycross Championship with a new car and a new team but with the same ambition to be FIA World Rallycross Champion. 

Coming off the back of finishing second in the closest-ever finish in World RX championship history, the Norwegian is anxiously awaiting for the new season to kick-off in August. Bakkerud spoke with Andrew Coley (World RX commentator) on the official CatalunyaRX Instagram to discuss the year ahead.

Moving from an EKS developed Audi S1 Quattro, Andreas, and his 2019 team-mate, Liam Doran will once again join forces. “I’m feeling pumped and very excited to have signed with GCK together with the RX Cartel, Monster Energy, and Liam (Doran). So I am sure that we will have an exciting year”, Bakkerud said.

In 2020, the pair will move over to the biggest team, currently on the RX grid. The collaboration certainly promises to benefit both as GC Kompetition (GCK) is in search of their first win, while both Andreas and Liam Doran can bring their wealth of experience to the team, in a bid to improve the Renault Megane R.S. RX even more.

Testing the GCK Renault Megane at Killarney, a day after the 2018 championship ended, Bakkerud seemed pleased with the car. The Monster Energy GCK RX Cartel driver noted that the Megane R.S. RX has lots of potential and is capable of running at the forefront of the grid.

“After the 2018 season, I stayed one day longer in Cape Town testing the Megane and I was very, very surprised, and very keen to get my hands on it. Because it’s a car that I think has a lot of potential and I think that GCK has shown great pace many times, but maybe it needs more time to get stable drivers and input; and, more calmness in the team,” he said.

Having raced for EKS, Hoonigan Racing Division, Olsbergs MSE, and Set Promotion, Bakkerud surely has a wealth of experience and knowledge to offer. The Norwegian even ran his own team in 2010.

“Hopefully we can come up with something good on the table that can help us win races because I have won with every car that I have driven. So, I have to kind of win with the Megane as well (laughs),” he adds.

He also added that the ideology of the RX Cartel is to be serious about racing, whilst also joking around a bit. The aim is to bring this philosophy over to GCK, helping to lighten the mood and find a new viewpoint and aim. Whilst GCK won on track in 2019, technical regulations deemed it worthy of disqualification. And, while this might have been a set back at the time, both GCK and Bakkerud are now more fired up than ever to fight back, win races and championships.

Whilst the Renault Megane has a larger wheelbase compared to the EKS Audi S1 (the car, Bakkerud has driven and gotten used to over the past two years), he firmly believes that the Megane is capable of winning, much like the Ford Focus RS he previously competed in. Liam Doran, who previously raced for GCK in 2018, happily agrees with this as the Englishman seems happy to jump back in the Renault Megane R.S. RX.

“I absolutely believe that the car [Megane] can do top results,” he said. “When we can put all the pieces together I am very sure that we can be one of the most successful teams of the 2020 World Rallycross Championship and onwards. So, at least that is my goal and I know from GCK’s side, the goal is to win championships and the goal is to win races and the goal is to do well and also to entertain the fans.”

Looking back at 2019, Andreas stated that the first round of the championship might have already been the hardest blow of the season. A disqualification during Q3 turned the tables during the weekend, but more so for the developments later in the year.

“At the end of the day, I blame Abu Dhabi more than anything else because I felt leaving Abu Dhabi, I scored the most points of everyone in the championship and I felt the disqualification in Q3 was something – it was not me. I am not sure if it’s FIA or the guys that made the track. It’s the approval of not doing the first corner after the checkered flag which was the fault because seven or eight drivers did it the same as me,” Bakkerud explained. “We kept flat out and thought it was the last lap and I didn’t see Timmy and we hit and it was a hard start of the year. I love the track – the track is really, really cool it was just unlucky.”

Whilst the Abu Dhabi track has been altered for 2020, the overruling for a disqualification meant that Bakkerud walked away from the weekend, without any points, whereas it should have been the other way around. While the EKS squad worked very hard to get the Audi back for Q4, he walked away from the weekend with no points, whereas it could have easily been much more.

“If it’s one thing I am going to blame it is the stewards in Abu Dhabi for black flagging me with the crash of Timmy because EKS managed to get the car ready for Q4. We did Q4 and bounced over the finish line with a wheel going loose, and we still managed to get through to the semi-finals,” he said. “We were so happy and then unfortunately they took us out of the race and we scored zero points and I think Timmy scored five, six, or seven. If I look back on it, I blame the stewards.”
Andreas celebrating after winning in Canada.
PHOTO CREDIT: FIAWorldRallycross.com

Three successive podiums during the next three rounds saw him, steadily climb back in the championship. However, a handbrake issue during the British round meant that a podium couldn’t be converted into a win. He also led in Holjes, only to break a drive-shaft in the semi-final. At Loheac, he crashed with Niclas Grönholm, whilst in the lead of the final.

After the mid-season break, mental games came into play. The Canadian race weekend saw Bakkerud winning, whilst Timmy Hansen probably had his worst RX weekend to date. This propelled him into the championship fight yet again. He took the win at the most crucial point; as both Hansen brothers were struggling.

Riga, Latvia was yet another good round. After the success of the previous rounds, Bakkerud took substantial time to study the track in a bid to yet score more points. EKS jumped in and helped to test the car and set-up for the track.

He did well, only to fall behind the likes of Hansen and Grönholm in the final.

From thereon, the championship ended in the same fashion as Bakkerud predicted. However, not even the Norwegian himself could predict the true chaos that would erupt during the last few laps of the year.

With a six-week break and only 1 point separating the top 2, both Bakkerud and Hansen kept themselves fit and ready for the fight.

“I think I was like one point behind him going to Cape Town and from practice on we both showed great pace. He won Q1 by 3 tenths of a second. He (Timmy) beat me the first lap by 8 tenths and on the second lap it was even and then I caught back up a few tenths on the last two laps,” he explains. “And that was my weakness. With brand new tyres on the Audi I never managed to squeeze the good 3 tenths to a half a second.”

“I then changed tactics and I reused used tyres all the way through until the semi-final and then I actually had five new tyres left. Using two new tyres for the semi-final and three new tyres for the final so I was ready for action.”

Conserving his tyres throughout the weekend, allowed Bakkerud to use new tyres for the finals. This propelled him to start the final from the front row. The Norwegian ultimately took the lead of the race, only to slide wide in the gravel hairpin. This caused a snowball effect, when Hansen took the inside line and the pair collided.

As everyone bumped one another in the hairpin, both Hansen brothers were catapulted onto the grass bank and re-joined the race again at the back of the field.

