The list of permanent competitors for the 2018 FIA World Rallycross Championship presented by Monster Energy has been revealed by the FIA with 15 drivers, including eight proven race winners, set to fight it out for World RX honours.
The permanent competitors, who will be joined by up to ten round-by-round drivers at each event, comprise six Teams and three Individual entries. Cars from six different manufacturers feature, as GRX Taneco Team field a pair of Hyundai i20s and GC Kompetition lines up for its debut season with the new Renault Megane RS.
2017 World RX Champion Johan Kristoffersson will carry the coveted number one on his PSRX Volkswagen Sweden Polo R as he bids to defend his title. The Swede is once more joined by 2014 and 2015 title winner Petter Solberg in an unchanged driver line-up that is charged with retaining the Team Championship they secured last year.
Mattias Ekstrom, 2016 World Champion, returns to challenge for another title with the renamed EKS Audi Sport. Having previously dovetailed his rallycross efforts with commitments in the DTM, Ekstrom will focus solely on World RX in 2018. He is joined in the team’s second Audi S1 by Norwegian Andreas Bakkerud, a six-time World RX event winner who races an Audi for the first time this year.
Sebastien Loeb and Timmy Hansen return as Peugeot’s chosen drivers, Team Peugeot Total now a full factory entry for World RX. A pair of new Peugeot 208s are at the disposal of its drivers who are seeking both individual success and to regain the Team title Peugeot won in 2015.
GC Kompetition joins the World RX field for the first time, the French outfit led by owner/racer Guerlain Chicherit who has recruited former French Champion and European Championship event winner Jerome Grosset-Janin to the new team. The striking new Renault Megane RS has been developed and built by Prodrive. This will be the first time Renault has been represented by a permanent World RX competitor.
Stepping-up its involvement after running an Individual entry last year, GRX Taneco Team introduces Hyundai to the World Rallycross Championship with a pair of i20s for Finn Niclas Gronholm and Russian Timur Timerzyanov.
Returning to the championship after a year away, 2014 Team Champions Olsbergs MSE will run a pair of new Ford Fiestas for its all-Swedish line up of Kevin Eriksson and Robin Larsson.
The three Individual entries will compete for the drivers’ title but do not claim team points. Building on selected outings in 2017, Belgian Gregoire Demoustier lines up for a full season with a new Peugeot 208 run by Sebastien Loeb Racing. Team Peugeot Total has an Individual entry for former European Champion Kevin Hansen while Team Stard will provide a new Ford Fiesta for Latvian Janis Baumanis.
World RX Managing Director for IMG, Paul Bellamy, commented: “With 15 drivers – including eight race winners and three champions – the 2018 FIA World Rallycross Championship represents exceptional strength this year.
“PSRX Volkswagen Sweden proved formidable with Johan Kristoffersson in 2017, but they are sure to face a huge challenge from their rivals this year, not least EKS Audi Sport, Team Peugeot Total and Oslbergs MSE. Then of course there are the exciting additions from GC Kompetition’s Renaults and the new Hyundais from GRX Taneco Team, all of which give this year’s field immense variety.
“With new events for 2018, a rapidly growing support base and increasing involvement from manufacturers, World RX is surely set for another memorable season.”
The 2018 FIA World Rallycross Championship comprises 12 events this season, including the series’ first visits to Silverstone for the World RX of Britain as part of the Speedmachine festival and Circuit of the Americas in Austin for the first ever World RX of USA.
The season begins with World RX of Catalunya Barcelona Spain on April 14-15.
The full list of Permanent World RX competitors can be viewed and downloaded HERE