Wheeler to make rallycross debut


Rally driver Chris Wheeler will take on a new challenge when he makes his Rallycross debut in August. The Torquay-based youngster will swap his usual Citroen DS3 R3T for the Ford Fiesta MS1 he used to great effect until 2017 and will contest rounds of the BTRDA Clubmans Rallycross Championship, starting at Pembrey circuit in Wales on 8th / 9th August.
Wheeler will compete in the 1600cc Modified class, as his Fiesta is built to a specification that excludes him from entering the Production classes, where most first-timers start. “I am excited about the new challenge but under no illusions about being competitive first time out,” he says. “Rallycross is all about battling wheel to wheel with your rivals and some of the UK’s best drivers contest the BTRDA series. With rallying cancelled this year due to COVID-19, we looked at alternatives and Rallycross, with its quick-fire format of short races will certainly keep me on my toes.”
Motorsport UK recently gave the go-ahead for some forms of motorsport to restart under strict distancing guidelines. However, rallying is excluded due to risks associated with drivers and co-drivers sitting close together in competing cars. Wheeler originally planned to contest this year’s Protyre National Asphalt Rally Championship but has not driven competitively since lockdown began in March. “The advantage with Rallycross is that it is for drivers only, and by competing we are gaining valuable seat time. But I will definitely miss having my good friend and co-driver Shaun Layland alongside. We will probably have to wait until 2021 to renew our in-car partnership!
Writer: Ian Harden

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