What a weekend. The WRX championship was literally in the air until the last lap of the final at Killarney on Saturday.
Timmy Hansen, the Peugeot driver, was crowned the 2019 FIA World Rallycross Champion after taking the number of wins this season into account when he was tied, on 211 points each, with Andreas Bakkerud at a breathtaking SABAT World Rallycross of South Africa at Killarney International Raceway on Sunday.
The smallish but enthusiastic Cape Town crowd was treated to a spectacular and bruising season finale after Bakkerud finished in second in the race behind winner Niclas Grönholm and Hansen in fourth behind Timur Timerzianov after 60 races in ten countries on four continents through 2019.
“It sounds fantastic — almost unreal that you call me world champion,” Timmy Hansen responded to a question on his taking the title. “I am super happy for the sport – the last race with everything on the line was nerve wracking, but I kept focussing and delivered a strong performance race by race through the weekend — there was no room for error — not the smallest mistake.
Race winner Niclas Grönholm in the very fast Hyundai said “My first win was after someone else was penalised, so this one is special — my first chequered flag victory! ”
Audi driver Andreas Bakkerud was quite unhappy with the result and behaved a bit like a losing English rugby player. Watch this space. There might still be protests and an investigation.
What happened was the three world championship contenders had a coming together when Timmy Hansen made a move on Bakkerud and the two tangled resulting in Kevin Hansen also losing it.
As a result Grönholm led the way from the recovered Bakkerud, Timerzianov and Timmy Hansen, who quickly passed a struggling Scheider to take a vital fourth place. Kevin Hansen then had a second spectacular incident at the same corner the three had collided on the opening lap.
The local drivers enjoyed 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 ‘big sixes’.
E36 Cup is a local rallycross class with 17 participants which only started in March this year. Ten drivers took part at the WRX event last weekend. They drive 325i and 328i cars in two categories as the 328s have much more torque. It makes for great racing though. Zack Groenewald, known as Zackals, in the number 43 car was the very excited winner. He wrote on Facebook “Big thanx to my team for a awesome weekend without you guys its not possible And obviously my wife ….!”.
As is usual at Killarney the event was well organised with good facilities and the prices and quality of the fast food was good. The festival like atmosphere was enjoyed by young and old.
Diarise 14-15 November 2020 for next year’s Sabat World Rallycross of South Africa Finale, it will probably be a cracker too and not to be missed.