2007–2017: NEW ERA

Motor Sport News - - Retro: Rallycross At 50 -

By the end of the Noughties, things were look­ing brighter. Teams in the Euro­pean Rallycross pad­docks had be­gun to grow into two-car op­er­a­tions; Bri­tish driver Liam Do­ran be­came one of the first driv­ers to truly sign for a team as a pro­fes­sional driver by join­ing Ken­neth Hansen Mo­tor­sport for the 2010 sea­son.

Amer­i­can X-games star and TV pre­sen­ter Tan­ner Foust also be­came a se­ries reg­u­lar, and rallycross events be­gan to take place in Amer­ica too, notably at the X-games, and with ini­tial stand­alone events in New Jer­sey.

The Euro­pean Championship re­mained a col­lec­tion of in­di­vid­ual events that made up the re­quired points-scor­ing rounds, un­til the end of 2012, when it was an­nounced that sports mar­ket­ing gi­ant IMG would take on the pro­mo­tion of the sport.

Hav­ing re­tired from his World Rally ca­reer at the end of 2012, Pet­ter Sol­berg en­tered a pri­vately run Citroen DS 3 in the se­ries, and live tele­vi­sion was im­me­di­ately back on the agenda. The se­ries also fea­tured a change in for­mat, mov­ing away from the tra­di­tional three heats and A,B, C fi­nals to a qual­i­fy­ing heats stage, semi-fi­nals and fi­nals struc­ture.

At the end of 2013, the FIA an­nounced that from 2014 the sport would be­come a World Championship. New events were held in Bel­gium, Canada, Italy, Turkey and Ar­gentina in World RX’S first term, where Sol­berg won the ti­tle and Ford-backed Ols­bergsmse col­lected the teams’ championship. Peu­geot also of­fi­cially en­tered, sup­port­ing Hansen’s team, and it was the Team Peu­geot-hansen squad that won the teams’ ti­tle in 2015 while Sol­berg col­lected an­other driv­ers’ crown.

Driv­ers from across the motor rac­ing spec­trum joined the se­ries, nine-time World Rally cham­pion Se­bastien Loeb made a one-off out­ing in 2013 and re­turned full-time with Team Peu­geot-hansen for the 2016 sea­son, while 1997 For­mula 1 cham­pion Jac­ques Vil­leneuve raced in a cam­paign in 2014. Dou­ble DTM cham­pion Mat­tias Ek­strom turned a one-off out­ing in 2013 into cre­at­ing his own team and claimed both the driv­ers’ and teams’ ti­tles in 2016.

As the sport cel­e­brates its 50th birth­day this week, both Volkswagen and Audi have re­cently pledged works sup­port for Sol­berg and Ek­strom’s teams re­spec­tively, while the elec­tri­fi­ca­tion of rallycross is a hot topic for the fu­ture, clearly of in­ter­est to man­u­fac­tur­ers (in state­ments made by Peu­geot, Volkswagen and Audi). Man­fred Stohl’s STARD re­search and devel­op­ment firm re­leased the first fully-elec­tric rallycross car at the end of 2016.

Sol­berg took two world ti­tles

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