Thu 01 Feb 2024

VOTE for the 2023 Rookie of the Year!

Every now and again, a newcomer arrives on the scene and truly turns heads. In 2023, we were lucky enough to have six such talented rookies on the grid across the World RX support categories – but which one of them impressed you the most?

Every now and again, a newcomer arrives upon the scene who truly turns heads with their pace and performance. In 2023, we were lucky enough to have six such talented rookies on the grid across the FIA World Rallycross Championship support categories – but which one of them impressed you the most?

Was it Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky, not seen on-track at a World RX event since 2014, but immediately on the podium on her FIA RX2e Championship debut in Hell last summer? The Swede went on to stitch together a concerted title challenge, finishing second to guest entrant Johan Kristoffersson at Mettet and securing third in the final standings, just ten points shy of the coveted crown.

Tommi Hallman may only have entered two rounds in the all-electric single-spec series, but the flying Finn won them both. Dominated, you might say, beating reigning title-holder Viktor Vranckx at Lydden Hill and pipping champion-elect Nils Andersson to the chequered flag at the Estering. Of the 18 timed sessions he contested in RX2e, on only four occasions did Hallman not come out on top.

Or perhaps Patrick O’Donovan caught your eye the most? With just a single prior appearance to his name in the FIA European Rallycross Championship’s top-tier, the 19-year-old took the fight to the best in the business with all the assurance of a seasoned pro. Triumphing at Höljes’ ‘Magic Weekend’ was indisputably the highlight, but O’Donovan was a major factor every time out.

If the British teenager was one of the paddock’s most gregarious and outgoing figures, then Máté Benyó preferred to fly under the radar. As the saying goes, however, it is often the quiet ones you need to look out for, and this introspective Hungarian certainly did his talking on the track. After sensationally reaching the final on his Euro RX1 debut in a star-studded field on home soil at Nyirád, Benyó belied his complete lack of experience of any other circuit on the calendar to place fourth in the intermediate ranking in both Portugal – where he posted two second-fastest heat times – and Norway en route to ninth in the points table.

Benyó was not the only Hungarian to shine on the European stage in 2023. In Euro RX3, Balázs Körmöczi did even better at Nyirád, reaching the rostrum first time out in the championship – and if the field was arguably not quite as strong as in Euro RX1, to defeat three of the five all-conquering Audis behind the wheel of his Volkswagen Polo, and genuinely pose a threat to season-long pace-setters Damian Litwinowicz and Espen Isaksætre was mightily impressive. Reliability troubles hampered the 21-year-old’s hopes elsewhere, but his pace at the Estering demonstrated that he can be a major threat moving forward.

Our final contender in the poll is Jens Hvaal, who you voted as your ‘Driver of the Year’ in Euro RX3. Like Körmöczi, the Norwegian proved to be a thorn in the side of the Volland Racing heavyweights, and only a technical disqualification from victory in the last round of the campaign in Germany denied him a top three spot in the overall classification.  

So who gets your vote as the 2023 ‘Rookie of the Year’? Choose carefully – you can select only one...

Starts: Thursday, July 18, 2024 at 4:31:00 AM
Starts: Friday, July 26, 2024 at 8:30:00 AM
Starts: Saturday, July 27, 2024 at 9:30:00 AM