Rallycross - a form of sprint motor racing held on a closed mixed-surface circuits - has been a mainstay of grass-roots motorsport but has always been seen by the media as a poor relation. Once, we were able to see it regularly on terrestrial TV but these days you have to search the satellite channels for coverage.
Fortunately, there seems to have been a resurgence of late. With new rules to enliven the racing, it’s an exciting and accessible sport that is regaining popularity. DriveWrite’s favourite driver, Petter Solberg - whose career in WRC seems to be over - has turned to international rallycross with great success.
Now with the introduction of an official FIA World Rallycross Championship starting this year the big guns are getting into the action. Peugeot has followed in the wheel tracks of Ford in becoming the second major manufacturer to commit to the inaugural season.
A name synonymous with rallycross success - having clinched eight French drivers’ championship crowns between 1988 and 2012 and boasting a similar record across the various different divisions in Europe over the same period - Peugeot is a natural fit for motorsport’s newest and most exciting World Championship.
After Ford pledged its official backing to the established team Olsbergs MSE’s World RX effort in 2014, fellow big-hitter Peugeot has joined forces with another of the leading outfits in rallycross - Hansen Motorsport - as it prepares to enter the fray for the championship’s debut campaign this year. Team Peugeot-Hansen will compete in the Supercar class in all 12 rounds on the calendar - beginning at Montalegre in Portugal in May - with a T16 silhouette version of its 208 model. Now perhaps the British media will sit up and take notice but don’t hold your breath.