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Outrageous R.S. models in World RX action

28 September 2020

Renault F1 team becomes Alpine for 2021

No fewer than five independently run Renault Sport models – modified to 600bhp – are competing in 2020’s World Rallycross (WRX) Championship that finally got under way in August.

Three Méganes and two Clios are being overseen by the French GCK business, headed by former world freeriding ski Champion Guerlian Chicherit and split into three satellite teams.

 

In the Monster Energy GCK RX Cartel squad are 2019 WRX runner-up, Norway’s Andreas Bakkerud and Briton Liam Doran – both in Méganes.

 

In a separately-entered Bilstein branded car is former European Champion, Sweden’s Anton Marklund.

 

All three Méganes are based on the latest New Mégane R.S. model, using, as stipulated by WRX’s regulations, a common powerplant from the Renault engine range, but developed to two litres so as to produce an astonishing 600bhp.

The two Clios, based on the ‘fourth generation’ Clio 220 Trophy design, deliver an identical power output. Entered under the ‘Unkorrupted’ banner, these are driven by Lithuanian Rokas Baciuska and team boss Chicherit.

 

We say ‘based on’ for good reason: rallycross entails short sprint races on a circuit that combines both gravel and asphalt sections. A number of four-car heats are held at each event to eventually decide a six-car final and the action is robust to put it mildly!

 

Therefore each car is fitted with ‘extra padding’, namely outrageous flared body kits that are specially designed to absorb the inevitable rubbing of panels. Needless to say, rollcages meeting the very latest safety designs are built into each shell, these adding to the car’s stiffness and therefore agility.

 

Suspension is also bespoke to deal with the punishment of each rallycross course, with cars very often becoming airborne over jumps. 

 

Finally, that 600bhp is put to good use – the performance of these cars is shattering and they will match a Formula 1 car for acceleration, going from a standing start to 100mph in under two seconds.

Renault F1 team becomes Alpine for 2021
Renault F1 team becomes Alpine for 2021

To find out just what we mean, with a view from inside Marklund’s Mégane as it goes door handle to door handle with rival cars on the opening lap around Holjes…

 

As we went to press, the championship was heading for its fifth and sixth rounds of 2020 at the Riga circuit in Latvia (19-20 Sept).

 

Prior to that, the first four events had been staged at the iconic Holjes circuit in Sweden and then Kouvola in Finland.

 

Bakkerud had reached two of the four finals – finishing sixth in each – but the best result was a fifth overall for Marklund.

 

Bakkerud was confident, however, of more finals action in Latvia after he said the team had made progress with the Mégane’s set-up.

 

After his Finland final appearance and, looking ahead to Latvia, he had this to say: “We’re proud to have put the car into the final to fight against five top drivers and this is where I think we should play all the time.

 

“Considering the quickly changing conditions, I think we tactically played our cards right but had some small issues in the semi-finals and finals, which we need to analyse further and work on ahead of Riga. I have full confidence that we will be spraying champagne at the end of the day there.”

 

Images courtesy of GC Kompetition

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