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GRX TANECO will expand to run a two-car FIA World Rallycross Championship  effort in 2018 with Timur Timerzyanov joining Niclas Grönholm in campaigning a pair of privateer Hyundai i20 Supercars. 

The Finnish-based team, headed up by two-time World Rally Champion Marcus Grönholm, ran a Ford Fiesta RXS driven by Marcus’ son Niclas last season but increases its commitment to World RX in 2018 by adding double FIA European Rallycross Champion Timerzyanov in an eye-catching driver line-up.  

World RX Managing Director for IMG, Paul Bellamy, commented: “We are delighted to see GRX TANECO committing to World RX in 2018 by not only doubling its efforts with a two-car entry but doing so with the welcome support from Hyundai.

“In Timur and Niclas, GRX’s driver line-up demonstrates a formidable blend of experience and youth and with a world champion in Marcus Gronholm lending his invaluable expertise in his role as team principal, I’m certain the GRX TANECO Team is destined for great results this season.

Though this will be first time the Hyundai brand has been represented on the World RX stage as a permanent full-season entry, the GRX TANECO i20 Supercar has been developed for rallycross from the manufacturer’s proven 2016 World Rally Car platform.

GRX TANECO Team Principal, Marcus Grönholm: “We have chosen to use the Hyundai i20 for this programme because of my previous connections with Michel Nandan [Hyundai WRC Team Principal]. We have a good relationship but this is a private project. We don’t have any manufacturer backing like some of the other teams in World Rallycross but we have a lot of information from when we bought the cars from Hyundai. 

“So far the car looks very good. I was dreaming to be on the track by now but in the next two weeks we will start testing and I’m confident. We have some new solutions which haven’t been seen before and I’m excited to get to the track. 

“We know Timur can get the results and Niclas has been working hard this winter. He showed some good pace last year and I’m hopeful that they can both do good things this year. I will be surprised if we can’t be fighting with the big boys at least sometimes. The first target is semi-finals, then the final and podium. I think that’s fully possible.”

FIA European RX champion in 2012 and 2013, Timerzyanov believes the GRX TANECO project is the ideal platform to get him back on the podium in World RX.

“I’ve been waiting for this opportunity for a long time, maybe since the end of 2014 actually and I’m really excited. This is a big step for the future, on the technical side with the car and the whole team. I’m really happy that long-term partner TANECO will be title-sponsor for the team and I can’t wait to start testing. I’m really happy to have Niclas as my team mate, he has shown his potential already last year and it’s a good feeling to work with Marcus too, he really understands me as a driver. 

“He has the same targets as me for this season, to get good results and he knows the best way to achieve that. I’m also really pleased to be back with Jussi after I worked with him in the past. We need to be consistent all the time this year I see no problems with racing among the top drivers. I want to also thank my other loyal sponsor Viatti, they have been with me for a long time and I’m excited to continue my relationship with them in this programme.”

Competing in what will be his third full season of World RX action, 21 year-old Gronholm is looking to build on a positive 2017 campaign that yielded a maiden race final appearance in Germany.
“Everything looks good on paper for the new car and what the guys in the workshop have been telling me is exciting. I have no doubt that it will be competitive. In many races last year I had good pace but the starts were the problem. We have been working on that problem over the winter in terms of how I sit in the car and the angles of the pedals. 

“I’ve done quite a lot of driving over the winter to try to train my weaknesses, rotating the car in the tight corners and things to try and build on that. Having a competitive team mate is the biggest thing for me this year. Timur is very experienced and it will be very good for me have someone good to compare data with, to help each other. I have no doubt that it will work well and I’m very positive.”

The GRX TANECO Team will first be seen in action at the World RX Championship season-opener in Barcelona from 14-15 April.

