Wed 05 Jul 2023

‘Risk-taker’ Chicherit keeps Lancia’s final record intact

In the opening two rounds of the season, it was Sébastien Loeb who led the Special ONE Racing charge. In Sweden Guerlain Chicherit enjoyed his own moment in the spotlight, albeit not for as long as he would have liked...

In the opening two rounds of the 2023 FIA World Rallycross Championship, it was Sébastien Loeb who led the Special ONE Racing charge. In Sweden last weekend (1-2 July), team-mate Guerlain Chicherit enjoyed his own moment in the spotlight – albeit not for as long as he would have liked...

Höljes’ ‘Magic Weekend’ was a troubled one for Special ONE Racing – World RX’s new kids on the block. Both Chicherit and Loeb ended up in the sand trap in the first corner of heat one, with the former then shooting spectacularly across the grass in heat two as the latter was forced out by power steering issues.

In wet conditions on Sunday – a new experience for the team with the Lancia Delta Evo-e RX – heat three yielded the sixth-fastest time for Loeb and seventh for Chicherit, before the nine-time FIA World Rally Champion won his race in heat four.

Chicherit, by contrast, spun after putting two wheels on the sodden grass during a wheel-to-wheel duel with Klara Andersson. It was the Frenchman, however, who would have the last laugh as he got the better of both CE Dealer Team by Volvo Construction Equipment cars in the opening semi-final – opportunistically overhauling Niclas Grönholm in the Velodrome section along the way – to qualify for the final for the first time this year.

In the following race, Loeb was not so fortunate, missing out after finding himself forced wide at the start, while the fourth final appearance of Chicherit’s World RX career came to an abrupt end when he picked up a puncture upon landing from the jump on the first lap.

“When I started fifth in my semi-final, I had to take all the risks,” the four-time Free Skiing World Champion revealed. “At the red light, I counted to three and then dropped everything – and miraculously, it worked! The euphoria of being in the final, though, only lasted 500 metres. It’s a shame, because I had a good rhythm on the muddy track. We still need to work on gaining confidence in our car, which is fast but very sensitive.”

“I won a heat race, which proves that we can be on the pace,” added Loeb. “Starting third in my semi-final, I had a good chance of qualifying, but I made two small mistakes which cost me a place. The car doesn’t forgive mistakes and we need to find more confidence behind the wheel, but we learnt a few things over the weekend.”

The World RX campaign continues on 22-23 July at Lydden Hill in the UK – a circuit not visited by the championship since 2017.

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