Thu 14 Mar 2024

‘A real buzz’ around Essay’s Euro RX return

There is ‘a real buzz around the return of rallycross to Essay’, says the president of the popular French circuit’s organising club, the ASA des Ducs...

There is ‘a real buzz around the return of rallycross to Essay’, says the president of the popular French track’s organising club, the ASA des Ducs, as the Orne venue aims to secure a long-term future on the international scene while ensuring that ‘everybody leaves the circuit with a smile on their face’.

Essay – which last welcomed the FIA European Rallycross Championship back in 2011 – will play host to the forthcoming curtain-raiser for the 2024 Euro RX1, Euro RX3 and RX2e campaigns on 8-9 June.

That has been made possible in large part, says Christophe Jaffrelot, by the dedication, determination and drive of new circuit owner, Howard MacPherson.

“We didn’t necessarily anticipate being able to stage a round of the European Championship, but thanks to Howard, things progressed more quickly than expected,” the Frenchman explained in an interview with Pure Rallycross website.

“We want to draw a clear line under the past in order to focus fully on the future. It’s fantastic to have rallycross back at Essay again, but our priority now is to ensure that fans enjoy high-quality, well-attended events.”

There is, Jaffrelot recognises, a great deal of work ahead over the coming weeks, with Essay having not staged an international event in more than a decade and its last competition of any sort dating back to 2021. While under no illusions about the size of the challenge, he is also heartened by the swell of support in the local community.

“It’s going to be very intense,” he acknowledges, “but we’re lucky enough to be able to count upon a core group of young volunteers who are keen to celebrate the circuit’s heritage, and we are in the process of ‘remobilising’ the older ones who have experience of participating in French and European Championship events held here in the past.

“There’s a real buzz around the return of rallycross to Essay. People keep calling to ask if we need a hand, and we are extremely grateful for their enthusiasm and willingness to help. We feared we might find it difficult to recruit marshals due to the proximity of the Le Mans 24 Hours, but we already seem to have more requests than places available!

“We’ve also received a 120-page briefing document to follow, which as an organiser, is tremendously useful in allowing us to plan for all the different boxes that need to be ticked. The track itself will remain unchanged from what it was, but we will adapt the paddock to make it fit for purpose for Euro RX and there are some other major renovation works in the pipeline. We want to make sure everybody leaves the circuit with a smile on their face.”

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