In all the chaos, Niclas Grönholm took the race lead, while Bakkerud was in second-place. Up until this point, the latter would still have won the championship.

Yet, disaster struck on lap 3 as Timo Scheider retired from the race, promoting Timmy Hansen into fourth- and ultimately the championship-winning position. Had it not been for Hansen’s previous four wins, Andreas Bakkerud would have been crowned the FIA World Rallycross Champion in South Africa.

Andrew Coley described the Bakkerud-Hansen rivalry as the Senna-Prost moment of World RX. Fans will forever be on opposing sides in terms of this racing incident. However, Bakkerud manages to take the positive memories from this; reminiscing about the goosebumps he felt ahead of the final race.

“Looking back at it off-course, it is still very disappointed that we didn’t leave there with the World Championship title but at the end of the day the goosebumps on the start line of the semi-final, and the feelings ahead of the race and the disappointment after the race. It was a special experience that I can’t describe it in any words. Like so much emotion coming through – a wicked experience but also a very tough one to swallow because I felt in that final that Timmy did so much bad stuff at the end when I look back at it," he said. "But it’s all in the past and I can’t do anything else than man up and grab the new opportunities that I get.”

Bakkerud believes that it will be very tough to beat double World RX champion Johan Kristoffersson in the Volkswagen Polo.

“I think that it’s going to be very, very tough to beat Johan who is returning with the Polo. We all need to remember how much money Volkswagen have paid to be in the rally programme,” he said. “I think it was a crazy amount which they have used on that car and I think in 2018 we had somebody calculate an average how much they were in front of the other teams and I think it was like half a second. And of course, we caught some back when they rested last year… They didn’t rest but the cars were standing still but I still think there is a gap.”

The new GCK driver will certainly come back stronger and hopes to beat both reigning champion Timmy Hansen as well as Johan Kristoffersson.

Written By: Junaid Samodien and Franco Theron

Wednesday, 10 June 2020

Münnich looks forward to testing himself against the best in World RX.

PHOTO CREDIT: FIA World Rallycross Media. 
Rene Münnich, the owner and team manager of 
ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport, will contest another full-time FIA World Rallycross Championship for the first time since 2016. However, the German entrepreneur is by no means an unknown name in the motorsport fraternity. 

Having made his debut in 2005 in the German Autocross Championship, he entered the ADAC Procar series as well as the European Rallycross Division 1A in 2007. Subsequently, he claimed the German Rallycross Championship in 2007, 2009, 2010, and 2011. 

In 2012 – 2016, he raced in the World Touring Car Championship, whilst also competing in the 2014 Blancpain Sprint Series and the 2015 TCR International Series. 

In 2011, he entered the Supercar division of the FIA European Rallycross Championship. For the 2012 and 2013 season, he raced in the Super1600 category, and in 2014, 2017 and 2018, he again competed in the supercar category. 

At the same time, he also started competing in the FIA World Rallycross Championship in 2014, completing two full seasons in 2015 and 2016. 

Evidently, it is very clear that Münnich is a truly busy person. Apart from owning companies, managing racing teams, he himself carries the passion to race. 

Since 2013, Münnich Motorsport has had several wins in both the World Touring Car Championship, as well as the FIA World Rallycross Championship. Having previously signed the likes of Robert Huff, Gianni Morbidelli, Sabine Schmitz, and James Thompson in Touring Cars, well-known Rallycross drivers like Tommy Rustad and Reinis Nitiss have also raced with his teams previously. 

Two-time DTM champion, Timo Scheider has also been a frequent name with the team since 2015 and in 2020, the German will once again race in a full season. 

"I’m glad to be back in the FIA World Rallycross Championship, joining Timo in our two-car team. Last year the racing in World RX was very competitive and we produced some solid results," Münnich said. "We expect the same high level of close racing this season and I am personally looking forward to testing myself against the best drivers in the sport once again."

In addition to taking part in the 2020 season, ALL-INKL.COM Muennich Motorsport is also committed to the electric future of world rallycross.

"We welcome the plans for the FIA World Rallycross Championship to phase in electrification from 2021 and we are making plans to be part of this exciting future,” he added. 

Written By: Franco Theron and Junaid Samodien

Tuesday, 9 June 2020

In conversation with Timo Scheider ahead of the 2020 World RX season.

PHOTO CREDIT: FIA World Rallycross.
Timo Scheider joined the FIA World Rallycross Championship in 2015 and immediately impressed upon his full-time debut at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya in 2017. The Rallycross bug had evidently bit the German racer hard as he will compete in his sixth World RX season, this time alongside team owner, Rene Münnich. 

Scheider was quick to show his love for Rallycross, stating that general paddock life and way of racing as the reasoning behind this passion for the sport. Coming from circuit racing background (DTM), the driving style in World RX tends to differ and while both racing formats create a form of adrenalin, it does tend to differ. 

“It’s the best feeling you can have when you have to handle such a strong car on different surfaces” Scheider mentioned. 

After 16-years and two championships (in 2008 and 2009 with Audi) in the DTM series, Scheider started his full-time campaign in the FIA World Rallycross Championship. In only his first race, Scheider managed to put pressure on another former DTM- and newly crowned, WRX champion, Mattias Ekström. 

Starting from the second row of the grid, Timo passed the stagnant Johan Kristoffersson and then Andreas Bakkerud for second-place. Outpacing the latter, both Ekström and Scheider jokered on lap 2 to exit just in front of Bakkerud and the chasing pack. To be able to do this on debut, as well as to finish right on the rear wing of the newly crowned champion, showed the world what he was capable of. 

Scheider’s second true showcase came in 2018, competing in the ARX at Silverstone. With a flipped bonnet and impaired vision, he finished the race only 0.57 seconds behind Patrick Sandell in second. 

In 2019, the German did well, recording a final race appearance at Yas Marina, Silverstone, and Killarney (South Africa). He also recorded semi-final appearances at the Circuit de Catalunya, Spa Francorchamps, Hell, Trois-Rivieres, Loheac, and Riga. This meant that he only missed out on a single finals’ appearance throughout the whole season. 

PHOTO CREDIT: Junaid Samodien/Slipstream SA
Joining forces with Rene Münnich, 2020 is set to be a very exciting year for the team. 

Speaking to Timo Scheider ahead of the 2020 season, the German champion explained his ambitions for the 2020 season. “I need to be on the podium. This is a clear target for 2020”, he mentioned as his first ambition from the year. 

