The inaugural Silverstone Rallycross meeting was held in what can only be described as arctic conditions with snow and gale force winds which forced temperatures plummeting.
The new Northamptonshire circuit, which is over 70% loose gravel, is a tight and twisty affair making it extremely difficult for drivers of all classes. To clarify one thing this is no power Rallycross track, something echoed in Sébastien Loeb’s comments.
The MSA British Rallycross Championship Supercar entry list also included some of the cream of FIA World Rallycross Championship as well as all of the top British challengers. Two notable withdrawals before the event were Oliver Bennett and Andy Scott.
World RX entries show lead the way
All through the qualifying heats the World RX drivers showed their class with EKS Audi Sport’s Andreas Bakkerud seemingly brushing aside the rest of the field topping all three of the qualifying heats. Peugeot teammates Sébastien Loeb and Timmy Hansen were closely following getting faster and faster as the day progressed.
At the intermediate stage, Kevin Procter was the top British driver in fourth place closely followed by Albatecs Mark Higgins in his first ever RX event.
During the semi-finals, it quickly became a race of two halves, the World RX drivers showed just how large the gap between national racing and world championship in both in driver ability and the engineering of the cars.
The final saw the World RX drivers block out the front row of the grid. It was Procter and Higgins who made up the second row with Julian Godfrey, Steve Hill and Roger Thomas on the back row of the grid.
Rather unsurprisingly the World RX talent took the honours with Loeb putting in a faultless performance and teammate Hansen a couple of seconds down on him with Bakkerud in third.
Godfrey was the top British driver even after struggling all day in his first outing in the Spencer Motorsport Mitsubishi Mirage with Hill and Thomas making up the rest of the finishers.
Higgins after a spin on lap 2 finished a lap down and Procter pulled up on the first lap.
Outside of BRX Supercars
Action in other classes was just as fierce. The Supernational class that for 2018 incorporates Super1600 saw the lighter nimbler front wheel driver Super1600 cars dominate the tricky Silverstone layout. Jack Thorne drove to an outstanding victory despite spinning on the opening corner which saw him at the back of the field. Second place went to Paul Coney with 2017 Supernational Champion Tristan Ovenden in third.
It was Norwegian Marius Solberg Hansen in his Junior Rallycross debut that took the honours after he managed to avoid clashes at turn 2 Luke and James Constantine took second and third respectively.
Simon Ovenden got his 2018 defence of his Swift Sport Rallycross Championship off to a good start by clinching victory with Rob Shield closely on his heels despite flames bellowing from the underside of his car. Tom Llewellin got his senior Rallycross career off to a great start by taking third.
It was three-time champion Chrissy Palmer that picked up where he left off in RX150 and claimed the victory with WRX driver Kevin Eriksson pushing him all the way. Irishman John Ward fought back to claim the remaining step on the podium.
In the ever-popular Retro Rallycross it was returning favourite James Harrold in his VW Beetle that stole the show and dominated the day ahead of Steve Cozens and Gary Dixon.