It may not have the glamour of Formula 1, but the growing popularity of rallycross, and the star names it’s attracting, is proof it can more than hold its own in the hierarchy of world motorsport
The next big thing in motorsport
THERE’S A CLIP ON YOUTUBE of Italian rally driver Gigi Galli negotiating a tarmac hairpin with his usual flair in a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VI. He pitches the car broadside before the turn even starts, his car taking up the full width of the road and almost pointing back where it came from as it enters the hairpin, before sliding through the corner and onto the following straight.
Imagine that same turn, but on dirt, and while overtaking five cars in a single hit. That moment, supplied by Kevin Eriksson at the German round of the 2016 World Rallycross Championship, is rallycross in a nutshell. It’s long been an exciting spectator sport, really taking off when drivers like Will Gollop and Kenneth Hansen campaigned 6R4s and RS200s, but in the age of instant gratification, there’s never been a better time for it to thrive.
The 2018 season kicks off on 14 April in Catalunya, and unfurls across Europe and Scandinavia, North America and South Africa, with each event comprising four qualifying heats, two semi-finals and a final. Three to five cars take part in each four-lap heat, while semi-finals and finals pit six cars against each other for six laps.
As an FIA series, World Rallycross is young, having started in 2014, but fierce competition means we’ve already seen four different teams and three different drivers triumph. The sport is big business, and over the following pages we’ll tell you all you need to know about it.