Tour­ing car star re­turns for Bri­tish round

Motor Sport News - - Front Page - By Hal Ridge

Bri­tish ace Andrew Jor­dan has signed up to con­test the UK round of the World Rallycross Cham­pi­onship at Lydden Hill in May.

The 2013 Bri­tish Tour­ing Car cham­pion has con­tested the show­piece twice be­fore, and be­came the only home-grown driver so far to land a WRX podium when he fin­ished third in Kent back in 2014.

He will drive an MJP Rac­ing Team Aus­tria Ford Fi­esta Su­per­car dur­ing the May 27/28 show­down in place of reg­u­lar driver Timo Schei­der.

Jor­dan, who will drive a WSR BMW 125i M Sport in the BTCC this year, said: “MJP has given me a fan­tas­tic chance and is cre­at­ing some­thing great with his team, which I’m re­ally look­ing for­ward to be­ing part of.”

Bri­tish Tour­ing Car Cham­pi­onship fron­trun­ner Andrew Jor­dan will race in his home round of the FIA World Rallycross Cham­pi­onship at Lydden Hill in May for the MJP Rac­ing Team Aus­tria squad.

Team owner Max Pucher be­lieves that the Bri­tish driver could re­peat his 2014 podium re­sult at the event, driv­ing the squad’s 2017-spec­i­fi­ca­tion Ford Fi­esta Su­per­car.

Hav­ing be­gun his mo­tor­sport ca­reer in rallycross, 2013 BTCC ti­tle-win­ner Jor­dan scored a podium fin­ish in an Ols­bergsmse Fi­esta on his re­turn to the mixed-sur­face dis­ci­pline three years ago at Lydden Hill.

This year he will deputise for dou­ble DTM cham­pion Timo Schei­der in the Aus­trian team. Schei­der will miss Lydden due to clash­ing com­mit­ments.

“I spoke to Max a few weeks ago and it’s all come to­gether re­ally quickly, it’s a bit un­ex­pected re­ally,” Jor­dan told Mo­tor­sport News. “Ob­vi­ously the level is go­ing up all the time, but I think we can mix it for sure. If I could get into the fi­nal that would be a re­ally good achieve­ment, then it’s just el­bows out and see where you get to re­ally.

“The team’s cars were very quick last year. I know they’re work­ing hard and they are hun­gry to move things on to keep pro­gress­ing.”

Podium tar­get

The MJP Rac­ing team ran cars for Ja­nis Bau­ma­nis and Timur Timerzyanov in World RX last season (un­der the World RX Team Aus­tria ban­ner), set­ting a num­ber of fastest qual­i­fy­ing times and fin­ished third and fourth at the Span­ish round in Barcelona.

But, de­spite show­ing strong pace, the team was also trou­bled by tech­ni­cal is­sues. For 2017, the squad is build­ing new spec­i­fi­ca­tion Fi­es­tas for Schei­der and Swede Kevin Eriks­son to race in the 12-round se­ries.

MJP owner Pucher is con­fi­dent that Jor­dan’s ex­pe­ri­ence of the Lydden cir­cuit and the sup­port he will re­ceive from the home crowd will boost the team.

“We’re very glad to have Andrew stand­ing in for Timo,” said Pucher. “He is a fan­tas­tic driver who has al­ready achieved a podium at Lydden Hill in World RX. I think that he could do it again and put on a fan­tas­tic show with the World RX reg­u­lars. We’re not put­ting Andrew un­der any pres­sure, but we cer­tainly have high ex­pec­ta­tions. For sure there will be many fans out there cheer­ing for Andrew and our team. We will give both the best pos­si­ble op­por­tu­nity for a fan­tas­tic event.”

Jor­dan rates his World RX podium in 2014 as a ca­reer high­light and is look­ing for­ward to

re­turn­ing to the World Cham­pi­onship later this year.

“As a Brit, to do my home World Cham­pi­onship event is some­thing I’m re­ally proud of,” he said. “Out of any­thing I’ve done, stand­ing on the podium at Lydden was def­i­nitely one of the coolest things in my ca­reer.”

A year af­ter his ros­trum fin­ish Jor­dan set fastest time in Q3 at the same cir­cuit, rac­ing a works Peu­geot 208 for the Team Peu­geot-Hansen con­cern.

He also deputised for Mat­tias Ek­strom in the Swede’s EKS squad at Fran­ci­a­corta in Italy in 2015, but was forced out on the open­ing day with tech­ni­cal trou­bles.

AJ on the loose

Be­fore switch­ing to the BTCC, Jor­dan won the Bri­tish Rallycross Su­per­car Cham­pi­onship in 2007 ( just miss­ing out on the over­all ti­tle) un­der the guid­ance of 1992 Euro­pean Rallycross cham­pion Will Gol­lop.

He claimed vic­tory at Lydden Hill in Au­gust of that year driv­ing Gol­lop’s Ford Fo­cus Su­per­car and knows the Kent venue well. Lydden will host a round of World RX for the fi­nal time this year be­fore the Bri­tish event moves to Sil­ver­stone from 2018.

Jor­dan said: “When I’ve tested at other rallycross cir­cuits, it does take a bit of time to get into it. That won’t be as much of a fac­tor at Lydden be­cause I’ve been round there a few times. I’m go­ing to go and do a bit of gravel driv­ing. Lydden isn’t mas­sive on the gravel side of things be­cause it does clean up a lot, but when I tested with EKS last year I could feel I hadn’t raced on gravel for a while, so I’ll go and put some work in to make sure I’m on top form on that side.”

De­spite not hav­ing raced in rallycross since 2015, Jor­dan un­der­took test­ing and demon­stra­tion du­ties for the EKS team in his role as re­serve driver last season.

“I had a year out from rac­ing in rallycross last year, but I did a bit in a Su­per­car with EKS,” he said. “They have been good to me and I’ve learnt a lot from Mat­tias [Ek­strom] from a driv­ing and also mar­ket­ing and com­mer­cial side of things. With his man­u­fac­turer link with Audi and me driv­ing for a man­u­fac­turer-backed team in the BTCC [WSR BMW] we can’t re­ally do any­thing at the mo­ment. Max has given me a fan­tas­tic op­por­tu­nity for Lydden and is build­ing some­thing great with his team, which I’m re­ally look­ing for­ward to be­ing part of and start­ing to build a new re­la­tion­ship.”

Four man­u­fac­turer-backed teams will race in World RX this season. Peu­geot-hansen an­nounced this week that it will re­tain the ser­vices of nine-time World Rally cham­pion Se­bastien Loeb for a sec­ond year in 2017 ( see story, page 29).

Volk­swa­gen Mo­tor­sport has teamed up with Pet­ter Sol­berg and Jo­han Kristof­fers­son to build a pair of new Po­los, and Audi has in­creased its sup­port for World RX cham­pion, EKS. Ken Block’s Hooni­gan Rac­ing Divi­sion is cur­rently test­ing its Ford-backed M-sport-built Ford Fo­cus RS RX ahead of its sec­ond season.

Jor­dan will be back on the loose

Jor­dan has rallycross roots

Jor­dan’s last Lydden Hill out­ing was back in 2015

BTCC man will han­dle Fi­esta RX

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