Having stood on the WRX podium and just missing out on several occasions, the Münnich Motorsport driver certainly proved his worth in 2019 and will undoubtedly come into the 2020 season with valuable lessons learnt. 

Having a teammate for 2020 will also help with a much quicker car setup and track analysis than before. Whereas Timo previously used the 4 heats to set up his car for the finals, a combined input from his teammate should help to set up the car much quicker. 

Scheider is also confident that the 2020 car will be stronger, stating that the team engineer spent time on the previous weak areas. 

Whilst most of the World is currently still under partial lockdown due to the COVID-19 virus, Scheider mentioned that he is spending the time with his two boys and wife at home. 

Talking about what he is most looking forward to in 2020, Scheider quickly mentioned his anticipation for the first line up with his competitors, sending it into turn one (whichever track it might be). 

The German is clearly very anxious to kick off the 2020 season and we can certainly not wait to see the ALL-INKL.com Muennich Motorsport team in action. 

Written By: Franco Theron and Junaid Samodien

Wednesday, 3 June 2020

Leclerc impresses in virtual Rallycross debut.

PHOTO CREDIT: FIA World Rallycross Media.
Ferrari Formula 1 driver Charles Leclerc impressed on his World Rallycross Esports Series debut at the Yas Marina Circuit over the weekend. 

Whilst the world is slowly returning to normal following stay at home orders due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, many professional drivers took to sim racing and Esports to entertain their fans.

Charles Leclerc is one of many real-world racers who took to sim racing like a duck to water streaming Formula 1 races, lawnmower racing, truck simulator driving, and over the weekend he made his rallycross debut.

It was an eventful debut for Leclerc who was involved in multiple incidents throughout the qualifying stages battling his way in-and-out of traffic, as well as rolling his car in Q3, to taking a race win in wet conditions in the fourth qualifier, but unfortunately, he was unable to progress to the semi-finals after finishing twelfth in the intermediate classification.  

Whilst he missed out on a place in the semi-finals, his shire speed came to the fore in the fourth qualifying race. The rain came and he showed pure speed from lights out. And, despite Henrik Krogstad crossing the line first, Leclerc was declared the race winner after Krogstad was awarded a jump-start penalty.

Following the fourth qualifying race, Leclerc admitted: “In the rain, I am quite good. While in the dry [conditions] I am struggling but not massively compared to the others.”

In the build-up to the FIA World Rallycross Championship Esports Series, Charles practiced with the Dall’olmo brothers. Killian Dall’olmo is the reigning DiRT Rally 2.0 World Series Rallycross Champion, while his older brother Quentin Dall’olmo won the Abu Dhabi Sim Racers eSports event this past weekend. 

Speaking after the race about Charles Leclerc’s performance, Quentin said: “We did few races before the event and for the first time on the game he [Leclerc] was really good but sadly he had no chance with a lot of contact with the other drivers. But if he does the next round with more training he could have a really good result.”

Supercars star Shane van Gisbergen (event winner) was an unstoppable force in the series opener in Abu Dhabi, with 2019 World RX Champion Timmy Hansen and Henrik Krogstad rounding out the podium. While Kevin Hansen had the pace but after a few incidents he finished the final in fifth place. 

Kevin believes that Leclerc had the potential to make it into the finals, but was involved in too many incidents.

“I think he [Charles Leclerc] has the potential to be in the finals. It was a shame that some drivers took him out during the races,” Kevin Hansen said.  

World Rallycross commentator Andrew Coley was also quite impressed by Charles Leclerc’s performance on debut.

“To me, it was clear [Charles] Leclerc had put the laps in, he had the pace. But he was really unlucky at the start, quite often through no fault of his own. It can happen in real life too, for instance, an unlucky Q1 draw can be hard to recover from. But to me, he looked fast, and as I understand it he enjoyed it.”

Charles Leclerc training with World RX driver Matvey Furazhkin
Footage Supplied By: FIA World Rallycross Media.

Getting up to speed in a virtual RX Supercar came quite quickly for both van Gisbergen and Leclerc. Coley said that he'd love to see Leclerc and Van Gisbergen get a test in rallycross. 

“I’d love to see him [Leclerc] and Van Gisbergen have a test in real life, and then to see the smile on their face when they get out of the car!” Coley said.

“But in the meantime the more they’d like to enter WorldRX’s Esports the better, I’m really grateful for their time, and I know the fans are too.”

Speaking after the qualifying races, Leclerc admitted that his virtual rallycross debut was very cool. “It was fun! Hopefully, I can do the next event,” he said.

The FIA World Rallycross Esports Series will return on 21 June 2020 in Hell, Norway. 

Saturday, 30 May 2020

Van Gisbergen returns for FIA World RX Esports Invitational Series.

PHOTO CREDIT: Red Bull Content Pool. 
2016 Supercars champion Shane van Gisbergen will return to the FIA Rallycross Championship Esports Invitational Series at the Yas Marina Circuit this Sunday. 

On his virtual rallycross debut in Portugal last time out, van Gisbergen claimed a podium finish despite multiple spins and incidents including a collision with Mattias Adielsson on the opening lap of the final. 

“It was definitely fun to do my first World RX Esports race in Portugal, I always watch World Rallycross on TV so it was pretty cool to be a part of it racing all those guys and I went a lot better than what I thought I would,” he said. “My goal was to make the semis but I didn’t think that would be possible given how fast everyone was, but I had some good luck in the races and had a couple of qualifying wins which really helped me.”
The New Zealander has previous experience of racing at the Abu Dhabi circuit when the Australian V8 Supercars last raced at Yas Marina in 2012. 

Whilst he might have experience around the Yas Marina circuit; the purpose-built 1.2-kilometer rallycross circuit poses its own unique challenges with long straights and tight turns that aren’t forgiving. 

Van Gisbergen has already begun testing for the opening round of the FIA World Rallycross Championship Esport Invitational Series.

“I did some laps at Abu Dhabi a couple of days ago actually, it’s a pretty long track, quite tough and technical,” Van Gisbergen said. “I actually raced there a couple of times a few years ago in V8 Supercars, so it’s quite cool to be racing on the rallycross version, so it should be a bit of fun. I had a really good response from the rallycross (Esports event in Portugal) so hopefully, everyone enjoyed watching it and this weekend hopefully we can do the same again.”