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Norway’s Andreas Bakkerud has this morning confirmed that he will join Mattias Ekstrom in the newly-named Mattias Ekstrom for the 2018 FIA World Rallycross Championship .
Both drivers will compete in all 12 rounds of the World Championship in two new Audi S1 EKS RX quattro cars.  This news follows hot on the heels of an announcement earlier in the week that Ekstrom will quit his career in DTM to fully concentrate on rallycross.
Ekstrom explained: “With support from Audi we’re able to go for all-out attack.  Our aim for 2018 is clear: we’re battling for the drivers’ and teams’ world championship titles.  It’s clear that we needed to make some changes. That’s why we’re preparing two new cars and putting the competition from Volkswagen and Peugeot in their place.”
Bakkerud, who has spent the last two seasons driving alongside Ken Block in the Hoonigan Racing Division team, spoke positively about his move to EKS Audi Sport. “It’s a great honour for me to be driving in Mattias’ team,” explained 26-year-old Bakkerud.  “We’ve had good rapport with each other for many years and I’ve been closely following the development of EKS. Together with the team I’d now like to make the step in my career and be in contention for the title.”
Head of Audi Motorsport Dieter Gass concluded: “We gathered very positive experiences in the World RX last year and are convinced of the series’ growth.  In the medium run, we hope to see electric cars being fielded in this racing series because electrification is a focus topic at Audi also in motorsport.”
Round one of the 2018 World RX season will kick off in Barcelona (14-15 April).

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After recently announcing its WTCR programme, Sébastien Loeb Racing confirmed its participation in the 2018 FIA World Rallycross Championship (World RX).

Making its debut in this spectacular category, the French team will provide Grégoire Demoustier with a car specially developed by prestigious partners, overseen by Georges Kaczka and Pierre Arnaud.

Onroak Automotive and Oreca have spent the past six months focusing on significant research and development work on the chassis and engine of a Peugeot 208 for the series, which has now been completed.

Demoustier is no stranger to the Sébastien Loeb Racing team, having competed with them during the 2016 World Touring Car Championship (WTCC). The Frenchman also shined in the GT1 FIA World Championship, Blancpain Endurance Series, and TCR International Series, since making his racing debut in 2008.

This season, the 27-year-old will also benefit from his significant World RX experience, after competing in several 2017 rounds with a Peugeot 208.

By taking on this challenge in World RX, Sébastien Loeb Racing has the pleasure to meet up with its co-founder and nine-time WRC champion, Sébastien Loeb.

The Soultz-sous-Forêts, Alsace, based outfit will again rely on its technical know-how and world-class team members that have achieved success together in the various championships they’ve competed in, since launching in late 2011.

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Ken Block is top qualifier overnight at the World RX of South Africa – the final round of the 2017 FIA World Rallycross Championship. 

Latvia’s Janis Baumanis took the lead of Q2 race three in the opening corners with an opportunistic move, having been down the order at the first corner and won to set the quickest time.

Meanwhile, in Q2 race five, Block overtook Hoonigan Racing Division team mate Andreas Bakkerud in the joker on lap four to win the race and be second quickest. 

“We are struggling a lot with the starts but there was some action in the corner. I was first after the second corner and I really pushed to get the maximum out of my car."

"I really enjoyed those four laps. I really enjoy this track, you need to know where you need to push and if you don’t do that exactly in the right place you will be in big trouble, but I did everything right and was the fastest man in Q2,” said Baumanis. 

Block’s overtake on his team mate was partially due to a puncture on the front left of Bakkerud’s Focus, a problem faced by a number of drivers."

"The American driver was delighted to be TQ on Saturday evening. “I’m pretty stoked to be on top, this track just really suits this car so we knew from the beginning that it was going to be pretty strong here."

"Our car works best when there is good grip and long corners and this track actually has a lot of good grip and even a lot of the gravel has quite good grip so our car has been really accelerating out of the corners. It’s been fun for me today driving this track, I’ve really enjoyed it,” said Block. 

Baumanis is second on in the Intermediate Classification, with World Champion Johan Kristoffersson third and Q1 winner Timmy Hansen fourth. Norway’s Andreas Bakkerurd is fifth and Finland’s Topi Heikkinen sixth.

In the battle for second in the World RX Drivers’ Championship, Norway’s Petter Solberg in ninth after a puncture and Sweden’s Mattias Ekstrom is tenth having been given a five-second penalty in Q2.