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Wilks – a two-time British Rally Champion and ex-WRC driver – will compete in Johan Kristoffersson’s old Supercar, the same vehicle which helped the Swede finish runner-up in last year’s drivers’ standings.

Wilks has previously competed in five World RX events (Lydden Hill 2015 and 2016, France, Barcelona and Latvia). In 2015, the Englishman reached the final at World RX of Great Britain but was denied a podium spot due to a puncture.

“To get an opportunity to do a full World Championship is something I've always wished for,” explained an elated Wilks, who will enter as an independent entry and be backed by energy drink LOCO.  

The 36-year-old added: “To compete in a car that finished second in the Championship last year adds pressure but is the ingredient that can make it realistic for me mix it at the top, even though the bar in World RX is getting raised year on year."

"I want to thank LOCO energy drink and Marc Blackburn for this opportunity - he saw me drive at Lydden and Loheac in 2015 and believed in me from the start."

I'm going to give it absolutely everything to prove his beliefs and also my own and we want to put ourselves up against the best. There's still a lot of work to do but 2017 is going to be an awesome journey!" He added.

Paul Bellamy, World RX Managing Director for IMG, concluded said: “Guy is very familiar with rallycross – he’s regularly commentated alongside Andrew Coley on our TV show."

"There’s no denying he’s a talent behind the wheel and proved this when he reached the final on his RX debut at Lydden Hill back in 2015."

LOCO will also back World RX driver Janis Baumanis, who yesterday confirmed he will drive for the all-new STARD team.

 

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In 2013, Nitiss was crowned the European Champion in the highly-competitive Super1600 category.

A year later, at the age of 18-years-old, he became the youngest driver ever to win a World RX round at the wheel of a Supercar when he triumphed at the Norwegian round of the World Championship.

In the 560-bhp Audi Supercar, Nitiss will compete in all twelve World RX rounds and battle for points in the Drivers’ classification. 

“Switching to the World Champion’s team is the dream of any racer,” explained Nitiss. “It’s a unique opportunity and I’m exceptionally happy that Audi and EKS is placing its trust in me.”

“Together with Audi Sport we worked hard to enter three cars in the race and I’m very happy that it worked out,” added Ekstrom, whose squad is receiving factory support from AUDI AG this year.

“In Reinis, we have another strong driver. Although he’s only 21-years-old, he has gathered a lot of experience in Rallycross.” He concluded.

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Latvia’s Janis Baumanis and Russia’s Timur Timerzyanov - who both previously competed under the MJP Racing Team Austria banner - will drive a pair of Ford Fiesta RXS Supercars run by Manfred Stohl’s operation, Stohl Racing. 
 
The process will be handled by Stohl Group’s experienced motorsport business unit Stohl Racing, closely co-operating with the group’s high performance R&D specialist STARD’s development engineers, who have developed the cars over the past few months. Stohl – who has competed in World RX and is an experienced former WRC driver – will take on the role as Team Principal.

“This is a great feeling - with Manfred Stohl’s help, I have managed to secure a Supercar drive once again,” explained 24-year-old Baumanis. “In Stohl Group’s office I signed a contract for World RX Team Austria but now, with STARD, I am back there again - where it all began for me. I have big plans for the 2017 season and I’m feeling very well prepared.”
 
Double FIA European Rallycross Champion Timerzyanov added: “I expect that the experience and knowledge gained from racing the Stohl built car throughout 2016 will help me greatly this year. I have given my input to the STARD engineers to help prepare this year’s car. I am looking forward to a professional and hopefully successful 2017 season.”
 
Team Principal Manfred Stohl concluded: “I already participated in World RX in 2015, back then as a driver, and I quickly became a huge fan of the sport. It then seemed logical to look into business activity in this area as well."

"Rallycross offers the possibility for practically any driver – from off-road to the circuit-racing scene so it is very diverse. We will field two of the Ford Fiesta RXS Evo 3 - these are based on the cars which STARD has developed and built in 2015, and optimised in 2016 for World RX Team Austria." He added

"Our development engineers have intensively worked on another upgrade for the 2017 Evo 3 version and in Janis and Timur we have the top level drivers in rallycross."
 
Timerzyanov and Baumanis have already been replaced in the MJP Racing team by Sweden's Kevin Eriksson and double DTM Champion Timo Scheider.
 
The new-for-2017 STARD team will first be seen in action at the World RX Championship season-opener in Barcelona from 1-2 April.

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Team Peugeot-Hansen will continue its campaign in the FIA World Rallycross Championship presented by Monster Energy with team-mates Sebastien Loeb and Timmy Hansen driving the Peugeot 208 WRX Supercar in 2017.  The Swedish-based squad will also enter a third car to compete in all rounds of the World Championship which will be driven by Sweden’s Kevin Hansen, last year’s FIA European Rallycross Champion.

Last year, Team Peugeot-Hansen – with 14-time European Rallycross Champion Kenneth Hansen as its Team Principal – finished runner-up in the Teams’ Championship. The squad also racked up two victories with Timmy Hansen winning Canada RX and nine-time WRC Champion Loeb triumphing at the inaugural World RX of Latvia.

“I believe I learnt a great deal in the course of my first full rallycross season,” explained Loeb, before admitting he had more to offer in 2017.  He continued: “I’ve obviously set my sights higher this time round and I hope this year’s version of the Peugeot 208 WRX Supercar will enable us to challenge for victory. Given the stiffer competition we face, it won’t be easy but I am determined to add to my record in this discipline.”

Timmy Hansen added: “The engineers did a great job over the winter and the Peugeot 208 WRX Supercar has taken a big step forward. I’m really looking forward to driving it competitively. My aim when action begins in earnest will be to find a good rhythm and adapt the car to my driving style. In my experience, that is what you need to do if you want to be up there fighting for victory. We’ve got some new teams joining the championship this year and I’m glad to see that there will now be four manufacturer-backed entries. I hope there will be plenty of great racing in 2017 and that you will often see us on the top step of the podium.”

Last year’s FIA Rookie of the Year Kevin Hansen, commented: “I’m very happy to be a fully-fledged World Rallycross driver at last. It’s been a long winter getting to this point after my Euro RX gold in 2016 and it feels amazing to have signed for a World RX campaign with Team Peugeot-Hansen. Personally, for 2017, I would like to find the feeling I had last year behind the wheel of the car and then build on that. I will do my very best amongst the sport’s elite.”

Bruno Famin, Director at Peugeot Sport, concluded: “We won the teams’ title in 2015 and were runners-up in 2016, so the aim is to take things a step further this time by targeting both the teams’ and drivers’ crowns. To achieve that, we know we can count on the services of two battle-hardened drivers since Sebastien Loeb, who will once again be teaming up with Timmy Hansen, now has a complete season’s experience under his belt. That said we know very that the level of the World Championship is improving all the time. We are pleased to see that Audi and Volkswagen have joined Ford and Peugeot by backing strong teams. It’s going to be a quality season. We are continuing our association with Hansen Motorsport as Team Peugeot Hansen. Peugeot Sport is responsible for the cars’ development, while Hansen Motorsport will run them in the championship.”

The first round of the 2017 FIA World Rallycross Championship takes place at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya (1-2 April).

 

         

 

 

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