JORDAN FOR LYDDEN WORLD RALLYCROSS
Touring car star returns for British round
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.”
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