The WRC-season is well underway after last weekends opening at Monte Carlo, and it's likely that we don't see any new competitors there. However, in the world of rallycross things are happening quickly, and today we saw a move that was totally unexpected!
Because the team of touring-car legend Mattias Ekström, EKSRX has made quite a scoop. On Friday they put out this tweet saying that there would be a new driver presented today. The video in the link suggested that it would be a young driver that could learn from Ekström, but most people had no idea what driver that could be. Suggestions ranged from Patrik Sandell and PG Andersson to Burt Reynolds, but today it was revealed that it's ANTON MARKLUND!
For those of you not familiar with Marklund, he raced in the part family-run, part works VW Marklund team in 2014. He managed to get to five finals, and even a second place in Canada. Together with Topi Heikkinen they got second in the team championship, so there's no question about the potential of the 22-year old driver. He will drive a full WorldRX season, together with Ekström in 10 out of 12 events, and join Ekström in a 6-event DTM support series. VW-Marklund hasn't revealed any of their 2015 plans yet, but I think they're interested in keeping at least one Swede in their team. Johan Kristofferson, Daniel Lundh, Sebastian Eriksson possibly?
Rally Sweden is one of the most iconic rallies in the WRC, because of the winter conditions. OlsbergsMSE boss Andreas Eriksson has together with a bunch of Swedes thought of the possibility of doing rallycross in the winter. When everything else is off season, things turn around quickly and the RX Lites Winter Championship was born. The first event is next weekend in Örebro, with three more events in Sweden during the winter. The entry list isn't revealed yet, but OlsbergsMSE driver Reinis Nitiss and Super1600 driver Janis Baumanis is among the drivers. Nitiss will miss one event due to his home round entry in the European Rally Championship. The races will be shown live, probably on www.svtplay.se but I'm not sure.
In other news, Per Eklund is working on a new VW New Beetle supercar to use in a full WorldRX season, but no news on drivers yet. Ramona Karlsson and Henning Solberg raced Per Eklund Saabs last year, but I think it's unlikely that we'll see either of them in the VW. Irish driver Ollie O'Donovan has bought a brand new Ford Fiesta supercar to use in a full EuroRX season. O'Donovan managed to reach the semifinals in Argentina last year, and it will be interesting to see what he can do with new machinery.