2019 World RX entry list: Sixteen drivers, eleven nations, eight brands
The list of permanent competitors for the 2019 FIA World Rallycross Championship has been released today. Sixteen drivers from eleven countries will participate in the championship on a full-time basis, representing six teams and four individual entries. Fifteen drivers are announced today, one is yet to be confirmed. Eight automotive brands will be represented in the sixth season of the world’s premier rallycross competition.
The entry list features many familiar names among teams and drivers but there are also several new teams and rookies among drivers. None of three previous World RX champions (Petter Solberg, Mattias Ekstrom, Johan Kristoffersson) are not returning to the championship as a driver, only Ekstrom will act as a team owner.
The Hansen brothers, Timmy and Kevin, will represent again the team of their father Kenneth, who formed a new partnership with Max J. Pucher to form Team Hansen MJP. The 26-year-old Timmy Hansen is one of the rare drivers who participated in all 61 events from the inaugural World RX season in 2014 to 2018.
Another World RX veteran is the 27-year-old Norwegian ace Andreas Bakkerud who is also present in the championship from the beginning. In 2019, he will drive the #13 Audi S1 for the newly-formed Monster Energy RX Cartel team. His teammate will be ‘bad boy of rallycross’ Liam Doran. The third Audi on the grid will be the one for the Hungarian Krisztian Szabo who was hired by Mattias Ekstrom to drive for his EKS Sport.
Marcus Gronholm’s GRX Taneco team will field a pair of Hyundai i20s for the highly-experienced Russian Timur Timerzyanov and Niclas Gronholm, son of two-time World Rally Champion Marcus. The third GRX driver is Reinis Nitiss from Latvia who will combine development driver duties with appearances at selected rounds. Another Latvian Janis Baumanis will represent Austrian Team STARD in a Ford Fiesta. His teammate is yet to be named.
The French team GC Kompetition made a successful World RX debut in 2018 and now the team expands its operations to four cars. Team owner Guerlain Chicherit and former ERX champion Anton Marklund will drive Megane RS RX cars while RX2 graduates Cyril Raymond and Guillaume De Ridder will drive Renault Clio Supercars for GCK Academy.
Briton Oliver Bennett, who competed in selected World RX and ARX events in 2018, will pilot the Xite Racing Mini Cooper in his first full world championship season. Former DTM champion Timo Scheider also expands his campaign from occasional races to a full-time job at the wheel of ALL-INKL.COM Munnich Motorsport‘s Seat Ibiza. He will be joined by team owner Rene Munnich at selected events.
One more rookie on the grid will be the 19-year-old Lithuanian Rokas Bacisuka, the current FIA European Rallycross Champion in Super 1600 class, who will drive a Škoda Fabia Supercar for new team ESmotorsport-Labas Gas.
“What we have put together is a high quality entry list which features names synonymous with world rallycross, and a number of young guns aiming for the world championship crown. This underlines the robust nature of the FIA World Rallycross Championship. The entry list illustrates the lure of World RX for both teams and drivers.
We have all the ingredients for a fierce battle among privateer teams seeking the kudos of a world championship in one of motorsports’ most demanding environments. To have 11 nationalities of drivers and eight automotive brands going head-to-head adds further spice and intrigue,” said Paul Bellamy, Senior Vice President of IMG Motorsports, the series promoter.
The 2019 World RX season will kick-off on April 5-6 with the first visit to Abu Dhabi’s Yas Marina Circuit. The schedule features ten rounds, two less than in 2018.
Photos: World RX,