Fri 10 May 2024

The boy from Antigua: Volland bets on teenage talent for Euro RX3 team

No stranger to finding and nurturing rising stars in the rallycross world, Rolf Volland has put his faith in another promising newcomer in 2024, as Nico Geleyns prepares to join the Euro RX3 grid in one of Volland Racing’s pace-setting Audi A1s.

Having moved from Belgium to Antigua five years ago, Geleyns discovered racing on a dirt track at the age of 14. Acknowledging that his options for progression on the island were somewhat limited, the teenager began to look at ways to graduate to the international scene.

A meeting at Mettet with 13-time German Rallycross Champion Volland – team owner of the multi-European Championship-winning outfit that bears his name – set the wheels in motion, and Geleyns now has in his pocket a long-term plan to compete for the squad and try to make his mark.

Still only 17, he does not yet have his road driving licence but he has been training hard over the winter in preparation for his forthcoming challenge and testing in Europe, recently putting down some miles at Essay in France – scene of the 2024 Euro RX3 curtain-raiser in just under a month’s time (8-9 June).

“I started out driving in autocross on full-dirt tracks back in Antigua – aside from drag racing, that’s the only type of motorsport we have,” Geleyns explained. “I knew I needed to broaden my net, so we made some enquiries and got put in touch with Rolf, and then went to meet him at Mettet. I guess he saw some potential in me, and we scheduled some tests.

“That went well, so we decided to tackle a full season together in Euro RX3. I’m feeling excited and naturally also a bit nervous. I’ve never done anything as professional or competitive as this before, so it will definitely be a learning year for me – I know I’ve got a lot to learn!

“Of course I want to score some good results as well, but the main objective is to gain experience and to improve. There’s so much knowledge inside this team and a great vibe. Rolf is honestly an amazing coach and he has already taught me so much, and I can’t wait to discover all the other circuits on the calendar, too.

“This is such an incredible opportunity for me to develop my career and show what I can do. I think rallycross is a fantastic proving-ground for all types of racing as it teaches you a really diverse skillset. I’m so thankful to everybody who has made this possible.”

Geleyns will join Nils Volland – Euro RX3’s highest-placed championship returnee – and Lithuania’s Rytis Rutkauskas on the Volland Racing driving strength this year, with a fourth car available for rent on a round-by-round basis. Team owner Volland is confident his new protégé is the real deal.

“From the moment I first met Nico last summer, I was impressed by his attitude and approach,” remarked the German, under whose tutelage the likes of Yury Belevskiy and Damian Litwinowicz have progressed from relative unknowns to European front-runners.

“Clearly he’s still very young and inexperienced, but he is super-hungry to learn and it is a big commitment to travel so regularly to Europe from the Caribbean for racing and testing – that speaks volumes about his drive and determination.

“Nico is very aware he has a lot to get to grips with this year, but that is where we as a team can support him most, and we are excited to see how he develops. I think he has a lot of untapped potential – and we want to help him to unlock it.”

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