Olsbergs MSE X Forces
- Date of Birth: May 10, 2001
- Home: Lewiston, ID
When it comes to seeking out and identifying top rallycross drivers, Olsbergs MSE’s Andreas Eriksson is second to none in Red Bull Global Rallycross. With four Supercar and two GRC Lites titles, his team has hosted much of the series’ top talent, thanks to an emphasis on young driver development.
That means you should be taking Cole Keatts just as seriously as Eriksson does.
Keatts is on the younger end of the driver spectrum, turning 15 just before the start of his first Lites season, but Eriksson sees him as a future superstar. He’s certainly earned the attention: coming out of the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series, he took the JR2 Kart championship last year while posting respectable results in his first season of racing Modified Karts.
He’ll join a team that combined for seven race victories and 17 podiums in the Lites class last year, led by eventual class champion Oliver Eriksson. Eriksson returns to defend his crown in 2016, giving Keatts the ideal teammate to help him learn how to handle a rallycross car and compete against the deepest field in class history. Like Keatts, Eriksson’s background was primarily on loose surfaces, but it was his adaptation to pavement that helped him excel in 2015.
While Keatts is a Lites (and rallycross) rookie this year, it’s safe to expect him to run up front and challenge for wins and podium finishes. In each of the past two years, almost every driver to run for OMSE’s Lites operation has taken at least one podium—even if they were competing in a limited schedule, or even a single race. It’s the Lites equivalent of racing for Ferrari in Formula 1, and don’t expect the Idaho native to play that down.
In fact, don’t be surprised if Keatts adds another championship to his resume this year. Eriksson did it in his first Lites season, after all—why can’t it happen two years in a row?