Now for part 2 of the silly season summary. The first post was mostly concerned about rally and the WRC, so this post will contain more news about rallycross as well.
Since I wrote the last post, a video of Anders Grøndal testing his new DS3 R5 appeared. This is the car which he will use in both his WRC2 campaign and selected rounds in the Norwegian championship. About the same age and talent as Mads Østberg and Andreas Mikkelsen, Grøndal has been overshadowed by the two factory drivers. This is a critical year for the Norwegian, maybe his last chance of impressing WRC bosses for a works drive.
Something else not mentioned in the earlier post was news regarding the new R-GT cup. This is more powerful, rear wheel drive cars that will compete in tarmac rallies as well as Monte Carlo. Three Porsche 911 GT3's have been entered in Monte Carlo, with rally legend Francois Delecour the most notable driver. He will drive for the pioneering Tuthill Porsche team. The team wants to do some gravel rallies with the Porsche as well, but FIA hasn't approved this yet.
Also entering in Monte Carlo is Porsche endurance racer Romain Dumas, in a GT3 run by his own team. Dumas also entered in a couple of rallies last year, and watching him against Delecour will be very interesting. It's still too early to say anything about snow, but that would be dream come true for most rally fans to watch Porsches rally in the snow. The third driver is Marc Duez, who also entered last year in a 996 GT3.
I also completely forgot one driver in the WRC-class yesterday! Jean-Michel Raoux will enter in a Ford Fiesta WRC. He usually drives in the European Rally Championship, but steps up to the top level for Monte-Carlo. The French driver hasn't revealed any livery for the Monte Carlo entry, but my guess is that it will be similar the the R5 Fiesta he usually drives.
Livery news for Bryan Bouffier as well, following the horrible terror incidents in Paris the recent days. He will use Monte Carlo to pay support to the satiric newspaper Charlie Hebdo that got hit by extremists this week.
In terms of rallycross, the start of the season is still quite far away. So far we haven't seen a lot of news, but it seems that the sport will continue to grow this year as well.
Olsbergs MSE have developed into one of the largest and most successfull teams in rallycross. Both Andreas Bakkerud and Reinis Nitiss won rounds in the WorldRX this year, becoming the first ever team champions in rallycross. They also have Joni Wiman that won the Global Rallycross Championship, Patrik Sandell, Mitchell DeJong, Sebastian and Kevin Eriksson. Nelson Piquet Jr., Brian Deegan and Richard Göransson has also competed with OMSE-built cars recently. I don't think OMSE can offer all of these drivers a seat for next season, so some teams might want to pick them up as a second driver in their team. Currently all of the OMSE cars are back in Sweden for repairs and upgrades. They're also building new chassis to use, the 22nd Fiesta Mk7 Supercar they've built. Team boss Andreas Eriksson is "keen to keep progressing in the sport", and will continue to work together with Avitas Motorsport with the Lites cars.
VW-Marklund will will almost certainly continue with the same lineup as in 2014. Both Topi Heikkinen and Anton Marklund did very well last year, and they seem to be interested in the X-Games as well. New for this year is that they will provide cars for customer teams in a larger scale than before. Tanner Foust and Patrick Carpentier have already done this with great success, and the latest addition is Norwegan driver Tommy Rustad and his HTB-Racing. He confirmed that he will do all of the EuroRX rounds as well as the WorldRX round in Sweden.
Tommy Rustad, Henning Solberg and Andreas Bakkerud also competed in what can best be described as a Norwegian Race of Champions. Together with several other motorsport athletes Tommy Rustad took 2nd place behind rallycross talent Thomas Bryntesson (who also has WorldRX as his goal) putting both Bakkerud and Solberg behind. Formula Renault driver Dennis Olsen was third.
Tanner Foust and Scott Speed is commited to the GRC through the Andretti Autosport (with some Marklund Motorsport help) VW New Beetles. There's no news about a GRC calendar yet, but there are rumors about is starting in April. Managing director of WorldRX, Martin Anayi, says that both Tanner Foust and Ken Block will make more appearances this year. Both of them has praised the WorldRX earlier and I'd love to see more of those two.
Johan Kristofferson and the rest of the VW Dealer Team have WorldRX as their goal in 2015. Kristofferson was very much on pace in the latter part of the season, and I hope they can get another competetive driver in the second car. I don't think we'll see much of Ole Christian Veiby, as he'll be busy with JWRC and the Norwegian rally championship
Rather unexpectedly Hyundai pulled out of GRC after 2014. The Veloster had started to win races, but now both Rhys Millen and Emma Gilmour is without a drive for 2015. Chris Atkinson hasThere's no saying if anyone will enter the Hyundais as a privateer, but I certainly hope so to keep the series alive. There's not a lack of rallycross supercars in the US now, as both the Dodge Darts, Hyundai Velosters and Chevrolet Sonics are availible.
Subaru is also developing a new car to use in the GRC and selected rounds of the WorldRX. That means well developed cars are availible for either purchase or renting, but the question is if anyone actually wants to do it without factory support. Sverre Isachsen and Bucky Lasek is pretty certain to continue as drivers, with Travis Pastrana and David Higgins to join in some rounds.
As stated in the first post, Petter Solberg is commited to WorldRX in 2015 to defend his title. His 2013 car is put up for sale, so it's very likely that he won't run a two-car team like he did in 2014. Even if he did, finding a suitable driver would be very hard. I also know that Petter has been in meetings with Citroën, with the possibility of a works team in 2015.
Both EKSRX and Larsson-Jernberg wants to do a full WorldRX season this year. EKSRX team boss and driver Mattias Ekström still has DTM as his main focus, but only one out of twelve WorldRX rounds (Italy) will clash with DTM. No news about Pontus Tidemand and his 2015 ambitions yet, but I'll be surprised if we don't see him in a round this year. Robin Larsson was EuroRX champion last year, so stepping up to a WorldRX campaign is a natural choice. WTCC driver Rene Münnich is also building an Audi team, but he's using S3's and not the smaller A1/S1. One of the cars debuted in Germany last year, but a picture with two cars appeared on their facebook page (above). That might mean that they're running a two-car team for either EuroRX or WorldRX this year. Interesting!
Some of you might remember the Mini Supercars that Prodrive built for the 2013 season? Well, now they're sold to someone that actually wants to race them! JRM has done a lot of stuff recently, from endurance racing to rallying. They plan to announce more this month, and so far Riku Takho (who were supposed to drive a Mini in Finland last year) and desert dally driver Guerlain Chicherit are possible drivers. Together with a Finnish motorsport journalist they retweeted a tweet suggesting that they were the drivers in question.
Now when it comes to the Peugeot teams it's very silent. Peugeot-Hansen will probably keep Timmy Hansen and Timur Timerzyanov as their main drivers, with a third chassis in development. Andy Scott and Albatec Racing must be very interested in getting a better season this year, since Jacques Villeneuve were nothing but a disappointment. I'm not sure who could fill that spot, but there are several British drivers that would like to do some more WorldRX. Both David Coulthard and Andrew Jordan praises rallycross, and especially Jordan seem interested in rallycross. He recently changed to a new team (MG) in the BTCC, but he'll still be able to do 9 events in the WorldRX.
Still, I think that covers most of the information availible right now, but news appear all the time these days, so part 3 won't be that far away. If you have additional info or questions, please use the comments.