Skiing legend Hirscher back on full throttle again at GP Ice Race

Courtesy of Red Bull Media Service Team

Austrian gets behind Audi rallycross car wheel at Zell am See weekend event.

Marcel Hirscher has swapped the slopes for a turn behind the wheel this weekend of an Audi rallycross car at the GP Ice Race. Here is all you need to know:

– The most successful alpine skier ever retired at the end of last season after two Olympic golds, seven world golds and eight consecutive FIS World Cup overall titles.

– While the likes of Norwegian Henrik Kristoffersen and Frenchman Alexis Pinturault look to fill the void he created in men’s alpine skiing, Hirscher has switched up his focus to his family and now a shot at the GP Ice Race based at the former airfield in Zell am See-Kaprun.

– Hirscher has motorsport experience after riding the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM RC16 at the Red Bull Ring during the 2019 MotoGP weekend, along with DTM driving at the Audi Sport TT Cup and a KTM X-Bow.

– The 30-year-old from Salzburg will be driving a 600 hp rallycross car from Audi after completing special driver’s training with Reinhold Sampl on the winter training course at Muhr, nestled in the Lungau region.

– The Audi EKS RX S1 008 from the 2018 and 2019 FIA World Rallycross Championship is one of the strongest format cars as well as one of the hardest to drive.

– Hirscher revealed: “I was very nervous at the beginning and respectful. This is one of the fastest rallycross cars, so very impressive and an experience that I didn’t want to miss. The car was very demanding for me. Hats off to every rally driver. It’s unbelievable how fast you must react and how focused you have to be. It’s been very important for me to have this opportunity to drive a few kilometres before the event, because it actually has nothing to do with a normal street car. People expect a fast skier to drive a car quickly, but my first objective is to have fun and try to bring the car back safely.”

– Sampl, Europe’s only driving technique trainer in a wheelchair and himself a former alpine skier, explained: “It’s not possible to just get in and drive, because there is no normal gearshift and the steering responds very directly. In addition, there are the ‘Sweden spikes’ with a length of seven millimetres which give the vehicle its very own characteristics. Such racing cars need a strong hand at the wheel to be able to drive them really fast at the limit. Skiers have a feeling for the ideal line and Marcel is a perfectionist. This is a huge advantage.”

– Formula One and MotoGP return to Spielberg in 2020 from July 3-5 and August 14-16 respectively with celebrities like Hirscher around for fans to see.

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