Extreme E event-winner Catie Munnings will make her FIA RX2e Championship debut at Höljes’ legendary ‘Magic Weekend’ next month (2-3 July), as she joins the fray for the series’ 2022 curtain-raiser.
A rising star in the sport, Munnings was inspired to compete from a young age by her father Chris, a former rally driver who ran the London Rally School at Brands Hatch. Growing up on a farm, she got used to thrashing around on quad bikes before she began to enter local motorsport events across the UK.
In 2016, she made her FIA European Rally Championship bow on Belgium’s Ypres Rally behind the wheel of a Saintéloc Junior Team-run Peugeot 208 VTi R2 in the ERC3 category, going on to lift the series’ Ladies’ Trophy at the end of the season – in so doing, becoming the first British driver to clinch a European Rally Championship title in almost 50 years.
Selected as a member of the Peugeot Rally Academy in 2017, over the following three campaigns, Munnings claimed a series of stage class wins while simultaneously forging a successful television career as the host of BBC CBeebies show, Catie’s Amazing Machines.
In 2020, the UK’s first-ever female Red Bull athlete made her debut in the FIA Junior World Rally Championship on Rally Sweden in a Ford Fiesta R2, before being recruited as 2019 FIA World Rallycross Champion Timmy Hansen’s team-mate at Andretti United for the inaugural season of Extreme E. The pair won the Arctic X Prix in Greenland, with two further podium finishes propelling them to third in the overall standings.
Munnings has continued with the team in 2022, and now she is set to add to her rallycross experience – following a handful of outings in other series – in RX2e, where she will need to rapidly get to grips with the pioneering championship’s all-electric single-spec car, jointly developed by QEV Technologies and Olsbergs MSE and generating 250kW (335bhp) of power and up to 510Nm of torque.
Following a test day at Calafat in Spain earlier this week, the 24-year-old is looking forward to going wheel-to-wheel with her rivals at Cooper Tires World RX of Sweden.
“It’s very exciting to be a part of the first round of the season at the iconic circuit of Höljes,” she enthused. “This is something completely new for me – I’ve been racing with electric technology in Extreme E, but nothing like this. I was so surprised by the speed and torque when you first accelerate!
“The RX2e car is so simple to drive – no gears, no clutch, nothing to worry about as a driver – but then you have to think about the ‘regen bias’, and you can adjust the torque on each axle and how much the car pushes. This will be a huge challenge for me, so I will rely a lot on what the engineers tell me – but that’s part of the game and it’s the same for everybody when they start something new!
“I don’t have big expectations. I’m here to develop and to progress, and I want to get more side-by-side experience as a driver. The other guys are really quick, so I can’t wait to be there on the starting grid and hopefully learn as much as I can.”
“The FIA RX2e Championship prides itself on its distinctive ‘arrive and drive’ concept, giving racers an unrivalled opportunity to get behind the wheel of high-performance machinery and climb the rallycross pyramid,” added Javier Alonso, FIA RX2e Championship Manager.
“Catie’s participation at Höljes is another indication of this accessibility, and we are eager to see how well she can adapt to the pressures of international rallycross. Her off-road experience and exceptional car control will be put to the test, and I’m sure fans will be excited to see how she stacks up in our fiercely competitive field.”