E Racing

5 things we will take away from the 2023 WRX season

Svenja König

Svenja König

Rallycross-cars-Hongkong-2023

The World Rallycross Championship season came to an end a few weeks ago. In addition to Johan Kristoffersson's title win, there were various stories on and off the tarmac, which we have revisited and categorised for you in our analysis. From the car fire at Lydden Hill to the secret of Kristoffersson Motorsport's success, it's all here.

#1 Kristoffersson deserves to be world champion

The sporting news first: Johan Kristoffersson has deservedly become World Rallycross Champion for the sixth time. He didn't give the competition from Hansen and CE the slightest chance of challenging him. He laid the foundations for this at the first race weekends: Between the season opener in Portugal and the first race in South Africa shortly before the end of the season, he remained unbeaten. He collected 92 of his 141 points in these four races.

While Kristoffersson's driving class undoubtedly played a big part in his title win, there were two other factors that helped him: Thanks to Gustav Bergström, the KMS team had a third car at its disposal, which it used skilfully to prevent joker lap strategies from the competition. It is quite possible that the competition will also increase their numbers over the winter.

In addition, it was evident in several sessions that the KMS team had an advantage on the track thanks to better set-up and utilisation of the RX1e car. A superiority that the team has worked hard to achieve: "These titles are won in winter. Everyone has put their heart and soul into this project, that's what makes this team so special. I am immensely proud of that. We were always on our feet early: Even after winning both championships on Saturday, we were the first ones in the paddock on Sunday." This advantage was lost with the switch to the RX2e cars - but it was still enough to win the title.

#2 Investigation still ongoing after vehicle fire at Lydden Hill

The most decisive incident of the 2023 season, however, took place away from the race track. Before the race in Lydden Hill, Great Britain, could begin properly, a fire broke out in the Special One Racing pit without human intervention, resulting in the complete destruction of both cars, a workshop car and other equipment. Apparently a lithium-ion battery burnt out. These were subsequently declared not reliable enough for further racing. However, an official statement from the FIA or manufacturer Kreisel Electric and information on how to proceed is still pending. Even e-Formel.de only received the answer "that there is currently nothing more to say" than the public statements of those responsible.

This also led to clear criticism from Special One Racing in the run-up to the season finale in Hong Kong. "The team is disappointed with the inadequate handling of the aftermath of the fire that destroyed its cars and equipment in England three months ago," the team wrote on Instagram. Interestingly, the team announced just a few days later that it was pleased that the FIA was working hard to investigate the incident. So it seems that there is a lot of trouble in the background. However, it looks as though the team will also be involved in 2024 with the Lancia Delta Evo-e, which can only be a gain for the series.

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Special ONE (@specialoneracing)

#3 Making lemonade from lemons

Although the investigation into the incident did not go smoothly and a total of three European races in Great Britain, Belgium and Germany were cancelled without replacement, the decision was made to switch to RX2e for the races in South Africa and China. A solution that turned out to be worthwhile, but was only possible after the RX2e final in Germany.

As all vehicles in the junior series are equipped with the same drive, this resulted in a new racing dynamic, which enabled action-packed heats with surprise winners, while the top drivers sometimes fell behind. Race victories by Timo Scheider or podium finishes by debutant Patrick O'Donovan wrote their own stories.

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Hansen World RX Team (@hansenmotorsport)

#4 New locations deliver pictures worth seeing

However, it was not only the same drive systems that made for an exciting season finale, but also the new race tracks in South Africa and Hong Kong - with Cape Town already being raced in the combustion era. Even if the circuits did not offer a great deal of overtaking opportunities, they still provided exciting heats on the one hand and TV pictures worth seeing on the other thanks to their location on the beach or in the middle of the skyline.

Here, too, things were not without crises, as the construction of the track was delayed and was only completed on Saturday morning, which delayed the entire first day of racing. However, the event was well received by fans and riders alike: 17,000 people watched the races on site, making it one of the biggest events on the calendar.

#5 RX1e and RX2e grow closer together

The fact that the RX1e season finale was held with RX2e cars proves how well the two series have grown together. This applies above all to the promotion of rallycross talent, for which the course was actively set before the season. For example, RX2e driver Mikaela Ahlin-Kottulinsky took part in the WRX final and also has a good chance of securing a cockpit in the world championship in 2024. Her team-mate Nils Andersson, who has a wildcard as the reigning RX2e champion, is certain of this.

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