DTM champ is the lat­est mixed-sur­face con­vert

Motor Sport News - - Sporting Scene - By Hal Ridge

Former DTM cham­pion Timo Scheider will race full­time in the World Ral­ly­cross Cham­pi­onship this year, driv­ing a brand new spec Ford Fi­esta RX Su­per­car for Aus­trian squad MJP Rac­ing Team Aus­tria.

Like reign­ing World RX cham­pion Mat­tias Ek­strom, Scheider has two DTM ti­tles to his name (2008 and 2009) in a ca­reer spent driv­ing for Audi.

He con­cluded his time in the Ger­man se­ries at the end of last sea­son and will switch dis­ci­plines in 2017.

Scheider said: “We’ve been talk­ing for some time but now we’ve agreed on a great part­ner­ship. For me, ral­ly­cross en­com­passes the great pas­sion of motorsport.”

Scheider does have ex­ist­ing World RX ex­pe­ri­ence. He made his first out­ing for the All-inkl. com Mun­nich Motorsport team at Barcelona in 2015, driv­ing an Audi S3. De­spite set­ting im­pres­sive qual­i­fy­ing times, he didn’t make the semi-fi­nals.

He re­turned for three events at the end of 2016 in the squad’s SEAT Ibiza and twice made the semis. At the Ar­gentina sea­son fi­nale, he also pro­gressed to the fi­nal and fin­ished fourth.

“The level of World Ral­ly­cross goes up this year with more man­u­fac­tur­ers en­ter­ing, but MJP Rac­ing has built a new car that will be a se­ri­ous con­tender,” con­tin­ued Scheider.

“They not only have great ded­i­ca­tion but also em­ploy a high­tech ap­proach to de­sign­ing and build­ing race cars that is unique.”

The MJP Rac­ing Team Aus­tria squad pre­vi­ously ran un­der the World RX Team Aus­tria ban­ner as a part­ner­ship be­tween owner Max Pucher and former World Rally podium fin­isher Man­fred Stohl. The pair split at the start of 2016.

“Last year our team achieved great re­sults. We reached the semi-fi­nals reg­u­larly and the fact that we placed third and fourth in Barcelona showed how com­pet­i­tive both the team and cars are,” said Pucher.

“Our in­fra­struc­ture and ca­pa­bil­ity has grown sub­stan­tially over the past nine months we were able to re­alise our plan for a more com­pet­i­tive car for 2017, so that is what we are do­ing.”

Pho­tos: Hal Ridge

Scheider (r) has signed with MJP

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