A pair of former FIA World Rallycross Championship stars have thrown their hats into the ring for FIA RX2e Championship glory at Lohéac next weekend (3-5 September), with Reinis Nitišs and home hero Cyril Raymond joining the field in France.
RX2e – the first-ever FIA electric rallycross championship – has put on a spectacular show over its opening two rounds, with Guillaume De Ridder triumphing in the Catalunya curtain-raiser before Jesse Kallio hit back at Höljes, getting the better of Fraser McConnell to reach the top step of the rostrum in Sweden following an imperious performance.
The results mean the trio – all ex-RX2 Series front-runners – are separated by just two points at the top of the title table, although McConnell will not compete at Lohéac. De Ridder will be aiming to quickly bounce back from a difficult weekend at Höljes around a circuit at which he has invariably excelled, while Kallio is keen to maintain his burgeoning momentum.
Patrick O’Donovan – son of 2007 British Rallycross Champion Ollie O’Donovan, who will similarly be racing in France, in World RX – arrives sitting fourth in the standings after showcasing a stunning turn-of-speed and impressive racecraft in Sweden, with Pablo Suárez just behind in fifth and making progress every time out in his maiden campaign of rallycross competition.
Isak Sjökvist and Nils Andersson turned heads first time out in RX2e on home soil last weekend – the former ascending the podium and the latter placing an excellent third in the intermediate rankings – and an intriguing addition to the French entry will be Conner Martell, who has achieved success on both sides of the Atlantic in recent years in rallycross and rallying, and finished fourth at Lohéac in RX2 in 2018.
Nitišs, for his part, needs little introduction. Champion in the FIA European Rallycross Championship’s Super1600 (now Euro RX3) category in 2013 – tallying six victories from nine starts with SET Promotion – the Latvian stepped up to World RX in its inaugural season in 2014.
In Norway that year, he made history as the youngest event-winner in World Championship history – a record he still holds today – with four further rostrum visits firing him to third in the overall classification and playing a key role in cementing the Teams’ title for Olsbergs MSE.
Since then, Nitišs has claimed three further podium finishes at the pinnacle of the sport and clinched Euro RX’s headlining Supercar (now Euro RX1) crown in 2018 with three wins out of five. Now, he is excited to get a taste of rallycross’ electric future in a competitive environment.
“I had chance to test the RX2e car in Denmark recently, and it was a lot of fun,” acknowledged the 25-year-old. “A completely different driving style is required, and the feeling inside the car is a big change from that experienced in an internal combustion-engined vehicle. You’re sitting in silence waiting for the start, while you only have two pedals and no gear lever, which feels a bit funny, but when you drive it, it’s fast...
“When I watched World RX of Sweden at Höljes, RX2e produced some of the most interesting races with the top guys battling. All the cars are really, really equal, so it will be good fun to fight against old rivals in a new series.”
Raymond, meanwhile, is sure to receive plenty of home support from the enthusiastic French fans as he looks to add yet more silverware to his ever-growing trophy cabinet.
The Frenchman sped to back-to-back domestic rallycross crowns in 2013 (Twingo Cup) and 2014 (Super 1600) prior to stepping up to the international stage.
Raymond was immediately at home on the World Championship programme, finishing second in his only RX Lites appearance of 2015 before bagging the 2016 Lites laurels with two wins and three further rostrum results to pip current Euro RX1 championship leader Thomas Bryntesson to the post.
A dominant display in 2017 yielded six victories from seven starts in the new RX2 Series and a further six triumphs in GRC Lites in the United States, seeing him wrap up both titles with a round to spare – in so doing, becoming the first driver ever to win both championships.
A move into Euro RX’s Supercar class followed in 2018, and despite missing the opening round, the Saint-Raphaël native still challenged for overall honours, winning at Lohéac and never finishing outside of the top four on his way to third overall – paving the way for his maiden World RX campaign a year later.
Competing alongside De Ridder in a GCK Academy-run Renault Clio R.S., Raymond impressed at the highest level, securing a quartet of top ten finishes – including a season-high of fifth in Barcelona – en route to 13th in the points table.
As he now prepares to make his debut in RX2e, the 28-year-old will be bidding to draw upon the experience he gained from his Projekt E victory in Latvia last year.
“I’m really happy to be back on-track, and especially in the new RX2e Championship,” he enthused. “I will be driving with the best drivers of the moment, and I am eager to see my potential behind the wheel. Lohéac is always special for a French rallycross driver. I love the circuit and the atmosphere around the track – and of course, I will be pushing for the win!”
Racing is set to begin at 1100 CET on Saturday, 4 September, with all of the action across the board to be livestreamed in glorious HD quality via the cutting-edge new RX+ broadcast platform. This premium production will grant subscribers unparalleled and unprecedented access anytime, anywhere and on any device, offering a choice of viewing angles, in-depth expert analysis, special behind-the-scenes features and exclusive interviews.
The Full Season Pass is on offer for the special price of €19,99, representing a 60% discount on the regular price of €49,99 and guaranteeing access until the end of the year. The Event Pass for Bretagne World RX of Lohéac is available for €7,99. For more information or to subscribe, click here
Entry List RX2e - Bretagne World RX of Lohéac (Published by the FIA on 27.08.2021)
|5||Pablo SUÁREZ||ESP||Monlau Compéticion||ESP|
|11||Dorian DESLANDES||FRA||Olsbergs MSE||SWE|
|13||Patrick O'DONOVAN||GBR||Patrick O'Donovan||GBR|
|14||Nils ANDERSSON||SWE||Kristoffersson Motorsport||SWE|
|15||Reinis NITIŠS||LVA||RN Kapersky Racing Team||LVA|
|47||Jesse KALLIO||FIN||Jesse Kallio||FIN|
|82||Isak SJÖKVIST||SWE||Isak Sjökvist||SWE|
|96||Guillaume DE RIDDER||BEL||Guillaume De Ridder||BEL|
|113||Cyril RAYMOND||FRA||Cyril Raymond||FRA|
|121||Conner MARTELL||USA||Olsbergs MSE||SWE|