With just more than a month to the start of the Gumtree World Rallycross of South Africa at Killarney International Raceway in Cape Town, here is quick look at the Top 10 in that zoo.
Current World Champion Johan Kristoffersson, the speedy Swede whose big interests are family, fitness and and Rallycross. He drives a factory-developed Volkswagen Polo Supercar for Team PSRX Volkswagen Sweden, and in 2017, he drove it to 11 out of 12 finals, including a record-breaking seven victories, five of them in a row, winning the drivers’ title by a very, very large margin. Johan is currently topping the 2018 Championship Leaderboard and rates Höljes as his favourite World RX track. He can’t go without pasta, believes in pushing hard towards personal goals, and would love to have Jason Statham, Kimi Räikkönen and Barack Obama over for dinner.
Mattias Ekström of EKS Audi Sport is another Swede who has made a huge impact on World RX, winning the Championship in 2016 and racking up his fair share of race wins since then. He’s been hanging round RX paddocks since he was a youngster, watching dad Bengt compete, and has also won the 2004 and 2007 DTM touring car titles. Family, food and tennis make him happy, and his biggest rival can be found staring back at him from the mirror: himself.
Norwegian Petter Solberg is Kristoffersson’s racing partner in team PSRX Volkswagen Sweden. He was the first person to be crowned an FIA World Champion in two different motorsport disciplines: a World Rally Championship title in 2003, and two WRX titles in 2014 and 2015. He has, thanks to his crowd-pleasing antics, earned the nickname ‘Hollywood’, and regards drivers Colin McRae and Tommi Mäkinen as his biggest inspiration.
Andreas Bakkerud is also from Norway and races alongside Ekström in the EKS Audi Sport team, driving an Audi S1 Quattro. He started karting at the age of eight and switched to Rallycross when he was fifteen. He is the only driver in WRX history to have amassed maximum points through each stage of an event weekend, which he did in 2016. He enjoys skiing and kickboxing and would, rather cleverly, take a helicopter with to a desert island.
Sébastien Loeb is a legendary Frenchman, the world’s most successful rally driver who has amassed an astounding nine consecutive WRC titles and 78 wins. He’s a more recent star on the WRX circuit and races for the Peugeot Total team. He took six podiums in 2017 and considers the Lohéac track to be his favourite. A fan of rib beef and a lifelong lover of all things racing, Sébastien has seen and done it all…and won over a whole lot of fans in the process.
In addition to these fantastically fast five, triathlon-running Timmy Hansen and his fun-loving brother Kevin, young upstart Niclas Grönholm, Latvian champion Janis Baumanis and experienced Russian Timur Timerzyanov make up the top ten. Fifteen other super-quick drivers will join them over this scintillating weekend, ensuring that you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to finding a favourite.
Des Easom, Executive manager of Killarney International Raceway, says: “The final round of the World Rallycross Championship for 2018 is the type of motor racing that appeals to race fans and families alike. There is the drama and action of Rallycross cars that out-accelerate Formula One’s and driven by the world’s best drivers on tar and dirt. But WRX offers way more: spectators, friends and families can have a marvellous day out with racing and entertainment on and off track, aerobatic displays, fun activities and enough to eat and drink.
“So make sure you’ve got tickets for you and the whole family. It doesn’t get more exciting. It doesn’t get more entertaining. And it certainly doesn’t get quicker.”