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Belgian Rallycross Star Sheds Light on M-Sport’s GRC Involvement

Image via M-Sport Facebook

Image via M-Sport Facebook

Though his name is not well-known on this side of the world, Belgian rallycross star Michaël de Keersmaecker is a fixture in the European Rallycross Championship, having finished fifth in that series this year on the strength of numerous main event appearances. According to the ERC24.com Facebook, de Keersmaecker has shared some information about the European series for next season after meeting with M-Sport and new ERC promoter IMG, best known as the organization that handles promotion of Formula 1.

Included was an interesting tidbit about the M-Sport rallycross program for 2013. “M-Sport is doing a full GRC programme with a new car for Ken Block, who is also set to use a Wildcard three times [in the 2013 FIA/IMG RX series],” de Keersmaecker wrote. “M-Sport is currently not planning to appear in European Rallycross, but a future RX programme in Europe is possible.”

Image via Ford Racing Facebook

Image via Ford Racing Facebook

Block, who finished fifth in the 2012 Global Rallycross Championship, switched from Subaru to Ford in 2010. He won two Rally America events and one Canadian Rally Championship event in 2012, adding a silver medal at X Games along the way. Block’s three Wildcard appearances in the reworked FIA Rallycross Championship, sponsored by longtime Block backer Monster Energy, will be his first in European-style rallycross, which does not feature jumps as the GRC does.

M-Sport had been rumored to put emphasis on rallycross for 2013 after Ford’s announcement that it would no longer provide factory support for the World Rally Championship after this season. But the team secured backing from the State of Qatar, enabling it to contest the WRC with four cars for next season, and that is where its priority will remain. However, longtime M-Sport driver Petter Solberg may be considering a rallycross ride for 2013; in this Jalopnik interview, conducted last week, Solberg would only say “we’ll see…” when asked.

—Chris Leone

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