Tanner Foust Q and A: World RX has it all Last week American superstar Tanner Foust announced he would contest four rounds of this year’s FIA World Rallycross Championship presented by Monster Energy alongside Swedish team Marklund Motorsport in a VW Polo RX Supercar.
Foust – who has been a regular on the rallycross scene since it was first introduced to America in 2010 – will be sure to shake up the proceedings in this year’s all-action Championship which uses IMG as its Championship promoter. The American Top Gear presenter has already racked up 10 medals in the coveted X Games series.
We caught up with Foust to hear his thoughts about motorsport’s newest World Championship.
Q. You’ve got a busy year ahead Tanner, but what drew you towards competing in a four-round World RX campaign? A. “My career in rallycross started with a five-event partial season in the European Rallycross Championship in 2010 and I was fortunate enough to return in 2011 for the only full European season I've done. Since then I've made at least four rounds each year to stay in touch with the fans and the competition in the European side of things. With so many new competitors this year it should be pretty awesome.”
Q. Can you explain what makes rallycross different from other forms of motorsport? A. “I’ve raced rally, sports cars, off-road… and rallycross has it all: I love the combination of dirt, asphalt, jumps and door-to-door racing. It's like a real-life video game and there’s nothing else like it. The cars are insanely fast, and getting more fun to drive every year as the technology steps up. It’s also exciting to be able to race with drivers who come from so many other racing disciplines. It’s a sport where everybody brings a different toolbox of strengths to the race. I’ve lined up beside second-generation rallycross drivers, skateboarders, Formula One drivers, IndyCar pros, WRC champions… and we’re all different, and we’re all capable of winning. You don’t find competition like that anywhere else.”
Q. Have you had much experience of the VW Polo Supercar, and how much testing will you do in the car before your first round at Lydden? A. “I have already been able to try the car out a couple of times and I’m learning new things about it every time I get behind the wheel. It’s a very capable car! I will race it for the first time (in GRC Barbados) a couple of weeks before Lydden Hill so hopefully I'll be able to get up to speed then - before our first World RX stop of 2014.”
Q. This year you’ll be competing in Great Britain, Finland, Canada and Turkey – why did you decide to pick these rounds? A. “Between Top Gear filming, and my other racing commitments, I couldn’t make the full World RX season this year but I’m really excited about the rounds I can do. Canada and Turkey are both new stops for everybody and I like that. We’ll all be learning a new track and it will come down to who can learn it the quickest. I have two wins at the Lydden Hill race circuit, and there’s something special about going for a hat-trick, and about competing at the track where the sport was invented. I also couldn’t miss a chance to race in Scandinavia which seems to be the spiritual home of the sport.”
Q. Who are you most looking forward to pitting yourself against in World RX this season? Is there any unfinished business from last year? A. “There’s always unfinished business. I always say we’re all friends until we put our helmets on, and then all bets are off. I think it’s going to be exciting to face my former team-mates, including Topi (Heikkinen) who won the championship in the U.S last year. And meeting Ken Block in the World RX of Turkey is going to be exciting. The regular players will still be the ones to beat I think: (Petter) Solberg, Baby Blue, Hansen, Liam (Doran) and Timur (Timerzyanov) amongst others.”
Q. Finally, what do you think about the future of World RX? A. “It’s hard to describe how different rallycross is now from when I started in 2010. The level of professionalism and technology has risen so fast it’s amazing. Having the European Rallycross Championship grow to include worldwide events and become a World Championship is a big step and I’m excited about what the future will bring.”
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