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Following the conclusion of the FIA World Motor Sport Council meeting, the FIA World Rallycross Championship has announced today a reduced 2019 calendar of 10 events, with the postponement of WorldRallycross of USA which was scheduled to take place at COTA in Austin, Texas from 28-29 September.

World RX Managing Director for IMG, Paul Bellamy, said: “After consulting with the FIA and our World Championship teams, we have decided to reduce the number of events in our 2019 calendar."

"This decision has been made to help control costs for the teams and ensure the series remains as competitive as possible. We remain very excited about the 2019 season with 10 high-octane events.

“We will run a round of the Americas Rallycross Championship (ARX) at COTA on September 28-29, which World Rallycross teams will be welcome to compete in, but it will not be part of the World Championship."

"We are planning the return of the WorldChampionship to the USA in 2021 when we add electric cars. We are still very much committed to growing rallycross in the USA and will continue to build audiences and platforms through our Americas Rallycross Championship. Further details on the ARX calendar and venues will be shared soon.”

The revised FIA World Rallycross Championship 2019 calendar:

Round Year Venue Country
1 05-06 April Yas Marina** Abu Dhabi
2 27-28 April Catalunya Barcelona Spain
3 11-12 May Spa-Francorchamps** Belgium
4 25-26 May Silverstone* Great Britain
5 15-16 June Hell-Lanke* Norway
6 06-07 July Höljes** Sweden
7 03-04 August Trois-Rivières Canada
8 31 August - 01 September Lohéac France
9 14-15 September Riga** Latvia
10 09-10 November Cape Town** South Africa
* Subject to ASN confirmation
** Subject to circuit homologation

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Team Peugeot Total’s Sebastien Loeb has won the Coyote World of Belgium after coming out on top of a thrilling final in Mettet.

The Frenchman led from the opening corner to resist the attentions of Petter Solberg to the chequered flag, Loeb notching up both and Peugeot’s first World RX win since Latvia in 2016.

An exciting conclusion on a day of fantastic action throughout, Loeb got the hole-shot off the line in the final to head Johan Kristoffersson initially through the tight right-hander. despite the championship leader briefly being kicked up on two wheels against the inside barrier as the six-car field funnelled into turn one.

However, a better exit would allow Timmy Hansen slot ahead of the his countryman to place Peugeot 1-2, followed by Kristoffersson and his PSRX Volkswagen Sweden team-mate Petter Solberg. 

With the two Audis of Andreas Bakkerud and Mattias Ekstrom trailing in fifth and sixth after losing time with separate wide moments on the opening lap, it was Solberg would move for the Joker first in an attempt to get himself back into contention. It would prove a shrewd move, the Norwegian picking off Kristoffersson and then getting the better of Hansen once they had made their moves.

Loeb, however, would keep his composure to sustain the pressure from Solberg and reel off a popular win in Mettet, the second of his World RX career.

Solberg and Hansen completed the podium, with a recovering Ekstrom – who took his Joker on the final lap – just grabbing fourth from championship leader Kristoffersson. Bakkerud followed in sixth as the entire field finished within three seconds of one another.

Despite a disappointing result in the final, Kristoffersson still leads the overall standings (75 points), ahead of Loeb (66), Solberg (65), Bakkerud (61) and Hansen (59).

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PSRX Volkswagen Sweden’s Johan Kristoffersson scored victory in the World RX of South Africa, the final round of the FIA World Rallycross Championship.

Sweden’s Kristoffersson set three quickest qualifying times to claim TQ (top qualifier) position in his Volkswagen Polo R on World RX’s second visit to Cape Town’s Killarney International Raceway before winning both semi-final one and the final to secure his record breaking 11th win of the season.

EKS Audi Sport’s Mattias Ekstrom started on the third row of the grid for the final in his Audi S1 and climbed to second during the race with a strong start, after securing second in the World RX Drivers’ Championship when his team mate Andreas Bakkerud retired from the semi-finals. Team Peugeot Total’s Sebastien Loeb completed his third full World RX programme with another podium in his Peugeot 208 and finished ahead of team mate Kevin Hansen in the final.

“I have to say today is quite emotional. This season comes to an end and it’s been a fantastic year for me, really the world championship title sinks in a little bit more now. I really have to thank this great team, they have done everything for me,” said Kristoffersson “Without them it wouldn’t be possible. I have said that so many times since my first victory in Belgium 2017, but this one meant a lot to me.”

Ekstrom was pleased to finish his year on the podium. “We actually came to Cape Town to win the race. We were fast throughout the entire weekend, but somehow didn’t get into the right rhythm,” said Ekstrom.

“In the final things finally fell into place. Second is a fantastic result and a good end to a long season, in which Johan was always a small step ahead. Even so, I’m extremely proud of the entire team: We extracted the maximum from our resources. It was also a fabulous year with Andreas. We had a lot of fun together and have something to celebrate this evening.”

Loeb set the fastest time in Q1 on Saturday and finished on the podium for the seventh time in 2018. “The car was good here, we improved it all year and since the middle of the season we have changed a lot of things,” he said. “I think we had good performance, we tried to improve some details and here in the last race were really competitive. I had a good weekend and finally to be third overall, I’m happy.”

