Fri 09 Feb 2024

Fast Frenchman Pelfrene to join World RX grid in 2024

French Championship front-runner is ‘excited’ by Battle of Technologies concept.

Anthony Pelfrene will join the FIA World Rallycross Championship for the first season of the series’ new ‘Battle of Technologies’ era in 2024, as the Frenchman bids to build upon his startling career progression to-date.

A comparatively late starter in the sport, Pelfrene only began racing in his thirties, initially participating in cross-country events before making his rallycross debut in 2021, piloting a Renault Clio to multiple race wins in the Coupe de France.

The following year, the Pontoise native climbed to second in the Coupe de France standings, prior to stepping up to the French Rallycross Championship’s headlining Supercar division in 2023. Once again, it did not take him long to find his feet, triumphing in only the second round of the season and tallying three further podiums from eight starts to wind up third in the title table. He subsequently showcased his skills on the ice by matching that result in the Elite category of the famous Trophée Andros.

Pelfrene has additionally tested his mettle on the international stage with FIA European Rallycross Championship appearances on home soil at Lohéac in 2021 and at Montalegre last year, going fifth-fastest in one of the heats in Portugal and advancing to the semi-final stage in challenging and changeable weather conditions.

Having purchased a latest-generation Peugeot 208 WRX, the 37-year-old had been planning an all-out assault on Euro RX1 in 2024, but World RX’s forthcoming ‘Battle of Technologies’ concept – which will pit the current electric beasts head-to-head against their sustainably-fuelled combustion counterparts – has persuaded him otherwise...

“When the chance presented itself to race in World RX, it was impossible to turn down,” Pelfrene admitted. “It doesn’t get better than this in rallycross – it’s the absolute pinnacle of the sport – and the ‘Battle of Technologies’ really excites me. I think it will generate a fantastic spectacle.

“Last year, I had the chance to compete against Davy Jeanney, Sébastien Loeb and Yury Belevskiy in the French Championship. They’ve all been front-runners in the world championship, so it was good to measure myself next to them and I was very encouraged by my relative pace. Racing against the top guys is absolutely the best way to learn and improve. We also set some good times in Euro RX1 at Montalegre and only just missed out on the final against a lot of drivers with much more experience at that level.

“While I’m aware that most of the circuits will be new to me, I’ve always tended to adapt pretty quickly – and in any case, I’m making sure I get in plenty of practice on DiRT Rally 2.0 with my son! The Peugeot is virtually identical to the one that Jānis Baumanis drove to second overall in each of the past two years in the European Championship, so I have no concerns on that front, and I’m confident we will be in the mix. My goal is to reach the final as often as I can and to fight for the podium where possible.”

Given everything Pelfrene has achieved and the rapid progress he has made so far, it would take a brave person to bet against him doing just that.

Starts: Thursday, July 18, 2024 at 4:31:00 AM
Starts: Friday, July 26, 2024 at 7:00:00 AM
Starts: Saturday, July 27, 2024 at 6:00:00 AM