Buoyed by the performance of the eagerly-anticipated Lancia Delta Evo-e RX in the 2022 FIA World Rallycross Championship finale at the Nürburgring last weekend (12-13 November), Guerlain Chicherit is now targeting a two-car challenge next year.
Based upon a 1980s rallying icon – the legendary Lancia Delta Integrale – the retrofitted Lancia Delta Evo-e RX was built by Chicherit’s GCK Motorsport outfit, and there was little question that it was the star attraction as it made its competitive debut at World RX of Germany.
And competitive it was. From the outset, Chicherit – whose last appearance in the World Championship had come just under 12 months earlier at the same circuit – was immediately in the groove, lapping sixth-quickest in free practice as he confidently outpaced some of the series regulars behind the wheel of his evocative Italian ‘hot hatch’.
The Frenchman confirmed that form in heat one, running second behind Ole Christian Veiby until a coming-together with Kevin Hansen left the Lancia buried in the barriers, with the damage caused by the sizeable 16G impact ruling the car out of the rest of the day.
A tremendous repair job by the GCK crew enabled Chicherit to return to the track the following day. After safely navigating his way through his progression race, the 44-year-old then looked set to spring a surprise as he ran second in the semi-final, only for an aggressive kerb strike to break the Delta’s suspension with less than two laps remaining, dashing his dream of reaching the final first time out.
Nonetheless, as he reflected upon the weekend as a whole, the four-time World Freeriding Champion was enthusiastic about the future – even hinting at an expanded line-up in 2023...
“I’d really like to congratulate my team, who have worked all day and all night over the last few weeks to get this car ready in time,” Chicherit said. “It’s a magnificent machine. Never in my 20-year career had I been so impatient to get behind the wheel.
“The overall conclusions are extremely satisfactory as we were able to match the speed of our rivals who had already raced nine rounds with these new-generation electric cars. Now we’re going to take advantage of the winter break to analyse all the data gathered over the weekend and add all the necessary modifications. Next year we’ll be back with two cars, I hope!”