World Rallycross championship teams Marklund Motorsport and Volkswagen Team Sweden have merged to create an all-new team Volkswagen RX Sweden with drivers Johan Kristoffersson and Anton Marklund for 2016.
The pair will compete in Volkswagen Polo RX Supercars as the two teams join forces and aim to takedown the dominant Petter Solberg in the Citroen DS3 RX who recently wrapped up his second consecutive world title.
Marklund Motorsport finished second in both the drivers' championship and the teams' championship in 2014, while Johan Kristofferson of Volkswagen Team Sweden finished third in the overall driver standings this year.
Technical director of Volkswagen Motorsport Jost Capito, who brokered the deal, has explained it is a move to strengthen the manufacturer's capabilities in World RX against its rivals.
"Volkswagen Motorsport is positive about the merger that came about as a result of the team's initiative,” Capito said. “A collaboration between Marklund Motorsport and Volkswagen Team Sweden will strengthen Volkswagen's position in one of the fastest growing areas of motorsport. Combining our capabilities will create good possibilities for further success in the sport.”
Tommy Kristoffersson, father of Johan, has been named as general manager of the new team and Michael Schneider is to become team manager. The team's new World RX challengers will be built at Marklund Motorsport's base in Boliden before relocating to Volkswagen Team Sweden current workshops in Arvika.
Marklund has revealed the deal was almost completed ahead of the 2015 season but is delighted to finally sign off on the collaboration.
"We already discussed a merger last year, but we never got around to it,” Marklund said. “Now we will be added to the mix of Volkswagen's involvement and our joint goal for 2016 is very clear.
"We will have a separate test unit with a racing car, staff and trailer that will manage our development activities. The competition in World RX is becoming increasingly tough and to be in with a chance of winning the championship, we need to constantly improve and optimise the equipment."
Tommy Kristoffersson adds that the combined forces ensures both groups can produce a stronger and more sustained fight in the World RX with the help of Volkswagen.
“Pooling our resources enables us to provide the stable platform of infrastructure and competence that is required for professional, long-term involvement,” Kristoffersson said. “The merger gives us good sporting chances, and on a personal note, I am really looking forward to working with our drivers, engineers and mechanics and collaborating to form and develop the team. Ambition, passion and teamwork are the keywords.”