Fri 02 Jun 2023

World RX of Portugal: Top five reasons to tune in

The waiting is finally over, as the 2023 FIA World Rallycross Championship gets underway with World RX of Portugal at Montalegre this weekend (3-4 June). Every moment of the electrifying action will be broadcast live on RX+, and you really don’t want to miss it. Here’s why...

Loeb in a Lancia

Need we say more? An iconic driver in an iconic car, as Special ONE Racing brings back to life the legendary Lancia Delta Integrale. Between them, Sébastien Loeb and the archetypal Italian hot hatch won no fewer than 17 FIA World Rally Championship titles. The Frenchman also holds the third-best podium-to-starts ratio in World RX history, but while he has twice reached the highest step of the rostrum, he has yet to conquer the series’ crown.

With the retrofitted Delta Evo-e RX, Special ONE has adopted a refreshingly different approach to its rivals, and coated it in a classic livery that will bring back many a memory. Now, it is up to Loeb and team-mate Guerlain Chicherit to try to recreate the Lancia’s previous successes in the modern era.

Kristoffersson vs. Hansens – Take Three?

In each of the past two years at Montalegre, Johan Kristoffersson and the Hansen brothers have seemed to be magnetically attracted to each other. In 2021, the three of them engaged in a famously physical duel in the final that culminated in contact between Kevin Hansen and Kristoffersson, sending the latter’s Audi skating spectacularly across the gravel trap and ploughing through the track markers.

Twelve months later, the pair thrilled fans with a similarly entertaining doorhandle-to-doorhandle duel, as the Hansen World RX Team star passed his countryman twice in the course of the same race – a rare accomplishment indeed. In the final, Kristoffersson and Timmy Hansen then made contact at Turn One, sending the 2019 world champion off-track and incurring the Volkswagen Dealerteam BAUHAUS ace a ten-second penalty.

So, what does this heavyweight trio have in store for us this weekend? Stay tuned to find out...

Getting Physical in Portugal

Klara Andersson targeting a rostrum repeat

Last season in Portugal, Construction Equipment Dealer Team rookie Klara Andersson made history in becoming became the first female driver ever to achieve a podium finish in top flight international rallycross. The 23-year-old continued to grow in confidence over the course of the campaign, to the extent that by the Nürburgring in November, she was able to unleash Kristoffersson-challenging pace in her progression race.

Now embarking upon her sophomore season at the highest level, the rising Swedish star is aiming to put into practice everything she learned last year in order to take the next step. The calibre of the field might have increased over the winter, but Andersson has similarly raised her game. Can she reach the rostrum again at Montalegre? Don’t bet against it...

Double DTM champion back for full campaign

In 2009, Timo Scheider became only the second driver in DTM history to successfully defend the title – and the versatile German is no slouch in a rallycross car either. He has two prior podium finishes to his credit in World RX, and the last time he appeared in the championship – in 2021 – he was unlucky not to add to that tally.

Following a sabbatical from the grid in 2022, Scheider is back with ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport, ready for his first season of electric competition in the series. Having won in touring cars and sportscars over the course of his illustrious career, is this the year when he also joins the rallycross elite?

Four seasons in one race?

Located high up in the Vila Real mountains, Montalegre observes its own unique microclimate. Twice, the World RX event has witnessed snowfall – just 24 hours after a day of seasonably warm sunshine in 2018 – and following tan-topping temperatures in the mornings, every afternoon this week, the heavens have opened with a vengeance.

Mixed conditions invariably generate great racing – and, frequently, unpredictable and shock results. If ever a surprise was on the horizon, it could come this weekend...

Starts: Thursday, July 18, 2024 at 4:31:00 AM
Starts: Friday, July 26, 2024 at 7:00:00 AM
Starts: Saturday, July 27, 2024 at 6:00:00 AM