Timo Scheider making Nitro RX debut in Meeke’s relief

Timo Scheider is once again an XITE Energy Racing driver, albeit in a slightly different discipline from last time. On Monday, the team announced Scheider will make his Nitro Rallycross début in this weekend’s season finale at Glen Helen Raceway.

He replaces Kris Meeke, who was running much of the calendar but fell while skiing ten days before Monday’s news, resulting in a compression fracture of the T7 vertebra.

“It’s just going to take a few weeks to self heal. I would love to tell you I was trying a double backflip or something, but no. I just fell on my ass on the ice so felt pretty stupid. It is what it is,” remarked Meeke. “Really frustrating as this was a doubleheader. Really looking forward to it. Looked like a mega track, but going to have to sit on the sidelines for this one.”

Scheider is no stranger to XITE, having taken over as the male driver of their Extreme E programme from owner Oliver Bennett for the second round of the 2022 season onwards as Bennett focused on Nitro Rallycross. Prior to the signing, he had been working as Extreme E’s Championship Driver which entailed being a reserve driver for needy teams and designing courses for the series. In his XE race début at the first Island X Prix, he and team-mate Tamara Molinaro scored a runner-up finish for the team’s maiden podium. However, despite initial plans of completing the season, he was replaced by Ezequiel Pérez Companc for the last race of the year and returned to his reserve duties.

He moved to the newly formed Carl Cox Motorsport for the 2023 Extreme E season and finished eighth alongside Christine GZ at the opener in Saudi Arabia last week. Incidentally, Scheider’s opponents at Glen Helen include his XE Championship Driver replacement Andreas Bakkerud and Fraser McConnell, the latter being the reserve during Scheider’s XITE stint and now a rival driver for X44.

A two-time DTM champion, Scheider competed in FIA World Rallycross between 2015 and 2021 with a pair of podiums (second at Barcelona in 2017 and third at Sweden in 2020).

“Thanks for calling me but first of all, I want to send wishes to Kris Meeke. He can’t participate unfortunately. Speedy recovery I wish to you,” Scheider said in a video released by the team. “I thank your support and will send it all in for sure.”