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Munnings set to continue 2023 RX2e campaign with #YellowSquad at Lydden Hill

British driver Catie Munnings will continue her 2023 campaign in the FIA RX2e series, the official all-electric support category to the FIA World Rallycross Championship, this weekend at Lydden Hill.

Having raced with #YellowSquad in the opening two rounds of the season in Norway and Sweden, Munnings has secured a deal to race in her home round of the campaign. Driving alongside team-mate Isak Sjökvist in the season so far, Munnings has improved with every outing, winning heat races in both Norway and Sweden, and impressing with a series of fast starts.

In the ultra-competitive field of single-specification RX2e machinery, having only just missed out on a final appearance in the opening two rounds, mainly due to circumstances outside her control in the semi-final stages, Munnings will enter her home round targeting at least a final start, on the back of scoring a sixth Extreme E career podium in Sardinia recently.

The FIA World Rallycross Championship package returns to Lydden Hill for the first time since 2017 this weekend, the circuit where rallycross was created in 1967. The circuit has evolved over the years, most recently with a new-look wider gravel opening corner and jump immediately afterwards. Munnings has raced at the venue previously, in a production-based Suzuki Swift, but like most of the field in RX2e, not on the recently revised layout.

Munnings currently lies ninth in the 2023 RX2e standings, while team-mate Sjökvist leads the points’ table.

Catie Munnings said: “I’m very happy to have made it happen to get to Lydden Hill for round three of RX2e. It’s been very last minute and I’m very grateful to everyone that has been involved in putting this together. Again #YellowSquad has been fantastic and I’m really excited to continue our story together.

“As Kenneth Hansen would say, it’s important to keep the ball rolling. It’s important for me as a driver to get some consistent seat time in a car that I know and in a championship and discipline I’m still learning. Rallycross is still really new to me but I’m enjoying every moment and the progress we’re making is great.

“I’m excited to enter my home race. It’s a big one for me to compete at and hopefully we can have a really great weekend there in front of the home crowd.”

Eric Färén said: “We are all delighted that Catie will continue with us for the Lydden Hill event. Not only has she done a really good job so far in Norway and Sweden, but I know very well from my own experience that every driver wants to compete in their home round of the World Championship.

“It will be a special one for Catie I’m sure, but like with all drivers once she is in race mode the target will be the same as any other race weekend. She and Isak have been working really well together this season. We didn’t feel things fell our way in Sweden last time out, but we are working as hard as possible to help both drivers get the best result they can as we return to a venue that everybody loves.”

Sjökvist maintains RX2e series lead with home podium at Höljes

Racing in the home round of the FIA RX2e series for both the team and himself, #YellowSquad driver Isak Sjökvist claimed a second successive podium to maintain his points lead.

It was a challenging weekend for the entire single-specification field at one of the discipline’s halo events, the ‘Magic Weekend’ at Höljes, regarded as one of the jewels in the crown of the FIA World Rallycross Championship.

Second fastest in Heat 1, Sjökvist thereafter battled in traffic, received contact from other cars, and struggled to find clear air. Regardless, he qualified fourth in the Ranking stages, despite heavy rain changing the track conditions significantly for Sunday’s running.

Second in semi-final two elevated Sjökvist to the final, and in a hectic encounter, in which he lay fifth at one stage and was in the thick of the action, the Swede survived final-lap drama to finish third, and maintain the same gap at the head of the points’ table that he had coming into the event.

In the sister RX2e machine from #YellowSquad, Catie Munnings made her second career start at Höljes, and like team-mate Sjökvist spent much of her weekend starting on the outside of the grid. She impressed with a stunning around-the-outside move to climb the order during those qualifying races and consistently improved throughout the weekend in the most difficult conditions, but just missed out on a place in the final.

The third round of RX2e will take place as part of the British FIA World Rallycross Championship event at Lydden Hill on July 22-23.

