For many South African enthusiasts, the year’s motorsport highlight will arrive this weekend, with the final round of the 2019 World Rallycross Championship taking place at the Killarney circuit near Cape Town.
The Sabat Rallycross of South Africa will see the season’s World Rallycross Champion crowned, with Swede Timmy Hansen (MJP Peugeot 208) arriving in Cape Town a single title point ahead of Norwegian Andreas Bakkerud (Monster Energy Audi S1). Hansen has taken victories in Spain, England, France and Latvia this year, while Bakkerud won in Belgium and Canada.
One of the two will likely be crowned after the weekend’s races, and the gloves should be off from Friday’s first practice session. The other Hansen brother, Kevin, is also in with a real shout of the title with his yellow Peugeot 208, sitting just eight points adrift of Timmy’s blue version. Another driver will be in with a shot of the title, but Finnish GRX Taneco Hyundai i20 driver Niclas Grönholm, will need a perfect weekend and the other top three not to score for that to happen.
Behind them, there will be a fight for the fifth to tenth places in the title chase between Latvian Janis Baumanis (Ford Fiesta), Russian Timur Timerzianov (Hyundai i20) Brit Liam Doran, (Audi S1), Swede Anton Marklund (GC Renault Megane RS). German Timo Scheider (All-inkl Seat Ibiza) and Hungarian Krisztián Szabó (EKS Audi S1).
Rounding out the field will be French Dakar exponents Guerlain Chicherit (Renault Megane RS) and Cyril Raymond (Renault Clio), Belgian Guillaume de Ridder (Renault Clio), Dutchman Kevin Abbring (Škoda Fabia), Finn Jere Kalliokoski (Ford Fiesta), Russian wildcard Matvey Furazhkin (Škoda Fabia) and Brit Oliver Bennett (Mini Cooper).
Just a reminder – World Rallycross cars are all-wheel-driven, weigh 1 300 kg, produce 447 kW of power plus 900 Nm of torque, and can accelerate to 100km/h in 1.9 seconds. Racing is held in a series of quick-fire head-to-head races on the mixed surface Killarney RX track with heats on Saturday before the knock-out rounds and Final on Sunday.
The main curtain raiser for the weekend will see the international championship for 230kW, 300Nm RX2 machines come to a head, as Swede Oliver Eriksson comes to Cape Town with a 14-point championship advantage over Finn Jesse Kallio. Others to watch will include previous race winner, Norwe gian Ben-Philip Gundersen, US driver Fraser McConnell, Finn Sami-Matti Trogen and Latvia’s Vasiliy Gryazin.
The international action will be rounded off by races for Speed Car buggies backed up by races for two rapidly growing Cape Rallycross classes catering for two-litre front wheel-drive machines and three-litre rear wheel-drive BMW E36 Cup cars. The Sabat World Rallycross of South Africa will be broadcast to millions of viewers in more than 160 countries around the world.