The driver line-up has been confirmed for the first event include FIA World Rallycross Champion Timmy Hansen, World RX racers, and esports regulars Oliver Bennett, Timo Scheider and Kevin Hansen along with rising star Rokas Baciuska. Former Ferrari F1 driver Mika Salo and Supercars Star Shane Van Gisbergen returns for there second rallycross outing. 

A host of new entrants will make their virtual rallycross debut this Sunday, namely: drifting and stunt driver Tessa Whittock, RX2 racer Fraser McConnell, the 2019 GT Masters Champion Kelvin van der Linde, Australian Supercars driver Scott Pye, GT star Tom Blomqvist and WTCR racer Esteban Guerrieri. 

Wednesday, 27 May 2020

EKS withdraws from Swedish Rally Championship.


Mattias Ekström’s, EKS team has announced that it will be withdrawing its three-car team from the Swedish Rally Championship with immediate effect. 

The explanation for the withdrawal has been cited as a result of the impact of the global pandemic. 

“Unfortunately, the world was struck by the global pandemic of Covid-19 virus, that since early March has halted most of the racing and left a lasting impact in the motorsport industry and everything that surrounds it,” the team statement said. 

“The world is changing and EKS will change with it. Therefore, EKS withdraws from the Swedish Rally Championship with an immediate effect.”

With firm roots in rallying where it all began in 1999, EKS announced a return to rallying last year focusing on the Swedish Rally Championship with two Skoda R5 cars in the top 4WD class and one Ford Fiesta R2 in the Junior class. 

“I really enjoy rallying and it always gives me thrills, to drive as fast as I can on a twisty forest road, but in this time and situation, we just cannot commit as a team to what we thought would be our main objective this year,” Ekström said. “EKS has been and always will be a trendsetter and we keep our eyes open for opportunities in this new world order.”

Whilst the team’s rally programme has come to an end, EKS has confirmed that it will continue to support its drivers with technical know-how, services, and logistics should they decide to continue individually or do wild-card races in Swedish or any other rally championships. 

Thursday, 21 May 2020

French World Rallycross round cancelled

PHOTO CREDIT: FIA World Rallycross Media
The French round of the FIA World Rallycross Championship at Lohéac has been cancelled due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Lohéac was provisionally scheduled to host the second out of the 2020 World RX championship on 5-6 September. 

However, the French round has now been cancelled due to the restrictions imposed by the French government ban on mass events until 31 August due to the continuing health problems due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19). 

“This decision was made after careful consideration and consultation with the FIA, the promoter of the championship IMG, the French ASN (FFSA), and the Sports Association of Rallycross de Lohéac,” the event organizers statement read. 

“The health and safety of all those involved remain the priority. A number of options have been explored in the hope of keeping the event, but unfortunately, it is not possible logistically to apply the social distancing measures required on this site, and no other date is available.”

“We would like to thank our volunteers, fans, public for their continued support and will address the economic challenges that this creates for racing teams, drivers, partners, and suppliers. We will come back even stronger in 2021.”

It remains unclear how the cancellation of the French round will affect the revised 2020 calendar set to begin on 20-23 August in Höljes, Sweden. 

The revised 2020 FIA World Rallycross Championship calendar:
Sweden, Holjes | 20 – 23 August
France, Loheac  | 04 – 06 September - NOW CANCELLED
Riga-Latvia, Riga | 18 -20 September
Benelux, Spa-Francorchamps | 2 – 4 October
Portugal, Montalgere | 9 – 11 October
Barcelona-Catalunya, Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya |16 – 18 October
Abu Dhabi, Yas Marina | 29 – 31 October [Two Rounds at the same venue]
Germany, Nurburgring |11 – 13 December

Monday, 11 May 2020

UPDATED: Cape Town postponed as the World Rallycross Championship trims 2020 calendar.

PHOTO CREDIT: FIA World Rallycross Media. 
The South African round of the World Rallycross Championship has been postponed following the release of the provisional nine-round calendar for the 2020 season.

Killarney International Raceway joined the World RX roster in 2017, and was originally planned to host round eleven of the 2020 season on November 14-15. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the calendar required some revision which necessitated the need to push the event out by one year.

World RX promoters, IMG has emphasized that the postponement of the Cape Town RX is no reflection on the high quality of the World Rallycross events run at the Killarney International Raceway in the previous years.

The provisional 2020 calendar will see the season start in Sweden on August 20-23 before traversing Europe for seven rounds, with two taking place outside of Europe in the form of a double-header in Abu Dhabi.

With the provisional calendar being condensed into 21 weeks, the lengthy sea-freight logistics to and from South Africa has made it difficult to add the long-haul event into the condensed schedule.

“The 2020 World Rallycross of South Africa has not been canceled but instead postponed to the 2021 season; the two-year extension agreed in 2019 between IMG, local organizer Worldsport South Africa and the City of Cape Town will thus take place in 2021 and 2022,” Killarney International Raceway’s statement said.

Clerk of the Course Arlene Brown has also pointed out that this is probably for the best given that our health authorities are predicting that the COVID-19 pandemic will only peak in about September.

“We will just have to keep our excitement at bay until 2021,” Brown said.

World RX of South Africa promoters, WorldSport SA has expressed their support of the decision.

"We believe the postponement of the Cape Town race is in the best interests of the health of all stakeholders, participants, and spectators – their well-being remains our top priority," Bruce Parker-Forsyth, CEO of WorldSport South Africa said. "Though we’re disappointed that we won’t be able to enjoy the excitement up close this year we’ll soon announce new and exciting changes to ensure 2021 offers a better and more spectator-friendly race weekend.”

Written By - Junaid Samodien

Monday, 4 May 2020

Faultless Quentin Dall'olmo claims World RX Esports victory.

Quentin Dall'olmo leading his younger brother Killian in the World RX Esports Invitational final.
CREDIT: FIA World Rallycross
DiRT Rally 2.0 Esports star Quentin Dall'olmo won the second edition of the World Rallycross Esports Invitational at Montalegre, as Jon Armstrong and Supercars star Shane Van Gisbergen completed the podium. 

The Montalegre grid featured several drivers who had competed at the inaugural Esports Invitational, while three new stars joined the line-up, Australian Supercars driver Shane van Gisbergen, FMX motorcycle rider Blake 'Bilko" Williams and Former F1 driver Mika Salo. 

While the inaugural Esport Invitational saw Swedish rally driver Mattias Adielsson claiming top honors, the Montalegre round saw domination from brothers, and this time it was not the Hansen brothers, but another pair of siblings, the Dall'olmo brothers. 