Isak Sjökvist said: “I had a bit of bad luck in the qualifying heats, then managed to get a P2 in the semi-finals and in the final it was mud everywhere and a bit of chaos. I had a really great run in the final and got a bit held up by other drivers on track. We were P5 for a few moments and there was some contact, but we made it to the podium. I’m satisfied with the result, it’s the best result we could get from this weekend I think. I struggled a bit with my self-confidence but we go to the next race at Lydden Hill with two podiums in our pocket already this season.”

Catie Munnings said: “I had a really challenging weekend at Höljes. We had a full dry, hot tarmac day on Saturday, then Sunday was full wet, but I really enjoyed the experience and there was a lot of good racing through the heats. I was happy to take another heat race win but unfortunately, we missed out on the final. When we took the joker we had the gap to be in the top three, but got stuck in some traffic and couldn’t get through. I ended up P5 after a spin, so it wasn’t the best semi-final but I’m very happy to have experienced such a technical track in the wet and the dry.”

Eric Färén said: It was a tricky weekend with different conditions over the two days. We found ourselves on the outside of the grid a lot, but both drivers made good starts generally and were sometimes able to get ahead, but also got forced wide into the gravel on other occasions. Catie made an amazing move around the outside, and both drivers did really well in every condition. Our pace was good, Isak battled his way through a difficult second day to get onto the podium and maintain the same advantage in the points he had coming here, which will be important in the coming races. I’m proud of our drivers and the whole team, it is a pleasure to work with these great people.

SJÖKVIST WINS RX2E SEASON-OPENER IN HELL WITH #YELLOWSQUAD

Swedish sensation Isak Sjökvist drove to an empathic victory in the opening round of FIA RX2e at Hell in Norway with #YellowSquad to claim an early championship lead.

Racing in #YellowSquad’s first-ever all-electric RX2e event, Sjökvist was fastest in the opening two Heats of the Norwegian encounter, supporting the FIA World Rallycross Championship, and only lost ground following first corner contact from other cars in Heat 3.

Keeping his cool, the 21-year-old former kart racer took top position in the Ranking stages, then won his Semi-Final from the front, before managing the Final while under pressure throughout to secure a second career RX2e win, and maximum points to hold the championship lead.

Catie Munnings also delivered a strong opening-round performance in the sister #YellowSquad machine, despite a relative lack of rallycross experience compared to many of her rivals.

A first-ever RX2e race win in Heat 3 and third overall time was a strong finish to Saturday’s proceedings and Munnings qualified sixth in the Ranking, in the strong field. However, while showing fast pace in the Semi-Finals to battle for a place in the Final, contact from another car at the joker merge cost Munnings time, putting her out of contention.

The second round of RX2e will take place as part of the Swedish FIA World Rallycross Championship event at Höljes in two weeks (July 1-2).

Isak Sjökvist:

This weekend exceeded our expectations, and it feels really great to pull off such a result so early in the season. There’s still a long way to go. We need to be humble and there is a lot of work to do, but this is a great start to our time together and I’m sure this will help us moving forwards. In the Final the track conditions were very challenging so I took it cautiously and managed the lead. For sure I felt pressure from behind but I kept things together and took the win. The season is long, there are a lot of young talents in this championship, and it is going to be tough, but this weekend has been very good.

Catie Munnings:

I haven’t got much tarmac experience and this weekend was very much like circuit racing, until the gravel started to break up, so it’s been a fantastic opportunity for me to learn, especially from Isak who has so many years in karting. I’ve really enjoyed working with #YellowSquad and I’m so pleased for the whole team with Isak’s win. Overall I’m very happy with the steps I made through the weekend. The Heat win on Saturday felt great, but it was a shame to get taken out of the Semi-Final and there was nothing I could do from there. The damage was done, we had good pace and I was catching P3 in front which would have put me into the Final but we ran out of laps. On the whole it’s been really good and I’m looking forward to the next race in Holjes.

Eric Färén:

What a weekend! To win our first-ever RX2e event is fantastic and represents a huge effort from the whole team, so the first thing I must do is say thank you to them all. Isak delivered a stunning performance, not just for winning as much as he did, and driving so well in the Final, but for managing the car, and the first corners in the way he did. It was the perfect start to the year. For Catie, her pace was very good and had things gone differently in the Semi-Final she would for sure have been in the Final and challenging for the podium, so we look forward to the next race with her.

