The mad world of rallycross


I’ve always had a bit of a soft spot for rallycross. It stems from the days when Minis and Escorts used to do battle with boxy Volvos and wild flatnose Porsche 911s. And then there were the Group B cars…

In a funny sort of way I think it was the violence that appealed to me as much as the variety. The cars were explosive, the circuits rough and ready, the drivers totally unhinged. The action was fast and furious well before Vin Diesel arrived on the scene.

It helped that many of the drivers had unpronounceable Scandinavian names and a glint of Norse lunacy in their eyes, but fundamentally the sport was always a glorious elbows-out dust-up between a bunch of scarily committed drivers with an abundance of good old-fashioned car control.

Much to my delight nothing much appears to have changed in World RX. The cars are wilder than ever, the Scandis are still reassuringly bonkers and the racing is a brilliant mix of rough-and-tumble and balls-out genius. But then when you’ve got guys of Matthias Ekström, Petter Solberg and Sébastien Loeb’s calibre going door-to-door you’re going to have something very special.

A highlight of this season’s FIA World Rallycross Championship was the World RX of Portugal. The course was a wild mix of ultra-fast straights, massive kerbs and big braking areas into impossibly tight hairpins. The cars looked unbelievably quick and the driving was exceptional. It genuinely had me sat on the edge of my seat, mouth agape. To see why take a look here:

Yes, I miss the old-school charm of the Minis, Escorts, Volvos and Porsches. And yes there was always something extraordinary about seeing Group B cars competing long after they were banned from rallying. Still I think today’s World RX is the purest form of four-wheeled competition and the clearest demonstration of a driver’s skill, commitment and tactical awareness. Most importantly it’s almost as much fun to watch as it clearly is to take part.

In a wider sport at the mercy of politics, aerodynamics, complex regulations and misplaced environmentalism it’s a breath of fresh air. At least it would be if it wasn’t for all the dust and tyre smoke!

Round four of the FIA World RX Championship takes place this weekend at the Coyote World RX of Belgium. Lydden Hill hosts Round 5 – The World RX of Great Britain – on May 26th. See for details

Photos below from

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