Friday | 05 Nov 2021

De Ridder ‘expects a big fight at the Nürburgring’

FIA RX2e Championship leader Guillaume De Ridder has predicted ‘a big fight’ at the Nürburgring later this month (27/28 November) for the honour of being crowned the first-ever FIA electric rallycross champion – as he targets a return to the highest level in 2022.

FIA RX2e Championship leader Guillaume De Ridder has predicted ‘a big fight’ at the Nürburgring later this month (27/28 November) for the honour of being crowned the first-ever FIA electric rallycross champion – as he targets a return to the highest level in 2022.

De Ridder has led the RX2e title chase since winning the Catalunya curtain-raiser back in July – but chief rival Jesse Kallio has kept him honest throughout, with victory at Höljes ramping up the pressure. The pair arrived at Spa-Francorchamps for the penultimate round of the campaign separated by just seven points at the summit of the standings – and the opening day of action was very much advantage Kallio.

While the Finn sat atop the intermediate classification following the first two qualifiers, his Belgian adversary languished down in fifth after finding himself caught up in traffic – the legacy of an outside grid slot for Q1.

That meant De Ridder was unable to capitalise upon his raw speed, but he came out fighting on day two and dug deep to set the pace in both Q3 and Q4 – in so doing, hauling himself up the order to second overall.

After comfortably winning his semi-final, the 28-year-old Alpine F1 Team Power Unit Performance Engineer out-dragged Kallio at the start of the final and – having fended off an early threat – edged away to secure his second success of the season, thereby increasing his championship lead to nine points ahead of the all-important Nürburgring title-decider.

“It was amazing to win in front of all the Belgian fans at the most legendary track in the world – their support was simply incredible and truly spurred me on,” reflected De Ridder. “Every victory is special, but I’d never felt emotions like that before – when I climbed up onto the roof of my car after the final, I felt like a gladiator in an arena...

“When I was a kid, I used to race on the kart track just next door and I would see the star drivers competing on the F1 circuit, always believing that was out of reach for me. To have now won here myself in an FIA World Championship event is
a childhood dream come true.

“I was in trouble on the Saturday due to being held up in traffic, which was obviously frustrating, but I wasn’t too concerned because I felt really good in the car and our lap times showed the speed was clearly there. I knew I just had to remain patient and wait for my chance to turn the tables, and lining up on pole position for Q3 gave me just that opportunity. That was unquestionably the turning point of my weekend.

“I will give it my all to try to keep this winning run going now, although it’s a very tough championship – these guys are all really fast and we have roughly the same pace at every race, so it’s a matter of small details. It’s not done yet, and I expect a big fight at the Nürburgring – and next year, I really hope I’ll have the chance to race at these iconic tracks again, only behind the wheel of an electric RX1e car in the World Championship...”