The RX1e class of racing in the 2023 FIA World Rallycross Championship at Lydden Hill Race Circuit has been cancelled. This is due to an ongoing investigation into the fire that took place on Friday 21 July. All other racing action at the track will still go ahead, including the 5 Nations British Rallycross Championship and the support RX2e class of World RX.
So far, the cause of the fire that devastated the Special ONE Racing team area on Friday is unknown. According to the FIA, the video evidence suggests that the fire started in the battery area of the car as it was charging up in the team area. As this is unconfirmed and the investigation is ongoing, the FIA has decided that it is unsafe to run the RX1e class for the entirety of the weekend.
According to the statement issued by the FIA to the teams, “it has been determined that 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…further, the battery manufacturer, Kreisel, was unable to provide an appropriate level of assurance in the system, pending their investigations“.
While this is bad news for the World RX teams who have come over to the UK to compete, there will still be plenty of action for the fans to enjoy. The RX2e class provided scintillating racing on Saturday 22 July, with newcomer Tommi Hallman leading the overnight standings ahead of Viktor Vranckx and Nils Andersson. These cars are allowed to run, as they operate a different power system to the RX1e machines. The pace of these electric cars is extraordinary, with lap times comparable to the British supercars, which is unheard of.
Furthermore, the 5 Nations British Rallycross Championship has stepped up to fill the schedule. The decision was taken to declare the result of Saturday’s running as the end of that round, and start an entirely new round on Sunday. This means that Patrick O’Donovan has taken another victory at Lydden Hill, ahead of Jack Thorne, who was thoroughly impressive in the changeable and increasingly wet conditions on Saturday, and veteran racer René Münnich. The new round will consists of two heats, semi-finals, and then the grand final.
Keep your eye on The Checkered Flag for more updates as they come in.