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Today the FIA World Rallycross Championship presented by Monster Energy kicked off in style at a special media day that was held at the new World RX venue Franciacorta International Circuit in Brescia, Italy.

A string of media from across Europe, Asia and the Americas congregated on the Italian circuit to attend the event which included the six permanent two car World RX Teams, as well as some of the individual Supercar entries, Euro RX and RX Lites competitors.  It was also the first time that some of the teams had revealed their driver line ups and liveries ahead of the opening World RX round in Portugal next week (3-4 May).

The three manufacturer-backed teams of Ford-OlsbergsMSE (Andreas Bakkerud and Reinis Nitiss), VW-Marklund (Topi Heikkinen and Anton Marklund) and Peugeot-Hansen (Timur Timerzyanov and Timmy Hansen) were all in attendance, with each of the teams represented at the official press conference which was held during the morning.

Petter Solberg and his PSRX team, which he shares with fellow countryman Alex Hvaal, were also at the event, complete with their new-for-2014 Citroen DS3 Supercars (pictured).

Solberg, who was the 2003 World Rally Champion, was feeling confident about the year ahead: “I really want to win,” said the Norwegian. “There are a lot of good drivers this year but I will fight, don’t you worry!  Last year we were not quite ready but we really treated it as more of a test year.  This year, we will fight for the Championship title.”

Monster Energy World RX Team Liam Doran showcased his new Monster-backed Citroen DS3 Supercar, while Albatec Racing’s Jacques Villeneuve – a former F1 World Champion – and team-mate Andy Scott were both present in a Peugeot 208 Supercar.  Independent permanent drivers Jos Jansen and Derek Tohill also made the trip to Italy.

“I’ve loved racing since I was five – it helps keep me alive!,” joked Villeneuve at the press conference. “I did some ice driving in France and then I began to think that RX might be the next step. The format of the races helps make it really exciting to drive too. The fact that rallycross has now become a World Championship is good but this year my main aim is to learn and we will see what happens after that.”

During the press conference, two-time DTM driver Mattias Ekstrom announced his plans to compete in selected World RX rounds with Swedish-based EKS team in a Audi A1 Supercar.  Ekstrom will be joined by former Junior World Rally Champion, Pontus Tidemand, as they compete for the Euro RX title this year ahead of a full World RX campaign in 2015.

Reigning French Rallycross Champion Jerome Grosset-Janin was also at Franciacorta and feeling confident ahead of his Euro RX campaign at the wheel of a Renault Clio III Supercar. It was also announced that a group of 15 other top Supercar drivers had committed to the full Euro RX season.

Martin Anayi, FIA World Rallycross Championship Managing Director for IMG Motorsport, commented: “It’s been a fantastic turnout today and I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all of our drivers, sponsors, media and guests for making the effort to attend our official World RX media day. With more than 30 broadcasters already confirmed to televise our Championship combined with the truly spectacular line-up of drivers we have competing this year, I firmly believe that World RX is the most exciting motorsport series in the world right now.  We’ve witnessed a huge period of growth in rallycross over the past 12 months and we now have all the elements in place to make World RX the must-watch sport of 2014.”

The 2014 FIA World Rallycross Championship will get underway with World RX of Portugal in Montalegre next weekend.

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