Rallycrossinteressen i Frankrike er enorm og det er ventet stor tilstrømning av publikum til helgen løp i Loheac. Hele 21 franske førere stiller til start, og i spissen for dem Sebastien Loeb.
Petter Solberg er klar med sin mer eller mindre nybygde bil. Det ble som kjent store skader i forrige runde i Canada. Andreas Bakkerud er på plass, og Tommy Rustad stiller også til start i denne VM-runden selv om han normalt kun kjører EM. Ole Chr. Veiby gjør også et innhopp i en VW Polo.
Petter Solberg leder VM med kun fire poengs margin til Mathias Ekström så langt. Andreas Bakkerud er på 3. plass, og han er den som har plukket flest poeng av samtlige på de tre siste rundene.
I super1600 stiller Anders B. Hansen og Glenn Haug for å forsvare de norske farger. Glenn vant som kjent landsfinalen i bilcross på Elverum forrige helg.
NRK1 sender fra VM-runden i Frankrike fra klokken 14.00 på søndag. Semifinaler og finale går direkte som vanlig.
Pressemelding fra rallycross-VM:
WORLD RX CREWS PREPARE FOR LEGENDARY LOHEAC EVENT
The FIA World Rallycross Championship presented by Monster Energy will move to Brittany in north-west France this weekend for the most well-attended round of the World Championship: the Bretagne World RX of France. Last year’s race attracted a record crowd and the 2016 edition will be even more special as it marks the 40th anniversary since rallycross was first introduced in France.
Set in the small Breton village of Loheac, a total of 72 cars will go head-to-head at the ninth round of the World Championship including the biggest S1600 entry of the year (34 entries) plus 38 600bhp Supercars that have the ability to accelerate from 0-60mph in less than two seconds. Out of the 72 entries, there will be a total of 21 Frenchmen for the home fans to cheer on including superstar driver, Sebastien Loeb.
Loeb – who drives for Team Peugeot-Hansen alongside last year’s Loheac winner Timmy Hansen – will race at his home event for the second time, following his debut in 2013. He won’t be the only French driver competing in the seven permanent teams, however, as Yann Le Jossec will deputise for Sweden’s Kevin Eriksson in the Olsbergs MSE squad. Eriksson will instead race at a RallyX Nordic event in Sweden as he aims to secure his national title for the second year in a row.
Meanwhile, at the top of the World RX standings, the battle for the number one spot continues between Petter Solberg and Mattias Ekstrom who are separated by just four points going into Loheac. Following a collision between Anton Marklund and Solberg at the end of the final in Canada when Marklund lost the brakes in his car, Solberg’s mechanics and Volkswagen RX Sweden have had mammoth tasks to repair their cars in time for France.
Solberg explained: “The condition of my car was pretty bad after the accident that occurred after crossing the finish line in Canada. Luckily my sponsor Bertel O. Steen, one of Norway’s biggest car dealerships, proved to be an amazing partner. Immediately after the accident the CEO gave me a phone call to ensure that the company was ready to do what it takes to help us repair the car. My PSRX mechanics and our friends at Bertel O. Steen have had some long days and nights and the car now, it’s perfect. Actually, it’s better than perfect. The car will be quicker than it was before; the complete rebuild of the car has given us the chance to add in some small details to the chassis that we probably wouldn’t have done in the middle of the season.”
Other French drivers competing on home turf include former French Rallycross Champion Davy Jeanney who will partner Kevin Hansen in the Peugeot-Hansen Academy team. Guerlain Chicherit – a quadruple World Champion in freeriding – will return to World RX in a JRM Racing MINI RX Supercar, while Adeline Sangnier will make her World RX debut at the wheel of a privately run Peugeot 207 – she is only the second ever female in RX to drive a Supercar after Ramona Karlsson.
