Another major event has hit the FIA World Rallycross Championship today.
That could potentially be the final nail in the coffin for the Championship. It’s not just Mr. Nobody pulling out, but the PSRX Volkswagen Sweden team, who has not only won the drivers title with Johan Kristoffersson, but also the teams championship in both 2017 and 2018.
The team with Kristoffersson and team owner Petter Solberg have been totally dominant, where Kristoffersson alone has won 18 out of the 24 rounds, with one additional win for Solberg in Great Britain 2017. Mattias Ekström has beaten them four times in 2017 and Sebastien Loeb once in 2018, which are their only defeats for two seasons.
That dominance, combined with the bit uncertainty about a potential change to electric cars in the World RX, has made all the works team slowly and surely pull out.
Ford with their Hoonigan Division were the first to leave at the end of 2017, followed by Team Peugeot Total, EKS Audi Sport, Olsbergs MSE, all pulling out during the autumn of 2018, while MJP Racing Team Austria slowly sneaked out the backdoor during the season, with just 4 starts during 12 weekends in 2018.
The GRX Taneco team, who races Hyundai cars, has be very critical about the planned 2019, which offers trips to Abu Dhabi, Canada and South Africa.
The only positive note is ESmotorsport, which is a just recently started Rallycross team from Estonia, who plans to run with Skoda Fabia cars. They are however just privateers, with no drivers yet announced.
The boss for IMG, who is the organiser behind World RX, Paul Bellamy has stated:
“Going into 2019, there is now a wide open field and a huge opportunity for existing and new teams to step up to the podium in one of the most exciting motorsports championships there is. We have a lot of young, talented drivers coming through and are in ongoing discussions with a number of new teams looking to enter the series, especially now that we’ve made the championship more affordable and competitive with 10 rounds. We remain in continuous discussions with a number of manufacturers, including Volkswagen, as we move towards an electric series with the FIA in 2021.”
So yes, the young talents will have plenty of opportunities to win – if there is a series to win, and if they have the budget to travel the world, on the slightly decreased 10-race calendar.
The official reasoning behind PSRX Volkswagen Sweden pulling out, is due to the lack of works teams to compete against.
The FIA World Rallycross Championship 2019 is planned to start on 5-6 April in Abu Dhabi, on the Yas Marina Circuit.