The Dall'olmo brothers lead the charge in the qualifying heats both claiming two Qualifying session wins apiece, but with the fastest times in Qualifying in changeable conditions, Quentin Dall'olmo took the top qualifiers spot in the Intermediate Classification. Killian Dall'olmo and older brother Quentin went on to win their respective semi-finals punching their tickets into the final. 

The final was full of action seeing Killian Dall'olmo jumping the start and opting for an immediate joker lap. While Shane van Gisbergen and Mattias Adielsson made contact exiting the joker lap costing them valuable time to the leaders. But despite starting in pole position, Quentin crossed the line in second place behind his younger brother Killian, but due to the jump start, he was handed a 20-second time penalty dropping him to fourth overall. 

Quentin was declared the race winner with Jon Armstrong in second and Shane van Gisbergen in third. 

"I'm really happy with this victory, it was a perfect day for me. Top qualifier, a semi-final win, and the win in the final is awesome," Dall'olmo said. 

"I felt a little bit of pressure because I didn't want to make the same mistakes that I did at Barcelona-Catalunya (I was leading the overall standings and then I crashed in the semi-final)," he said. "But it was good I knew that I have the best pace alongside my brother, we had the same speed each time. So, I had to be careful with the start and contact with others, and then use my pace to win. I drove safely each time and I'm really happy with my management of the races it was better than the first round."

For the final, the Dall'olmo brothers opted for different strategies with their sights firmly set on a one-two finish, but that was not to be with Killian's jump-start.

"For the final, I was on a different strategy to my brother to make a Dall'olmo one-two so there was less pressure on because we won't crash into each other, but it was important to make a good start because all the drivers in the final were very fast," Quentin adds. "Sadly he jumped the start so I knew that he got 20 seconds of penalty so I drove safely to take the win it was useless to attack Killian, especially in the wet conditions when it's really hard to keep the grip."

"Playing against such great drivers in real life is awesome and different, so it's really cool! I am looking forward to the next event. It's awesome for us Esports drivers to play against theses famous professional drivers!"

Junior WRC driver and DiRT Rally 2.0 development driver Jon Armstrong delivered a strong performance to make the semi-finals with fourth in the Intermediate Classification. In the semi-finals, he survived a duel with Henrik Krogstad to book himself a place in the final and was classified second.

The stand-out performance came from Australian Supercars Champion Shane van Gisbergen who claimed two qualifying heat wins. In the thick of the action throughout qualifying, van Gisbergen shone on the gravel surfaces as well as the asphalt and made it into the final on his rallycross debut.
Shane Van Gisbergen crossing the finish line on two wheels.
CREDIT: FIA World Rallycross.

In the final, van Gisbergen and Mattias Adielsson (Catalunya race winner), had a race-long fight for position, but when penalties were applied, it was van Gisbergen who took the last place on the podium.

Reigning DiRT 2.0 Rallycross World Series Champion Killian Dall’olmo faced a few setbacks including a puncture in Q3. He won semi-final two and led the final from start to finish, but was classified fourth after a jump start (20-second penalty). Adielsson was handed a 10-second penalty for contact with van Gisbergen and he would finish at the tail end of the field in fifth-place. 

The 2019 FIA World Rallycross Champion Timmy Hansen was denied a place in the final by van Gisbergen who pulled off a bold move on the inside of Hansen when he slid wide at Turn 1's right-hand hairpin in the semi-final 1.

Timmy slipped further back after being handed a five-second penalty and was eliminated along with Czech Esports star Lukas Mateja and GC Kompetition's Rokas Baciuska, who picked up a penalty for track limits. 

In the second semi-final, Henrik Krogstad and Kevin Hansen were eliminated. The latter received a five-second penalty. Adielsson progressed to the final as the fastest third-placed driver after the semi-finals. 

Among those eliminated in the qualifiers were World RX drivers Matvey Furzahkin, Oliver Bennett, Renis Nitiss, and Timo Scheider. Including current Formula E championship leader Antonio Felix da Costa, who loved his World RX Esport debut, saying: "This is carnage, but I love it!"

Former F1 driver Mika Salo was also eliminated along with World Endurance Championship driver Nicki Thiim, Fail Race, Conner Martell, and X Games star Blake "Bilko" Williams who was unable to compete due to connection issues.

The next World RX Esports Invitational will be announced in due course.

Written By - Junaid Samodien

Wednesday, 22 April 2020

World RX calls upon star racers to join next FIA World Rallycross Esports invitational

PHOTO CREDIT: FIA World Rallycross Esport Invitational Broadcast Images
A day that should have seen the start of the 2020 FIA World Rallycross Championship, after a highly entertaining and competitive 2019 season, rather saw a few of its main championship contenders compete with a star-studded Esport line-up.

Eight World RX drivers including the defending (2019 champion) and 2017/2018 World Champion joined 12 Esport drivers and racers from other motorsport disciplines. Timmy Hansen, Kevin Hansen, Johan Kristoffersson, Andreas Bakkerud, Oliver Eriksson, Kevin Abbring, Oliver Bennett and Timo Scheider signed up for the challenge to race the likes of Nicki Thiim, Henrik Krogstad, Cohete Suárez and Esport sensations, Killian Dall’olmo (the 2019 DiRT Rally 2.0 World Series Rallycross Champion), Quentin Dall’olmo, Alex ‘FailRace’ Day, and Jon Armstrong.

Racing in a mixture of dry and wet races, the Dall’olmo brothers managed to top the timing sheets in the qualifying heats. While the Hansen brothers would also use their wealth of racing experience, and time in the simulator practicing to good use when they competed at the head of the field with Timmy Hansen claiming a fifth-place finish in the final.

Kevin Abbring, who recently joined GCK, also made a promising start. The Renault Clio driver has been kept very busy in the last few weeks, building and selling racing simulators, and with minimal practice on the DiRT 2.0 game, he impressed many displaying strong pace from the get-go. 

The Dutchman managed to beat Kevin Hansen in the penultimate corner of their semi-final to progress to the final. It was Swedish rally driver Mattias Adielsson, who claimed a fantastic win. Racing in Mattias Ekström’s 2019 Belgium RX livery. The Swede had arguably one of the best simulator rigs, a full-motion simulator.

Commenting after the final, Adielsson said: “It means a lot to win this race. It’s the first time that I have competed in esports rallycross and it’s the first time that I’ve raced in a World Rallycross event. I am super stoked to be honest it was a big fight all the way up to the top.” 

