The opening round of the all-new FIA World Rallycross Championship presented by Monster Energy will kick off in Portugal this weekend (3-4 May) with more than 50 of the world’s best rallycross drivers set to battle it out across the Supercar, Super1600 and TouringCar categories and in the supporting RX Lites Cup. The line-up will also include two former World Champions as former F1 World Champion Jacques Villeneuve and former WRC Champion Petter Solberg join the Supercar line-up.
World RX – which is promoted by IMG, the global sport, fashion and media company – is the FIA’s newest World Championship and in 2014, the race action will be broadcast in more than 100 countries with a combined household reach of 816 million homes. The Championship is made up of 12 rounds: Portugal, Great Britain, Norway, Finland, Sweden, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Turkey and Argentina.
Round 1, World RX of Portugal, will be based in Montalegre: a municipality in northern Portugal, located in the district of Vila Real on the border with Spain. The draw for Saturday’s first qualifying heat will be made on Friday afternoon (2 May). The second qualifying heat also takes place on Saturday with the remainder of the heats plus the semi-finals and finals to take place on Sunday (4 May).
There will be six World RX two-car teams present in Portugal including the manufacturer-backed squads of Ford-OlsbergsMSE (Andreas Bakkerud and Reinis Nitiss), VW-Marklund (Topi Heikkinen and Anton Marklund) and Peugeot-Hansen (Timur Timerzyanov and Timmy Hansen). Also in Portugal and fighting for Supercar victory will be PSRX’s Petter Solberg with team-mate Alex Hvaal.
“There are a lot of very good drivers in RX this year – it’s going to be tough but I will fight – I promise you!” explained Petter Solberg who will pilot a Citroen DS3 Supercar. “Last year we had some problems with the car but now we have good experience of the circuits and we will come back even stronger. I want to win the title. I’ll be flat out from the start!”
Monster Energy World RX Team’s Liam Doran and Poland’s Krzysztof Skorupski will also be present in Portugal with their Citroen DS3 Supercars, with the addition of Albatec Racing’s Jacques Villeneuve and Andy Scott. Villeneuve spoke positively ahead of his World RX debut: “Rallycross is both fast and exciting. The power in the cars is unbelievable, they’re like rockets but driving is what I know – it’s what keeps me alive. The extra elements that make up rallycross are what I need to learn this year – the strategy, the close driving, the tyres – that’s what’s new for me.”
Other notable entrants in Portugal include top female driver Ramona Karlsson who will be driving a Per Eklund Motorsport run Saab 93. Belgian driver Jos Jansen will also be competing, as well as Poland’s Bohdan Ludwiczak and Frenchman Alexandre Theuil. Two-time European Rallycross Champion Derek Tohill will also join the Supercar line-up in his Citroen DS3 Supercar and flying the flag for Portugal will be local favourite Joaquim Santos in a Ford Focus.
Martin Anayi – Managing Director for World RX at IMG Motorsport – added: “All the ingredients are now in place to make World RX the must-watch motorsport series in 2014. In Portugal, we’ve got a star-studded line-up of drivers who will also be joined by some great local drivers, which is fantastic for the home fans. It’s very positive to have so many entries at our first World RX event, and of course this will be the first ever time that we see the RX Lites in action too. The circuit is nestled in the mountains of Montalegre and creates a stunning backdrop for what is expected to be a fast and furious weekend of racing ahead. Over the past few months, a lot of hard work has been going on behind the scenes and now we can’t wait to get the season up and running.”
The full entry list for World RX of Portugal can be found here
The event timetable can be found here
Name: Pista Internacional de Montalegre
Length: 0,945 metres / 1,050 metres with joker lap
Composition: 40% gravel and 60% tarmac
Direction of the track: Clockwise
Number of laps in the Qualifying Heats: 4 laps
Number of laps in Semi-Finals and Finals: 6 laps
Each event will comprise of practice sessions, four qualifying heats, two semi-finals and one final. There will be four qualifying heats with a maximum of five cars starting abreast in each race over four laps.
Starting positions in the races will be determined by a draw that will be carried out beforehand.
Race starters determined according to classification of heat 1. This follows the same format until heat 4. All qualifying heats will be timed and the fastest driver in each heat will be rewarded 50 points, second: 45, third: 42, fourth: 40, fifth: 39, sixth: 38 and so on. After the qualifying heats, there will be an intermediate classification according to each driver’s total points scored in the four heats.
There will be six starters arranged on a two-by-two grid and each semi-final will be run over six laps. The top 12 scoring drivers in the intermediate classification will qualify for the semi-finals. The winner, second and third placed drivers in each semi-final will qualify for the final.
Finals will also have six starters, arranged over three rows and will be run over six laps. The semi-final winner with the highest number of points in the event will start on the ‘pole’ side of the grid, followed by the other semi-final winner. The same procedure will be used between the two second-placed drivers and two third-placed drivers. The winner of the final will be the winner of the event. Positions one to six in the final classification will be according to the result of the final. The remaining drivers will be classified according to points scored in the event.
JOKER LAPS: An alternative section of track that adds at least two seconds to the lap time, and through which every driver must pass once in each race, semi-final and final. Failure to take the Joker Lap is penalised by 30-seconds in the qualifying heats, and by being classified last and loss of points in a semi-final or final.
MONSTER ENERGY SUPER CHARGE AWARD: Awarded to the first driver in the Supercar final to enter the first corner off the start line.
MEDIA INFORMATION/SCHEDULE OF EVENTS
Friday 2 May.
1400-1900. Media sign-on.
1600. Drivers’ Draw. This will be held in the briefing room on the ground floor of the race control tower. Media are invited to attend this as the draws are made for the race heats.
1900. Media dinner. On Friday evening there will be a World RX presentation where the Supercars driven from the circuit and through the town of Montalegre to the castle. A dinner and reception will be held inside the castle from 1930, which will be open to the media.
2030. Autograph Session. Following the dinner, there will be an autograph session with the teams beside their cars
2100. Q&A and Trophy reveal. A presentation on the stage will follow with a speech from the Montalegre mayor plus the CAVR and FPAK (ASN) president. A short Q&A with all the drivers will follow plus the 2014 World RX trophy reveal.
Saturday 3 May.
0900. Media sign-on opens.
1110. Photographers’ briefing. All photographers arriving on Saturday MUST attend this short photographers’ briefing which will be held in the media room. Photographers will be issued with a tabard after the briefing.
1800. Press conference.
Sunday 4 May.
0810. Photographers’ briefing. All photographers arriving on Sunday MUST attend this short photographers’ briefing which will be held in the media room. Photographers will be issued with a tabard after the briefing.
1610. Press conference.