At long last the World Rallycross Championship is returning after its extended coronavirus-enforced hiatus. The calendar might look a little different, and the support bill might have been tweaked too, but it’s very much the same high-intensity racing series that we know and love.
Ahead of rounds one and two at Höljes this weekend, take a look at our guide for World RX’s long-awaited seventh season.
As with the rest of motorsport, World RX’s hands have been tied when it comes to getting a race schedule together for 2020. As such, events in Norway, France, Abu Dhabi, and South Africa have all been shelved through coronavirus-related problems – Russia was also set to feature but was pulled for unrelated reasons.
The season will begin with a brace of championship rounds at Höljes in Sweden, the site of RallyX Nordic’s season opener which served as a perfect preview of what rallycross can look like in a pandemic-stricken world.
Six days later the series will be racing in Finland, added late-on to make up for the canceled rounds, then Latvia – both trips will again be double-headers. From then in it’s a western swing, taking in Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium, a returning Montalegre in Portugal and Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya in October, before the season concludes in Germany with a maiden visit to the Nürburgring in December, which is likely to be affected by extreme cold.
New support package
As well as a handful of events, 2020 has also claimed another scalp in the form of RX2. While World RX’s main support category will be reduced to a single standalone event at Denmark’s Nysumbanen, the prize of a fully paid-for round next year in eRX2 – the category’s replacement – will remain.
The European championship has also been affected, with Supercars featuring in Sweden, Latvia, and Belgium, while Super 1600 cars will race in Portugal, Spain, and Germany.
One thing that has seemingly survived the coronavirus storm is Projekt E. The new-for-2020 series, a precursor to a fully-electric future in the top level of rallycross, will feature at four of the seven stops on the 2020 schedule and kick off at Höljes with big names such as Ken Block and Mads Østberg on the entry list.
Movers and shakers
The World RX Supercar field will once again be populated by the usual suspects, with reigning champion Timmy Hansen and his brother Kevin, 2019 runner-up Andreas Bakkerud and Niclas Grönholm among the headline entrants.
Bakkerud and RX Cartel team-mate Liam Doran will remain with the Monster Energy-backed program, but have left behind the EKS Audis they ran last year in favor of GC Kompetition’s Renault Megane R.S. RXs.
Neither are completely new to the Prodrive-developed cars, Bakkerud having tested one at the end of 2019, and Doran having driven one during the 2018 World RX and Americas Rallycross seasons.
Robin Larsson is also returning for another full season in the main game. The Swede won the 2019 European crown, and graduates with the same JC Raceteknik team and an updated version of the Audi S1 he used last year.
But perhaps the biggest standout name of all on the entry list is Johan Kristoffersson. Statistically the greatest driver in the history of World RX, Kristoffersson returns to the arena where he won back-to-back titles in 2017 and ‘18 after a year in stage rallying and touring car racing.
The 20-time event winner has already got his 2020 season off to a great start, winning two out of three rounds in RallyX Nordic, where he has been competing in a privately-developed Volkswagen Polo as opposed to the all-conquering ex-works car that he will pedal in World RX.