Q&A WITH STARD WORLD RX TEAM
The STARD World RX Team announced its participation in the 2017 FIA World Rallycross Championship last week. The Austrian squad, owned by former World RX and WRC driver Manfred Stohl, will run a pair of Ford Fiestas for Russia’s Timur Timerzyanov and Latvia’s Janis Baumanis.
We caught up with team owner Stohl to find out more about the new programme.
Q: When did you decide to set up your own World RX team?
MS: “Within the Stohl Group and STARD we are focusing intensively on research and development for the advanced automotive industry. This is mostly with works-backed motorsport projects, such as our recent touring car development (TCR) for example. We also planned a third evolution of our Ford Fiesta RXS Supercar (that has been raced in World RX for two years) and we started working on the new chassis in the middle of 2016. At the end of October, we had some requests and decided to a setup our own World RX team too. By December we had everything in place, including a strong driver line-up. We’ve been referring to the project as “Code-RX” until now.”
Q: What is STARD, and Code-RX?
MS: “STARD is part of the Stohl Group and stands for Stohl Advanced Research and Development. Code-RX has been our internal name for the World Rallycross project since we decided to enter our own World RX team. We will continue to use #coderx for our social media activity for details around the project.”
Q: Who will run the team’s Supercars at World RX events?
MS: “That task will be fulfilled by Stohl Racing, who will take care of everything on site and pre and post event preparation. The team will have direct support from the STARD engineers, who have been responsible for STARD’s involvement in rallycross since 2015.”
Q: Why did you choose Janis Baumanis and Timur Timerzyanov to race in 2017?
MS: “First of all, these two are absolutely top level rallycross drivers. They both contacted me because they wanted to work with myself and Stohl Racing. Our biggest target is to return this trust to our drivers, and provide them with the most comprehensive service possible.”
Q: How many cars will you run in 2017?
MS: “Two. We will field two brand-new Ford Fiesta RXS Evo 3 Supercars. These are based on the cars that STARD developed and built in 2015, and optimised in 2016 for World RX Team Austria. Our development engineers have intensively worked the latest Evo 3 upgrade for 2017.”
Q. Will you compete yourself in rallycross this season?
MS: “My desire to do this is actually extremely high, but the chances of that becoming reality are relatively low when looking from a realistic perspective. With the workload we have with various projects we are involved in, an additional personal entry as a driver in World RX for me is not currently feasible unfortunately.”
Q: Most of your career has been in rallying, what attracts you about rallycross?
MS: “I participated in World RX in 2015 as a driver and became a huge fan of this fantastic sport. Therefore, it was somewhat of a logical step to increase the business activity in this area as well. Rallycross offers the possibility for practically any driver – from the off-road or circuit racing scene for example - to participate in the series successfully, which makes the sport extremely attractive as this is relatively unique.”
Q: What your expectations for the team in its first World RX season?
MS: “To be honest, it’s hard to say. With Volkswagen, Audi, Peugeot and Ford, there´s four incredibly competitive works-supported teams, and last but not least the MJP Racing Team Austria squad, which has a strong driver line too. But, our hopes are fully alive, because, different to most other racing categories, rallycross still offers private teams the chance of being competitive.”
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