Ma to make World Rallycross debut in Barcelona

Former Formula 1 test driver Ma Qing Hua will race in the opening round of the World Rallycross Championship next month for Manfred Stohl's STARD team.

Ma to make World Rallycross debut in Barcelona
Ma Qing Hua, Team Stard, Ford Fiesta
Ma Qing Hua, Team Stard, Ford Fiesta
Ma Qing Hua, Team Stard
Ma Qing Hua, Team Stard
Ma Qing Hua, Team Stard, Ford Fiesta

Ma will become the first Chinese driver to race in the series at the Barcelona event, having tested the Austrian squad's Ford Fiesta Supercar in Austria and France in the close-season.

The NIO Formula E Team reserve driver will compete alongside STARD's permanent World RX entrant, Janis Baumanis.

"The Supercar is definitely a monster. The acceleration is amazing but more than that, I feel the car more impressed me even more in the corners," Ma told Motorsport.com.

"The grip level is much more than you expect and the handling of the car is more manageable than a single seater or front-wheel drive because usually if we are sideways that means something horrible is happening, but here it's every corner."

Ma is enjoying working with World RX Supercar regular Baumanis, who he drove alongside at the first official World RX test in Loheac a fortnight ago, and says the challenge of being competitive in the series shouldn't be underestimated.

"We have a good driver here in Janis and the team has data from before so it is the perfect way to learn," he said.

"When World Rallycross first started it really impressed me.

"I really love this championship because it is really a lot on the driving side, but mixed techniques.

"It's not like Lewis Hamilton could come here and win the races, that's not possible. It is experience more from everything; rally, circuit driving and maybe different too, maybe something from drifting, I don't know."

STARD CEO Michael Sakowicz says that running a second car as a non-permanent entry for Ma and other drivers gives the team options to develop the second car.

"We decided to enter the second car as a race-by-race entry to have some more flexibility for future developments, because with the new regulations you have to declare quite a lot of technical features on each permanent car and we have some bug plans to upgrade the cars throughout the 2018 season," he told Motorsport.com.

"We will run various drivers, one of which will be Ma, but he has quite a big priority with his Formula E commitments so we will see how many and which races he will be able to do. For sure we hope to do a few with him."

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