While the inaugural FIA World RX Esports Invitational event lasted just shy of 3 hours, it certainly entertained many YouTube and Facebook viewers and bringing with it, the same culture, found during traditional World RX race weekends.

Yogi joins World RX eSports Invitational Coverage. 
PHOTO CREDIT: FIA World Rallycross Esport Invitational Broadcast Images
The reason for this is simple. Not only did Andrew Coley (World RX commentator), once again entertain the fans with stellar commentary, but he was also joined by the ever-entertaining Neil Cole. From Coley turning nostalgic with a special appearance of Yogi his dog to the appearance of his Lego Millennium Falcon, to Cole having a banana live on-air and keeping the realism with regards to race penalties; the race had it all.

It must be said that the inaugural World RX eSports Invitational can be regarded as a success with a combined audience of 250,000 views on the various FIA World Rallycross Championship platforms – YouTube channel and Facebook pages. 

Keeping its realism, the World RX race felt very similar to a real race weekend. Similarly, it also kept its competitive edge as each of the 19 drivers delivered action, a key characteristic which many other series’ miss.

Several racing series’ have been trying to keep the fans entertained during the COVID-19 pandemic, with some being more successful than others. NASCAR, IndyCar, and Australian Supercars base there eSports series around the iRacing platform, while Formula 1 and World RX are using the Codemasters developed games. And, while iRacing is a better platform for realism, the Codemasters Dirt 2.0 game offers a similar form of realism. 

What set the FIA World Rallycross eSports Invitational apart from the others was the involvement of the top 3 drivers from the 2019 season, as well as the double World RX champion Johan Kristoffersson. 
PHOTO CREDIT: FIA World Rallycross Esport Invitational Broadcast Images

2019 World RX runner-up Andreas Bakkerud said, “The production was good (of World RX eSports Invitational). It was a lot of fun, crazy weather both dry and wet. Very, very competitive and all the guys did a great job. I think everybody enjoyed it quite a lot. I found it very, very hard because I didn’t have much practice but if there is going to be anymore races then I am definitely going to practice more.”

Whilst being a “fun” event, it was also dealt with in a professional manner. This surely creates the feeling of more realism.

Killian Dall’olmo, the 2019 DiRT Rally 2.0 World Series Rallycross Champion finished second behind the event winner Mattias Adielsson but feels that he deserved the race win in Barcelona. “I am happy because I preserved myself in the qualifying rounds with a victory in semi-final 1,” he said. “Finishing second doesn’t bother me because despite being World Champion, I completely forgot about my title and I was as concentrated as possible. However, I am a little disappointed because I think that I deserved the (overall) victory. But this does not matter because I am already focused on the second event and I aim to achieve a good result for the team.”

More importantly, the current e-racing platforms, which give us a level playing field for different racers across the board. One race might see drivers/riders from Formula 1, endurance racing, Nascar, Indycar, rallying, and even MotoGP. Only “The race of champions” tests this on an annual basis. Apart from this, we don’t see different racers compete on a level playing field.

It is for this reason then that Coley and Cole called out on the likes of Max Verstappen, Valentino Rossi, Lando Norris, Charles Leclerc, Alex Albon, Sheldon- and Kelvin van der Linde, Jenson Button, and Fernando Alonso, to join the second round of the World RX eSports Invitational at Montalegre, Portugal in a weeks’ time.

The World RX Esports Invitational has opened a new challenge and one which might be very interesting for any motorsport fan. Will we see an even more star-studded race line-up in Montalegre?

Written By - Franco Theron and Junaid Samodien

Monday, 20 April 2020

FIA postpones World RX electric switch to 2022

The FIA has today announced its decision to postpone the electrification implementation plan for the FIA World Rallycross Championship by one year to 2022, due to the economic challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The World Motor Sport Council approved the decision by an e-vote, with full support from IMG, the promoter of the FIA World Rallycross Championship, as well as the approved suppliers of the electrification kit Kreisel Electric and GCK Energy, the supplier of energy. 

"While the current situation has made it necessary to defer the switch to electric by one year to allow competitors further time to adapt and to invest, the FIA remains committed to a new horizon for World RX," said FIA President Jean Todt. "This will create the most cost-effective environment and demonstrate the rapidly developing performance capabilities of electric road cars in this FIA championship."

The FIA World Rallycross Championship was set for a phased-in introduction running electric and ICE cars together, to begin with before switching to fully electric cars by 2022. Instead of a phased-in approach which had initially been announced, we are likely to see the full implementation of the electrification plan in 2022. 

The FIA Junior eRX Championship, which is set to also begin in 2021 will go ahead according to plan.

"At this stage, plans for the new FIA eRX Junior championship remain unaffected by this decision and work towards the electrification of this category will continue for 2021, with a complete car supply and championship organisation on an all-inclusive arrive and drive format," said Paul Bellamy, Senior Vice President of Motorsports Events at IMG. 

Kreisel Electric the official supplier of the electrification kit was set to unveil the first prototype in March (this year), with the first kits going on sale by 17 April.

The electrification kit includes two 250kW motors on each axle, two inverters and a 52.62kWh battery with an innovative cooling system, which is capable of producing 680 horsepower

Philipp Kreisel, CEO of Kreisel Electric supports the decision to postpone the first World RX electric racing season to 2022.

Having officially been announced as the electrification kit supplier for the FIA World Rallycross Championship, Kreisel Electric is nearing completion of its electric rallycross kits. 

"We have nearly completed the development of the electric race kit, and have put a lot of energy and passion into this project, it is disappointing that we won't be able to see the electrified World RX cars next year," Kreisel said. "Nevertheless, we are absolutely convinced that by remaining unified we can make the electrification of World RX a huge success when it does happen."

Saturday, 18 April 2020

World RX goes virtual at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.

Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya was set to host the opening round of the 2020 FIA World Rallycross Championship this weekend, but instead, it will be the venue for the inaugural World RX Esports Invitational on Sunday, 19 April 2020 (tomorrow). 

The opening round of the 2020 FIA World Rallycross Championship was postponed due to the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic. 

In collaboration with Codemasters, using the DiRT Rally 2.0 game, the World RX promoters will stage the World RX Esports Invitational which will feature a host of star names in World Rallycross, GT and WRC races, including YouTubers and some of the biggest names in Esports. 

The 2019 World RX Champion Timmy Hansen would have preferred to go racing in Barcelona this weekend but feels that esports is better than nothing. 

"I think starting the season with esports isn’t exactly what we hoped for," he said. "I wanted to be in Barcelona this weekend, but esports is better than no racing at all! The excitement of racing and being on the start line is nice."

