Johan Kristoffersson leading in RX2e at Mettet

Two weeks after the incident at Lydden Hill Race Circuit, where a fire destroyed the cars and most of the infrastructure of Special ONE Racing, the 2023 FIA World Rallycross Championship was supposed to resume at Mettet (Circuit Jules Tacheny) in Belgium this weekend (August 5-6). However, as the FIA investigation into the cause of the fire is still going on, the RX1e category (World RX) is not taking place.

Despite no RX1e cars are present at Mettet, four RX1e drivers are as defending World RX champion Johan Kristofferson, his teammate Ole Christian Veiby and Timmy and Kevin Hansen are racing this weekend at the wheel of a RX2e car. They will take part in the RX2e championship following a decision of the organizers and the promoter. The decision was confirmed by the Stewards of the Meeting providing details like for example that the four drivers are not eligible for championship points.

Kevin Hansen (RX2e) was fastest in the first RX2e qualifying heat at Mettet. (Photo: © Johnny Loix)

Hansen World RX Teams Kenneth Hansen said about the decision: “When it was confirmed that we cannot race the RX1e cars this weekend, we looked at other solutions. We are a race team, racing is what we do and we want to compete, give fans the best possible show they can get, and give something to our loyal sponsors and partners too. That’s why we are racing in RX2e this weekend.” Similar story was heard with Tommy Kristofferson of Kristoffersson Motorsport. “The show must go on,” he said. “We are responsible towards our sponsors, media and not least our fans. We started to look for alternatives right away when it was confirmed that we cannot race the RX1e cars this weekend. This will bring a new dimension and a great challenge for the team.”

The decision also has a downside as defending RX2e champion and current points leader Viktor Vranckx decided to withdraw from the event. His team – VMV Racing – released a statement earlier in the week providing some backgrounds to the decision. “[..] VMV Racing joined the RX2e championship based on the equity values embodied by the RX2e class, offering the same chances to all the teams and drivers involved in the championship. The team is always aiming for the highest level of competition and will face any challenge, as long as fairness, respect for the teams and equity remain. Unfortunately, we feel the title battle has been biased by the last announcement and that the championship values are not aligned anymore with VMV Racing’s vision of the sport. [..]” reads the statement.

Vranckx himself commented on his withdrawal on his social media. “This decision has been extremly hard and more considering that I’m leading the standings after a big recovery done in the last 2 races,” he said. “I feel very sad, but the new situation forced us to follow that way.”

Johan Kristoffersson (RX2e) going into the lead during a RX2e qualifying heat. (Photo: © Johnny Loix)

From a racing point of view, on Saturday Heat 1 and Heat 2 were completed for the RX2e cars. In the first heat the top four was for the ‘guest’ drivers with Kevin Hansen (RX2e) fastest ahead of Johan Kristoffersson (RX2e), Ole Christian Veiby (RX2e) and Timmy Hansen (RX2e). Kristoffersson then drove to the fastest time in the second heat, ahead of Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky (RX2e), to hold the overnight lead. Kevin and Timmy Hansen and Veiby completing the top four.

Also at Mettet the fifth and penultimate round of the 2023 FIA European Rallycross Championship for RX1 cars is taking place. Also in this category the first and second heat were completed on Saturday. Yury Belevskiy (Audi S1), in a by Volland Racing prepared Audi S1, set the fastest time in the first heat while Anton Marklund (Ford Fiesta Mk7) drove to the fastest time in the second heat. Belevskiy is holding the overnight lead ahead of Marklund. Sivert Svardal (VW Polo Mk5) is currently third after he set a second fastest time in the second heat.

Yury Belevskiy (Audi S1) is leading it in Euro RX1 at Mettet. (Photo: © Johnny Loix)

The action on the track continues on Sunday morning with a warm-up session for all categories followed by the remaining heats, semi-finals and finals.


RX2e (after two heats): 1. Johan Kristoffersson (S), 95; 2. Kevin Hansen (S), 87; 3. Timmy Hansen (S), 82; 4. Ole Christian Veiby (N), 82; 5. Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky (S), 81; 6. Marko Muru (EST), 78; etc.

Euro RX1 (after two heats): 1. Yury Belevskiy (RUS), 92; 2. Anton Marklund (S), 89; 3. Sivert Svardal (N), 83; 4. Jānis Baumanis (LV), 83; 5. Patrick O’Donovan (IRL), 80; 6. Ulrik Linnemann (DK), 77; etc.