Friday | 17 Dec 2021

Top 10 Drivers of the Year: Kobe Pauwels (8th)

In our countdown of the Top 10 Drivers of the Year in 2021 across the FIA World Rallycross Championship, FIA RX2e Championship and FIA European Rallycross Championships (Euro RX1 and RX3), today we reach the driver you voted into 8th place – teenage talent Kobe Pauwels.

Kobe Pauwels only made his car racing debut at the end of 2020, with this season marking his first full campaign out of karting and CrossCar competition – but so accomplished was his performance, you would have been hard-pressed to tell.

Immediately establishing himself as Volland Racing team-mate Yury Belevskiy’s closest competitor in the FIA European Rallycross Championship’s Euro RX3 class, Pauwels was unlucky not to reach the rostrum on his debut in Barcelona after getting caught up in first corner contact, but he fought back from further misfortune at Höljes to take the chequered flag second, right in Belevskiy’s wheeltracks.

The Belgian proceeded to turn the tables on his Russian rival at Lohéac for his breakthrough victory in just his third event at Euro RX3 level, going on to clinch the runner-up spot in the standings at the end of the campaign. He subsequently made his bow in the FIA RX2e Championship at the Nürburgring, impressing again by matching the front-runners for pace in his maiden appearance and missing out on a podium finish by less than five hundredths-of-a-second.