A total of 12 drivers competed in a one-day evaluation test which was held at Lydden Hill today – home to this weekend’s FIA World Rallycross Championship event. The shootout involved a mix of interviews and testing the 310bhp, mid-engined RX Lites car which is designed by Olsbergs MSE in co-operation with Avitas Motorsport.
The 12 finalists competing in today’s shootout included:
• Dan Cammish (2013 Formula Ford GB champion, 2015 Porsche Carrera Cup GB)
• Jack Clarke (FIA Formula Two race winner, 2014 British Touring Car Championship)
• Sennan Fielding (2013 RSF MSA Young Driver of the Year, 2014 BRDC Formula 4 race winner, 2015 MSA Formula, MSA Academy member)
• Freddie Hunt (son of 1976 F1 world champion James Hunt, 2015 Renault UK Clio Cup)
• Chris Ingram (2015 European Rally Championship, MSA Team UK member)
• Tom Onslow-Cole (multiple British Touring Car Championship race winner, MSA Performance Manager)
• Ben Power (multiple winner in British Rallycross and National Legends Car Championship)
• Jason Pritchard (multiple class winner in British Rally Championship, MSA Rally Elite graduate)
• Dan Rooke (2015 British Rallycross Championship Super-national class winner)
• Rupert Svendsen-Cook (multiple British Formula 3 race winner and MSA Performance Manager)
• Jake Taylor (2015 Swift Sport Rallycross Championship, MSA Academy member)
• Euan Thorburn (2013 BTRDA Rally champion, 2014 Scottish Rally champion)
The finalists – who came from a circuit, rallying or rallycross background – were assessed on their driving, technical and media abilities. The quickest time of the day was posted by accomplished rally driver Chris Ingram who set a lap time of 48.107s, two hundredths of a second quicker than budding rallycross star, Dan Rooke. Onslow-Cole posted the third quickest lap with a time of 48.4s.
The 12 finalists were whittled down to four and consisted of Ingram, Rooke, Onslow-Cole and Formula MSA driver, Sennan Fielding. The final four were then given a further interview by a panel of five judges: Robert Reid, MSA Performance Director; Martin Anayi, World RX Managing Director; Andreas Eriksson, Team Principal of World RX team Olsbergs MSE; Matt James, Deputy Editor of Motorsport News and Andrew Jordan, the 2013 British Touring Car Champion who will compete at Lydden Hill this weekend.
“I am over the moon. I woke up hoping that I could win this morning but to actually do it is really incredible. It’s been a brilliant day – the experience alone at this event has been fantastic but to know that I’m actually also going to race in Turkey is so cool,” grinned a visibly delighted Onslow-Cole.
The 27-year-old Englishman added: “I didn’t have a huge amount of expectation of the car today – I hadn’t driven anything like it so in that sense it was completely new. On asphalt, it is incredibly good and on the gravel it is definitely a lot better than I am! It would be nice to get to a few events this year and spend some time with the team, meet the other drivers and learn from them what I can. A test wouldn’t go amiss either, of course! We’ll see what we can organise between now and then but I want to give this opportunity my all and put on a great show.”
Martin Anayi, World RX Managing Director for IMG, concluded: “First and foremost, I’d like to thank each and every one of our 12 finalists for attending our first RX Talent Search today, the calibre of drivers was extremely high. I’d also like to personally congratulate Chris, Dan and Sennan who came very close to winning and would have been very worthy of this prize. We will follow up with these guys and look to support them in a future rallycross career if they so wish. It was incredibly difficult to pick from the final four – they were all very quick on pace so ultimately it came down to their performance in the interviews and what we felt they could individually bring to our Championship. Overall, I think the best man on the day won: Tom will do a very good job of promoting our sport but, most importantly, will have a very strong chance of winning RX Lites.”