Friday | 04 Nov 2022

RX2e Champion Vranckx: These are the best days of my life

Viktor Vranckx has described his title-winning campaign in the FIA RX2e Championship this year as ‘the best days of his life’, after digging deep to keep his flawless podium record intact at World RX of Catalunya last weekend (29-30 November).

Viktor Vranckx has described his title-winning campaign in the FIA RX2e Championship this year as ‘the best days of his life’, after digging deep to keep his flawless podium record intact at World RX of Catalunya last weekend (29-30 November).

With a 14-point advantage at the summit of the standings, Vranckx had a comfortable margin over his pursuers arriving at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya – but still, racer that he unquestionably is, he wanted to seal the deal in style.

His weekend did not get off to the most encouraging of starts when a failed overtaking move early in heat one pitched the Belgian into the tyre barriers, costing him time and restricting him to a lowly ninth place as he was unable to unseat impressive newcomer Carlos Checa. While heat two went better, Vranckx was still left trailing Isak Sjökvist, meaning he concluded the first day uncharacteristically down the order in sixth and with work to do.

After refocussing and regrouping, the champion-elect came out fighting the next morning, coming off better from a first corner clash with Patrick O’Donovan to set the pace in heat three and then exploiting a clever joker strategy in his progression race to undercut early leader Sjökvist and pull clear.

With the reassuring voice of his spotter, 2021 RX2e Champion Guillaume De Ridder in his ear, he overcame a slightly sluggish launch in his semi-final to again edge away from his adversaries, in so doing earning himself second choice of grid position for the all-important final.

Contact with Nils Andersson sent the 16-year-old briefly sideways on the opening tour, but a tremendous save saw him continue without conceding any positions. After jokering on lap two, he lost some time behind Raül Ferré, which meant that when Sjökvist took his own joker next time around, the Swede emerged still in the lead.

Despite applying the pressure all the way to the chequered flag, Vranckx ultimately decided that discretion was the better part of valour, with a fifth rostrum finish from as many starts capping a dominant season in fitting fashion.

“After Saturday, we really didn’t expect to finish on the podium,” he candidly reflected, “but we had a good morning on Sunday and right from the warm-up, we knew we had the pace. We were so close in the final, but Isak was just a little bit too fast for us and he really deserved the win. I thought about trying to go for the inside on the last lap, but I knew it would be a risk so I preferred to settle for second and a good end to the season.

“I might be the driver, but this is really a team effort and my team has been amazing this year. It’s a family team, and my family have supported me since the moment I said I wanted to go into rallycross. My dad went all-in, my mum supported us both and my sister has been my biggest fan. Guillaume [De Ridder] has been like my rallycross father this season, and I’m super grateful to him too.

“Honestly, winning this championship – these are the best days of my life.”