PSRX Volkswagen Sweden’s Petter Solberg won the Monster Energy Supercharge Award for having the fastest reaction time at the start of the final in his Volkswagen Polo R but retired on the second lap after a spin. Team Peugeot Total’s Timmy Hansen joined team mate Loeb on the second row of the grid for the final but retired after contact with Solberg’s car.

GRX Taneco Team’s Timur Timerzyanov and GC Kompetition’s Anton Marklund finished fourth in the semi-finals and didn’t progress to the final. Team STARD’s Janis Baumanis finished fifth in semi-final one, but EKS Audi Sport’s Andreas Bakkerud retired with a technical issue. ALL-INKL.COM Muennich Motorsport’s Timo Scheider was fifth in semi-final two but GC Kompetition’s Guerlain Chicherit retired on the fifth lap.

GRX’s Niclas Gronholm was first reserve for the semi-finals in 13th and Olsbergs MSE’s Kevin Eriksson and Robin Larsson concluded their 2018 seasons in 14th and 15th. Sebastien Loeb Racing’s Gregoire Demoustier finished his first full World RX campaign 17th in South Africa.

Norway’s Ben Philip-Gundersen won the final round of the RX2 International Series ahead of compatriot Sondre Evjen and Latvia’s Vasily Gryazin. Sweden’s Oliver Eriksson entered the final round locked in a battle with Belgium’s Guillaume De-Ridder for the title and wrapped up the single-make championship by qualifying for the final.

Eriksson led on the on lap one but stopped with technical issues and was classified sixth. Sweden’s William Nilsson finished fourth and Finland’s Sami-Matti Trogen was fifth.

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GCK has completed its driver line-up for the 2018 FIA World Rallycross Championship with the signing of Jérôme Grosset-Janin alongside Guerlain Chicherit in the all-new Prodrive-engineered Renault Megane R.S. RX. The team also confirmed Timo Scheider will come on board as test and development driver.

This season will see the Renault brand represented as a permanent full season entry in World RX for the first time with GCK choosing the latest generation Megane R.S. as its machinery and enlisting renowned engineering group Prodrive to lead the design and development of its ambitious project.

World RX Managing Director for IMG, Paul Bellamy, commented: “The arrival of GC Kompetition with the new Renault Megane R.S. RX has been one of the big stories ahead the 2018 World RX season and I cannot wait to see it going up against the best in the world with Jérôme and Guerlain at the wheel. It’s great to see Jérôme getting a full-time drive in World RX this season as part of this exciting project and I can think of no better choice than Timo to lead that all-important development and ensure the Megane R.S. RX laps as fast as it looks.

Runner-up in the FIA European Rallycross Championship in both 2015 and 2016, though Grosset-Janin has made a handful of World RX appearances in recent years, 2018 will be the 33 year-old Frenchman’s first full international season.

“GCK has developed an awesome project, and for the team to have partnered with Prodrive’s technical expertise gives me great confidence in the project. Thanks to an innovative and bold technical design, the Megane R.S. RX looks super aggressive. 

“When I first had a look at the car, I got really excited. It transcends the usual way of how things have been done so far and represents what really gets me inspired and motivated: to think outside the box and dare to go big. Driving at a very high level is every child’s dream and I’m impatient and ambitious to drive at the highest level of the world championship this year.”

GCK will also head into the season with the benefit of experience from World RX podium winner and DTM champion Timo Scheider, who comes on board to focus on the Megane R.S. RX’s test and development work through the year.

“For me, this collaboration with GCK presents a really good and exciting opportunity to pass on my knowledge from extensive motorsports experience whilst gaining further experience in Rallycross. I’m really looking forward to facing this challenge together and hope that we end up with a hugely successful result on RX tracks around the world! I can’t wait to continue testing to see the Mégane R.S. RX race competitively come April!.”

With GCK and Prodrive busily testing the Megane R.S RX ahead of its competition debut in Spain next month, team owner-driver Chicherit is thrilled to welcome both Grosset-Janin and Scheider into the team. 

“I’m so stoked to have Jérôme join us as my team mate – we’ll be a French force to be reckoned with. Jérôme is incredibly hungry for this opportunity and I can already see a nice bit of team mate rivalry forming between us, which should make for a really exciting, promising season. Jérôme is a very experienced driver, he knows the sport and the tracks very well and brings quite a lot of experience to GCK. 

“Being a two-time runner up in EuroRX, he’s already demonstrated he’s ready to challenge for a Championship, so now it’s on GCK to deliver him a good car too! 

“Having Timo on board to support with initial testing is already a big win for GCK - Timo’s experience is proving valuable as we develop the car for the season start in Barcelona. We’re working hard right now to ensure GCK ends up on the podium sometime this season! That would be a dream for me as GCK Team Principal to see one of our cars up there.”

The GCK Renault R.S. RX will get its debut at the World RX Championship season-opener in Barcelona from 14-15 April.