CAPE TOWN – The final round of the FIA World Rallycross Championship at Killarney coming weekend is going to be unlike any other major motorsport meeting staged in South Africa.
For a start, it’s a weekend affair with a variety of events which will add to the festive atmosphere, and it all takes place on a short compact circuit that, unlike Formula One, enables spectators, no matter where they are seated, to follow the progress of the competing cars.
Then there’s the raised banking on the west (or river) side of the complex that is being offered to spectators strictly as a bums on grass (BOG) facility at a special price. No vehicular traffic will be allowed in this area, from where the view of the racing at grass level is magnificent.
The action begins with practice sessions early on Saturday morning. And although the field includes many of the best and most versatile drivers on the planet, only former double-champion Petter Solberg, who jetted in for the official circuit launch earlier this year, has seen it.
In keeping with the world rallycross policy of allowing spectators to mingle with the drivers and crews wherever possible, the working area will be open for the initial pit walk.
The first of two qualifying sessions for MSA Rally, Rallycross 2 and World RX Supercars are scheduled for early in the afternoon. In between, there will be another two pit walks, an aerobatic show by the SA Air Force’s famed Silver Falcons, a musical interlude by the Monster Energy Rig Riot and a drifting display. The day ends with an autograph session and a chance to chat to drivers.
Sunday begins with a warm-up, before the final qualifying sessions. After that, the racing is split into a series of snappy heats, semi-finals and finals, with limited entries in each of them for MSA rally cars, RX2 Rallycross cars and World RX Supercars. The RX2 category for 310BHP, mid-engined, all-wheel-drive missiles, was launched this year as a feeder series to prepare drivers for the ultimate, the Supercars.
Gaps between races will again be filled with drifting and stunting, the Monster Riot Rig, pit walks and the spectacular Silver Falcons.
Although the drivers include a variety of nationalities, the leading trio, Solberg, Johan Kristoffersson and Mattias Ekstrom, hail from Sweden. The most decorated of them, former French gymnast Sebastien Loeb is not far behind. As French as the Eiffel Tower, he is going to be at the wheel of a French Peugeot 208 WRX Supercar at the Killarney Gumtree meeting.
A limited number of tickets are still available at R700 for a reserved grandstand seat, or R400 for an unreserved ticket on the BOG grass banking. Entry is R220 for scholars under 16 and free for kids under 12 accompanied by a paying adult in the unreserved areas. Parking tickets must be bought online via ticketpros.co.za. Gates open at 7.30am on both days.
PHOTO: RIVETING: The World Rallycross Championship final at Killarney is going to be different. Picture: David Ritchie/ANA