#YellowSquad reveals stunning new RX2e liveries ahead of trip to Hell for season-opener

Swedish rallycross driver development team #YellowSquad has revealed a pair of stunning new liveries as it gears up for the opening round of the FIA RX2e series this weekend, supporting the Norwegian round of the FIA World Rallycross Championship at Hell (June 17-18).

RX2e event-winner Isak Sjökvist and Extreme E race-winner Catie Munnings will line up for the rallycross title-winning #YellowSquad team as it embarks on its maiden electric programme, falling in line with parent company Hansen Motorsport’s target of net zero emissions by 2040.

The team’s single-specification, four-wheel-drive, 270kW machines will be easily distinguishable on track in 2023, adorned in #YellowSquad’s signature strong and fun yellow livery, which has been given an aggressive twist for the new season.

The yellow base colour has been synonymous with successful programmes for the team in Crosscar, RallyX Nordic, RX2 and NRX NEXT previously and continues for 2023, with subtle differences indicating the two drivers’ cars.

21-year-old Sjökvist’s machine has a white front panel on the nose to help distinguish the Swedish title-contenders car from the front, which will also use white wheels. For 25-year-old Munnings, her #YellowSquad RX2e car has a black front panel, accompanied by black wheels, as the British driver embarks on her second-ever RX2e event this weekend.

Both drivers joined the team for a testing and training programme in Sweden last week in preparation for the season-opener in Norway, before the squad heads for its home round of the series at Höljes just two weeks later.

Isak Sjökvist, #YellowSquad RX2e Driver: “From my side it was a really great testing. It was so useful and we gathered a wealth of knowledge for how the car is working. We can take those tools into this season, which is an opportunity I’m really excited about.

“When I looked at the car for the first time I was impressed and I think we’re really going to stand out on track. It’s the first race of the season for us, so I’m excited for the challenge and will be driving with all my heart and soul.”

Catie Munnings, #YellowSquad RX2e Driver: “Testing with #YellowSquad for the first time last week was really good as I started to work closely with Eric, Isak, Kevin and Timmy (Hansen). It was really useful to have Kevin and Timmy’s experience of electric rallycross cars, and it was a great couple of days. Going through setup options like we did was not the sort of thing I’d done before with this car, so that was great looking ahead to Norway. I’m really looking to lean on the team’s experience this weekend, and targeting a great result. The liveries look amazing, it’s been a huge effort by the team to get ready for the season, and I can’t to get racing – the team definitely looks the part!”

Eric Faren, #YellowSquad Team Manager: “The cars look fantastic. Of course, you always go through the process with the designers and know how the cars are going to look, but until the livery is applied to the cars for real, you never know 100% how the finished product is going to be. I have to say, we’re delighted with how they have turned out, and from seeing the cars on track in testing too, they look even better at full speed. Our pre-event test in Sweden went well, I’m pleased with how both drivers got on, and importantly they worked together well. We have a good feeling in the team heading to Hell!”

#YellowSquad signs British star Munnings for 2023 RX2e Programme

British star Catie Munnings will compete in the FIA RX2e series that supports the FIA World Rallycross Championship in 2023, having signed for Swedish team #YellowSquad.

Munnings is no stranger to electric motor sport. An event-winner in Extreme E, she made her RX2e debut last season at Holjes in Sweden, and will return to the Swedish venue this year, following her maiden appearance with #YellowSquad in the opening round of the campaign at Hell in Norway later this month (June 17-18).

A regular front-runner in Extreme E alongside teammate Timmy Hansen, 25-year-old Munnings’ signing for the #YellowSquad team that sits within the wider Hansen Motorsport structure is significant.

As part of arguably the most successful team in rallycross history, Susann Hansen became the first and so-far only female to win a European Rallycross title when she secured the 1400 Cup crown in 1994.

Continuing that legacy, Munnings will become the first female to drive within the wider Hansen Motorsport family in a decade, when she lines up in the single-specification, 270kW, four-wheel-drive all-electric RX2e machine in Hell next week.