Jean-Baptiste Dubourg scored an incredible podium finish at his home round of World RX last year and the reigning Andros Trophy champion will be hoping for a repeat performance at the wheel of DA Racing’s new Citroen DS3. A number of French Rallycross Championship regulars will also join the line-up including Patrick Guillerme, Pascal Le Nouvel, Fabien Chanoine and experienced driver, “Knapick”.
Philippe Maloigne completes the list of French drivers, driving for Albatec Racing alongside the team’s FIA European Rallycross Championship competitors Tommy Rustad and Andy Scott. Fellow Euro RX campaigners Fredrick Salsten, Michael de Keersmaecker, Ollie O’Donovan, Derek Tohill, Tamas Karai and Max Pucher will also compete. Lithuania’s Nerijus Naujokaitis will make his World RX debut in a brand new Skoda Fabia Supercar.
Running alongside the World RX Supercars at Loheac will be the FIA European Rallycross Championship for Super1600 cars. Denmark’s Ulrik Linnemann and Hungary’s Krisztian Szabo are separated by a single point at the top of the standings, while 2015 front-runner Andrea Dubourg – who finished second at Loheac last season – returns to action at wheel of a Tedak Racing Renault Clio.
Paul Bellamy, World RX Managing Director for IMG, concluded: “Loheac is just a tiny village of a few hundred people but during the first week in September, the area comes alive with more tens of thousands of people visiting over the race weekend. The circuit provides excellent action out on track with a drag race to turn one and a Joker Lap which is one of the longest of the year and includes a jump. Rallycross was first introduced to France at Loheac back in 1976 and over the last 40 years the sport has flourished, with the French Rallycross Championship helping to develop grassroots talent across the country. Last year we saw Timmy Hansen take a win on Peugeot’s home soil, and of course the atmosphere in the paddock this year will be electric with the addition of Sebastien Loeb. As well as a bumper entry, we also have a host of international and national media attending Loheac this weekend including our French broadcaster L’Equipe 21 who will broadcast live onsite.”
From a Cooper Tire point of view
Paul Coates, General Manager – Motorsport, Cooper Tire Europe: “Loheac is another popular track and with rallycross having a strong following within France this ensures there is always a big crowd. This event attracts many of the top drivers from the national championship in France who are keen to challenge the World Rallycross teams in front of their local fan base. This track has one of the shortest start straights into the first corner which, combined with one of the longest joker laps, always means there is lots of action. We have seen previously that the teams’ tyre strategy is important in helping getting those valuable extra tenths of a second off their times. The strategy the teams use this weekend will be important because the nature of the dirt on this track makes this a particularly abrasive circuit. With each driver only having an allowance of eight dry and eight wet tyres, knowing when to change to a new set, or switching tyres around the car, will be critical.”
Friday 2 September
1600 Drivers’ draw for Q1 and pre-event press conference in the museum
1700 Racecars depart circuit for parade in Loheac
Saturday 3 September
0700 Welcome centre open
0830 Photographers Briefing
1000 Twingo Cup practice
1030 World RX and Super1600 practice
1230 Q1 Twingo Cup
1255 Xtreme Show
1315 RTR Mustang Drift Show
1330 Monster Energy Rig Riot
1400 Qualifying 1 (Q1): Super1600 and World RX
1530 World RX autograph session
1540 Xtreme Show
1600 Q2: Super1600 and World RX Supercar plus Twingo Cup
1800 Day one press conference at media centre
1855 Xtreme Show
Sunday 4 September
0745 Photographers’ briefing
0800 World RX warm-up
0830 S1600 warm-up
0850 Twingo Cup warm-up
0910 Qualifying 3 (Q3): Super1600 and World RX
1045 Xtreme Show
1105 RTR Mustang Drift Show
1120 Qualifying 4: Super1600, World RX and Twingo Cup
1300 Xtreme Show
1310 Monster Energy Rig Riot
1400 Xtreme Show
1445 RTR Mustang Drift Show
1500 World RX Supercar semi-finals
World RX final
1550 World RX podium presentation
1610 World RX press conference at media centre