Fri 05 Apr 2024

Following in the footsteps of giants

When the FIA World Rallycross Championship title-chasers arrive in Mettet this summer, they will be following in the wheeltracks of some of the sport’s most legendary drivers and champions...

Mettet appeared on the inaugural World RX calendar in 2014, and remained a staple of the series’ schedule until 2018, prior to returning last year following a short absence.

World Rallycross Champions Johan Kristoffersson and Mattias Ekström, as well as rallying record man Sébastien Loeb have all tamed the Wallonia town’s Circuit Jules Tacheny over the past decade, but rewind the clock somewhat further, and some other familiar names race into view.

The 1950 Grandee Trophée Entre Sambre et Meuse – a non-championship Formula 2 race – featured a high-calibre, 24-car grid including some iconic names. On a 7.387km street circuit, the heat wins were shared between future two-time Formula 1 World Champion Alberto Ascari in a Ferrari – in the dry opening contest – and Sir Stirling Moss, widely regarded as the finest driver never to lift the sport’s ultimate prize.

The Briton took full advantage of wetter conditions later on to prevail in heat two behind the wheel of his HWM-Alta ‘offset’ and placed second on aggregate, while Ascari and two-time Monaco Grand Prix winner Maurice Trintignant were amongst 14 competitors not to be classified.

The latter fared somewhat better the following year, finishing third on a longer layout as factory Gordini cars swept the top three positions at Mettet, with Moss winding up fourth from the back of the grid after missing practice. He had climbed as high as second before having to make three unscheduled pit-stops to change spark plugs that were oiling up.

Mettet’s origins, however, are very much rooted in motorcycle road racing, and John Surtees won the ‘Grand Trophy’ on two wheels at the Circuit Jules Tacheny in the 350cc and 500cc classes in 1958 – the same year that the Englishman clinched the world championship crown in both categories.

Tickets are now on sale for World RX of Benelux on 17-18 August. For further information, click here.

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