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24 Apr 2014

WRX: Media Day in Italy

Category: ERC, News Posted 24.04.14 11:00 by

The World RX teams were presented to international press people during a Media Day at the Franciacorta International Circuit near Brescia in Italy.

 

Yesterday the FIA World Rallycross Championship presented by Monster Energy kicked off in style at a special media day that was held at the new World RX venue, Franciacorta International Circuit in Brescia, Italy.

A string of media from across Europe, Asia and the Americas congregated at the Italian circuit to attend the event which included the six permanent two car World RX Teams, as well as some of the individual Supercar entries, Euro RX and RX Lites competitors.  The occasion gave some of  the teams an opportunity to reveal their driver line ups and liveries ahead of the opening World RX round in Portugal next week (4 to 5 May).

 

Prior to the WorldRX season kick-off the "class of 2014" was pictured. © Toni Ollikainen/ERC24

Prior to the WorldRX season kick-off the “class of 2014” was pictured. © Toni Ollikainen/ERC24

 

The three manufacturer-backed teams of Ford-OlsbergsMSE (Andreas Bakkerud and Reinis Nitišs), VW-Marklund (Toomas Heikkinen and Anton Marklund) and Peugeot-Hansen (Timur Timerzyanov and Timmy Hansen) were all in attendance, with each of the teams represented at the official press conference which was held during the morning.

 

Norwegian Andreas Bakkerud, now racing for OlsbergsMSE, is one of the drivers to really watch out for in 2014. © Toni Ollikainen/ERC24

Norwegian Andreas Bakkerud, now racing for OlsbergsMSE, is one of the drivers to really watch out for in 2014. © Toni Ollikainen/ERC24

 

Latvian Reinis Nitišs and his Norwegian teammate Andreas Bakkerud represented Ford-OMSE. © Toni Ollikainen/ERC24

Latvian Reinis Nitišs and his Norwegian teammate Andreas Bakkerud represent Ford-OMSE. © Toni Ollikainen/ERC24

 

Petter Solberg and his PSRX team, which he shares with fellow countryman Alexander Hvaal, were also at the event, complete with their new-for-2014 Citroën DS3 Supercars. Solberg, who was the 2003 World Rally Champion, was feeling confident about the year ahead: “I really want to win,” explained the Norwegian. “There are a lot of good drivers this year, but I will fight, don’t you worry!  Last year we were not quite ready but we really treated it as more of a test.  This year we will fight for the Championship title.”

 

Pernilla Solberg, Alexander Hvaal and Petter Solberg were representing the Norwegian PSRX team. © Toni Ollikainen/ERC24

Pernilla Solberg, Alexander Hvaal and Petter Solberg were representing the Norwegian PSRX team. © Toni Ollikainen/ERC24

 

Briton Liam Doran has currently three Citroën DS3 SuperCars in the WorldRX game. © Toni Ollikainen/ERC24

Briton Liam Doran has currently three Citroën DS3 SuperCars in the WorldRX game. © Toni Ollikainen/ERC24

 

Monster Energy World RX Team’s Liam Doran showcased his new Monster-backed Citroën DS3 Supercar, while Albatec Racing’s Jacques Villeneuve – the former F1 World Champion – and team-mate Andy Scott were both present in a Peugeot 208 Supercar.  Independent permanent drivers Jos Jansen and Derek Tohill also made the trip to Italy.

 

Canadian Jacques Villeneuve (Peugeot 208 SuperCar) pictured while testing the new Rallycross track with jump. © Toni Ollikainen/ERC24

Canadian Jacques Villeneuve (Peugeot 208 SuperCar) pictured while testing the new Rallycross track with jump. © Toni Ollikainen/ERC24

 

Former Formula 1 star Canadian Jacques Villeneuve has joined forces with Briton Andy Scott. © Toni Ollikainen/ERC24

Former Formula 1 star Canadian Jacques Villeneuve has joined forces with Briton Andy Scott. © Toni Ollikainen/ERC24

 

“I’ve loved racing since I was five – it helps keep me alive!,” joked Villeneuve at the press conference. “I did some ice driving in France and then I began to think that RX might be the next step. The format of the races helps make it really exciting to drive. The fact that Rallycross has now become a World Championship is good, but this year my aim is to learn and we will see what happens after that.”

 

Former World Rally Champion Petter Solberg and double DTM title winner Mattias Ekström "talking petrol". © Toni Ollikainen/ERC24

Former World Rally Champion Petter Solberg and double DTM title winner Mattias Ekström “talking petrol”. © Toni Ollikainen/ERC24

 

During the press conference, two-time DTM Champion Mattias Ekström announced his plans to compete in selected World RX rounds with Swedish-based EKS team in a Audi A1 Supercar.  Ekström will be joined by former Junior World Rally Champion Pontus Tidemand, as the duo compete for the Euro RX title this year ahead of a full World RX campaign in 2015.

Reigning French Rallycross Champion Jérôme Grosset-Janin was also at Franciacorta and feeling confident ahead of his Euro RX campaign at the wheel of a Renault Clio III Supercar. It was also announced that a group of 15 other top Supercar drivers had committed to the full Euro RX season.

 

Reigning French Rallycross Champion Jérôme Grosset-Janin was in Italy to present his overworked Renault Clio Mk3 SuperCar. © Toni Ollikainen/ERC24

French Rallycross Champion Jérôme Grosset-Janin was in Italy to present his overworked Renault Clio Mk3 SuperCar. © Toni Ollikainen/ERC24

 

IMG Motorsport's Martin Anayi informed the press about the things to come. © Toni Ollikainen/ERC24

IMG Motorsport’s Martin Anayi informed the press about the things to come. © Toni Ollikainen/ERC24

 

Martin Anayi, FIA World Rallycross Championship Managing Director for IMG Motorsport, commented: “It’s been a fantastic turnout today and I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all of our drivers, sponsors, media and guests for making the effort to attend our official World RX media day. With more than 30 broadcasters already confirmed to televise our Championship combined with the truly spectacular line-up of drivers we have competing this year, I firmly believe that World RX is the most exciting motorsport series in the world right now. We’ve witnessed a huge period of growth in Rallycross over the past 12 months and we now have all the elements in place to make World RX the must-watch sport of 2014.”

 

After the in the late 1970s and early 1980s used Rallypista Santo Spirito near Pavia the circuit near Brescia is the second ever Rallycross venue in Italy. © TO/ERC24

After the Rallypista Santo Spirito near Pavia, used in the 1970s, the circuit near Brescia is the second Rallycross venue in Italy. © TO/ERC24

 

Kevin Eriksson, son of OMSE Principal Andréas Eriksson, represented the SuperCar Lites category in Italy. © Toni Ollikainen/ERC24

Kevin Eriksson, son of OMSE Principal Andréas Eriksson, represented the SuperCar Lites category in Italy. © Toni Ollikainen/ERC24

 

The new Rallycross venue near Brescia was discovered by the WorldRX teams. © Toni Ollikainen/ERC24

The new Rallycross venue near Brescia was discovered by the WorldRX teams. © Toni Ollikainen/ERC24

 

The media day was well organised and presented to the gathered press. © Toni Ollikainen/ERC24

The media day was well organised and presented to the gathered press. © Toni Ollikainen/ERC24

 

Top photo: Toomas ‘Topi’ Heikkinen and his VW Polo Mk5 SuperCar airborne at Franciacorta. © Toni Ollikainen/ERC24