WRC ORLEN 80th Rally Poland
Poland
Starts: Thursday, June 27, 2024 at 8:00:00 AM
ERC Bauhaus Royal Rally of Scandinavia
Sweden
Starts: Thursday, June 13, 2024 at 12:00:00 PM
Ferratum World RX of Sweden 1
Sweden
Starts: Saturday, July 6, 2024 at 6:00:00 AM

Thu 01 Jun 2023

Q&A: Arne Dirks, Rallycross Promoter Managing Director

On the eve of the 2023 FIA World Rallycross Championship curtain-raiser at Montalegre in Portugal this weekend (3-4 June), we sat down with the boss – Rallycross Promoter Managing Director, Arne Dirks – to hear his thoughts heading into his third season at the helm and the second of World RX’s new electric era...

Arne, you’re going into your third season in charge of World RX. How are you feeling, and how has the journey been so far?

I’m feeling excited. I was told before joining World RX that rallycross is a real rollercoaster ride of action and emotions, and that has certainly been the case so far – both on and off-track!

I’ve learned so much over the past two years about this wonderful sport, and truly feel like a member of the close-knit RX ‘family’ now. Although we are a World Championship, rallycross has retained its welcoming atmosphere, and if the drivers show each other no mercy out on the circuit, the vibe in the paddock is refreshingly friendly and fun. It’s the perfect blend and I’m really enjoying it.

There are more drivers and cars in the field this year, including the return of a couple of legends beginning with the letter ‘L’...

The announcement by what was then GCK Motorsport that it was reviving the Lancia Delta Integrale a couple of years ago sent shockwaves through the motorsport world, and fans were thrilled when the Delta Evo-e RX made its debut at the Nürburgring last season. I still remember the buzz and excitement in the paddock – even amongst members of other teams – to finally see this incredible car ‘in the flesh’, and to have two of them on the grid this year is amazing. Huge credit must go to Guerlain Chicherit, his vision and drive and his hard-working team for pulling this extraordinary passion project together.

To then pull off another major coup in putting Sébastien Loeb behind the wheel is just next-level, and I cannot wait to discover people’s reaction when they see Seb racing the Lancia for the first time this weekend.

It’s true that we were hoping for more than ten cars to start the season, but I am confident that at least one or maybe two more will join at a later stage. It has been a tough few years for motorsport across the board in terms of entry numbers, but World RX has ridden out the storm and is unquestionably now in the ascendancy again. The future is going to be electrifying!

The racing in the Euro RX curtain-raiser in Hungary a few weeks ago was pretty epic. Is that a positive sign for what we can expect from the World RX season-opener in Portugal this weekend as well?

I would say the racing in World RX for much of last year was pretty epic, to be truthful, with the new electric cars not only proving to be faster than their predecessors but also producing some sensational fights on-track. We were very pleased with how the event at Nyirád went, and Montalegre has always delivered outstanding action, which is what makes it such a popular stop on the calendar.

The cars look fantastic and with the likes of Loeb, Johan Kristoffersson, Timmy Hansen and Timo Scheider on the grid – all of them champions in major motorsport series – not to mention rising stars like Klara Andersson and Gustav Bergström, I think we have a superb season of entertainment ahead.

After Montalegre, World RX will travel throughout Europe before then heading long-haul again with double-headers in Cape Town and Hong Kong to conclude the campaign. How much are you looking forward to those events?

We are delighted to be going to Cape Town and Hong Kong. I wasn’t involved when World RX used to go to South Africa, but I have heard so many good things about the event and the warm welcome rallycross receives there, and it’s brilliant to be returning following a four-year absence.

Hong Kong will then be an incredible location to finish the season, with an iconic backdrop in the heart of the city’s waterfront area and Central Business District and a brand new track. It represents an opportunity to showcase this sport to a whole new audience, and we are hugely excited by the local promoter’s plans.

As a World Championship, it is vital that we spread our wings and conquer different markets beyond rallycross’ traditional European heartlands. For logistical reasons, that has been tricky since Covid, but it is very much our focus now – so watch this space for more new territories joining the calendar over the coming years. It’s time to take this spectacular show on the road!