"When you actually race online it is very different to real racing where you only have one chance and you have to put your four laps together. I’m missing the adrenaline kick and rush that you get from driving a race car."

The 27-year-old Swede is aware of the challenges ahead of his debut in sim-racing.

"I’ve done no sim racing before this and I haven't played much at all so this will be a big challenge for me. I have no idea how competitive I will be," he said. "I'll try to get some practice before the race, but I know a lot of guys have a lot more sim-racing experience than I do. I hope I can qualify for the semi-finals. It will be fun to be racing against fans, but I think the sim racers will most likely be too fast for me."

Timmy will be joined on the Esport grid by younger brother Kevin from the Team Hansen RX team. 

Kevin has modest expectations for his World RX Esports debut. "I’m really excited about Sunday’s race. I have been practicing in the simulator for about a week now and have really enjoyed it. My goal is to be best of the non-gamers!" he said.  

"It's very different from all the games I’ve played, so now I’m trying to do as many races as I can, whether that's racing or rallycross. I’m trying to get into the sim-racing experience and the spirit of that and to be ready for Sunday. Dirt Rally 2.0 is tricky and different from real life in many ways compared to the real 208 WRX."

The Hansen brothers will race a pair of Peugeot 208 RX supercars in the event, which will run to a similar format to real World RX, with four qualifiers, semi-finals, and final format on Sunday. The top 10 drivers at the Intermediate Classification will progress to the semi-finals.

The Peugeot 208 is the car of choice for many participants, with two-time World RX Drivers’ Champion Johan Kristoffersson, making his return to the sport in a Peugeot for his DiRT debut.

Kristoffersson believes that putting in hours and doing some homework will put him and others in good stead for the Esports invitational this weekend. When speaking to Andrew Coley in the official World RX press conference, the Swede admitted that he hasn't improved a lot in practice, however, he has set his sights on beating reigning World RX champion Timmy Hansen. 

"It would be nice to beat the World Champion, but not the World Champion in DiRT. The World Champion in Rallycross," he said.

Super1600 ace Marius Bermingrud will also line up in a Peugeot 208, along with former Esports World Champion and real-world rally driver, Jon Armstrong, and Americas Rallycross podium finisher in 2019, Cabot Bigham will also take the wheel of a 208.

Andreas Bakkerud will compete in the Audi S1 he tied on points at the top of the World RX Drivers’ Championship with last season. One of his 2020 GC Kompetition team-mates, Dutchman Kevin Abbring, will compete in a Renault Clio R.S. RX.

Abbring admits that he has not had a lot of time to practice in his simulator because he is currently building simulators rather than using them. "I have put in some practice but we all miss competition obviously," he said. "I will put in as many laps ahead of the event, as I need to feel confident and to feel comfortable in the simulator."

Oliver Bennett will appear in his regular Xite Racing Mini and RX2 International Series double champion Oliver Eriksson will race an OlsbergsMSE Ford Fiesta MK8. His former RX2 rival, Henrik Krogstad, who will race for Yellow Squad in 2020, will drive a Renault Megane.

Germany’s Timo Scheider has reason to be confident ahead of the inaugural World RX Esports Invitational, he made his World RX debut at the Catalunya circuit in 2015, and took the TQ (top qualifier) position in 2017 on his way to a first World RX podium, in P2.

The former DTM champion is new to sim racing, however. "I never did sim racing before I started with one event recently. I am looking forward to some competition even though I am not an expert at this kind of racing."

Scheider joined the Hansen brothers and Killian Dall'ollmo, DiRT Rally 2.0 World Series Rallycross Champion in a practice session yesterday. 

"Timmy, Kevin (Hansen) and the World Champion (in DiRT) already showed (me) what the benchmark will be, so I am confused a bit about my performance somehow, but there are some issues and that is always the case with racing drivers," he said. "I am getting there and I will spend more hours (on the simulator). I am really looking forward to meeting those guys back on the line even though it's different."

Outside of the World RX contingent, Spanish rally driver Cohete Suarez will race a Renault Megane, and World Endurance Championship driver Nicki Thiim, from Denmark, will drive an Audi S1. Swedish rally driver Mattias Adielsson will also make his first rallycross start, also in an Audi. 

Joining the professional drivers will be YouTuber Jimmy Broadbent, who will race a Ford Fiesta MK8. He will be accompanied on the grid by fellow YouTuber, FailRace.

Pre-event qualifying was also held to find the three fastest rallycross Esports racers to join the field. From over 8,500 entries, the Czech Republic’s Lukas Mateja was third and will race a Peugeot 208, just like France's Dall’olmo brothers Killian, the DiRT Rally 2.0 rallycross world series champion who has recently signed for SET Esports, and Quentin, who topped the timesheets in the qualifying session.

"I'm super excited to join this event it's amazing to race with all these famous drivers who have real experience in motorsports," said 20-year-old Quentin.

"It's an amazing opportunity to race with the World RX drivers and the other professionals. These are the drivers that we follow each weekend when they race so to drive with them is awesome. I think I will be competitive enough to race for the win but like we know, it is rallycross so it isn't always the fastest who wins."

The defending World RX champion Timmy Hansen speaks very highly of the Killian Dall'ollmo, the DiRT Rally 2.0 World Series Rallycross Champion. "He is in another league", the Swede said. "We have been racing together (practice), and in Barcelona, we have put in the most practice - he is not that far ahead, but still that much ahead that if he doesn't crash. He will win."

The World RX Esports Invitational will be streamed live from 15:00 to 17:00 CET/CAT on Sunday, April 19 and will be shown on the World RX YouTube channel and on the Facebook page.

Written By: Junaid Samodien
Photo Credit: DiRT Game 2.0

Tuesday, 14 April 2020

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW - Former World RX Champion returns with sights on a third title.

PHOTO CREDIT: Kristoffersson Motorsport
Johan Kristoffersson, the most successful World Rallycross driver to date, has set his sights on yet another title, after confirming his full-time return to the FIA World Rallycross Championship in 2020.

The 31-year-old Swede’s motorsport career is nothing short of incredible having claimed titles in both off-road and circuit racing, namely: the Scandinavian Touring Car Championship, International Superstars Series, Porsche Carrera Cup Scandinavia, FIA World Rallycross Championship and the Monster Energy Gymkhana Grid.

