Lydden Hill canceled, Special One Racing’s season over

There'll be no RX1e racing at the British venue this weekend, and none all year for Special One Racing

Guerlain Chicherit

There will be no World Rallycross Championship action at Lydden Hill this weekend as Sunday’s racing has been canceled due to safety concerns following the fire which destroyed both of Special One Racing’s cars and its transporter.

Both Guerlain Chicherit and Sébastien Loeb’s Lancia Delta Evo-Es were lost to a blaze on Friday at the English circuit – the fire originating in Loeb’s car before quickly spreading to Chicherit’s.

Nobody was injured in the incident, but it prompted World RX to cancel Saturday’s competitive action while investigations continued.

The championship had stated that it would review the situation for Sunday, but the decision has been made to cancel round five of the championship on safety grounds.

unnamed (6)

A stewards document released on Saturday night explained that the fire broke out at 8.43am on Friday morning, with video evidence showing that “the fire was initiated at the battery of the car while it was in the team charging area, but it is not clear why this happened.

“It was evident that only extremely quick thinking by the team members saved them from injury”.

The FIA is said to have launched “urgent investigations” into the root cause of the fire, in conjunction with the local fire service, while battery supplier Kreisel has provided “technical assistance on-site”.

All teams in the championship have been kept informed of any progress made by the investigation.

But “the investigation has not progressed far enough to determine a root cause for the failure that led to the fire, nor will the investigation be able to find the root cause in time for the event to proceed with the assurance of the appropriate level of safety for the spectators, team members and drivers”.

Other classes, including the electric RX2e support category and the national British Rallycross series, will go ahead as planned.

In its own statement, Special One Racing confirmed that it would not be able to participate in the rest of the World RX season.

Sebastien Loeb

“At this stage, we can already state that no handling errors were made by the staff of the Special One Racing team, nor by those of its partners,” the statement read.

“Without its two cars and a large part of its equipment, Special One Racing will not be able to enter in the last four rounds of the 2023 World Rallycross Championship season.

“For the moment, the team would like to thank all those who have sent messages of encouragement since Friday, and more generally since the start of the adventure in April.

“We’re proud of the response to our two magnificent Delta Evo-e RXs, of which all that remains today are photos and videos.”