MOTORSPORT

Rally X set for return to South Africa

After a two-year Covid hiatus, WRX returns to South Africa in a big way.

TopGear Reporter
December 9, 2022
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Rally X set for return to South Africa

It's no surprise that we've been starved of some international motorsport action, but the racing gods are making amends with the happenings of recent times. The murmurs of F1, the confirmation of Formula E, The Kyalami 9-hour return, and WEC are still not entirely off the cards. 

The latest confirmation is World Rally Cross which will be returning on the weekend of the 21-22nd October. 2017 was the first FIA-sanctioned event since the South African F1 Grand Prix in 1993. If you've missed out on any of the previous occasions, 2023 is your year to make amends. It is, without prejudice to anything else, one of the most exciting events on the calendar. Outside of the excitement, the tourism benefits for our country are the type of green shoots we need. But back to the motorsport.

These cars accelerate with time-warping abilities and seemingly shift direction mid-corner, commanded by some of the best modern rally drivers, mostly from Scandinavian countries. I am still trying to figure out what they put in the water to deliver such great off-road drivers. It's working. One big kicker is that the series has gone all-electric for the top-level RX1 cars that deliver an insane amount of power. ALL OF IT - 500 kW and 880 Nm of torque – and will accelerate to 100 km/h quicker than an F1 car – nauseating stuff.

The weekends are jam-packed with supporting events, with Rally X2 forming the main curtain raiser. Perhaps we'll also see the Kart Cross series, which uses 600 cc sequential shifting karts to showcase local talent as we have seen in the past. These karts are also what the top rally and some F1 drivers use to keep their skills sharp. Don't say that you never learn anything here. 

The main card, though, will always excite with their star-studded field of ace drivers. Names like the Hansen brothers, Kevin and Timmy, Johan Kristoffersson and Ole Veiby. Ex-F1 driver Nick Heidfeld and Moto GP rider Carlos Checa also made appearances this year, so we can't rule out any surprises. Amongst that group, Klara Anderson, who drives for the Construction Equipment Dealer Team, was the first female to bag a podium in the Portuguese round this year and is bound to provide a spectacle in 2021.

In 2023 you can also look forward to the introduction of the Lancia Delta Evo-e RX joining for an entire season of RX1e. I was conflicted seeing online pictures of the retro throwback silhouette of the Integrale shape. I'll likely be even more conflicted when seeing it in the flesh. That's where the world is rocketing towards. It will only be as exciting as the petrol version given the format of close racing World Rally Cross presents. A two-ship Delta team joins 12 other race cars and is guaranteed to thrill with nostalgic flashbacks.

The weekend is set to leave you impressed and perhaps even convert you to the EV movement, but take a small piece of advice from me and pack in your sunscreen. The African sun is harsh, but the fun will more than make up for it in this new electric era. But for now, pencil it in on the 21st and 22nd of October, 2023. I'll see you there.

Words: Brent vd Schyff

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