Following seven rounds across six different circuits, it all comes down to this – a double-header season finale on a new track at Germany’s legendary Nürburgring next weekend (27-28 November) to determine who will be crowned 2021 FIA World Rallycross Champion.
The four leading protagonists have all ascended the top step of the podium at least once this year – Timmy Hansen on home soil at Höljes and then again at Lohéac, Johan Kristoffersson in Riga and at Spa-Francorchamps, Kevin Hansen in the Catalunya curtain-raiser and Niclas Grönholm in Latvia and last time out in Portugal.
It is the elder of the two Hansen brothers – 2019 world champion Timmy – who leads the way, as he has done since triumphing in round two in August. Having not finished lower than fourth so far, the Swede is seemingly zeroing in on a second Drivers’ trophy at the international pinnacle of the discipline, but with 60 points remaining to play for at the 1,029m Eifel Mountains circuit – based around the Mullenbachsleife section of the famous Formula 1 venue – and just a 17-point advantage at the summit of the standings, nothing can be taken for granted.
Indeed, it is Hansen’s closest pursuer – three-time title-holder Kristoffersson – who has been the highest scorer over the most recent four outings, and the KYB EKS JC ace can be counted upon to keep pushing until the final chequered flag falls. Notwithstanding a troubled start to the campaign, Kristoffersson has topped more qualifying sessions than anybody else behind the wheel of his Audi S1 in 2021, so his raw speed is certainly not in doubt.
It was the younger Hansen sibling – Kevin – who came out of the blocks fastest in Barcelona, outgunning his two countrymen to seal the second success of his World RX career. The 23-year-old has been a contender throughout, reaching the rostrum in all bar one round to sit only 19 points shy of elder brother Timmy arriving in Germany.
Like Kristoffersson, Grönholm overcame a difficult opening few weekends to launch himself into the reckoning with victory in the Riga double-header, which he then reinforced with another win at Montalegre after his three main adversaries tripped over one another in their scrap for the top spot.
The Finn is a little further back at 29 points adrift of championship leader Hansen, while his GRX-SET stablemate Krisztián Szabó is the dark horse in the pack. Still mathematically in the mix, the consistent Hungarian is the only driver aside from the Hansen World RX Team duo to have progressed through to the final in every round to-date.
Elsewhere in the 14-car entry, two-time FIA European Rallycross Champion Anton Marklund returns for another run in Hedströms Motorsport’s Hyundai i20, Euro RX3 title-winner Yury Belevskiy steps up to the highest level in a Volland Racing Audi S1 and former World RX front-runner Davy Jeanney rejoins the fray for the first time in more than three years in PGRX’s Hyundai.
The weekend will also mark the final event of the World Championship’s internal combustion era, before the eagerly-anticipated switch to electric power in 2022.
DE RIDDER VS. KALLIO FOR RX2e HONOURS
In the supporting FIA RX2e Championship, Guillaume De Ridder and Jesse Kallio will duel it out for the prestige of going down in history as the first FIA electric rallycross champion.
The Belgian has led the way since winning in Catalunya, but the Finn has kept him on his toes throughout, hitting back at Höljes and waging a nip-and-tuck duel for supremacy with his arch-rival at Spa – a battle in which home hero De Ridder narrowly prevailed. Behind the two season-long pace-setters, Patrick O’Donovan, Pablo Suárez and Isak Sjökvist are embroiled in a similarly close fight for third.
Racing is set to get underway at 10:30 CET on Saturday, 27 November. Entry tickets are still available to purchase here, or for those unable to attend in person, all of the action across the board will be livestreamed in glorious HD quality via the cutting-edge RX+ broadcast platform. This premium production grants subscribers unparalleled and unprecedented access anytime, anywhere and on any device, offering a choice of viewing angles, in-depth expert analysis, behind-the-scenes features and exclusive interviews.
The Full Season Pass is on offer for the special price of just €7,99, guaranteeing access until the end of the year. The Event Pass for World RX of Germany is available for the same price. For more details or to subscribe, click here
Event entry lists can be found here: World RX / RX2e