Photo and logo courtesy Global Rallycross Europe/Christian Houdek

New racing series, Global Rallycross Europe, to debut next May

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European racing fans will have a new series to cheer for in 2019, as Global Rallycross Europe will soon make its debut.

Riding a slogan of “Be Loud, Be Wild, Be Real,” GRC Europe will feature the new Pantera RX6, a 500-plus horsepower livery for series contestants that was introduced Thursday at the series’ unveiling in Vienna, Austria.

GRC Europe will host races in England, Italy, Hungary, France, Germany and Austria or Slovakia. The 2019 season will run from May to October. The inaugural schedule is still being finalized.

Three-time World Rallycross Championship winner and Austrian native Max J. Pucher is CEO of MJP Promotions and founder of GRC Europe.

Pucher believes the series will be a success, based upon top competition but also with affordable costs for teams and drivers.

“It is a very exciting moment for me and my team,” Pucher said in a media release. “Standing here with the series set up and the new car in front of us, is as breathtaking as standing on the grid, when the lights go green.”

The plan for the new series is to race upon short, mixed-surface tracks.

“Rallycross is explosive, it’s pure emotion,” two-time Le Mans winner and former Formula One driver Alex Wurz said. “While driving, you are so focused, you nearly forget to breathe.”

Wurz’s father, Franz, is a former two-time European Rallycross winner and introduced the sport to his native Austria nearly 50 years ago. The younger Wurz plans to be a competitor in the new GRC Europe series.

“I have grown up with Rallycross,” Alex Wurz said. “Hence, I love the sport and fully support this project.”

Plans are to have a total of 15 Pantera RX6 cars entered in the GRC Europe GRC Titan championship class. A second category, GRC Supercars, will also be part of the series.

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Three in position to capture World Rally Championship title at Rally Australia

Photo by Massimo Bettiol/Getty Images
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COFFS HARBOUR, Australia (AP) Defending champion Sebastien Ogier goes into this weekend’s Rally Australia with a chance to clinch his sixth World Rally Championship in a row. Thierry Neuville, a runner-up four times but never a champion, hopes to change the world order.

Neuville led the series for much of the season but Ogier’s win in Britain and a second place in Spain has given the Frenchman 204 points, three ahead of Neuville, heading into the final rally of the championship.

“We are not the best friends but we are rivals and respect each other for our performances,” Neuville said Wednesday. “I’ve been second many times in the championship now, we are so close to the main goal.”

“If we need to take more risks because we need to pass Sebastien we’re going to try,” the Belgian driver added, “we’ll take the maximum risks.”

Ogier says the feeling is mutual when it comes to his main rival.

“We are different, definitely, but most important we’re in a great fight together and respect each other for that,” Ogier said. “It’s about trying to beat each other and do it with respect.”

Ott Tanak of Estonia sits 23 points behind and with 30 points for a win in Australia, and other results going his way, he could also capture the world title.

Ogier will be hoping for some Friday morning rain to settle the dust and gravel before he sets off first on what will be more than 300 kilometers (180 miles) of timed racing through forests on the New South Wales state’s north coast, about 530 kilometers (325 miles) north of Sydney.

More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports