FIA World Rallycross – An Introduction

OVERVIEW

Rallycross is a combination of rallying and circuit racing. It is head-to-head short, sharping racing on mixed surfaces (dirt and asphalt) contained within amphitheatre venues. High profile drivers are equipped with RX Supercars with over 600bhp and the ability to accelerate from 0-60mph in less than two seconds – faster than an F1 car.

Rallycross was invented by Robert Reed, who was the producer on ITV’s World of Sport programme at the time. The first event took place at Lydden Hill on 4 February back in 1967, where it quickly became a staple of Saturday afternoon sports in the UK with both ITV and BBC broadcasting rallycross. The popularity of rallycross soon spread, with the first event on the European mainland taking place in Holland in 1969, with the Scandinavian rallycross debut taking place in Sweden two years later.

The FIA World Rallycross presented by Monster Energy was inaugurated in 2014 in Portugal after the FIA granted the World Championship status to the sport, becoming one of only five championships in that category.

TYRES

Cooper Tires is the official supplier of the FIA World Rallycross championship, as well as the FIA European Rallycross Championship in all 3 categories (Supercar, Super1600 and Touring Car). Each competitor is entitled to use 8 tyres of each compound (wet and dry tires) per championship weekend.

THE CARS

Supercar

Hot hatch/super mini turned into the ultimate racecars by the addition of turbocharged, two-litre, 600bhp engines and four-wheel drive. They accelerate from 0-60mph (100km/h) in 1.9 seconds – faster than an F1 car

Super1600

Front-wheel drive ‘hot hatches’ using 1600cc engines where many of the top Supercar drivers have developed from including Eriksson, Timerzyanov, Bakkerud and Nitiss.

Touring Car

Rear-wheel drive and two-litre engines. Cars produced with front-drive can be converted to rear-drive. 21st century interpretation of traditional rallycross cars also a development ground for Supercar drivers. Past champions like Larsson, Tohill, Marklund and Salsten have all progressed to the Supercar category.

RX Lites

Spec category for identical 310bhp, mid-engined, four-wheel drive racecars built by Olsbergs MSE. Guest support category at selected World RX events.

THE FORMAT

Each event is made up of an open practice sessions, four timed qualifying heats, two knock out Semi-Finals and one Final. There are four qualifying heats with a maximum of five cars starting abreast in each race over four laps.

QUALIFYING 1 (Q1). Starting positions in the races are determined by a draw that is carried out beforehand.

QUALIFYING 2-3-4 (Q2-Q3-Q4). Race starters determined according to timed classification of the previous qualifying heat.

Qualifying Classification is based on time of the driver, not the position within a race. The Top 12 drivers are then qualified for the Semi-Finals, with odds going to Semi-Final 1 and evens in Semi-Final 2. The top 3 of the two Semi-Finals progress to the Final, where the winner of the event is crowned.

CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS

Drivers score Championship points at three stages of the event.
The top 16 drivers after the four qualifying heats (Intermediate Classification) score points starting from 16 for the best placed, down to one point for 16th place.

The top 12 progress to two six car Semi-Finals in which points from six for the winner to one for sixth place are awarded. The top three from each Semi-Final then enter the Final.

Scoring for the Final is as follows:

1st: 8 points
2nd: 5 points
3rd: 4 points
4th: 3 points
5th: 2 points
6th: 1 point

Maximum score in an event is 30 points (16+6+8). All points scored in all 12 rounds count. The Team’s Championship will include all points scored by the two team drivers at all events.

That is your introduction to the FIA World Rallycross Championship. I will be bringing you news, reviews, reports and interviews from this exciting, chaotic and mind-blowing series of racing.

See You At The Chequered Flag

Neil Simmons

WRX Editor

Twitter: @world_racing

Photo Credits:

Logo – FIA World Rallycross and Monster Energy (c)

Photos – Neil Simmons 2016 (c)

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