WOOTTEN, England – Round two of the FIA World Rallycross Championship, the Autosport World of Great Britain takes place at Lydden Hill this weekend, as a record entry of 38 Supercars head to the Kent-based race circuit.
Lydden Hill also marks the opening round of the five-round FIA European Rallycross Championship (Euro RX), of which there are 23 drivers eligible to score points.
Lydden Hill is steeped in rallycross history: the sport’s inaugural race was staged at the track back in 1967. Introduced by Robert Reed – who was a producer on ITV’s World of Sport programme at the time – the sport quickly grew to become a staple on TV in the UK before spreading to the European mainland two years later. This week a new race tower will be revealed at Lydden Hill named after Arthur Debenham, known as the “voice of rallycross.” Both Debenham and Reed will be present at Lydden Hill as VIP guests over the weekend.
After winning the World RX season-opener in Portugal earlier this month, Petter “Hollywood” Solberg will be eager to continue his run of good form but will face stiff competition from the likes of wildcard entry Tanner Foust – a two-time Formula Drift Champion and multiple X Games medallist – who has a strong track record in Britain.
“I have two wins at the Lydden Hill Race Circuit, and there’s something special about going for a hat-trick,” said Foust, who is also a presenter on the U.S. version of Top Gear.
“I’ve raced rally, sports cars, off-road … and rallycross has it all: I love the combination of dirt, asphalt, jumps and door-to-door racing. It’s like a real-life video game and there’s nothing else like it. The cars are insanely fast, and getting more fun to drive every year as the technology steps up.”
Reigning BTCC Champion Andrew Jordan will join Foust as a wildcard entry at Lydden. The British ace will drive for the Championship leading Ford Olsbergs MSE Team and will be looking to celebrate his 25th birthday weekend in style. “My aim is to reach the final, but I’m under no illusion that it’s going to be a big ask just to reach the semis,” said Jordan, who also won the British Rallycross Supercar Championship back in 2007.
One driver who knows the track better than most is Monster Energy World RX Team’s Liam Doran, son of former British Rallycross Champion and Lydden Hill circuit owner Pat Doran. “I’m really looking forward to getting on the track this weekend, and I feel like the whole team and I have a point to prove after the issues we experienced in Portugal,” explained Doran who will be joined in the two-car team by Poland’s Krzysztof Skorupski. “We’ve been working non-stop to get the cars ready, and it’s looking good now. Racing at Lydden has been a big part of my career, so naturally I want to win and put on a great show for the home crowds.”
Davy Jeanney – who finished second in last year’s European series – will replace Albatec Racing’s Jacques Villeneuve who has elected to skip the British World RX round due to a commitment to race in Indy 500.
“Lydden Hill is a track that I know very well where I have always had great results so hopefully we can get a good result, being in the top five or even a podium,” said Frenchman Jeanney, who will test the Peugeot 208 Supercar this week alongside Albatec’s team principle, Andy Scott.
In the Teams’ Championship, Ford Olsbergs MSE and team drivers Andreas Bakkerud andReinis Nitiss will be eager to maintain their placing at the top of the standings, but will face strong competition from VW Marklund’s Topi Heikkinen and Anton Marklund and Peugeot-Hansen’s Timur Timerzyanov and Timmy Hansen.