This weekend the current FIA World Rallycross Champion and one of his predecessors are taking part in the second round of the FIA World Rally Championship, Arctic Rally Finland.
Both Johan Kristoffersson and Mattias Ekstrom have regularly taken part in rallies during their careers and, as two of the outstanding motor sport ‘allrounders’ of the era, have no problem switching between rally, rallycross or race.
The first ever rallycross event was won by perhaps the greatest motor sport allrounder ever, Vic Elford was good at everything, right up to and including F1.
It is perhaps easier for the rallycross driver to adapt to rallying than for the rally driver to drop into rallycross; having your opponents quite literally knocking on your door is not always easy for rally drivers to adapt to even if they rarely have much difficulty in terms of basic speed.
The raw speed that the best rallycross drivers can deliver has stood many of them in good stead when trying rallies. Most notably Petter Solberg attributed his explosive speed from the very start of a stage to the skills and driving style learned as a youngster in rallycross. It’s a pattern now being followed and replicated by his son Oliver.
Another young WRC charger, Teemu Suninen, also moved from rallycross to rallying. Thomas Radstrom and Jonny Milner are among those who built rally careers on rallycross foundations.
With the FIA World Rallycross Championship now under the same management as the FIA World Rally Championship might we see closer links and more open attitudes towards rallycross being both a credible training ground for future rally drivers and an alternative occupation for those who have ‘made it’? In the past it has been completely normal for drivers to do both disciplines, Bjorn Waldegard, Stig Blomqvist and, of course, Per Eklund all matched rally and rallycross.
Sebastien Loeb was a great asset to World RX while he was in the championship and who would not be interested to see what Sebastien Ogier could do in rallycross?« Previous Post Next Post »