World Rallycross Championship: The new era is beginning in 2019

  • 2019 World Rallycross Championship

The sixth season of the FIA World Rallycross Championship kicks-off this weekend at the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi. Yas Marina Circuit is one of two new venues on the World RX calendar, together with iconic Spa-Francorchamps that will host the third round in the ten-event schedule.

New venues, new teams and drivers, and new rules are marking a new beginning for the world’s premium rallycross competition following an exodus of factory-supported teams from the championship at the end of 2018.

However, the championship survived without factory teams and without major players that clinched world titles in the previous seasons. For 2019, sixteen full-time drivers from eleven nations are announced as competitors, representing eight car manufacturers.

Yas Marina Circuit is hosting the opening round of the 2019 World RX season

Yas Marina Circuit is hosting the opening round of the 2019 World RX season

Since its inception in 2014, World RX has visited Europe, Asia, North and South America. Now, the Middle East is added to that list. The World RX of Abu Dhabi will also be the first time that event has been held at night with the semi-finals and final on Saturday evening run under floodlights. The event will take place at the purpose-built 1.2-kilometre rallycross layout featuring 63 percent asphalt and 37 percent gravel, a series of wide tarmac areas, tight turns including a hairpin and a formidable jump, all within the circuit’s famous Formula One circuit stadium section.

There are some new rules introduced for the 2019 season. The most significant change to the sporting regulations is the grid order from Q2 onwards. Q1 will be dictated by the pre-race draw, but for Q2, and Q3 the race order can be reversed by a random draw. At each event, a Driver Assistant to Stewards will be present. A number of experienced rallycross drivers will take up that role, starting with Tommy Rustad this weekend in Abu Dhabi.

Monster Energy girls with Monster Energy RX Cartel drivers Andreas Bakkerud and Liam Doran

Monster Energy girls with Monster Energy RX Cartel drivers Andreas Bakkerud and Liam Doran

The 2019 entry list features 16 permanent drivers in six teams and four individual entries. None of the permanent drivers have won an FIA World Championship title, meaning we will crown a new FIA World RX drivers’ champion this year.

The Norwegian Andreas Bakkerud is the best-placed starter from the last year when he finished third in the overall standings. In 2019, he will continue to drive Audi S1, joining new team Monster Energy RX Cartel. His teammate would be Briton Liam Doran. The third Audi driver will be Hungarian Krisztian Szabo who will represent Mattias Ektrom’s team EKS.

The Hansen brothers, Timmy and Kevin, who raced previously with factory support from Peugeot, will continue to drive Peugeot 208s for Team Hansen, establishing a new partnership with Max Puchers’ MJP Racing Team Austria.

GCK Kompetition's cars for 2019 World RX season

GCK Kompetition’s cars for 2019 World RX season

Austria will be represented also by Team STARD that will campaign the all-new Ford Fiesta for Latvian Janis Baumanis. He will be partnered by Norwegian Pal Try in the first round. Later during the season, Finnish drivers Jani Paasonen and Jere Kalliokoski will also drive STARD’s second car.

The French team GC Kompetition is entering the championship with four cars, running Renault Meganes for experienced Antun Marklund and team owner Guerlain Chicherit, and Renault Clios for rookies Cyril Raymond and Guillaume De Ridder.

GRX Hyundai World RX

GRX will field three Hyundai i20s at Yas Marina Circuit

Marcus Gronholm’s GRX Taneco expanded its campaign to three Hyundai i20s, two for full-time drivers Timur Timerzyanov and Niclas Gronholm, and one car for part-time driver Reinis Nitiss.

Britain’s Oliver Bennett announced the full-time campaign in the Xite Racing Mini Cooper. The former DTM champion Timo Scheider is entering his second full-time season, extending cooperation with Münnich Motorsport to drive a Seat Ibiza. The Lithuanian Rokas Baciuska is the least experienced of this season’s rookies but as reigning Euro RX Super 1600 champion, he definitely has high ambitions in the Supercar class with ESmotorsport’s Škoda Fabia.

2019 World Rallycross Championship entry list

Monster Energy RX CartelAudi S113Andreas Bakkerud
Monster Energy RX CartelAudi S133Liam Doram
EKS SportAudi S1123Krisztian Szabo
Team Hansen MJPPeugeot 20821Timmy Hansen
Team Hansen MJPPeugeot 20871Kevin Hansen
GRX Taneco TeamHyundai i207Timur Timerzyanov
GRX Taneco TeamHyundai i2015Reinis Nitiss
GRX Taneco TeamHyundai i2068Niclas Gronholm
Team STARDFord Fiesta6Janis Baumanis
Team STARDFord Fiesta5Pal Try
Team STARDFord Fiesta3Jani Paasonen
Team STARDFord FiestaTBAJere Kalliokoski
GC KompetitionRenault Megane36Guerlain Chicherit
GC KompetitionRenault Megane92Anton Marklund
GCK AcademyRenault Clio96Guillaume De Ridder
GCK AcademyRenault Clio113Cyril Raymond Münnich MotorsportSeat Ibiza44Timo Scheider
Xite RacingMini Cooper42Oliver Bennett
Esmotorsport-Labas GASŠkoda Fabia14Rokas Baciuška


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