Finnish-based team GRX and driver Niclas Gronholm – son of double WRC Champion Marcus Gromholm – will contest the 2017 FIA World Rallycross Championship presented by Monster Energy with an M-Sport built Ford Fiesta RX Supercar.The GRX team will compete in all 12 rounds of the World Championship in a partnership with multiple FIA European Rallycross Championship winning team, Set Promotion. The Fiesta RX is currently being prepared at M-Sport’s base in Cumbria, north England.
Gronholm, 20, raced in the full FIA World Rallycross Championship in 2016, his first full-time campaign having made just one previous start in the series, in Sweden 2015. In a year of learning and development, the Finn made the semi-finals twice: in Sweden and in Canada. The 2015 Finnish Rallycross Champion now has experience of every circuit on the World RX schedule, with the exception of the final round in South Africa, which is a new addition to the World Championship from 2017.
“Everything should be much easier this year. I know how the races work, and I know the tracks – that’s a big plus if you compare it to last year,” explained Gronholm Jnr. “We’ve been doing a lot of winter driving at home in Finland on the ice. Last year we only did one or two days and then a couple of tests in the rallycross car, but this year we’re much better prepared. I know everyone who is working in the team, and I think everything will be much better this year. Everything is in our own hands and easier to control.”
The Finn continued: “With new teams and new cars nobody really knows where everybody is at the moment. I think we have the chance to score some good results. I’m working closely with Jussi [Pinomaki, Set Promotion owner] again this season, he’s a good guy and knows what he is doing. He will be my spotter again too. We’ll take it race-by-race, but the target is to always be in the semi-finals and then move onto the final. That’s the plan for this year.”
GRX owner, Marcus Gronholm, concluded: “We have a new car for this year – it’s the Fiesta RX that was raced previously by Ken Block. Our GRX mechanics are working at M-Sport at the moment to prepare it, and it will be ready in a couple of weeks so we can have some time to do some testing before the season. Last year was difficult for Niclas because we came as beginners directly into the World Championship. Now I think it should be a little easier because he knows the tracks and has had the time to practice over the winter with some rally driving. The Fiesta RX will hopefully have some small updates, especially on the engine side. It will be very competitive in World RX this year, and I think we can achieve some good results.”
The full 2017 World RX driver and team line-up will be revealed tomorrow [Friday 3 March].