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The KINC’s Guerlain Chicherit heads to Portugal to sample the Prodrive MINI RX

Guerlain

Words and Photo by Hal Ridge – Rallycross World

MINI Motorsport freestyle driver Guerlain Chicherit sampled the Prodrive MINI RX in Portugal today, as part of a test session run by the British preparation company for drivers to sample their rallycross Supercar, ahead of possible outings in the FIA World Rallycross Championship this season. Chicherit, most famous for his MINI Backflip, drove two runs in the MINI RX at the Algarve International Circuit near Portimao in Southern Portugal, and was blown away by the performance of a rallycross Supercar; “I was so nervous before I drove the car because it’s very different to what I am used to, but as soon as I got in and pulled first gear it was fine; the car gives you so much confidence,” said Chicherit. “The handling is amazing, it is very easy to control even when it is sliding, and the brakes are incredible too.”

The outing has wetted the Frenchman’s appetite to race in WorldRX as soon as possible; “I really want to have a go at rallycross. The sport is great, it’s a big show with big drivers. I would love to do the full World Championship, but maybe this year we can do a few races to learn ahead of 2015. I wanted to try the car to see if I liked it first, and I love it, the car is just sick!”

Former Tour de France competitor Tomas Vaitkus also drove the MINI RX at the Algarve circuit, the Lithuanian considering a change from two to four wheels having retired from cycling; “I’ve watched rallycross on television and it looks like an amazing show, I really want to be involved. The MINI is amazing, but I think to be quick I would need a lot of time in the seat. My only other experience is on track-days and Time Attack in my own car. That is a 550bhp Subaru Impreza STi, but even though the MINI has less power it is just unbelievable, my car feels like nothing now!”

Drivers with rallycross Supercar experience joined the test, including multiple ice-racing champion Jean-Philippe Dayraut and Portuguese rallycross driver Joaquim Santos. European rallycross Super1600 driver Ernestas Straponkus is planning a move to Supercar for the 2015 WorldRX season, and will spend 2014 planning ahead. The MINI RX test marked his first taste of a four-wheel drive machine. Experienced GroupN and WRC2 rally drivers Estonian Androus Laur, Ukrainian Gorban Valeriy and Russian Dimitry Tagirov also drove the MINI RX, which is derived from the WRC variant of the machine.

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