For the first time, the World Rallycross Championship will be promoted by the same organization as the World Rally Championship.
Kenneth Hansen, a 14-time European Rallycross Champion and boss of the multiple world title winning Hansen Motorsport squad, gives his take on the news in an exclusive column for DirtFish.
Hello everyone. It’s been quite busy over the last months here at Team Hansen headquarters but, like you, we were waiting patiently for the big news to be revealed.
And yesterday, it finally arrived; WRC Promoter is coming in to take over as World Rallycross Championship rights holder.
Most of you reading this will be rally fans, I think. So, you will probably know about the changes WRC Promoter made when they took over the World Rally Championship a few years ago.
From what we can see, they did a good job with the marketing, media and so on. They have the right spirit and great ideas. We felt a lot of energy from them when talking about their vision for World RX, and curiosity from them about what we are already doing.
It reminds me a bit of Nitro Rallycross (pictured above), especially the first year, and the work Travis Pastrana was doing with it.
In his mind, there were no limits to what could be done; rallycross had a strong framework, and he could build on that. We have the same feeling with the new promoter in World RX.
With the last promoter change in 2013, when IMG came in, they did a great job in the beginning.
But then the amount of investment levelled off over time and we weren’t getting a clear plan for the long-term future of rallycross; it felt like we stopped moving forwards. We knew rallycross had more to offer.
That’s why we were not worried about them leaving and were optimistic about finding a new promoter for 2021.
It meant we could find a new group who were interested in the same vision for rallycross as we have and would push to take it to a new level.
As long as we have a strong set of teams, world-class drivers, and the racing is good, the change in sound from electric is something we’ll simply get used to in timeKenneth Hansen
It’s early days, of course, and we haven’t gone into fine details yet, but the feeling so far is good. From speaking to the FIA and WRC Promoter, they are here for the long term.
When IMG withdrew it unexpectedly created an opportunity for other promoters.
Dealing with exit negotiations between FIA and IMG, and then sorting agreements with the new promoter, all takes time to do properly.
In an ideal world, you would aim for 2022 in this situation. But the opportunity required starting in 2021, and they are not afraid to take on the challenge and begin straight away.
This season will be learning year for them, putting their new team together, and then in 2022 you will see the new era really starting.
WRC Promoter is also continuing on the electric path IMG started. We know the rallycross community is very divided about this. I believe it can be very good, leading to new investment for the championship and the teams competing in it.
Of course I understand people that are afraid it will be quiet. But I believe it’s just a learning curve of sorts.
I remember when exhaust silencers were introduced. There was a lot of negative reaction from all sides about how the cars would be too quiet but, in the end, everyone got used to it quickly.
As long as we have a strong set of teams, world-class drivers, and the racing is good, the change in sound is something we’ll simply get used to in time.
And I can say confidently there will be sound; the cars won’t be quiet.
I am usually quite optimistic about change, and I have a good feeling about the future of the world championship. I hope you will share my optimism too.