U.S. Rallycross Exploding on International Stage

After only two events, the best rallycross drivers in the world have found it necessary to be in the third and final round of the 2010 U.S. Rallycross Championships November 6 & 7 at the New Jersey Motorsports Park.

The diversity in the field will be equal to few American motor racing events. Maybe only the Rolex 24 at Daytona will reflect such an international field including the 2009 and 2010 European Rallycross Champion (ERC) Sverre Isachsen of Norway who has entered in the blazing fast Ford Focus ST T16 4×4 he used in this year’s FIA championship.

In addition to Isachsen there’ll be four of the top eleven from this year’s ERC when the green flag falls in New Jersey next month. Third in the championship, Liam Doran of the United Kingdom, will return in his Citroen C4. Doran was the most successful in the second half of the ERC season but he fought mechanical troubles converting to the U.S. championship earlier this month. He finished third in Rallycross 2 earlier this month. No doubt he’ll be looking for a measure of revenge in November.

Also announcing his plans to enter round three is Frode Holte of Norway who will be bringing his highly developed Volvo C30 T16 4×4 to compete in New Jersey. Holte was seventh in the 2010 ERC.

Joining Isachsen and Holte is Per Eklund of Sweden in a SAAB 9-3 ASS T16 4×4 who was 22nd in the ERC championship after running less than half of the events. He’s another looking for some redemption from the U.S. Rallycross Championship.

Perhaps in the crosshairs of all these great drivers is American Tanner Foust who won the first two events in the U.S. championship after getting his feet wet in the ERC battling to an eleventh overall while entering a limited number of ERC events in 2010.

Foust has had a spectacular summer winning the Super Rally event at X Games 16 in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum last July. Still, he might have trumped that this month when he won U.S. Rallycross 2 event in New Jersey October 3rd and six days later won the Formula Drift finale at Irwindale to jump to second overall in that championship.

Just these names alone would make the November Rallycross round something to witness. But also entered are Subaru Rally Team USA drivers Travis Pastrana (Subaru Impreza WRX STI) and Dave Mirra (Subaru Impreza WRX STI) and Kiwi Rhys Millen (Hyundai Accent Mk2/LC).

Those names drip with motor racing success in America. Pastrana is a four-time American rally champion. Mirra has won more X Games Gold Medals than anyone. And Millen’s resume includes the 2005 Formula Drift championship, the 2008 World Drifting championship and more than six records on the Pikes Peak Hillclimb. Mirra was second and Millen fifth at Rallycross 2 earlier this month.

Much like the Rolex 24 in January, the U.S. Rallycross Championship in November can benefit from the conclusion of the European Rallycross
Championship season. This allows several of the top drivers to test the waters in the U.S. Never before has the U.S. rally community hosted such a diverse field of manufacturers and international competitors all on one field.

This is also a rare chance to see highly developed machinery such as the Volvo C30 T16 4×4, SAAB 9-3 ASS T16 4×4, Ford Focus ST T16 4×4, Subaru Impreza WRX STI, and Hyundai Accent Mk2/LC. This gives the cars a level of stardom at the U.S. Rallycross Championship the first weekend in November. These cars are written about in the motoring media but this will be a chance to see, maybe touch and watch them in action at New Jersey Motorsports Park.

“The development of Rallycross in the USA is very exciting”, Isachsen said. “And I want to be a part of that development. Therefore I will send both my car and my trailer by boat to New York. From New York it’s just a short drive to the New Jersey Motorsports Park venue.”

Isachsen’s fellow Norwegian Frode Holte is another looking for success in the U.S. His new 550+ horsepower Volvo carried him to a top three in 4 out of 5 ERC events he entered this season.

“We are most looking forward to competing in November’s race,” said Holte, “We have been competing against Tanner Foust in the ERC this year and had some great battles with Liam Doran (fellow ERC Competitor) so far this season. But we are going to drive for the victory and show those Fords who is the best!”

Sweden’s Per Eklund is a highly seasoned rally driver, in a brand new Saab 90. Originally a Saab factory driver in the 1970s, Eklund continued competing in a private rally team for 20 more years before switching to Rallycross and winning the 1999 ERC Championship and 2004 Swedish Rallycross Championship.

All three Scandinavian drivers will be seeing the familiar face of London’s Liam Doran who became the first foreign competitor to cross the Atlantic at the second round of the U.S. Rallycross Championship. Doran placed third overall in this year’s ERC season. He was also third at the U.S. Rallycross event in his 2009 Citroen C4.

America’s Tanner Foust and his Rockstar Energy Drink 2010 Ford Fiesta will need to be even better in November. He’ll be facing a field that resembles the European Rallycross Championship, considered the best international rallycross championship by the international FIA in France. The European pressure is one thing, however. But Americans Pastrana, Mirra and Millen aren’t used to losing at anything.

The international competition promises to be the most diverse and most fierce of any in motor racing this year.

source http://www.rally-america.com/

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