Munnings, who reacclimatised herself with an RX2e machine during an ice racing event in Andorra over the winter, and a private test at the Circuit de Calafat in Spain recently, will join full-time #YellowSquad driver Isak Sjökvist in the team for the events she contests.

The FIA RX2e series will support the FIA World Rallycross Championship for five rounds in 2023, in Norway, Sweden, UK, Belgium and Germany, running from June to August.

Catie Munnings, #YellowSquad RX2e Driver:

“I have a very unique position working with Timmy Hansen, who’s been my team mate in Extreme E for three years now, and it seems like the natural progression to continue working with the wider Hansen team outside of that. It has been a big aim for mine for some time to race in a major rallycross series. #YellowSquad has a wealth of knowledge, and I think this programme is the most effective way for me to develop my skills, while also having a good chance of challenging for some decent results. I’m looking forward to building on the relationship I have with the family and team. My mission is always to do as well as possible and to keep developing my side-by-side race craft. I really enjoyed the test in Calafat recently, it always impresses me how fast the car feels when you accelerate for the first time on tarmac, and I’m looking forward to having a lot of fun with it this year.”

Eric Faren, #YellowSquad Team Manager:

“We’re delighted to have Catie join #YellowSquad for at least the first two rounds of RX2e. Having two drivers in the team is always mutually beneficial, so we can all work together to get the most out of the weekend. Although Norway will be new to Catie we’ve had good success at that circuit in recent years and will work to get her up to speed as quickly as possible, while she has already raced in Holjes which will really help. It’s also great that Catie has such a strong relationship with the wider team, we can’t wait to take on this competitive field in Norway and see where it can take us.”

#YELLOWSQUAD SIGNS SWEDISH TALENT SJÖKVIST FOR RX2E CAMPAIGN

Swedish driver Isak Sjökvist has signed with #YellowSquad to race in the FIA World Rallycross Championship’s FIA RX2e series this year, as team and driver target the coveted title.

Having begun his career in karting, Sjökvist switched to rallycross in the Supercar Lites division of RallyX Nordic in 2021, and made his RX2e debut at Holjes, Sweden the same year, claiming a podium finish in his first-ever start in the all-electric single-specification category.

Since, the 21-year-old has become one of the series front-runners, and in his maiden full campaign last year, finished on the podium in four of the five rounds, claimed a first win at Barcelona in Spain and secured the runner-up position in the series standings.

Now, using experience already gained in the mixed-surface discipline and coupling that with the expertise of title-winning outfit #YellowSquad, Sjökvist will focus on fighting for the FIA RX2e title this season.

The commitment to RX2e also falls in line with the #YellowSquad’s parent company Hansen Motorsport’s vision for a more sustainable future, the Hansen outfit now entering its second term running all-electric RX1e machines in World RX.

As its own entity, #YellowSquad has been a front-runner in various different rallycross series since its inception in 2019. It notably claimed the RX2 International Series crown in 2020 and wins in the NRX NEXT category both in Europe and the USA, highlighting the importance of maximising performance in the highly-competitive single-specification categories. The team has also achieved success in the European Rallycross Championship and RallyX Nordic in Supercar.

For 2023, the FIA RX2e series will support the World Rallycross Championship for five rounds, in Norway, Sweden, UK, Belgium and Germany, the opening round taking place in Hell (Norway) on June 17-18.

Isak Sjökvist, #YellowSquad RX2e Driver: “I’m so excited for this extremely rare and extraordinary opportunity that I have got in my hands for this year. I’ve been in motor sport for almost 10 years, and I’ve always had eyes on climbing to the highest level. When I started rallycross two years ago it felt like a natural habitat to me. That’s the same with joining #YellowSquad and the Hansen Motorsport family, it feels so natural and yet so special at the same time to get this kind of opportunity.

“Getting to work with some of the greatest rallycross drivers ever is almost indescribable – this is a childhood dream becoming a reality. I’ve always tried to push myself to the limit and aim higher and higher. To join #YellowSquad is a really big step in the right direction for me, as they have all the tools I need to develop in my career. There will be a lot of very good drivers in the series this year, but everyone starts from zero and we will work as hard as we can to get the best results possible. There is always room for development.

