Home' Motorsport Monday Africa : Issue 26 Contents Top rallycross drivers Petter Solberg and
Mattias Ekström have demanded that the FIA
acts to curb what they see as dangerous and
“stupid” driving in the World RX Championship.
Both champions fear the sport’s future could
be compromised if the governing body and the
series promoter don’t tackle certain drivers’
tactics. Ekström said he understood that some
contact was part of the sport, but he this season
has included too much.
“The contact is not right but some people do
it – even though they knew it’s going to ruin
somebody’s race,” said the Swede. “And then
they say they didn’t mean to do it and didn’t
expect anything to happen. Come on!”
Solberg agreed, saying: “Something has to
change now, what we had this year is just not
right. What we need is strong rules and fair
Ekström said he wanted to see a collective
penalty system similar to the DTM, adding: “If
you are a regular driver you should get one
warning, then black flag. Then for number three
warning it’s again black flag and this is carried
through the season.
“If you do something at the next race, it’s a black
flag straight away – you had your warning at
the start of the season. And if it carries on again
then you are refused the start.”
Ekström added: “We have a good race director
[but] rallycross is developing so fast it needs
its own [FIA] commission and its own rules.
Everybody has to up their game. The growth of
teams and drivers is faster than the promoter
and the FIA for the moment.”
World Rallycross chief Paul Bellamy said he
understood the points raised: “I must admit I
agree with what Mattias and Petter are saying
and we are working very hard with the FIA on
this subject. We will have more technology
coming into the cars next year which will deliver
as much data as possible to the race director
and the stewards.”
RALLYCROSS STARS CONDEMN “STUPID” DRIVING
British WRC star Elfyn Evans will be back in
M-Sport’s main squad for Rally Monte Carlo.
He has been revealed as on the entry list for
the opening round of the 2017 WRC season. He
will drive alongside Sébastien Ogier and Ott
Tänak. But unlike his teammates, who will be on
Michelin tyres, Evans will run DMACK rubber.
Meanwhile, Mads Østberg, an M-Sport driver in
2016 will be missing from the Monte Carlo start
line. And Eric Camilli, a much-heralded addition
to the M-Sport roster in 2016, has been demoted
to WRC 2 and will start the Monte in a Fiesta R5;
in effect swopping places with Evans. Camilli
regularly competed in WRC 2 in 2015 before
graduating to the main category in 2016. He was
11th in last year’s end of season standings.
Camilli is the second WRC driver from 2016 to
have step down to WRC2, following Andreas
Mikkelsen’s switch to Skoda. The FIA WRC Trophy
category, which was created for pre-2017 WRC
machinery, will have one entrant: WRC2 regular
Jordan Serderidis, who will drive a Citroën DS3
WR Car. Craig Breen will also enter in the 2016
Citroën, with the French squad giving its new
cars to Kris Meeke and Stéphane Lefebvre for
Monte Carlo. Breen will get the second 2017 car
for Sweden next month.
Mads Østberg, last seen as an M-Sport factory
driver, will contest most of the 2017 WRC
in an independent M-Sport Fiesta WR Car, in a
programme kicking off with the Swedish Rally,
round two of the series. He will join up with
Czech driver Martin Prokop in a two-car team.
It was a lack of car availability that forces the
Norwegian to miss the season opener in Monte
Carlo. But he always aimed to be in a new-spec
car for Sweden.
Østberg has enjoyed podium finishes there
in five of the last six years and the rally is his
best chance of adding to his sole WRC victory,
Portugal, in 2012. This year he will also miss
Mexico. During that event he is scheduled to
become a father.
His father Morten Østberg said: “Mads will be
in an M-Sport Ford in Sweden. We have seen
what Mads is capable of in Sweden, so it was
important for us to be sure to have him in the
new car. The plan is to do what we did in the
2011 and 2012 seasons, when we were running
the car with our own Adapta team under the
umbrella of M-Sport. This year it looks like we
will be even more independent, working with
Martin Prokop’s team.”
While Østberg and Prokop’s Fiestas will be run
independently, they will still have to be entered
by M-Sport because the FIA’s 2017 sporting
regulations state that only manufacturers can
enter drivers in the new-generation cars.
ELFYN’S BACK AT THE TOP OF THE WRC!
ØSTBERG ROARS BACK FOR SWEDISH RALLY
Paul Bellamy said he
understood the points raised
Evans is back in
the top WRC class
Petter Solberg and
Mattias Ekström are
not happy campers
Is this the last
chance for Østberg?
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