The USA seems to be on a major Super Rally (Rally Cross) buzz at the moment following last weekends X Games in Los Angeles. With the first ‘proper’ event rapidly approaching in New Jersey, who better to talk to about this sport than the most recent European Rally Cross winner, Liam Doran.
At just 23 years old, Liam won the recent ERC Finland event driving his Citroen C4 and would relish an opportunity to travel stateside for the inaugural year of Super Rally USA.
Name: Liam Doran
AGE: 23, 22/03/1987
Hometown: Sittingbourne, Kent, England.
Car: Citroen C4
Year of Manufacture: 2009
Team: Kenneth Hansen Motorsport/Citroen Racing
Sponsors: Citroen Racing, Avon Tyres, NGK Spark Plugs, Forge Motorsport, Corbeau Seats, Luke Harnesses, Nicky Grist, Motors TV UK, BOS Suspension, Total, CM Dirt 2.
Power BHP and tech spec: 560 bhp 630 ft/lb 4WD 1200kgs 0-100km 2.0 secs
How long have your family been involved in Rallycross?
As long as I can remember!! My family’s life has always revolved around it! It was always my dream to become a driver one day! My dad is and was very successful in Rallycross.
At what age did you begin competing in rallycross & what was your first competition car?
I began finally when was 14. I bought and built my own 1000cc Mini with hardly any help and raced in the Junior Rallycross Championship.
You drove a Ford RS200. What was it like driving such a legendary car at such a young age?
An EXPERIENCE!! The RS200 (ROSIE) taught me more than any car ever could. It is so simple but so fast and you had to really drive it.
What is the biggest attraction of Rallycross over other motorsports?
The excitement! I see Circuit Racing as boring to be honest. Rallycross is so fast and exciting! You do not get a minute to think about anything, you have to just Attack. I would like to try some other forms at some point to learn more and improve my ability. Each type of motorsport requires different skills so mixing up what I do could develop me.
Can you explain how the Citroen/Hansen Deal came off?
Simple really. I drove at a few European events in 2009 as an amateur and got brilliant results. I got noticed and then got some team offers.
What’s it like driving alongside Kenneth Hansen – one of the most successful Rally Cross drivers ever?
Amazing. There is no one else that I would rather have as a team mate. He has so much experience and we are so different. This works really well as we are both developing each other to be faster.
How competitive is the ERC and how does your team approach each event?
It couldn’t be more competitive. I don’t think it could be much faster either. This is obvious when very big motorsport names come into an the sport and struggle to keep up with the pace. We have a plan set out before each event. We have different setups for each track and we are trying to develop those and our speed all the time. We are always pushing trying to go faster. Our strategy never changes though. TO WIN!!
Rallycross seems to involve quite a bit of door rubbing during races – how do you deal with that?
I have always had to deal with it. So it comes naturally. It is all controlled and none is malicious. There is no choice when such evenly matched cars and drivers are on maximum attack.
Last event in Finland was your first ERC win. How did it all come together on that particular day?
It was my first win and the first ERC win for Britain in 18 yrs. The last was my father. It was all going badly to be honest. I was having issues with the car and at some points thought I was going home but it all came together. That’s another beauty about rallycross. Anything can happen! I enjoyed the track as it was new to everyone and whereas I normally struggle with track experience against other drivers, this time we were all equal.
Any opinions on Tanner Foust driving some ERC events this year? How do you think he is coping?
He is doing very well. The pace is a lot faster than most people think which he has noticed! It is good for the sport to have him and I hope more names come across from the states. It also helps that he has not beaten me yet.
How do you think Rallycross will go down in the USA, do you know much about the events/grid/drivers/tracks?
It will go down very well. It is exactly what they want to see over there. The sport suits the states well. There will be big names competing so the interest will be there from the start. Let’s just hope that the Europeans don’t go over and beat them straight away otherwise the interest will die.
Would you like to compete in the USA and if things get big over there would you consider a full time move to American Competition?
I am interested already having just returned from the X Games. I am looking for support at the moment to make the trip. Rallycross in the USA would suit me perfectly so I hope I can get something together and show the Yanks how it is done.
Ambitions for the rest of the 2010 ERC Season?
To win as many events as possible and to finish the year on the podium. Next year I will go for the Gold.