“As one of the greatest Swedish sportsman, Ingemar Stenmark, once said ‘the more you try the more luck you get’. I think that really suits what I’m doing, I need to train harder, work harder and I’m sure that with #YellowSquad we can make the opportunities even bigger.”

Eric Faren, #YellowSquad Team Manager: “I have been watching Isak since he started his rallycross career and I’ve always been impressed by both his attitude and his performances, especially against far more experienced drivers. We’re very excited to bring him into #YellowSquad for 2023 and to work with him on fighting for the title, because that has to be our goal.

“I think Isak and #YellowSquad is a very good match, so hopefully we can give him the extra support he needs to take the next step and come away with some big results this year. And for us in #YellowSquad it’s also exciting to be doing something new in RX2e, where we will push ourselves to continue achieving what we know we are capable of.”

#YELLOWSQUAD TO SUPPORT RISING STAR O’DONOVAN IN 2023

Reigning British Rallycross Champion and FIA RX2e race-winner Patrick O’Donovan will be supported by #YellowSquad in his 2023 rallycross programmes.

O’Donovan became the youngest-ever British RX title-winner last year, aged just 18-years-old, while he also secured wins in the RX2e series for all-electric cars in Riga and Belgium.

For 2023 he has come into the wider Hansen Motorsport family as part #YellowSquad, as he progresses to race a Peugeot 208 WRX in the FIA European Rallycross Championship and Motorsport UK British Rallycross Championship 5 Nations Trophy.

O’Donovan’s family-run effort, Team RX Racing, will operate the Peugeot 208 WRX through 2023, but the rising star will receive experience and support from #YellowSquad in his exploits.

While Hansen Motorsport is focused on alternative energies with its primary programmes and the all-electric new era of the World Rallycross Championship, assisting young talents to become the stars of the future is a core part of the company’s wider policy through #YellowSquad. Based on his previous performances, O’Donovan fills that role perfectly.

Euro RX will be run over six rounds in 2023, starting with a standalone event in Hungary later this month, before joining World RX for five further rounds in Portugal, Norway, Sweden, Belgium and Germany. The British Rallycross Championship runs events in England, Wales, Ireland and France, with the opening round of the season taking place a Lydden Hill this weekend (April 8 & 10) where O’Donovan will race the Peugeot 208 WRX for the first time.

Patrick O’Donovan, #YellowSquad driver, said: “My family has a lot of history in motor sport and rallycross so to be supported #YellowSquad this year, and all the success and experience that comes from the Hansen family is very special for me. The car is an absolute beast and it feels really good to be in a position where we can head into Euro RX and 5 Nations BRX with competitive equipment. We really worked hard on assessing what to do this year, and I think this is a great step forward in my career.

“Ultimately my goal is to be in the World Championship and hopefully fight for the title, so these years are all about gaining as much experience as possible. I believe racing the Peugeot 208 WRX in RX1 will do just that. I know some of the circuits now from my time in RX2e and in 5 Nations BRX, and I can’t wait to get racing this weekend at Lydden Hill. Going to the Hansen Motorsport workshop last week was special, while we’re running the car in our own team this year we have a special relationship and it’s amazing to be aligned them.”

Kevin Hansen, #YellowSquad Founder, said: “We’re really pleased to have Patrick in our #YellowSquad line-up for 2023. He was one of the front-runners in RX2e last year and he’s the British Rallycross Champion in Supercar, so for sure he is one of the future stars of rallycross. At 18-years-old he’s super-talented so we’re beyond excited that he has come into the #YellowSquad family.

“Team RX Racing will run his operations in one of our previous internal combustion engine Peugeot 208 WRXs, so we look forward to seeing how he gets on and we will support him throughout his campaign as a driver. Hopefully he can challenge for the European title – he has the talent and good experience for his age. We know the 208 is a good car so we hope he can find his feet in it and challenge for victories.”