It’s finally here: the FIA World Rallycross and Americas Rallycross dual-action weekend at Circuit of the Americas that we’ve been waiting for all year. The 10th of 12 rounds on the world championship calendar also serves as the ARX season finale, and a chance for the Austin-based fans to see all of the world’s top rallycross talent in one place.
There’s plenty to look into in this event in both classes, but we start the process with a glimpse at the predominantly European-based teams competing for the World RX win. Here are the three storylines to follow going into two days of action:
Is there any chance that Johan Kristoffersson doesn’t lock up the title this weekend?
Yes, but it’s remote. The Swede has a 73-point lead in the standings with three races left and only 30 points available per race (16 in qualifying, six in semifinals, eight in finals). Considering that he hasn’t missed so much as a single final this year, that’s a minimum of 10 points even if he’s the last advancing driver in every session. Someone else would have to have a perfect weekend just to stay alive, and even then, everyone else who’s still eligible would be mathematically eliminated.
Can anybody snap Kristoffersson’s winning streak?
Two questions centered on the same driver isn’t a frequent feature of these posts, but Kristoffersson’s six-race winning streak is making World RX look like a video game on easy mode. Then you get to looking at who he’s doing it against: Mattias Ekstrom, Andreas Bakkerud, and Petter Solberg—all championship-caliber drivers, and all winless in 2018. Only Sebastien Loeb (in Belgium) has beaten Kristoffersson in a final this year; Timmy Hansen’s Nitro Rallycross victory came mostly against ARX drivers.
What will crowd turnout look like in Austin?
COTA is an exceptionally well-respected facility in the American pantheon of race circuits, and bringing in Ludacris and DJ Jazzy Jeff will capture some of the more casual fans in the area. But even with the void in American rallycross elsewhere this year, predominantly European series other than Formula 1 can be a tough sell in the States sometimes. Here’s hoping that the local fans recognize the world class talent on hand for the event and aren’t shy about showing up for the next two days.