After a record-breaking run having won 11 of 12 rounds in the 2018 World RX championship, he was left without a seat following the withdrawal of PSRX Volkswagen Sweden at the end of the season. In 2019, Kristoffersson joined the World Touring Car Cup (WTCR) where he claimed three race wins including an incredible fightback from 22nd place to win in Malaysia. His plans to continue in the 2020 WTCR championship were cut short when Volkswagen Motorsport ended its factory-supported internal combustion engine programme in November last year.

While the 2020 FIA World Rallycross Championship is currently on hold due to the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic. Once the 2020 season gets underway we are sure to witness a thrilling season having seen a closely fought title decider in Cape Town last year.

Johan Kristoffersson post-race celebrations in Cape Town.
PHOTO CREDIT: Junaid Samodien
Speaking to Junaid Samodien (Slipstream SA), Johan Kristoffersson explained how he is preparing mentally and physically after a one-year hiatus from World Rallycross, saying, “I'm preparing more or less similar to any other season. But of course, there are some small adjustments in the preparation to suit rallycross. The start is very crucial in rallycross and this is one example of where I will put some more effort into before 2020 season.”

“Since 2015, I’ve been competing in more than only one category in motorsport (racing, rally, rallycross) per season. I’ve always had the philosophy of driving a lot, even if it’s competing in different categories, which is positive for a driver. But in 2020 I will only focus and put all my effort into World RX (WRX),” he adds.

In 2020, Kristoffersson will return to the World RX championship as an individual entrant with the assistance of his long term partners: Volkswagen Sweden and Bauhaus in a hired Volkswagen Polo GTI RX similar to the one that took him to the title in 2018. I asked Johan how did the opportunity arise to return to the World RX championship in a Volkswagen Supercar. 

“I originally planned to continue with Sebastien Loeb Racing and Volkswagen Motorsport in WTCR for 2020 season, but as Volkswagen decided to pull out from the championship I had to find another solution,” he said. “I evaluated many different options, and a return to World Rallycross was one of them. After many discussions with Volkswagen Motorsport, and with a great partnership with our long term partners Volkswagen Dealers in Sweden and Bauhaus, we finally found an agreement to rent the Polo WRX I used 2018 to run in our private team Kristoffersson Motorsport. We spent many hours getting that equation together.”

With an ever-evolving championship, and a one-year hiatus from the sport. Johan Kristoffersson will return to the championship in a car that he is very familiar with the Volkswagen Polo GTI RX. The development curve in motorsport is rather steep, and in most motorsport championships cars receive upgrades on a regular basis. This is slightly different in World RX with a fixed aero package for the season. So, in order for a driver to be successful, he or she would need a strong car (overall package). I asked Johan what changes have been made to the Volkswagen Polo GTI RX to comply with the 2020 FIA World Rallycross Championship regulations.
PHOTO CREDIT: Franco Theron/Galimoto. 

“It’s minor changes,” he said. “Nothing will affect the car in a negative way in terms of performance. On the other hand, I hope we have found some small things making the car a bit faster.” 

“The WRX championship was tighter than ever in 2019 and we definitely need to be 100% ready and prepared if we want to fight for the championship title 2020,” he adds.

The Swede displayed his versatility when he claimed two titles in a single year. In the 2018 season, he not only set records on his way to the 2018 World RX crown, but he also went on to win the TCR Scandinavia Touring Car Championship. 

While for many, it takes time to adapt to a racecar. Johan developed a very unique adaptability skill, as he has raced many different cars throughout his career. In 2019, he tested a number of cars and also competed in the WRC-2 class. But just how difficult it would be for Johan to switch from a 350bhp WTCR (2019) front-wheel-drive car to a 2020 specification 600bhp four-wheel-drive rallycross car.

“When I won my two world titles (World RX) in 2017 and 2018 I drove a similar car to the WTCR back home in the Swedish championship. I’m used to driving different cars on different weekends,” he said. “I think the starts in rallycross will be the most difficult to adjust quickly too.”

“The cars are very powerful and with amazing acceleration from a standing start. It’s difficult to always be at the right place at the right time when everything is happening so quickly, but I will do my best to get into 2018 mode as quickly as possible.”

With a global stay at home orders in place worldwide due to the global COVID-19 pandemic. Many motorsport championships have launched eSports leagues or races. The World Rallycross Championship is one of them. The championship has announced the launch of the ‘World RX Esports Invitational Championship’ to kick-off on 19 April on the Codemasters Dirt Rally 2.0 pc platform. 

Esports is a great platform to sharpen one’s skills and for racing drivers to learn new circuits, with some companies developing sophisticated Esports simulators that replicate a similar feel to being inside a real cockpit. 

I asked Kristoffersson if he relies on a simulator to sharpen his skills: “The 2019 season in WTCR on all the different tracks was new for me. So, I did some simulator training with Volkswagen Motorsport before every event to learn a bit about the track and be as prepared as possible going into the weekend,” he said. “But to be honest I haven’t done many hours in a simulator in my career.”

Last month, the FIA World Rallycross Championship announced that the Swede will join the driver line-up for the Esports Invitational. So, I asked him if he had played Dirt Rally 2.0 before, and what are his thoughts on the game?

“As I will join the eSport WRX race in Barcelona I would have to start practicing by now,” he said. “But, until today I haven’t done ONE lap on Dirt, so I better get going, haha! I don’t even have a simulator rig yet.”

In addition to asking him about the World RX Esport Invitational. The two-time World Rallycross Champion believes that Esports is a cost-effective way for young drivers to start their motorsport careers.

“I think it's good and a cost-effective way for young drivers to start their career, and for any racing driver to practice and sharpen their skills,” Kristoffersson said. 

With so many motorsport championships recently streaming or broadcasting eSports series/races. Many racing drivers globally have opted to compete in these various races and challenges. And, because Johan does not have a simulator rig as yet. I asked him if he watched any of the recently streamed races. “Normally there is no spare time for anything else other than the preparations I do for my own races. So honestly, I barely watch any other motorsport series other than what I'm currently driving myself at the time.”
The 2020 FIA World Rallycross Championship will not be easy by any stretch of the imagination with such a close field, as seen in 2019, but who better than Johan Kristoffersson to take on the might of the Hansen brothers, Andreas Bakkerud and Niclas Grönholm, etc.?  

A very special 'Thank You' to Johan Kristoffersson for taking some time out of his very busy schedule to chat with us. I’d also like to thank Zandra Björkholtz (KMS) for arranging the interview. 

Written By - Junaid Samodien
Co-Editor - Franco Theron (Pedal Fest SA)