The 2017 FIA World Rallycross Championship presented by Monster Energy was won by Johan Kristoffersson at round ten in Latvia but the fight for second and third in the drivers’ championship will resume at the ALL-INKL.COM World RX of Germany at Buxtehude this weekend (30 September-1 October). Only 15 points separate Petter Solberg, Mattias Ekstrom and Sebastien Loeb in the battle for the runner-up spot so it will be all to play for at the World Championship’s 11th and penultimate event.
Germany RX also forms the final rounds of the FIA European Rallycross Championship for Super1600 and TouringCars. Hungary’s Krisztian Szabo currently leads Latvia’s Artis Baumanis by twelve points in S1600, while in TouringCar 19 points separate Lars-Oivind Enerberg and Philip Gehrman at the top of the standings.
It is uncertain whether Solberg will be able to compete this weekend for PSRX Volkswagen Sweden. The Norwegian driver was injured in a semi-final accident in Riga where the former World RX Champion broke his collarbone. Team Principal Pernilla Solberg took up the story: “The decision to move Dieter [Depping] to become one of our team’s two permanent drivers in the World RX Teams’ Championship is the first and foremost to make sure we are following FIA entry regulations. This solution was Petter’s own wish. He will try to make his own drive in Germany, but right now there are no guarantees he will make it.”
Depping will make his World RX debut at his home round of the series. The German rally driver explained: “Luckily, Petter and Johan have given full support of their experience in rallycross and some very useful tips in areas like race strategy and the start procedure. My big thanks goes to Petter Solberg and his whole team, who are taking me under their wing for this competition. Of course my expectations are down to earth, but hopefully I can be good for a surprise.”
Frenchman JB Dubourg will not compete in Germany as his partner is due to give birth to their child. He will be replaced in the Peugeot 208 WRX Supercar by 2015 Germany RX winner and fellow countryman Davy Jeanney. It will be the first event this season that Jeanney has contested since Germany 2016.
In addition to the 18 permanent entries, Olsbergs MSE driver Sebastien Eriksson, who will make his second start of the year in a Ford Fiesta Supercar after competing at his home event in Sweden. “I’m really looking forward to competing in Germany this weekend in my Bluebeam Ford Fiesta,” said the 24-year-old who usually races in America. “It will be my first time racing at the track – I’ve seen it during a test session, but I didn’t get the chance to actually drive it myself. It looks fun – a real old-school rallycross circuit with a lot of gravel and some technical corners.”
Poland’s Martin Kaczmarski will compete in his Fiesta and Germany’s Andreas Steffen will race in a similar car. Germany’s Rene Munnich has added the home event to his schedule meaning that four German drivers will be competing in the headline Supercar category this weekend (Timo Scheider, Muennich, Depping and Steffen).
Thirty Super1600 cars will take part. Tedak Racing will field its Alfa Romeo MiTos for a second time, for Italy’s Luciano Visintin and Davide Medici, and Germany’s Seven Seeliger (Ford Fiesta) will race at his home event. Thirteen drivers have entered in the rear-wheel drive TouringCar category where Championship leader Lars Oivind Enerberg.will be joined by local racer Ralf Evers and 2015 TouringCar champion Fredrik Salsten who is returning to the category with his Citroen DS3 in his only event of the year.
The Estering is the oldest track in the World RX calendar with the circuit having hosted international events since 1973. Set 30 miles south of Hamburg, the traditional German RX track is only 950 metres long but is one of the fastest with a long, downhill run between turns one and two. The 2014 event saw the closest finish in rallycross history when Solberg took the win over Ekstrom by a margin of just five thousandths of a second. Last year’s event was won by Kevin Eriksson after his iconic ‘round the outside’ move in turn one of the final.