Tue 07 May 2024

Belevskiy aiming to join Europe’s elite with 2024 Euro RX1 title tilt

Former Euro RX3 champion Yury Belevskiy will attempt to add a second FIA European Rallycross Championship crown to his flourishing CV this season, after announcing that he will join the Euro RX1 grid with Volland Racing.

Belevskiy might not have tackled a full campaign at European level since 2021, but his reputation precedes him. Three years ago, he scored 147 out of a possible 150 points to lift the laurels in Euro RX3, missing out on an astonishing clean sweep by barely two tenths-of-a-second to team-mate Kobe Pauwels in France.

Later that season, the Swiss star made his FIA World Rallycross Championship debut at Germany’s Nürburgring, and in challenging conditions, he stunned with a second-place finish behind only multiple world champion Johan Kristoffersson.

Belevskiy has spent the past two campaigns contesting the RallyX series in its headlining Supercar class, initially in a Hansen Motorsport-run #YellowSquad Peugeot 208 before returning to Volland Racing last year, to pilot the same Audi S1 with which Mattias Ekström finished runner-up in the World Championship in 2020. Fifth in the standings in 2022, he improved to third 12 months later, winning once each season.

The 29-year-old also made a one-off return to the European Championship grid in Belgium last summer. Despite being new to both Euro RX1 and Mettet’s Circuit Jules Tacheny, he topped the timesheets in the first heat and placed second to champion-elect Anton Marklund in the intermediate classification. It was only contact from behind at the start of his semi-final that scuppered a likely bid for victory.

Buoyed by that performance, Belevskiy is now aiming to reproduce that stellar performance on a regular basis – as he endeavours to add his name to an elite group of drivers to have conquered more than one European category.

“I really like the Euro RX1 calendar this year – that was a big appeal for me, because there are some very cool circuits on the schedule,” he explained. “The calibre is invariably very high in the series, and although we don’t yet know exactly who we will be racing against, the goal will be to fight for another title. While there are always areas for improvement, it was encouraging to see that I’m capable of competing right at the front in Euro RX1 at Mettet.

“I’ve obviously done quite a bit of racing already in a Supercar in RallyX. The field perhaps wasn’t as big as in Euro RX1, but there were some really top-level drivers there including Johan Kristoffersson. That was one of the reasons I entered – for the chance to compete directly against him, and I learnt a lot every weekend from watching the way he goes about everything. I’m continually trying to step up my game in an effort to get closer to the very best.

“Rolf [Volland] and I have an excellent working relationship and understand each other very well. As a former competitor, he is a racer at heart just like me and he wants to win every bit as much as I do. He is hugely motivated and that really inspires the whole team to succeed.

“It’s no secret that we also considered stepping up to World RX this year, and we will continue to watch closely to see how the ‘Battle of Technologies’ evolves. It’s definitely on my radar because ultimately, my goal in this sport is to become world champion one day.”

Belevskiy will partner another European champion in the Volland Racing line-up in 2024, as he joins forces with reigning Euro RX3 title-holder Damian Litwinowicz. Team owner Rolf Volland is confident it will prove to be a potent pairing.

“Yury is part of the family here at Volland Racing,” acknowledged the 13-time German Rallycross Champion. “We brought him into international rallycross in the first place, and we’ve been on an amazing journey together.

“I still remember his first test with us in Lithuania. I didn’t know who he was but somebody had recommended him to me, and then this guy turned up with no helmet, no race suit and no boots or gloves, just in normal clothes, and asked me, ‘what should I wear?’ He had to borrow a suit from Krisztián Szabó, a helmet from Paulius Pleskovas and boots and gloves from someone else! So it’s safe to say he started from pretty much zero!

“It’s fantastic to see how he has developed since then to become one of the sport’s top drivers now. I have derived more pride and satisfaction from that than I did from even my own driving career.

“For sure, we want to fight for the title this year, and I think a top three championship finish at least is very realistic. There will be some excellent drivers in the field, but Yury is very fast too and his objective has always been to compete against the best – that is what motivates him.

“Running two cars means we can compare data and make progress more quickly, and Yury’s presence in the team will be a big advantage for Damian as well – I have no doubt that they will spur each other on. I’m very excited for what is to come!”

Starts: Thursday, July 18, 2024 at 4:31:00 AM
Starts: Friday, July 26, 2024 at 8:30:00 AM
Starts: Saturday, July 27, 2024 at 9:30:00 AM