COMING TO SA: The FIA gave the green light for its RallyCross to be staged at the Killarney race track in Cape Town. Image: MotorPress
Cape Town - The Killarney race circuit in Cape Town will host the final round of the World Rallycross Championship in 2017 as part of a new multi-year deal with Championship promoter, IMG.
The construction of a brand new rallycross track will commence later in 2016 and will be a permanent circuit.
Next year will mark the first time that a rallycross event will take place on the African continent.
'First of its kind in Africa'
Des Easom, executive manager of Killarney, said: “Killarney is delighted to be hosting this first of its kind event in Africa. Our thousands of loyal fans and spectators, Cape Town and its New Seven Wonders of Nature Table Mountain deserve no less. This is a thrilling, highly competitive form of racing with international appeal and media coverage.
"We look forward to working with IMG and pooling our expertise and experience on the series of events. This is a great addition to our whole-year racing calendar and spectators can look forward to an international and world-class event."
Paul Bellamy, World RX managing director for IMG, said: “We have been looking at South Africa as a potential new venue in World RX for some time and we are delighted to be able to announce the new deal from 2017 onwards. We are the only FIA World Championship to host an event in sub-Saharan Africa and the Killarney circuit is a fantastic facility where we can create a truly sensational season-closer.
"Next year will mark the first time that a rallycross event has taken place on the African continent and we are extremely excited to bring the sport to a new continent. I’d like to thank the Killarney organisers and the city of Cape Town for all their support in helping to get this project off the ground.”
What is Rallycross?
In case you're unfamiliar with the sport, Rallycross is a form of sprint-style racing held on a closed mixed-surface circuit, with modified production or specially built road cars (similar to World Rally cars).
The FIA World and European Rallycross Championship cars are built based on production cars homologated but are extensively modified.
The series currently comprises 12 two-day events held on closed circuits featuring mixed surfaces.
Each round comprises four qualifying heats, two semi-finals, and a six-car final:
• Four qualifying heats
In each of the four series there are smaller races comprising three to five cars. The driver with the fastest overall time after four laps (including a single 'Joker Lap') is the qualifying winner of Q1, Q2, Q3 and/or Q4. Drivers earn 'intermediate points' based on their positions. After the qualifying series, the points are added up and the 12 drivers with the most points in the 'intermediate standings' move on to the next round.
• Two semi-finals
Six cars race in each of both semi-finals, which are run over six laps. The top three drivers in each semi-final move into the final round.
Like the semi-finals, this race is contested by six cars over six laps. The winner of the final is also the event winner. However, the final winner might not necessarily claim the most championship points from the whole event.
Mattias Ekstrom (Audi A1) leads the 2016 championship, followed by Petter Solberg (Citroen DS3) in second and Johan Kristoffersson (Volkswagen Polo) in third. Andreas Bakkerud (Ford Focus RS) is in fourth followed by Sébastien Loeb (Peugeot 208) in fifth.