Tuesday | 29 Jun 2021

BRITAIN'S BENNETT REJOINS FRAY FOR CATALUNYA CURTAIN-RAISER

Oliver Bennett will return to the FIA World Rallycross Championship for the forthcoming Catalunya curtain-raiser (23/24 July), as the XITE Racing ace aims to showcase the improvements brought to his BMW MINI Cooper Supercar since he last took to the track.

From a motocross background, Bennett made the switch to four wheels in 2016, piloting an ex-Olsbergs MSE Ford Fiesta in the British Rallycross Championship. Rapidly adapting to the dual-surface discipline, the following year, he achieved seven podium finishes from nine starts to outscore all of his rivals – although he narrowly missed out on the coveted crown due to the dropped score rule.

That same season, the British star made his World RX debut on home soil at Lydden Hill, before building the MINI over the winter in preparation for 2018, when nine outings at the pinnacle of the sport yielded four points-scoring results.

Bennett’s first full World Championship campaign came in 2019, reaching the semi-final stage at Silverstone and in South Africa, while he repeated the feat in his lone appearance last year in Barcelona.

Now, the 28-year-old is looking forward to returning to the cockpit at the same circuit in just under a month’s time, as he prepares to put his upgraded MINI through its paces.

“I’m really excited to be back on the grid in Catalunya,” Bennett enthused. “It’s somewhere that has a lot of good memories for me. It’s where I watched my first World RX event a few years ago and due to COVID, it was the only one I was able to enter last season but we managed to make it into the semi-final.

“We’ve brought some updates to the MINI in the meantime and have had a lot more seat time in testing, so I’m really hoping we can fight our way into at least the semis again and push for a top ten result if not better. I haven’t raced the car for quite a while so I can’t wait to get back out there – it feels like it’s been a long time coming...”