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Home   Canterbury   Sport   Article

Lydden Hill welcomed dozens of cars, drivers and teams today as it gets ready to host the FIA World Rallycross Championship this weekend

23 May 2014
by Dan Wright

The world's best rallycross drivers and a paddock full of immaculate machines got comfy at Lydden Hill today ahead of a bumper weekend of action.

From tomorrow, the Canterbury track will host its first-ever FIA World Rallycross Championship round and today saw a record field of 38 Supercars come through its gates.

The massive Supercar field gathered at Lydden today. Picture Lydden Hill Press Office

The massive Supercar field gathered at Lydden today. Picture: Lydden Hill Press Office

There may have been no action on track, but the idyllic circuit was alive with anticipation as the teams, drivers and mechanics all got set for a packed weekend.

With its all-new control tower in action for the first time, the one-mile circuit looked smart and circuit owner Pat Doran can't wait for the weekend to start.

Lydden's new control tower catches the eye

Lydden's new control tower catches the eye

"It's fantastic," he said. "The new tower is a breath of fresh air and everyone has worked so hard.

"Everyone is happy to bring it (World Rallycross) here and Russians, Americans, people from all over will come here.

Tanner Foust's new VW Polo made an appearance in the afternoon

Tanner Foust's new VW Polo made an appearance in the afternoon

"You can't get a hotel close to here this weekend."

With four championships in action over both days - Supercar, Super 1600, Touring Car and RX Lite classes - the paddock was full to the brim with rallycross machines.

The Lydden paddock is packed for this weekend

The Lydden paddock is packed for this weekend

Among the throng of competitors present was 2003 World Rally Champion Petter Solberg, who enters this weekend with confidence after winning the opening round in Portugal three weeks ago.

"There are so many cars here; it's never easy to win," he said.

The OlsbergsMSE Ford Fiesta team are ready in the paddock

The OlsbergsMSE Ford Fiesta team are ready in the paddock

"It will be a fantastic weekend and the car is working well - we will find out this weekend."

Elsewhere, ex-Formula 1 racer Nelson Piquet Junior had his first look at Lydden before he enters the RX Lites class tomorrow.

Frode Holte's Hyundai i20 looking nice in the paddock

Frode Holte's Hyundai i20 looking nice in the paddock

"It's not my first rallycross but first time here in Europe," he commented.

"It looks pretty simple (the circuit,) a lot of asphalt."

The Brazilian is aiming high, too: "To win it, obviously, there's no reason not to," he said.

Inside one of the Supercar beasts

Inside one of the Supercar beasts

Whilst Piquet Junior tries his hand in the Lites class, four British drivers will tackle the flame-spitting Supercars this weekend.

Among them is multiple British Rallycross champion Julian Godfrey who would be delighted to reach the semi-final stage in his Ford Fiesta.

Lydden is looking at its best ahead of the weekend's racing

Lydden is looking at its best ahead of the weekend's racing

But Kevin Procter won't be in action after his brand new Fiesta could not be finished in time for the event.

British fans will have another man to cheer on too, though, as Phil Chicken enters the Super 1600 class in his Citroen C2.

The preview press conference was well attended.

The preview press conference was well attended.

Up against tough competition, Chicken knows it won't be easy but said: "If nothing else, my little boy has gone to school with a grin today as Dad's racing in the World Rallycross Championship."

Some teams had been at Lydden since Wednesday but will hit the track for the first time tomorrow - with 10,000 to 15,000 spectators hoped for over the weekend.

The scrutineering bay was a very busy place

The scrutineering bay was a very busy place

Action starts at 9am on Saturday and 10.30 on Sunday.

Adult admission on Saturday, May 24, is £20, on Sunday, May 25, £25. Weekend general admission is £40. Accompanied children under 12 go free.

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