Petter Solberg is leading the World RX drivers’ standings by 29 points.
Round five of the FIA World Rallycross Championship presented by Monster Energy will take place at the Estering in north Germany this weekend where a total of 75 cars have entered (36 Supercars, 20 Super1600 entries and 19 TouringCars). ALL-INKL.COM World RX of Germany will also form the second of this year’s five-round FIA European Rallycross Championship (Euro RX). After four events, Norway’s Petter Solberg is leading the World RX drivers’ standings by 29 points, while Frenchman Jerome Grosset-Janin tops the Euro RX table. Ford Olsbergs MSE leads the Teams’ Championship, six points ahead of SDRX.
The Estering is the second oldest track in the World RX calendar (Lydden Hill is the oldest), with the circuit having hosted international events since 1973. Set 30 miles south of Hamburg, the traditional German RX track is just 950 metres long but is among the fastest of the year with a long, downhill run between turns one and two. Last year’s event saw the closest finish in rallycross history when Petter Solberg took the win over Mattias Ekstrom by an unbelievable margin of just five thousandths of a second.
Four drivers will compete on home soil this weekend: ALL-INKL.COM Muennich Motorsport team owner and driver, Rene Muennich; two-time German Rallycross Champion, Jorg Jockel plus S1600 drivers, Andreas Steffen and Mandie August.
“I’m looking forward to racing at our home event. The Estering should be a track that suits our cars well and I like it very much,” enthused Muennich, who is also a successful WTCC driver. “If the weather stays dry for the weekend and we can perform without any huge problems, I think we should be able to qualify both cars for the semi-finals. For that to happen it’s important to have four consistent heats, without any issues.”
Since the previous World RX round at Lydden Hill, several of the World RX drivers have gained valuable seat-time including EKS driver Anton Marklund who completed a two-day test at Holjes. The Team Peugeot-Hansen squad also tested at the Swedish RX venue where they tried a variety of set-ups. “The testing that we conducted recently enabled us to improve the car further, and we hope to convert that into some strong results in Germany,” explained Team Principal Kenneth Hansen, who knows the Estering better than most having won there six times before.
Meanwhile, the “British Bomb” Liam Doran and Norway’s Andreas Bakkerud have both been enjoying some time in America as the World RX drivers competed at the recent X Games in Austin. Marklund Motorsport’s Topi Heikkinen joined Doran and Bakkerud Stateside as the Finn commentated on the X Games action for Finnish television.
Ford Olsbergs MSE driver Reinis Nitiss has been busy gracing Latvian television as the 19-year-old took part in cooking programme, Come Dine with Reinis. He has also competed in the Baltic Karting Championship finishing third and will test an RX Lites car at the Bauska circuit today [June 17]. Meanwhile, World RX Champion Petter Solberg visited the recent MotoGP race in Barcelona where he met fellow Monster Energy athlete, Valentino Rossi.
Volkswagen Sweden’s Johan Kristofferson, who is second in the World RX drivers’ standings, has continued his winning ways in the Porsche Carrera Cup Scandinavia, triumphing in both races at the Anderstorp Raceway. Kristoffersson is now leading the Carrera Cup with a total of 43 points.
Eighteen Supercar drivers will be eligible to score World Championship points in Germany, while the remaining 18 Supercars will battle it out in the highly-competitive Euro RX. Notable European entries include Volkswagen Team Sweden’s Ole Christian Veiby who recently contested WRC Portugal, finishing fifth in WRC3. He is also second overall in the Junior World Rally Championship (JWRC) after two rounds.
Scottish-based team Albatec Racing will field two Peugeot 208s which will be driven by Jerome Grosset-Janin, who was a spotter for Julien Febreau at the French Rallycross round in Faleyras last weekend. The second car will be piloted by James Grint, who has recently tested the Peugeot 208 RX Supercar at Faleyras. Grint will join fellow Englishmen Liam Doran and his father Pat at Goodwood Festival of Speed later this month as all three drivers take on the iconic Hillclimb.
Germany RX will also form round three of this year’s supporting S1600 category, which is a known development ground for Supercar drivers. A total of 20 S1600 entrants will go head-to-head at the Estering including current series leader, Janis Baumanis.
Only 11 points separate the top eight drivers in the TouringCar category going into Germany, which sees the third round played out this weekend. Norway’s Andreas Braten currently leads Tom-Daniel Tanevik in the overall points. Joint third is occupied by Ben-Philip Gunderson and Daniel Lundh.
Martin Anayi, World RX Managing Director for IMG, concluded: “It’s hard not to enjoy a traditional venue like the Estering which is known for its unique Joker Lap, which has an exit that runs up to the finish line and presents a fantastic visual for the fans and for TV. Last year was a good example of how this layout provides fantastic action as the final lap provided the closest finish in rallycross history with Petter and Mattias separated by the tiniest of margins. The track is also renowned for its treacherous first corner action, which is bound to see lots of close contact racing with over 80 cars entered for this year’s event. It’s excellent to see the Euro RX drivers back for this round too, as once again they will compete alongside the World drivers for the heats but separate to run their own Euro RX semi-finals and final.”
From a Cooper Tire point of view
Paul Coates, General Manager – Motorsport, Cooper Tire Europe spoke of the challenges of Germany RX: “The Estering rallycross track is another popular circuit and last year it saw one of the closest finishes ever with Petter Solberg crossing the line five thousandths of a second ahead of Mattias Ekstrom. This may be one of the shortest circuits but the back straight is one of the fastest of the rallycross circuits where speeds can approach 180km/h. This track shows how the Cooper rallycross tyre brings together our extensive multi-discipline knowledge and technology to produce tyres that can race at high speeds and at the same time be able to cope with the quick change to the gravel and dirt surface.”
FIA World Rallycross