Fri, 04/05/2018 - 15:15

Rallycross (WRX) is a mixed discipline combining rallying and circuit racing, held over a short lap that alternates sections on asphalt with sections on gravel. The very first races took place as part of the British Championship at the Lydden Hill circuit in England in 1967. A European Championship was created during the following decades, which led to the launch of the FIA World Rallycross Championship in 2014. The short and sharp format of the races attracts a young crowd and is tailor-made for video, social media and television. The objective for the championship is to go fully electric in the future.
Each 2-day event begins with a lottery that determines the grid for the 1st of the 4 qualifying heats. Each car takes part in 1 race (lasting 4 laps) of each heat, with 3 to 5 cars starting together in a line. Based on the results from the 4 heats (given in points), the top 12 drivers proceed to the semi-finals. These are 2 races of 6 laps, with 6 cars in each. The top 3 cars from each semi-final move go through to the final, which also takes place over 6 laps. Championship points are awarded after the heats and in both the final and semi-finals. In every race, drivers are required to take the ‘joker lap’ once: an extra section of track that usually adds around two to three seconds to a lap time.
In rallycross, making a good start is essential as the opportunities to overtake are few and far between. If you can be ahead at the first corner, all the better! In order to avoid processional races, each driver has to complete one joker lap per race (which on average adds between two and three seconds to each lap). This allows gaps to form and introduces an element of race strategy. For example, the driver in the lead may take his joker lap at the end of the race to maximise the advantage of an empty track, while a driver stuck in the pack or behind a slower rival might take a joker lap early on. A spotter, in a tower overlooking the circuit, is in radio contact with the driver to issue help and directions.
Some rules related to the start and the joker lap:
  • False start = two joker laps instead of one
  • Two false starts = disqualification
  • Leaving out the joker lap in a heat = penalty + 30 seconds
  • Leaving out the joker lap in a semi-final or final = last and zero points

Championship points are awarded at three stages: after the qualifying heats are complete (to the top 16), in each semi-final and in the final.

After qualifying heats: 16, 15, 14, 13, 12 points etc for the top 16 drivers
In each semi-final: 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 points for 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th
In the final: 8, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 points for 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th

There’s not much difference between the points positions during the qualifying phases. To claim a big score you need to get through to the final with a good points haul at each stage. Bad results such as retirements or a DNS are heavily punished. The winner isn’t necessarily the driver who scores the most points.
The results from each round count towards the final results (there are no dropped scores). Team points are calculated by adding up the points scored by the two nominated drivers for the year, including penalties.