It’s the start of the World RX championship at World RX of Catalunya and it promises to be a final lap of glory for petrol-powered rallycross cars before an exciting new era of super-charged, super-efficient electric cars next year. The drivers are going all-out for glory to deliver a turbo-powered send-off to internal-combustion.
Reigning world champion Johan Kristoffersson is the man to beat as he takes to the track to fight for his fourth title. The former cross-country skier returns with a new set of wheels as he trades in his Volkswagen Polo GTI for a seat in an Audi S1 with KYB EKS JC. Given the team led by Mattias Ekström and Joel Christoffersson are the reigning team champions, the 32-year-old Swede looks likely to pick up where he left off last year.
“The goal when you enter a championship as the defending champion is always to win it again,” says Kristoffersson. “That's the target, not only for me but also for the team because they are the reigning team champions. We expect a lot of competition, but we are ready for it.”
“I’m super-excited to start this season. I hope that the work we are putting in now will pay off and we can fight for wins right from the start,” says Timmy Hansen, 29. “If we can do that throughout the season, then we’ll be there to fight for the championship.”
This is the final year they’ll be racing with petrol-powered engines as the World RX will go electric in 2022. "We’re coming into the last year of the petrol era and I really want to take the championship this time,” said Kevin Hansen, 23. “Of course, it’s going to be a big challenge, but I wouldn’t want it any other way. We have been the most successful company in this sport’s history and we’re going to close this chapter by winning the titles.”
Get up to speed with World Rallycross...
Rallycross is a spectator-friendly mix of rallying and circuit racing featuring short head-to-head sprint races over dirt and asphalt. The RX1 drivers have over 600bhp beneath their right foot and the cars can accelerate from 0-100kph in less than two seconds – that’s faster than an F1 car.
Each World RX championship weekend is made up of free practice sessions, four rounds of timed qualifying races, two knockout semi-finals and one final. Each qualifying round is four laps of all-out racing with a maximum of five cars starting abreast in each race. The top 12 drivers from all four Qs progress to the two semi-finals; the top three from each semi-final then advance to the final, where the overall winner of the event is crowned.
Points are awarded to the top 16 drivers after the four qualifiers, with 16 for first place, down to one point for 16th. In each semi, points are awarded from six for the winner down to one for sixth place and in the final, scoring is 1st: 8 points, 2nd: 5 points, 3rd: 4 points, 4th: 3 points, 5th: 2 points, 6th: 1 point.
Every race of the nine-round 2021 FIA World Rallycross Championship will be broadcast live on Red Bull TV, starting this weekend with the World RX of Catalunya in Barcelona followed a week later by a double-header at the Nürburgring in Germany. Other highlights include the fan favourites at Höljes, Sweden, and Lohéac, France, a back-to-back in Latvia, a trip to Spa in Belgium and the season climax in Portugal on October 23.
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