Before the Ludden Hill round in England on July 21, 2023, a Special ONE team car caught fire during a charge. The fire destroyed everything, the two cars, but also the truck that serves as a garage and “office” for the team. As a reminder, the world rallycross cars have gone electric and according to the first information, it was a fault during charging that triggered a thermal runaway of the battery.
The FIA indicates that investigations are still underway to find out precisely what caused the fire. And that’s part of the problem. Indeed, as long as there is any doubt, the FIA and the WRX prefer to play it safe and not race. It is also said that the supplier could not quickly supply new batteries, but this is not mentioned by the FIA.
As a result, Lydden Hill was cancelled, and just before the Mettet meeting, the premier class round, the RX1e (or RX), was also canceled, leaving only the small RX2e category and the European (thermal) round of the Euro RX1 unfold. To compensate, some big names in RX have moved to RX2e. However, this did not sit well with championship leader and defending champion Viktor VRANCKX, who decided to leave the RX2e immediately.
What value for the 2023 edition?
From now on, it is therefore the German round that is going by the wayside for the RX1e. But RX2e, Euro RX1 and Euro RX3 will go well as planned. It must be said that for these championships, it is the last round of the season. This makes outright undoing impossible.
On the other hand, for the RX, there remains officially South Africa in October, and Hong Kong in November, in double header each time. By then, the investigation into the fire will perhaps have borne fruit? Either way, that’s down three innings out of a 10-inning season. What value will this 2023 edition have? One possibility could be to add a double leg before South Africa, but time is running out. Then you have to send the vehicles there.
In 2022, despite a calendar still upset by the pandemic, the WRX had managed to do its 10 annual rounds, 9 in 2021 and even 8 in 2020 in the midst of a pandemic when everything was canceled around the world. But, here, it is a concern with the material. Potentially 7 rounds only, 10 competitors, the agony of rallycross made in FIA (and promoted by WRC Promoter) is tough.