RX: BTCC ace wins rallycross talent search

Former BTCC star Tom Onslow-Cole will make his rallycross debut later this year after winning the inaugural RX Talent Search competition.

Former British Touring Car driver Tom Onslow-Cole has won the inaugural RX Talent Search, held in association with the Motor Sports Association (MSA) and FirstCorner, and will make his RX Lites debut in Turkey later this year.

A dozen drivers from a variety of disciplines competed in a one-day evaluation test at Lydden Hill – home to this weekend's FIA World Rallycross Championship event – with the on-track shoot-out in a 310hp Lites car complemented by a mix of interviews that allowed the contenders to showcase their driving, technical and media abilities.

The quickest time of the day, perhaps unsurprisingly, was posted by accomplished rally driver Chris Ingram at 48.107s, although he was only two-hundredths of a second quicker than budding rallycross star Dan Rooke. Onslow-Cole posted the third quickest lap with a time of 48.4s.

The twelve finalists were whittled down to the quartet of Ingram, Rooke, Onslow-Cole and Formula MSA driver Sennan Fielding, who faced a further interview by a panel of five judges comprising MSA performance director Robert Reid, World RX managing director Martin Anayi, Olsbergs MSE team principal Andreas Eriksson, motorsport editor Matt James and rallycross ace turned BTCC champion Andrew Jordan.

“I am over the moon,” a delighted Onslow-Cole beamed, “I woke up hoping that I could win this morning, but to actually do it is really incredible. It's been a brilliant day – the experience alone at this event has been fantastic, but to know that I'm actually also going to race in Turkey is so cool!

“I didn't have a huge amount of expectation of the car today – I hadn't driven anything like it so, in that sense, it was completely new. On asphalt, it is incredibly good and, on the gravel, it is definitely a lot better than I am! It would be nice to get to a few events this year and spend some time with the team, meet the other drivers and learn from them what I can. A test wouldn't go amiss either, of course! We'll see what we can organise between now and then but I want to give this opportunity my all and put on a great show.”

Anayi thanked all involved and vowed to 'follow up' with the other members of the final quartet.

“I'd also like to personally congratulate Chris, Dan and Sennan, who came very close to winning and would have been very worthy of this prize,” he noted, “We will follow up with these guys and look to support them in a future rallycross career if they so wish.

“It was incredibly difficult to pick from the final four – they were all very quick on pace so ultimately it came down to their performance in the interviews and what we felt they could individually bring to our championship. Overall, I think the best man on the day won. Tom will do a very good job of promoting our sport but, most importantly, will have a very strong chance of winning RX Lites.”

Related Pictures

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Tom Onslow-Cole wins RX Lites drive in talent search
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Liam Doran, JRM Racing, World RX [Credit: World RX]
Toomas Heikken, World Rallycross [Credit: WRX]
World RX Team Austria, World RX [Credit: World RX media]
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Rory Jones / Tom Hughes MG ZR
Petter Solberg (NOR), WRC and RX World Champion
Petter Solberg (NOR), WRC and RX World Champion
Gigi Galli, World RX, Round of Italy, [Credit: World RX]
Davy Jeanney. World RX of Canada winner [Pic credit: World RX]
Davy Jeanney. World RX of Canada winner [Pic credit: World RX]
Chris Atkinson (AUS), World Rallycross [Credit: Roots Management]
Latvia WRX, FIA World Rallycross, [Credit: World RX PR]
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