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Lydden Media14bLydden Hill is revving up for its inaugural hosting of an FIA World Rallycross Championship presented by Monster Energy event next month (24-25 May) and today held a special appetiser for TV, radio and print media.

An impressive number of media descended on the Kent circuit to preview the AUTOSPORT Rallycross of Great Britain, and a host of rallycross personalities were also in attendance in anticipation of what will be round two of the newly formed World Championship.

Circuit owner, Pat Doran, and Managing Director of the FIA World Rallycross Championship, Martin Anayi, were both joined by some of the top driver talent that will be on show in May.

Twice X Games Gold Medal victor and winner of numerous top European rallycross events, Liam Doran, was on hand to lend his vocal support to the event together with his Monster Energy backed-Citroen DS3.

The Olsbergs MSE Ford squad were out in force with its three drivers for the Lydden round present as well as their respective trio of Ford Fiestas. Norwegian star Andreas Bakkerud has joined the team after an impressive debut season with LD Motorsport, whilst Super 1600 European champion, Reinis Nitiss, graduates to Supercar machinery with the Sweden-based outfit for 2014. Arguably creating the most interest, however, was Olsbergs ‘wildcard’ entry for the Lydden Hill event, none other than reigning Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Champion, Andrew Jordan.

The 24-year-old actually began his career in rallycross before making the ultimately successful switch to circuit racing. Jordan has always harboured ambitions to return to the sport alongside his BTCC commitments, and now has the opportunity to do so at the first ever-British round of a rallycross World Championship.

Once the VIP guests had greeted the media during the morning press conference, a number of the cars that are due to star at the circuit in May, then took to the circuit for photos, passenger laps and testing.

All four Rallycross Supercars blasted around the one-mile circuit and were joined by a number of high-speed drifting, buggy and historical rallycross machines as glorious spring sunshine basked down on the Kent venue.

Pat Doran, Circuit Owner, Lydden Hill: “We had a vision of this many years ago but to be honest it was probably just a dream – now it’s a reality. IMG has taken over the World Championship and they’ve raised the bar – we’re now all working together to develop this sport both in the UK and across the world. To be a part of the first year of the World Championship is just fantastic. We’ve come a long way and I’d just like to thank everyone involved.

“We’ll also be having a display of Group B cars coming to the World Championship event too, which I know will delight some of the older generation, plus we’ll also be having some drifting demonstrations. We’ve owned the circuit for five or six years now and we’re working with the local community to keep improving the facilities. The World Championship event is going to be a real celebration and hopefully entertaining for everyone that comes along – it’s all a part of Lydden Hill being the home of rallycross!”

Lydden Media14aMartin Anayi, Managing Director of the FIA World Rallycross Championship for IMG Motorsport, said: “It’s a pleasure to be here at Lydden Hill for this event – it’s the home of rallycross and indeed the first venue that we discussed the World Championship expansion with. This is where the sport began and this is also the beginning of a bright new future, so I think it’s important that as a motor sport community and as a world championship we get behind what is a great British sporting venue.

“It was also our goal to become a World Championship and it has been hard work, but extremely fun too. We have a long-term vision for this championship and we’ve actually got there slightly before originally planned. The excitement is there and everyone now wants the FIA World Rallycross Championship to visit its circuit or country.

“I don’t think any other form of motor sport in the world has such a diverse field – a former F1 champion, DTM and BTCC drivers, we’ve had WRC drivers, Drifting champions – this list goes on and its all very exciting for the year ahead.”

Liam Doran, driver for LD Motorsport in the FIA World Rallycross Championship and X Games Gold Medal winner, said: “It has been quite a progression through the ranks for me. From winning races at home to winning international events, and now being an integral part of a World Rallycross team too – it’s quite crazy to be honest! To get the most wins of any team in our first season last year was phenomenal. It took a lot of hard work but the passion and quality was there, so it’s exciting now looking forward to the World Championship.

“It’s always been an amazing sport and highly competitive but it’s never had the professional teams like it has now, and it’s great to be regarded as one of those teams. This is my home circuit – I’m from Sittingbourne, which is just 30 minutes away. I used to work here before becoming a professional and I know the ins and outs of the track. There’ll be a lot of home support, and it’s great seeing people desperate for you to do well. It does add a bit of pressure though and to be honest I haven’t always had the best results here – fingers crossed this year I can put it all together.

“It’s also great to have someone like Andrew Jordan on board for the Lydden round. The appeal is simple – the cars are basically the coolest things you’ll ever drive! Formula One cars can obviously go 200mph but our cars reach 100mph faster than anything on the planet. They’re fast, they make loads of noise and they spit flames, all while you’re trying to contend with Tarmac, gravel and changes of surface – it’s just such a challenge. I’ve never done anything else and judging by the fact that so many drivers from other disciplines are coming here to try this sport, it would suggest I’m in the right place!”

Andrew Jordan, reigning BTCC Champion and World RX Lydden Hill ‘wildcard’ entry, said: “I started my career in rallycross and people probably don’t realise that I had my second ever race here – in a Mini when I was 15. It was hard to make a career from rallycross at that time and I moved over to circuit racing and of course the British Touring Car Championship. I’d always wanted to give rallycross a go again and now the time is right – to race at our home event of the World Championship in a really good car. I’m under no illusions as to how tough it’s going to be, however, as these guys are at the top of their game and coming in for just one round is always going to be difficult. I’m a racing driver though so naturally I want to do well, but let’s hope we put on a great show for the fans and see what happens.

“I’ve always watched rallycross and taken a keen interest in it, plus of course I regularly commentate on the championship for TV. I’ve kept an eye on the other wildcards that have given it a go and it hasn’t been easy for them. Mattias Ekstrom was very competitive in Sweden, so I’m hopeful that we can be up there too. To come and take these guys on will be a really big ask but I’m going to give it my all and get stuck in.”

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