Even if the rally season is about to start, news are still coming in all the time! The Global Rallycross Championship recently published their 2015 calendar, and different teams are now preparing for a new season. WRC livery presentations continue, and the Rally Sweden entry list is filling up quickly!
Ken Block has the past years driven a Ford Fiesta, like many other guys in rally and rallycross. But where most rallycross Fiestas originate from OlsbergsMSE, Blocks Fiesta is built and developed by M-Sport. Yes, the same guys that run the Ford Fiestas in the WRC. They recently finished and sold their 100th Fiesta R5 (above), and some of that money will be put towards a new GRC-team! Working together with Bryan Herta Autosport, they will run two new cars this season. There's no confirmation on what drivers they will use yet, but Austin Dyne was backed by the team last year in a former Olsbergs Fiesta.
As I said in the introduction, the entry list of Rally Sweden is slowly filling up. Along with the regular manufacturers and privateers, we find that Pontus Tidemand will drive a Ford Fiesta R5 this year. Henning Solbergs stepson is a former JWRC champion, and the next step on the rally ladder is the WRC2 title. That means that we'll have a duel between two of the title contenders in WRC2 in Sweden, as both Tidemand and Anders Grøndal has this as their favourite event. Tidemand did a few races in the Fiesta R5 last year, so he's got some experience with the car. So far Karl Kruuda seems like the most likely driver to challenge the two more experienced Scandinavians, but there are several other R5 entries as well.
Since Hyundai wants a more consistant driver lineup this year, Juho Hänninen is left out on his own. The Finn never really impressed during the last season, and small problems seemed to follow him around every corner. That doesn't stop him from entering this years Rally Sweden in a privately entered Citroën DS3 WRC though, an event that should suit him well. Speaking of the DS3, it's got a brand new livery!
I have to be hones though, this was quite disappointing. I understand that they want to pay tribute to the 60th anniversary for the Citroën DS, but the Abu Dhabi colours doesn't really suit the task. I'd rather see it in red, or something innovative. Like the DS originally was.
Hyundai also published their 2015 livery recently. And guess what. They continue with the rather controversial lilac colour and the red Shell parts. Apart from a few additional sponsors, it's hard to spot the difference. I have to admit that out of the three new liveries, I like the M-Sport version the most.
I doubt that VW will change my mind, as they're probably boring and doesn't change at all. VW also changed around. Surprisingly it looks like an inverted M-sport livery, dark at the front and bright at the back!
I guess we'll have to wait until we see the cars on the stages, with dirt, to decide what livery is the best one. I'm not sure at all. Robert Kubica also revealed his 2015 livery, and some think that is the best one. I'm a bit in doubt, it's a bit "meh", slightly boring to me..
The most recent news from WorldRX isn't that S1600 driver Ulrik Linnemann is targeting some Supercar outings in 2015. He tested a Renault Clio used by Tord Linnerud last year, and the car impressed the Danish driver. His main target is to fight for the Super1600 European title, and maybe do a race in a Lites car. THE most recent news is that we have a new Supercar team, in for a full WorldRX season! And it's not just anyone that announces their plans; former WRC-competitor Manfred Stohl made his rallycross debut in Argentina last year and obviously felt at home. He will drive in a new Austrian team together with team owner, boss and driver Max Puchner. Puchner has most of his experience from the Austrian Rallycross Championship, and it will be interesting to see how his team will step up the the WorldRX. The team will use Ford Fiestas, a well known rallycross chassis.
And because you've read through all this, have this classic rallycross photo from the late 70's. An interesting bunch of cars for sure!