FIA World Rallycross Championship – Round 3 at Mettet – Preview
Round 3 of the FIA World Rallycross Championship will take place at Circuit Jules Tacheny at Mettet, Belgium this weekend and will include a total of 83 cars in three categories (38 Supercars, 25 Super1600 and 20 TouringCars). Ladbrokes World RX of Belgium is also first of five rounds in this year’s FIA European Rallycross Championship (Euro RX).
Last year’s World RX event at Mettet was won by Finland’s Toomas ‘Topi’ Heikkinen, followed by Swedes Timmy Hansen and Johan Kristoffersson. Reigning Euro RX Champion Robin Larsson set the benchmark for the fastest lap time (38.74 seconds), but this year organisers have made some improvements on track so new lap record will be set.
Competing for World Championship points in Belgium will be the 18 permanent drivers plus Norway’s Ole Kristian Nottveit who has opted to compete for World points rather than European. After first round in Portugal and second at Hockenheimring at the top of leaderboard is reigning World Champion Petter Solberg with 57 points, then follows Johan Kristofersson (42), Andreas Bakkerud (37), Timmy Hansen (37), Reinis Nitiss (34), Toomas Heikkinen (29), Davy Jeanney (28), Robin Larsson (25), PG Andersson (23), Liam Doran (17)…
There will be a further 19 Supercar drivers eligible to score points in Euro RX. Most notable entries include Volkswagen Team Sweden’s Ole Christian Veiby who will drive a brand new Polo RX Supercar. Scottish-based team Albatec Racing will also field two Peugeot 208s which will be driven by former French Rallycross Champion Jerome Grosset-Janin and Britain’s James Grint.
One of the ‘guest drivers’ will be ex-WRC star Francois Duval, who lives less than 30 miles from Mettet and will pilot a Ford Focus RX Supercar. “I’m really looking forward to returning to Mettet. It’s a form of motorsport that I’ve always loved. The cars are fantastic and with over 30 Supercars the racing will be close with some tough competition”, said Duval.
Format of the race is different compared to previous year. All 38 Supercars competing in Belgium will race together through the four qualifying heat stages but after last heat they will be separated. European and World Championship competitors will then race in their own separate semi-finals and finals.
Mettet will host first round of supporting TouringCar category, which is a known development ground for Supercar drivers and will feature at five RX rounds in 2015. A total of 20 TouringCars will go head-to-head in Belgium including last year’s top TouringCar Champion Daniel Lundh.
In the Super1600 category only five points separate the top five drivers, so we can expect fearce battle for every point. Latvian Janis Baumanis currently leads in front of Hungarian Krisztian Szabo and Frenchman Andrea Dubourg.
Heats 1 and 2 for all categories and Heat 3 for TouringCars and Super 1600 are scheduled for Saturday, rest of heat stages, semi-finals and finals we can follow at Sunday.
Here you can see complete entry list.