The final four rounds RX1e class of the 2023 FIA World Rallycross Championship will take place as previously scheduled in RX2e machinery. After not racing at the top level since July, the RX1e title will be decided by two double-header events, with two full events happening over each weekend, at the ever-popular Killarney International Raceway in South Africa (7/8 October) followed by the season finale at a brand new street circuit in Hong Kong (11/12 November).
Following the fire at Lydden Hill in July, the first fire of its kind in the decade-long history of top-flight electric motorsport, the decision was taken not to race the RX1e machines while the investigation into the cause was taking place. This investigation is still ongoing, but the decision has been taken by the FIA World Motorsport Council to run the final four rounds of the season in ZEROID X1 vehicles, better known as the RX2e-spec cars.
While not as powerful as the RX1e class, the RX2e category has provided some fantastic racing. The speed of the cars was obvious at Lydden Hill when the cars were essentially on the pace of the British rallycross supercars. The championship decider at Estering in Germany was equally exciting, with Team E driver Nils Andersson claiming the title. With the cars generating 270kW of power, the equivalent of 362bhp, and with all of the power available instantly, the cars have proved to be no slouches.
So far, no official entry lists have been revealed. However, the World RX media centre has confirmed there will be a minimum of eight drivers competing, including frontrunner and championship favourite Johan Kristoffersson. After the three events successfully run so far, Kristoffersson is already a mighty 27 points ahead of nearest rival Niclas Grönholm. Kristoffersson was also unstoppable when he switched to the RX2e class for the Belgian round of the season at Mettet, so will surely be the one to beat.
His teammate, Ole Christian Veiby, as well as both CE Dealer Team drivers Grönholm and Klara Andersson, have also competed in the RX2e class this year. So far, there has been no official confirmation that they will be taking part in the final four rounds, but it seems very likely that they will be.
The team who have officially confirmed their attendance are the Hansen World RX Team. Both Kevin and Timmy Hansen have competed in RX2e machinery, and are no strangers to the Killarney circuit, with Timmy taking the 2019 championship there in one of the most legendary rallycross races of all time. The team are huge advocates of electric rallycross, throwing their weight behind it and Timmy telling The Checkered Flag that he cannot imagine ever going back to racing internal combustion engine cars.
Rallycross Promoter Managing Director Arne Dirks thanked the teams for their cooperation in delivering a viable finale to the RX1e campaign: “What is absolutely paramount is that the world’s best drivers are there to compete, and we are absolutely certain that fans will be treated to a spectacular weekend of action in both locations.“
Team manager and rallycross legend Kenneth Hansen echoed those sentiments, saying “It’s a huge effort from everyone involved; the promotor, the FIA and the teams to pull together a solution after it looked impossible to continue this year.” He is excited about the upcoming races. Not only do they buy more time to prepare for 2024, but, as Hansen says, “we will see closer racing than ever with everyone running the same specification of cars. It’s a huge achievement for everybody that we are able to finish the season as we look to an exciting future.”
The next round of the 2023 FIA World Rallycross Championship takes place at the Killarney International Raceway on 7/8 October.