It was announced today that a new two-car team headed up by former WRC star Manfred Stohl will enter the 2015 FIA World Rallycross Championship presented by Monster Energy. Joining Stohl in the all-new World RX Team Austria will be team owner and driver, Max Pucher.
The announcement was made in Vienna in front of over 50 media and VIP guests where Pucher confirmed the team will contest all 12 Championship rounds at the wheel of two Ford Fiesta RX Supercars prepared by Stohl Racing. The car was presented to guests following a press conference which was also attended by World RX’s Managing Director, Martin Anayi.
Stohl is best known for his rallying exploits but first got a taste for rallycross when he won last year’s Austrian Race of Champions in Pucher’s Ford Fiesta RX Supercar. The Austrian was then invited by reigning World RX Champion Petter Solberg to join the PSRX Team for the season-closing race in Argentina. Stohl reached the semi-finals but failed to make it through to the final following a mechanical problem.
“When Max and I had first contact, he immediately told me about his dream and vision to eventually bring an Austrian team to World RX,” explained Stohl, who was crowned the WRC’s Group N Champion in 2000. “It was difficult to get the money together initially and without Max’s commitment, this project would never have happened. I am very pleased that he chose Stohl Racing to also be the builder of our Ford Fiesta Supercars; I am certain that we will race state-of-the-art technology and will be in the thick of the action.”
Team owner Pucher added: “Rallycross drivers are the new gladiators. The World RX promoter IMG has created a crowd-pleasing format and fast, driver-to-driver combat. The action on both gravel and asphalt is very exciting and creates the perfect motorsport arena. I believe it is the safest motorsport out there and it costs a fraction of WRC participation, which makes it perfect for teams and sponsors who also get a great cost-to-advertising value ratio. World RX is destined to become one of the most popular motorsport championships. I am very proud to have Manfred as a team-mate and to bring the first Austrian team to World RX.”
Martin Anayi, World RX Managing Director for IMG Motorsports, concluded: “It is a pleasure to welcome our first Austrian team to World RX, and we’re very excited to announce a new World Championship team so early in the 2015 season. Manfred made an impressive debut in Argentina, and he is a great personality to have on board. We are witnessing a growing number of rally drivers trying World RX and it will be interesting to watch Manfred battle against Petter again, whom he competed against in WRC. I have been very impressed with the professionalism and commitment of World RX Team Austria and it is fantastic to see so many Austrian media attend the team’s press launch today. On behalf of the IMG Motorsport team, I look forward to welcoming both Max and Manfred to RX in 2015, and wish them the best of luck in both the Drivers’ and Team Championships.”
The opening round of the 2015 FIA World Rallycross Championship will take place at Montalegre in Portugal (24-26 April).