Wed 26 Jul 2023

Munnings: I see this as just the start...

Catie Munnings might have pressed the pause button on her rallycross career following four outings in RX2e, but the British star hopes to be back some day...

Catie Munnings might have pressed the pause button on her rallycross career following four outings in the FIA RX2e Championship, but after making substantial progress over the course of the past year, the Brit says she hopes to be back some day.

A champion on the European rallying scene and an event-winner alonsgide Timmy Hansen in Extreme E, Munnings made her RX2e debut at Höljes in Sweden in 2022. She returned this season for an initial two-round programme with Hansen Motorsport junior outfit #YellowSquad.

After winning a heat race in both Norway and Sweden – and placing an impressive third-quickest overall in heat three in Hell – the 25-year-old dug deep to find the funding to prolong her campaign by entering her home round at Lydden Hill last weekend (22-23 July).

Having wound up ninth in both qualifying practice and heat one at the circuit where the sport was born, Munnings produced a committed performance on a wet track surface in heat two to improve to seventh, before battling back from a start-line clash not of her own making in heat three that left her bonnet-less to overhaul Filip Thorén and Pablo Suárez for sixth.

She replicated that result in heat four, and then pulled off a bold round-the-outside overtake at the start of the second semi-final to run third – putting her on-course for her maiden final appearance in the FIA World Rallycross Championship feeder series – until a late puncture dashed her dream. But as she left Lydden on Sunday night, she was hoping it was merely au revoir rather than adieu...

“We were so close,” rued the Kent-born star. “Sunday was a better day for us than Saturday in terms of pace. I managed to pass two cars on-track in heat three, and then in the semi-final, we were on for what would have been P2 in the end after one of the other drivers got a penalty. We were building a gap and had the margin to take the joker and get out ahead to make it into the final for the first time in RX2e, so it was really disappointing to lose that to a puncture.

“That’s rallycross, though, isn’t it, and taking the positives from the weekend, I have to be happy with the progress we made. I think it was actually my favourite track of the ones we’ve raced at this year, and the crowd was amazing. Seeing everyone waving and clapping after every heat when I came off the track was very special.

“I’ve really enjoyed my time with #YellowSquad, and it’s been such a journey. I was talking about it with Kenneth [Hansen] as I was leaving, and we both got a bit teary. It’s so sad to think this is the end of my RX2e season, but hopefully it’s just the beginning in rallycross for me. It’s a discipline I’ve fallen in love with through the Hansen family, so big thanks to them for getting me involved.

“I’m very happy with where I am compared to where I started. Everyone knows it’s a really competitive field in RX2e – this is no entry-level series – and I had to learn the hard way, joining with very little practice or testing and having to learn on the job in the races.

“I’ve got to be proud of the pace we had in the end, being able to battle up at the front with some of the drivers that are regulars on the podium. Hopefully with more opportunities, I can be back in the paddock in the future. I see this as just the start...”

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